The second UK lockdown is now underway, meaning most people are again working from home. If you’re looking to improve your home working set up, you might be considering switching to a desktop or laptop. We’ve listed the pros and cons of having a desktop in the workplace (taking into account office workspaces and remote workspaces) so that you can decide for yourself what’s most important.

For more detailed advice on getting the perfect workplace set up for productive, efficient and secure remote working, we recommend speaking to IT experts who can offer more specific advice.

The pros

  • A bigger screen – put simply, desktop computers tend to have much larger monitors than laptops. As such, they can be easier and clearer to work from.
  • Upgradable – the way they’re built makes them very easy to upgrade
  • Integration with other components – desktops tend to have a larger number of USB ports than laptops, meaning you have more freedom to connect your device to other technological components
  • Enhanced performance – desktops are generally praised for their performance as there’s little restriction on power as the power comes directly from the mains socket
  • Less heat – although more power generally means more heat, desktop PCs tend to have much better heat dissipation solutions than laptops, meaning they run more efficiently and there’s less chance of heat becoming a hazard
  • Higher spec hardware – PCs tend to be more tolerant, robust and durable with higher performance due to the higher specification of their hardware. In fact, a component for a desktop is nearly always more powerful than the same priced component for a laptop
  • More cost-effective – for most laptops, you’re paying a premium for their design and portability. But with desktops, you often achieve much better performance for a more affordable price (essentially because they’re less aesthetically desirable)
  • Adaptability – desktops can be fitted with multiple screens, customizable keyboards and USB hubs so that you can create a workspace that’s tailored to your work. For example, having the use of an additional screen can assist with working on complex projects or with attending meetings – people will often have one screen up with a video call in a meeting, and another with meeting notes to refer or add to

The cons

  • Not portable – the most obvious con is that desktops aren’t easily portable, making them unsuitable to flexible working or working from anywhere – they tend to work best if you have a consistent office or home working set up
  • Can be noisy – because of the large and high rpm fans in desktops, they can be noisier than laptops. However, because laptops tend to produce more heat, their fans can also be noisy and more frequent – it’s worth looking into individual products to determine which is the least noisy if this is important to you
  • You need more space – PCs and monitors are often a lot bigger than laptops and they require additional features such as keyboards, mouse, speakers etc. As such, you’ll need a big space available to use a desktop, which is not always possible. With the recent rise in remote working, it’s unlikely that everyone will have enough space in their own homes to house a desktop computer – so in these cases a laptop would definitely be more practical
  • Less compatible with wireless internet connection – desktops tend to perform better when connected to the internet via a cable, which may be more difficult to implement
  • What if the power goes out? If the power goes out, your desktop will shut down instantly, meaning you could lose unsaved data. Sudden shutdowns are also bad for the health of your PC more generally. Whereas, if you’re using a laptop with enough battery power, a power outage wouldn’t affect you immediately.
  • High operating costs – desktops consume much more power than laptops so will cost you more to run on a day to day basis

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both desktops and laptops when setting up a workspace (whether that’s remotely or in the office). So, whichever you decide to go for depends on personal preference and the requirements of your job. Ask yourself, would you rather the portability of a laptop or the high performance of a desktop? If you’re using your device for gaming or work that requires intensive data storage and capabilities, a desktop is probably your best option. But, if you need to be able to work flexibly, e.g. to bring your device with you to meetings or work in different rooms in the house – a laptop is probably the best option for you.

For more advice on getting the right IT set up, speak to your IT support provider.