Computers – whether on our desktop or in our hand – are an essential part of our daily lives for our schoolwork, work assignments and personal interests. If you’re looking to buy your first computer or upgrade the one you have, here is a look at all the different types you can buy:
Most businesses use PCs, so buying this type of computer gives you practice using the same type of computer you’ll use at most jobs. There are dozens of big manufacturers, and they all have different pros and cons. Overall, computers that run Windows tend to be less expensive than Macs. You also have a lot more choice in software than you would with a Mac, especially free software. Where a Mac might have three types of video editing software, a PC may have a dozen. That doesn’t mean that the PC software is always better, just that you have more options available to you.
Apple makes high-quality laptops and desktops that generally are more reliable than PCs but also cost more. They tend to have fewer hardware problems and not as many software problems as PCs because they make both the hardware and software.
Chromebooks have only been around for a few years, but they are very popular because they are inexpensive, durable and reliable. Unfortunately, they have limitations because they only run software that works in a browser. There are a lot of programs (like Office programs, image editing tools and tax software) that simply don’t run well on Chromebooks at all.
Tablet (Android or iPad)
Mobile devices like tablets are becoming more popular, and there are a lot of apps that can be used on them. But there are still some types of apps that are limited in functionality on tablets vs full computers, such as Office applications. Though Microsoft released a version of Office for iOS and Android, this version is incomplete. Only some parts are included, and those parts are missing a ton of features. But tablets are quite inexpensive and very portable.
What type of computer is best? It depends:
- Do you need the most capable computer for the price? Get a PC.
- Do you value reliability, and are willing to pay a premium? A Mac is a good choice.
- Do you want reliable, and you’re willing to lose access to some types of software? A Chromebook works well, and it’s cheap.
- Are you more comfortable with apps than computer software? A tablet might work for you.
Also be aware of the requirements of your school. Only a Mac or a PC can run Java programs and the full version of Microsoft Office. If your school needs that, then other options might be off the table, even if they fit your needs otherwise.
Myrddin Emrys is the Herzing IT Help Desk lead, and has been with Herzing University for more than five years. He came to Herzing with more than fifteen years of experience as a system administrator and technical support specialist at several Wisconsin Internet providers.