As technology proves to constantly miniaturize and become exponentially powerful, the range of available and affordable computers has grown vast. Preference between the three types depends on the level of portability and the tasks that the user will typically demand of his or her computer. Manufacturers presently have the flexibility to engineer computers to suit specific purposes and the needs of consumers presently fall under three categories, for the most part: desktop, laptop and netbook.
A desktop is a stationary workstation and in most cases the most powerful option amongst the three. Suited to more processor-intensive work, a desktop computer can be an excellent tool for music, graphic design and film projects, or simply as a repository for massive amounts of data.
Some individuals more accustomed to working at a desk layout with a keyboard and large display as in most offices can find desktops to be the most pleasant choice. For the most pleasant movie or television show viewing experience, this type of computer is most preferable- excellent speaker displays and large screens are more easily installed and utilized. Additionally, they can be considered the moderately expensive choice- a desktop computer can cost substantially less than a laptop.
The conveniences of both portability and computing muscle are combined in laptops. Batteries and relatively low form factors allow users to operate on laptops relatively anywhere, as long at the computer is well charged. Easily transported from home to work in a small bag, millions of people travel with them every day and the presently ubiquitous nature of wireless Internet networks permits a laptop wielder to set up an office nearly anywhere.
This type of computer is the best option for the majority of students, although battery power is often limited in comparison to the netbook, but the commonly added DVD player is an excellent feature for travel. Speakers range from weak, low quality devices to high end, depending on the manufacturer and the model. In most cases it is best to invest in a pair of speakers or headphones. Laptops can potentially be the most expensive type of computer, but by far the most dynamic.
Least expensive of the three, netbooks offer the highest level of portability to users. Simply suited to web-based computing and other basic features, these minimalist machines appeal to consumers with their small form factor. Pared down from a full laptop, netbooks typically omit an optical drive and use less powerful components in order to save space and cost of manufacturing. Models range from the miniature, at 5” diagonal screens to 12”, the size of a standard laptop- most buyers would be hard pressed to discern some netbooks from laptops and vice-versa.
Travelers and many students appreciate the portable nature of these computers but for many, the limited hard drive space, memory and processor speed simply do not serve their needs. In many cases, computer manufacturers offer discount netbooks along with the purchase of another computer, such as a laptop or desktop. This is the most logical choice if one were to go this route, as the owner is then faced with both options of portability and processing power, without sacrificing one entirely for the other.
Summarily, preference in portability and typical computer usage really dictates whether a desktop, laptop or netbook is the correct choice. There is no right answer- simply evaluate based on individual habit and budget.