Being mobile is becoming more important in the modern age, but having a high level of processing power is important too. It is often difficult to determine the key differences between a laptop and desktop computer that both run the Windows 8 beta, but there are significant variations. Deciding between a laptop and a desktop computer can be confusing, so here are some things to consider.

What do you do?

How you use your computer is a key decider in the buying process. If you often sit reading emails on a train or in a park then a laptop is obviously more ideal, but a mobile phone may well remain more convenient. Laptops are very useful for the travelling businessman or woman who often find themselves with time to spare. If, however, you are constantly driving between engagements, a laptop is realistically of very little use.

Who will be using it?

At the risk of sounding like a worrywart, it is important to consider who will be using the computer. If you are buying a family computer, then a laptop is a potentially dangerous item. They almost all include a video camera and a connection to the web, which could potentially be dangerous. A family computer should remain in an area of the house that has high traffic, and this becomes very difficult to police with a laptop.

What does it need to do?

If your computer needs to handle high-resolution video editing or very large spreadsheets with accountancy data in them, then a laptop is not suited for you. If, however, the highest demands are Facebook and your emails, a laptop with the free Windows 8 download installed will offer you a perfect machine with a tailored user interface which is perfectly suited for exactly that.

Where will you keep it?

Where you keep the computer makes a big difference too. If, for example, you want to leave your computer at an office, having a laptop is not a sensible idea. Remember that laptops are very easy to steal because they can simply be picked up. If you work in a human resources department, for example, this can become potentially dangerous to your company, because if it is lost then the data of potentially hundreds of employees will be lost too. In situations where very sensitive data like this is stored on the machine, a desktop computer makes for a far safer system.

What else do you own?

With today’s wide variety of technologies, it is actually very easy to end up owning multiple devices that are essentially the same. With the new Windows 8 OS it would be possible to own a laptop, desktop, tablet and phone that all run the same system. This is an extreme example, but buying a laptop when you already own a tablet is a potentially wasteful expenditure. In many cases it is worth investing in a higher powered and more sophisticated home or office machine simply because you can rely on a simpler device for the tasks you wish to complete while travelling.