CLNC® consultants often ask me, “Tom, should I buy a laptop or desktop for my legal nurse consulting business?” As always, my answer is firm and definite: “Well, my CLNC® amigo, it depends.” I love my laptop, but then again, I’m a mobile user shifting between the home office, the office office, the airplane office and the road office. On any given day I can be working from my lap in some mobile location. I’ll be logged into the Institute’s network through my Verizon wireless card from a conference room, camped out on the couch in our hotel room and once (well, maybe twice) in the backseat of a hotel’s airport shuttle, crunching away on a deadline.
To get that flexibility I have to give something up, and that’s performance. Believe it or not, I’m not as demanding on a computer as some folks. Like most Certified Legal Nurse Consultants, I’m busy creating and editing Microsoft® Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. I also process email, lightly edit photos from the CLNC® Certification Seminars and surf (I mean research) the Web. I don’t have a single game on my computer and I don’t play World of Witchfare in 3D or download videos of cats and duct-tape from YouTube®.
In short, a good old-fashioned laptop works for me. To speed mine up, I’ve loaded it with as much memory as it can hold and popped in a high-speed 320GB hard drive, but that’s about the limit of my upgrades. I could go to CostCo® today and for less than I paid for my laptop (and all the accessories I need to travel the world with it), buy a smaller, more powerful machine off the shelf, load in Microsoft® Office® software and probably work faster. However, my laptop is set up how I want it, it works for what I need and it has paid me back in increased productivity in what would otherwise be time lost forever so there is no need to upgrade (yet).
If I was a CLNC® power-user or budget-conscious Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I’d be flying a desktop, one of the big old ugly boxes that has lots of room for upgrading. You can load in or add lots of RAM memory to make it run super-fast, you can upgrade the video card, add additional adapters so you can have more monitors (I’ve seen as many as four at once!), add additional hard drives and basically turn that old-fashioned looking box into the fastest, meanest machine out there.
Laptops just don’t have that flexibility. Everything is built-into the motherboard and stashed under the keyboard. You can add some memory or upgrade the hard drive but that’s about it. Your number of available USB ports, video cards, etc. are pretty much decided by the manufacturer. With a desktop, once you open the box, you’re only limited to your imagination and what’s compatible with your brand. Desktops are cheaper and faster.
How do you make the choice? Budget and travel. If you’re on a budget buy a desktop. If it’s important to take your work, or ability to work, with you as you move about, buy a laptop. There are many choices in each – just buy what works best for you.
Keep on techin’,
P.S. Comment and share whether you’re a fixed or mobile user.