These questions have gone around the computer industry many times and while most people do agree that there has been a decline in PC sales, it’s far from dead. Companies like Dell and HP don’t advertise the PC as much anymore and there’s a good reason for that, which I’ll explain later.
Is the PC Dead?
Many consumers believe that it is dead because many have converted to just using a tablet such as the iPad. For most consumers, an iPad or Android Tablet is good enough because they’re just checking their email, reading some content, watching some videos, doing some online shopping and playing games. Basically, these tablets are what we call a consumption device. For those who actually need to get work done, they still need a PC whether it’s a desktop or laptop.
When you watch TV or online content with ads, you don’t see that many anymore from companies like Dell and HP with their PCs, which have also added to the perception that it’s dead. Well, the reason for this is that when you’re advertising to consumers where an iPad will suffice for their consumption needs, they won’t be purchasing new PCs. However, these computer manufacturers are still selling millions of PCs and to who? To businesses, of course, and so they work directly with them.
You cannot get real work done on an iPad and by that, I mean, as an example, working on spreadsheets, proposals, presentations or work that requires you to use proprietary applications. Some will disagree and say that you can do much of this work on tablets, but can you do it efficiently? Not in my opinion. Mouse and keyboard are faster to use than clicking on a touch screen. Think about this… how fast can you type on a touchscreen vs a keyboard? Ok, yes, some of you may be just as slow on a keyboard but for those who are fast on a keyboard, you can’t 10 key a small touch screen keyboard to type as fast.
Screen size is another difference. Imagine working on a spreadsheet that spans dozens of columns and thousands of rows. Can you efficiently do work on this spreadsheet on a tablet with that small screen? For me, I always have two monitors setup with my desktop as I use multiple applications at a time and it’s more efficient to be able to see one application on one screen while I work on the data on the other screen.
For students, imagine trying to type an essay on an iPad? Those kids would probably rage and throw the tablet at the wall because it’ll get frustrating after a while. Students still need a PC and a laptop would probably work better, especially for college students so that they can go to the coffee shops and library and do their homework and so on there.
Many retail stores have started to use tablets, especially the iPad. However, these tablets have mostly replaced electronic cash drawers and not necessarily the PC. In the business office for these retail stores, they still use the PC to do accounting, inventory management, advertising campaigns and so forth.
With new businesses opening up all the time, they’ll need to purchase new computers and laptops for the employees to use. For consumer usage at home, I personally prefer a desktop and still build my own desktops. Even if I’m just looking up some gardening tips or whatnot, I prefer to do my research on the desktop with the larger monitor as opposed to the small screens of the tablets. As a power user, it’ll be tough for me to get rid of my desktop at home.
Do you prefer a Desktop or Laptop?
As a power user, I prefer the Desktop. Each has its Pros and Cons and if most of my usage is in one location, such as my home or office, I prefer the desktop with the ability to use multiple monitors, a full size keyboard and a mouse.
Some will argue to just get a dock for your laptop so that you can connect all these extra peripherals. While I would agree from the standpoint of pure usage, but it also comes down to the hardware itself and laptops do not cut it for me. For my personal usage, with all my multimedia files, there’s no laptop that has enough storage for all of my files. I can hear some of you now saying to just use an external drive and plug it in when you need those files, but even with a USB 3.0 connection on those external drives, it’s not fast enough, and I’ve had those external drives die on me fairly quickly.
My desktop has four hard drives. Actually, it’s two SSDs and two HDDs. The first SSD is my boot drive for the OS. The second SSD is for my personal documents, spreadsheets, presentations, work files, etc. My multimedia files such as photos and videos are on the first HDD and the last HDD is for backup. The reason I do not use my primary SSD for any of my files is that if there’s ever a time I need to reinstall the operating system, I don’t need to worry about wiping out my data since it’s on other drives. For multimedia files, I prefer HDDs since you can get large size drives at a much better price than you would SSDs at the same size. The price of a 2TB SSD can get you a decent laptop while a 4TB HDD is only around $100.
In my opinion, the only major Pro to a laptop is its portability. Having a laptop is definitely useful while traveling. However, at home or the office, I prefer the desktop. There are some companies, such as Google from what I’ve seen, that has completely gotten rid of desktops. All employees use laptops as it allows them to take their information with them to meetings, work outside in the nice weather and so on. This would take some getting used to if I was ever forced to only use a laptop. I would probably request an extra monitor and dock if needed to connect the larger monitor to the laptop when at my desk and connect a full size keyboard and mouse. Trackpads on a laptop are horrible to use across multiple screens or even a single large screen. On business trips with my laptop, I always carry a mouse with me. But, of course, I won’t carry an extra monitor. That would just be crazy.