Tech in check: PCs, laptops or tablets?

Tech in Check

Choosing the right techology for your family

The world of technology is constantly changing and sometimes it can feel hard to keep up with the latest innovations.

We previously had a look at what to consider when choosing a mobile phone and this post looks at what to think about when you are buying a computer. How do you decide whether to get a PC, laptop or tablet? When you’re looking at buying a computer, the first things to think about are:

  1. Who is going to be using it?
  2. What are they going to be doing?
  3. Where are they going to be doing it?
  4. What’s your budget?
  5. Which operating system is most appropriate?


Put together a list of what you are going to be using it for and use the list to guide your decision making. Some uses like creating documents and spreadsheets don’t take up much computing power, whilst others like online gaming take up a lot. Find out what specification of computer is recommended for your required use.

Investigate which operating system would be best for your use: Apple’s OS X, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows operating systems all have different strengths and are appropriate for different uses. Think about which software you will be using and look at whether it will work with all operating systems.

Desktop Computers

Where are you going to be using your computer? If you will only ever be at home when you use it then a desktop computer could be the best choice. One advantage with desktop computers is that they are usually a bit more robust than smaller, more portable devices. So, if sturdiness is a big factor, maybe several children will be using it, and you won’t need to use it outside of the house, then a desktop computer may be right for you.

Depending on what you will be doing with your computer think also about whether you will need a machine with a CD/DVD drive. Many machines don’t include a CD/DVD drive as standard any more, so if you do need one make sure your chosen machine includes one.

Desktop computers come in all shapes and sizes from small to large, they can take up a huge amount of space so have a look at how much space you have available too before deciding which model is for you.


If you want a device that you can carry around with you, then a laptop may be the best option. Some factors to consider are:

  • Weight: will you need to carry it around with you regularly? If so then the weight of the device is an important consideration. Even a small difference in weight can make a difference to your back or shoulders if you are carrying a laptop around with you all day.
  • Size: is the screen big enough, or small enough for your purpose?


Sites like Which?, PC World and PC Advisor have guides to help you make the right choice. You can also use sites like Amazon to help you make a decision. Read through customer reviews of different laptops to get a feel for which devices people with similar needs to you are finding to be five star products.


If you want something that is even more portable than a laptop, as well as offering a webcam and easy access to apps and games then a tablet could be the best choice. Often cheaper than buying a new desktop computer or laptop, tablets are lightweight and can be good for keeping kids entertained or reading your favourite newspaper.

The operating system of your tablet is important. Apple, Windows and Android all run different features so make sure the fully functional version of the software you want to use is available on the tablet you choose. If you’re buying the tablet for your kids and want to set strict controls, check out the options available on your chosen device before buying.

New devices are being launched every month, take your time to ensure you get the right one for you.

Other Options

There are now many lower cost options for family computing too, like Raspberry Pi, which is an affordable credit card sized computer that you attach to a keyboard and a monitor to form a fully functioning computer. It’s capable of doing most things that you would expect a regular, much more expensive computer to do.

In Summary

Overall, take your time over making your choice. You may be spending quite a bit of money and will want to use your new computer for some time. Don’t rush into a purchase but weigh up all the options before deciding.

Computers give us access to an amazing online world that offers us so many opportunities, from finding out information and education to all sorts of entertainment and more. Enjoy!

Tech in Check