With ever-smaller laptops and souped-up tablets with the processing power of a desktop hitting the market, the boundaries between devices are becoming increasingly blurred – and some devices could be considered obsolete.
But if you’re thinking about putting the desktop PC out to pasture, it might be time to reconsider your business’s needs. Smaller is not necessarily better, and mobility is not always essential when it comes to company computers. Software compatibility and durability, as well as processing speed, battery life and getting the right hardware, are key considerations.
Run fast, stay cool
Getting the right random-access memory (RAM) is crucial if you want your PCs – and your business along with it – to run smoothly. RAM allows you to keep multiple programs, windows and browser tabs open, and it lets you perform multimedia tasks such as editing videos or photos for presentations or social media faster.
You can now get 2–16GB of RAM on a tablet PC. If you’re running a tablet that requires more power, you’ll also need it to have a cooling fan, which will increase its weight. Laptops offer a similar range of RAM, but if you need more, a desktop is the most economical solution. It makes sense to have a minimum of 8GB of RAM on your desktop, and 16GB if you are working with graphics. More RAM should only be needed if you’re rendering graphics or performing similarly intensive tasks.
While most tablets are built for low power usage and are only suitable for basic tasks, they sometimes lack the ‘oomph’ you want in a business device. Thankfully, you can get external battery packs for a tablet or a removal battery pack.
Similarly, when choosing a tablet or laptop for business, look for one with a long battery life that won’t have you scrambling around for a power socket in the middle of a presentation. Some laptops offer different battery cell options – the more cells you buy, the longer the battery life. And while batteries will weigh your device down, the convenience is worth it.
Putting it all together
When looking at monitors, the three most important considerations for businesses are budget, size and resolution. Your desktop is going to be the most practical option. If you’re using a tablet as your primary business computer, go for a larger screen size and make sure to purchase a docking keyboard. There are now tablets available that have keyboards that fold around the back (to preserve the tablet form factor when the keyboard’s not needed); on the other hand, while a laptop is marginally less portable than a tablet, you’re not at risk of losing your keyboard.
There are budget laptops available with 1366 x 768-pixel screens. They’re okay for basic tasks, but if you need to make presentations, it’s worth investing in a larger, higher-resolution monitor. And for your desktop, a 22-inch monitor should be sufficient for elementary jobs. However, if you work with multiple windows open, a 27-inch or 34-inch monitor (or even larger) is a worthwhile investment. The minimum resolution you’d want for your desktop is 1920 x 1080 (full HD, in TV terms). If you’re working with graphics, go for 3840 x 2160. And if you are going to be using your PC for conferencing, a webcam and built-in speakers are handy inclusions.
Adaptability is a key feature in today’s office, and there is no single device that fits all needs. The nature of your business and individual roles will dictate which device is right for you. And with some careful consideration, you should be able to find the right balance of durability, efficiency and practicality.