Should I make a notebook my primary computer?

I spend a lot of my day on the computer, but it’s mostly word processing and working the Net, with the occasional minor Photoshop and audio file editiong. The most intense gaming I ever do is Solitaire and a rare game of computer chess. I’ll watch a clip on YouTube, but I don’t download movies.

My monitor is dying, my desktop is 5+ years old and I’ve done all the cheap upgrades (memory, hard drive, more ports, etc) that I care to spend money on. I notice that I can get notebooks and add additional memory for more or less the same price a new desktop would cost, without a monitor.

It’s a given that I’d plug in a better keyboard and mouse, as well as an external hard drive. The question, I guess comes down to whether the monitor on a notebook will give me fits and I’ll get fed up and want a better screen.

What say you?

Comparing apples to apples (similar cpu, gpu, monitor, ram, etc) you’ll find you still get more bang for your buck on a desktop, so unless you need the portability…
Also, notebooks tend to have shitty monitors. Some more expensive ones have a decent resolution, but they’re pretty much always 6 bit TN panels, which may be fine for casual use but you’ll appreciate something better (and bigger) if you do extensive photo editing.

You can buy a monitor that is much better than any laptops for a fraction of the price of a laptop.

What was already said.

You can get a spectacular laptop–and there are a few out there–with great speakers and HD displays. But unless space is at a premium, save the cash and get a tower instead! Even a cheap tower, or an all-in-one machine where the computer is all bundled into the frame of the monitor!

My only computer is a laptop. I take it everywhere. I also have an external monitor and I use a dual monitor setup. What I can’t figure out is why anyone would have a desktop computer anymore. (And yes, I backup every night.)

Does it make any sense to get a cheapo laptop, just to use as a remote station, and then resynch everything to the desktop as a permanent base? Just enough to do your scheduling, take notes, etc?

(Or has the smart phone evolved to fill that niche?)

The problem is, my monitor (it’s an old CRT) is dying as well as my desktop. I don’t need the portability. I was just hoping to save the price of a new monitor.

But I work from home and I’m on it for 8 hours almost every day. It sounds like I’d regret relying on a notebook monitor full-time.

Some laptop screens are better than others. Also, you can connect an external monitor to it and have the benefit of dual monitors.

Like I said…

Or tablet. VNC and Dropbox, my desktop is basically a glorified storage bin for my iPad!

May I rephrase the question?

Is anyone using a laptop for eight hours a day, every day? If so, is the laptop screen easy on your eyes, or do you have a problem with it being too small, poor resolution, bad brightness/contrast or something else that made you switch to an external monitor?

Yes, the laptop monitor will be an issue. The laptop itself will have plenty of power. The two problem areas in using it as your main computer will be:

  • Monitor resolution: To get more pixels costs a lot more in a laptop screen. Many laptops say they’re 14, 15, or 17". That doesn’t tell you the resolution. The basic laptops have resolutions around 1300x768. If you want higher resolutions, you’ll pay proportionally more for it than a regular monitor. Unless you have excellent eyesight, the laptop screen will seem really small.

  • Drive speed. Most basic laptops come with a 5400 RPM drive. Almost all desktops will have a 7200 RPM drive. If this is your main computer, whether a laptop or desktop, do not settle for anything less than a 7200 RPM or an SSD drive. A 5400 RPM drive will make the computer feel very sluggish.

If you never need to take your computer with you, get a tower system. You’ll get more value for your money and have a much easier time to repair it. But if you want to travel with your computer, get a laptop with a 7200 RPM drive and buy an external monitor. Even a $100 monitor will give you pretty good resolution. And an external monitor can be configured to a higher resolution than the laptop screen. So even if the laptop screen is 1300x768, you can configure the external monitor to be 1680x1050 or something.

I am. MacBook Pro with the 15" high-res screen.

For normal use it’s nicer to look at than the Dell 20" I have sitting beside it as a secondary screen, which in its day was considered good quality (S-IPS). The Dell has a wider viewing angle, but in every other respect I prefer the MBP screen.

I’m on a laptop a LOT, and the screen has never bothered me a bit. It’s just a normal screen, not high end. I’ve only had 15.4" screens though, and now it seems they make them 15.6" instead and the dimensions are different. They’re quite a bit shorter and wider. That seems like it might be annoying.

Anyway, if you’re used to a CRT, I think you’d be fine with a laptop screen.

My work computer is a laptop. I’m pretty much staring at it from 9am to 6pm. YMMV.

For my primary home computing, I switched from a standard desktop to a little Atom netbook a couple of years ago, and for the vast majority of uses, it’s just fine. I was never a gamer or a power graphics user. The machine is even good for editing and rendering video content - well, except that the small screen area is a bit cramped for that. When it was new, it would run for 9 hours on a charge - I’m thinking of replacing the battery, as it’s down to only 3 or so now.

The portability was a big benefit, as I never had a dedicated computer/study room - the PC was just in a corner of the living room. Now, if I need peace and quiet to work (or if I need to do something annoying, like editing audio), I can go off and do it elsewhere.

Ditto when school is back in. It’s fine, and with the brightness down it’s nicer than a desktop, IMHO.

I also find the cramped keyboard on the laptop to be an issue.

That said, I note you said you’d get an external keyboard and mouse. Those costs should be included when comparing laptops to desktops. If you’re in front of your computer 8 hours a day and you have no compelling need for portability, I’d get a desktop. Bigger screen, faster computer and better keyboard trump portability, especially if you don’t really need it.

I use a laptop when I work from home, which is usually about three days/week. I don’t have any problem with it.

I’ve used a laptop about 8 hours a day for the past 10 years and I’ve never had any problems with it. I’m used to the size, the resolution is as good as most any external monitor. The brightness is adjustable, etc.

The only time I’m not using my laptop is meetings, etc., so I have my day broken up but I’ve always used only a laptop.