Is your computer starting to slow down? Is the battery life per charge going down? Is it just in need of replacement?
If you’ve said yes to any one of these questions, you’re not alone! A lot of people find themselves with a computer that just doesn’t seem to do the job anymore. They spend more time waiting and less time doing. They’ve had it in for repair or “cleanup” only to be told it’s just wearing down and in need of replacement.
A lot of people in this situation start looking for a new computer just like the old one. Before you do that, it’s a good idea to consider how you actually use your computer to determine what type of device might be the best replacement for you. We’ve outlined three main options for replacing your device including the pros and cons and “best for” opinions to help you decide what might be best for you.
Option 1: Laptop computer
In some cases, a computer needs to be replaced with another computer. Programs like Word, Excel, and Quicken often work best on an actual computer due to the larger screen, standard keyboard and mouse, processor, RAM, hard drive and other characteristics. Computers were made to run programs, store data, perform tasks, and process information for the user. In other words, they were made to “work”. They also work well for web surfing, Facebook, E-mail, and other Internet-based applications but they may not perform those functions “better” than other devices.
+ Better for running programs (office, productivity, etc.)
+ Larger screen, mouse, keyboard for comfort and efficiency
+ Powerful processor, RAM, large hard drive
+ More familiar to computer (Windows) users
– More complicated to use than other devices
– Greater risk of viruses/infections
– Higher risk of problems
Option 2: Chromebook
A Chromebook is a sort-of watered down laptop that runs a special operating system made by Google. A Chromebook is essentially a laptop without the complexity of Windows or its file management system. It works with “apps” like a mobile device and stores your data in the cloud the same as a mobile device but has the general look of a laptop (screen, keyboard, fold-design, etc.). It is more comfortable to use than many tablets, especially if you need to do a lot of typing, but yet doesn’t have the complexity of a full laptop.
+ Smaller and lighter than full laptop
+ Runs “apps” which are easier to install, open, and remove than most programs
+ Lower price than most laptops and even tablets
+ Lower risk of viruses/infections
+ Little data loss with a crash due to storing primarily in the cloud
– Screen and keyboard are smaller and harder to see/use than laptop
– Small storage capability without using “the cloud”
– Internet connection required to access and store most of your data
– Cannot run traditional programs like Word and Excel
– Not always as well made as other devices
Option 3: Tablet
A tablet, like an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy, is often a great replacement for a laptop when you don’t need the work-horse ability of a laptop. Since many of us use our devices primarily for browsing websites, playing games, checking weather, emailing, Facebook, Solitaire, and other ‘basic’ applications, a tablet would be a fine alternative. They are easy to use, less complicated, compact, lightweight, and reliable. The screens are bright with very high resolution and the touchscreens are usually very responsive to your touch. They aren’t meant to be a stationary work device running Word or Excel. While you can do some basic word processing and spreadsheet work, it won’t be on the level as what a laptop can do. If you find the need to type often, you can get a case with a built-in bluetooth keyboard for typing. It’s not a full-size keyboard, but it’s better than typing on the virtual keyboard on the screen.
+ Easy to use
+ Compact and lightweight
+ Little chance of viruses/infection
+ Long battery life between charges
+ Lots of accessories available
+ Operates primarily via touchscreen
– Doesn’t run normal “Windows” programs
– Little storage on the device without using the cloud
– Can be expensive for a “simple” device
– Few to no external plug-ins for memory, etc.
– Internet connection required for accessing/running many programs