My old laptopAbout a year ago I decided that I wanted a little more flexibility in my PC use. All New Comics was taking up an inordinate amount of time while I was working on what can only be described as “mindless tasks”. This stuff sucked. We’re talking site updates, which involves copying and pasting. Spreadsheet updating, which involves…copying and pasting. Image editing, which after you’ve created actions in Photoshop really involves…copying and pasting. A little bit of development work, which honestly was just more…copying and pasting. A tiny bit of design work, which was actually unique and fun stuff to do. Checking to see who had paid what, making sure that orders are marked paid, complete, etc, and most importantly, responding to emails.

I was tired of being tethered to my office PC, and I decided that I needed to have the freedom that came with a laptop, so that I could copy and paste on the living room couch rather than begrudgingly sitting on the office PC annoyed that the world was passing me by.

I also knew from my recent experiences that laptops have finally caught up to towers in terms of speed. At TSN I had an awesome little Dell 640, which was a beautiful 14.1″ laptop with a great keyboard and touch surface. It was powerful enough that I was able to run Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver all simutaneously, with iTunes, Outlook, Word, Project, Visio, and Excel going on in the background. That was pretty sweet.

Leaving TSN I also left behind my 640, which is my favourite laptop of all time, and since Dell wasn’t making the 640 anymore, I had to find something suitable.
I finally chose the 15″ Latitude 6400, mostly because the name was similar, and the specs were pretty close to my old laptop.

It’s a year later now, and the question is, was it a good idea to move from desktop to laptop.

Price: There’s no comparison, I could have gotten a comparable machine with more hard drive space, and a couple of really great monitors for $700.00 less than I paid for my laptop.  However because I leased it, this is an All New Comics expense, and it works out to about $50.00 a month.

– advantage desktop

Power: While it’s true that a laptop is lower powered than a desktop, I don’t notice any significant difference.  With 2 gigs of Ram, I can run Photoshop, Illustrator, SQL server, Apache web server, Dreamweaver, and Windows Live Mail all at once without even using half my ram.  The processor doesn’t chug either, so I’m pretty happy here.

– advantage neither

Storage: Yes my laptop has less hard drive space than the desktop (which I added a 500gig HD to a year ago), however this is pretty much moot.  I have over 80 gigs of space left on my hard drive, and I have 2 500 gig external drives and a 1 terrabyte server in my house.  I don’t really need a lot of disk space, and I usually keep only the stuff I’m immediately working on stored on the hard drive anyway.

– advantage neither

Form Factor: The desktop has something going for it.  Keyboard and mouse, two monitors…all of those things are “good things”, but I added a KVM to our setup, and now I can plug my laptop into the keyboard and mouse on the desk, and have all the comforts of a desktop for when I need to do a whole lotta typing.

– advantage neither

Portability: This one’s a big one for me, I like the flexibility of being able to work anywhere in the house, on the train, in a hotel room, wherever.  This one pretty much trumps any other advantages a desktop could have.

– advantage laptop

So the big question is, “would you recommend a laptop to someone else”?  If you’re like me and you do a lot of repetitive work, and would like to be able to watch TV in the living room while plowing through it, then yes.  Keep in mind the amount of portability you need.  I kind of wish I’d gone with a 14″ laptop rather than the 15″, I have a glossy screen, and I think I’d prefer a matte one, but other than that, I’m really happy with my purchase, and would recommend the same for anyone.