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Laptop or Desktop: Which Is Best for a College Student?

Consider the Pros and Cons of Each Before Making a Decision


College girl on a laptop
Erin Patrice O'Brien/Taxi/Getty Images

The choice isn't if you need a computer in college, it's what kind will be best for you. Some students have laptops; some students have desktops. How can you tell what your best option is?


  • Can bring it to class and use it for note-taking
  • Can take it to the library or a study group session
  • All of your information (notes, papers, research) will be in one place without much effort
  • Can be damaged easily if not protected
  • May not have as much memory as a desktop
  • Can be distracting in class (IM, anyone?)


  • May have more power than a laptop
  • A bigger screen can prevent eye strain (especially if you're looking at it all weekend!)
  • Less likely to be stolen
  • Can't bring it to class
  • Takes up a lot of space in an already-cramped room
  • Hard to bring home over the weekend
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