If you compare a notebook to a desktop computer, advantages and disadvantages become apparent right away. In terms of size, the notebook is the clear winner: the keyboard and display are integrated in the device itself, and even the smallest of apartments has enough room for a notebook. In addition, notebooks often have a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance than desktop or tower units, and in a visual sense, fit better in the home. The integrated battery also means you are not tied down to any one location: depending on the battery’s capacity and the notebook’s power consumption level, you can work for a certain period of time far away from a power outlet.
Another plus for notebooks is their equipment. Manufacturers are increasingly including hardware in notebooks which, in the case of desktop computers, often requires additional purchases. WLAN functionality has become a standard for most notebooks, and a webcam integrated into the display is becoming more and more common. Fingerprint sensors designed to prevent access by a third party are also quite sensible, given that notebooks have a much higher risk of theft—in contrast, the use of fingerprint sensors on a desktop computer in a private setting may be an exotic rarity. Integrated multi-format card readers are increasingly common on both desktop computers as well as notebooks.
With regard to mobility and portability, notebooks also clearly have the edge. Modern units weigh between 3.5 and 9 lbs, and thanks to integrated WLAN capability and public access points, Internet access is a cinch these days. In contrast, even empty desktop cases can exceed the weight of a whole notebook. Counting the monitor, a fully functional desktop computer can easily weigh three or four times as much as an average notebook.
Even if it seems like it up to this point, a desktop computer doesn’t have only disadvantages. While a notebook has clear benefits in terms of weight, mobility, and equipment, desktop computers are superior when it comes to the ability to upgrade. The housing of a desktop CPU can usually be opened quite easily, allowing direct access to its individual components. Installing multiple hard drives or optical drives is no problem. Even replacing defective parts or upgrading hardware is much more easily achieved with a desktop computer than with a notebook.
Due to space constraints, very few notebook models support the use of multiple internal hard drives. Replacing components like graphic cards or processors in a notebook is also only possible in certain circumstances, and even then only by users with considerable technical skill. Even removing the keyboard or the display could easily result in broken parts.