Affinity Consulting Blog


Mobile, MOBILE, Mobile, Mobile! That is the mantra of the modern lawyer. But does it make sense? When buying your next computer, should it be a laptop or a desktop?

Last week Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal wrote an interesting article advocating the desktop computer as your best choice. He emphasized the ergonomics, power, and value of a desktop computer over a laptop, particularly in the same price range.

Fowler has a point. For the last several years, I had no desktop computer. I relied solely on my collection of mobile devices. First it was my trusty Lenovo ThinkPad X220, then it was my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, that functioned as my "home base" connected to docking stations and two large external monitors. Those were supplemented by a Logitech trackball (replacing a mouse to avoid the dreaded mouse shoulder) and a vintage IBM Model M mechanical keyboard.

Then late last year I found a Dell Core i5 (Haswell generation) powered desktop with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive on sale for $400 at Staples. I figured that switching to a desktop PC would free my Surface Pro 3 for truly portable use. I already had the two 27 inch monitors, trackball, and keyboard, so the $400 Dell would be my only cost in switching to a desktop PC. The fact that the Dell is almost completely silent (a huge improvement from the noisy self-built desktop I last used) was a huge plus. Heck, the Dell is even quieter than the Surface Pro 3 with its notoriously loud fan. I did retire the IBM keyboard and swap in a Corsair mechancial "gaming" keyboard left behind by my son when he moved into his own house. It is far more compact and less noisy than the Model M while retaining the nice mechanical feel of the keys. I can type faster on the IBM, however.

So here I am, a strong proponent of laptop computers, actually using a desktop computer. Why? Because sometimes a desktop is a better choice. Not instead of, but in addition to, a mobile device. I work so often away from my desk that a laptop computer is essential for me as I travel for my virtual appellate practice. If your mobile demands are less extensive, you can get by with a smartphone or tablet instead of a laptop.

If you can afford (and need) two computers, a laptop and a desktop work better together today than ever before. We now have reliable and secure Cloud storage services like Microsoft's OneDrive. All of my documents, whehter created on the Dell desktop or my Surface Pro 3, are saved to my OneDrive storage and are therefore accessible on either device. It doesn't matter which computer I used last, my document is on both machines ready for me to pick up where I left off. Synergy!

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