I brought both with me although I've hardly used the laptop yet.. it will be useful for excursions to the library this term and I take it home if I'm going for the weekend so I can still get online.. my pc is a much better computer though as my lappy is getting on now (poor thing) am not shelling out for a new one when I barely touch the current one though.
I absolutely love my laptop! It's portable and nice to use (as well as using it in my bed!)
I'm always surprised to see how much people are willing to pay for the ability to use a computer in bed as well as on a desk. Call me insane, but I don't buy something 'portable' so I can carry it ten yards.
However, the main reason I can't stand laptops is because I can't stand using a non buckling spring keyboard. If I was to carry around an IBM Model M with me, that would limit my portability a bit.
Maybe I just have a really old school approach to the use of libraries. In the rare case there's no computer in the library and you somehow can't tolerate the possibility of using a pen, can't you just take the book out and go to a computer elsewhere? Maybe if it's a reference book, but how often does one find themself needing to copy sections from an atlas?
But yeah, it's all about the keyboard. Membrane keyboards are more fragile and lack tactile and aural feedback. If you're accustomed to a large monitor, a smaller screen is going to be an issue as well, not just because of the resolution either.
Laptops are handy if you're not expecting too much from them though - whilst the price of a gaming laptop is something that requires some serious questioning, the utility of a glorified typewriter with internet access for £200 is hard to pass up (I'm talking largely about the eee here). It's not like you have to upgrade something for internet access or so you can use a word processor very frequently. The issue of performance, price and value when it comes to laptops and desktops is more contentious when we get to the upper range.
Get a laptop, you'll want to take it to the library/other people's rooms. You also really, really will not have the time to play computer games at Oxford, seriously.
I should have prioritised my needs - gaming isn't a big thing for me. At all. I only really play in fits and starts during the holidays anyway; even then on relatively low spec games.
I'm really confused now though - portability is a big thing, but the comfort and ease of using a desktop for long essays and research is something I hadn't really thought about. Would simply buying a mouse and ergonomic keyboard help 'counteract' most of the negatives from a laptop?
Personally I just got a desktop that I'll take with me to university. I prefer them for flexibility and modify-ability. Also the price was good, just under £400 pounds for a quadcore with 2gb of ram and a 500gb hard drive. I thought ahead a little, so I got a computer in shuttle case rather than a full size one. It's still heavy but should be easier for lugging to university. The only real downside I see is not being able to take a laptop to libraries lectures etc. Find your own priorities.
My plan is to get a decent-ish laptop, for the reasons explained above.
I'm going to get a proper mouse and keyboard to use when its in my room though - I can't stand laptop touchpads, and keyboards especially - and they're bad to type on for extended amounts of time. I get wrist pain very easily so I want to avoid this.
I'll be getting a laptop if I can be bothered to save up for it as I don't see myself taking a base unit, monitor et all on the train.
Get a MacBook, and i am not some Mac fan. In fact i don't own one. Its just for the price to functionality ratio and portability. Even better is that there should be some kind of student discount from Apple. The best time to buy a computer is also before school starts where companies give out most discounts.
Laptop. Laptops outsold desktops in 2007 in the consumer market, and the specs are getting almost identical.
Why anyone would want a desktop over a laptop in the sub 1k range I don't understand..
I was at Oxford, moving my stuff in and out of my room every 8 weeks. But I had only my desktop, and never regretted it at all. (I had plenty of other stuff to move - the difference between a laptop and a desktop didn't add much to the total!) I never needed portability: libraries have computers, so I could just email my work to myself and pick it up wherever I was going. And unless you're the kind of sadist that likes pissing everyone else off by taking notes on a laptop during lectures, the library is the only place other than your room where you'll need a computer. (Other people's rooms!? Why would you want to take a computer to someone's room?)
However, I am a bit biased.
- I don't like laptops generally; can't stand the trackpad, the keyboard or even the screen. (I'm used to my lovely 24" monitor!) So I probably wouldn't have had one even if portability had been useful.
- I'm a power user, and avid gamer, and the spec mattered to me. (Contrary to what 3232 said, I had plenty of time for gaming at Oxford. You could still find me playing Counterstrike in the early hours a month before Finals.)
Laptop, definitely. In my first year when I lived in halls, on my corridor seven out of eight of us had laptops. We all used to sit in the hall or kitchen and play isketch against each other, kind of impossible for the guy with the desktop to join in as the rest of us couldn't all fit into his room at the same time. Plus, sometimes when I had work to do and it was super cold, I'd just sit in bed with my laptop and work away in comfort.