Are Laptops PCs? – Main Differences

In the world of computing, everything becomes more efficient as time goes on, devices are getting faster, smaller, and less expensive. Technology advances so fast that laptops and PCs are commonly thought to be different entities although they do practically the same things, the truth is PC only stands for personal computer.

What constitutes being a personal computer? Well, a personal computer is basically a multipurpose device that a single person can operate at a reasonable price also, the size has to be reasonable for a single person to operate. The term personal computer came around when PCs started shrinking in size to the point where a single individual can operate one.

Answer: So now that we’ve defined what a personal computer is, we can safely say that a laptop is indeed a personal computer. Laptops are easily operable by a single user, their size is reasonable for a single user, and their price is pretty affordable. They can also do what a traditional ‘PC’ can do which is usually large and stationary.

Are Laptops PCs?

laptops are actually PCs, the term PC is just an umbrella term for many computing devices.

Yes, laptops are personal computers, so if you’re in the market for a personal computer, a laptop can be an awesome choice for you. Laptops are basically portable personal computers, the traditional personal computer many think of is large desktops that aren’t quite portable. So, you can look at the term “PC” as a group of computers, and a laptop is part of that group.

It doesn’t matter what type of laptop it is either, gaming laptops are basically gaming PCs, “gaming personal computers”, it’s just the size has been shrunk to the point where you can relocate them easier. PCs as a group of computers have many sub-computers under them, this includes – Desktops, Tablets, Game Consoles, and Laptops.

A laptop is basically a shrunken down personal computer with the same operating system(Windows or macOS) a traditional PC would use, so laptops and PCs are equipped to do the same exact tasks. Laptops have a screen, keyboard, mouse, but the biggest difference is that they’re able to be powered by a battery, so laptops consume less power.

Are Laptops Considered A Desktop?

desktops computers are also pcs, but they're different from laptops

Here’s where things change, laptops are not desktop computers as both laptops and desktops fall under the “PC” category. A desktop computer can do everything a laptop can do but desktops aren’t portable, and they don’t run on batteries. They usually consume more power, and they’re placed on a desk hence the name desktop.

Desktop computers and laptops have similar internals being that they have a motherboard, RAM, CPUs, and maybe even a dedicated GPU. But the difference with a desktop computer is that everything is typically more powerful, they may have stronger CPUs and GPUs which require more power. Desktops also require a monitor to see an output, laptops will come with a display.

Desktop computers were around way before laptops were, and they were the main PC inside someone’s household. But innovation was necessary, and people were looking for smaller, more portable options, so the laptop was created. Desktops actually declined in sales when laptops overtook them in popularity, so you’re probably wondering why desktops even exist?

Differences Between Laptops And Desktops

Desktop computers aren’t obsolete yet, and they still have a large purpose today that laptops find difficult to fulfill and that’s upgradability. Desktop computers are easily upgradable whereas laptops can’t be upgraded easily, this can turn many people off, especially enthusiast PC builders.

Laptops are still pretty awesome, there’s not just one type of laptop to choose from, there are many. If you’re into gaming, then you can purchase a gaming laptop that has a dedicated GPU. There are also high-core count laptops for those who need one for professional work such as streaming, video editing, and much more.

Even though laptops are more popular than desktops, you’ll find that gaming desktops are more popular than gaming laptops. This is because gaming laptops typically don’t produce as many frames per second as gaming desktops, also many users want the fulfillment they get when they build their first desktop PC.

UpgradabilityLaptops are partly upgradable, you can only really upgrade the RAM and storageYou can fully upgrade all the components within a desktop computer, there’s really no limit to upgrading them.
PortabilityLaptops are more portable than desktop computers, they’re smaller in size and run off battery power. Laptops also have wireless connectivity options.Desktop computers are not so portable as they’re larger in size and usually have a power supply to power them. Desktops usually connect to the internet via ethernet cable.
MonitorLaptop monitors are built-in and non upgradable.Desktop monitors are purchased separately, you have a large selection of monitors to choose from.
Processing speedLaptops usually have portable versions of processing devices within them, this includes CPUs and GPUs. This is so they don’t consume a lot of power.Desktops computers process data much faster than laptops, the processors are generally more powerful featuring more cores and a higher TDP.
Power ConsumptionLaptops consume a negligible amount of power, they’re able to run off battery power, and there are some really power-efficient laptops out there. Laptops will typically consume around 50W.Desktop computers’ power consumption varies, but in general, it consumes more than a laptop. You can have huge multi-GPU PCs that consume upwards of around 1000W of power.

Pros And Cons Of Having A Laptop

#1 PRO – Mobility:

The mobility that comes with a laptop is easily the biggest pro that comes with it, this is beneficial for users that move locations frequently. One type of user that could benefit from a laptop is a student that frequently moves location and needs access to a computer.

#2 PRO – Internet Access:

Building on the mobility aspect of a laptop, the fact that you can easily connect to the internet makes it even better. If you’re outside and need wifi, you can easily find free wifi options for internet connectivity. Also, when going to other people’s homes, there may not be an extra ethernet connection, wifi solves this issue easily.

#1 CON – Upgradability:

Laptops aren’t upgradable the same way desktops are, while you can upgrade the RAM and storage devices, this won’t translate into huge performance gains. With desktops, you can upgrade every single component you see ranging from the CPU to the motherboard.

Pros And Cons Of Having A Desktop

#1 PRO – Easily Configurable:

If there’s an aspect of your desktop you don’t like, there is a chance that you have the option to change that by upgrading it. If you’re not a fan of the monitor, perhaps you need a higher refresh rate option, you can easily purchase one. With laptops, you don’t have this privilege.

#2 PRO – Top Tier Performance:

Performance-wise, we don’t see laptops ever catching up to desktops for a long time, desktop computers have beefy components which are generally required for many applications. The most powerful laptop CPU won’t be able to compete with a mid-tier desktop CPU, the same goes for graphics cards.

#1 CON – Consumes Space:

In reality, everything consumes space, but the amount of space a desktop consumes can be unreasonable depending on how much space is available. Desktop computers are not only larger than laptops, but they also require desks which take up a huge amount of space. Desktop computers aren’t shrinking in size either, they’re constantly growing in size as individual components such as GPUs are getting large.


The verdict is that laptops are indeed PCs, many types of devices fall under the PC umbrella, such as game consoles, tablets, phones, and desktop computers. PC just stands for personal computer, and it’s pretty easy for anything to become one.

The misconception people have is that PCs are desktops, this isn’t the case, desktops are their own invidious entity and have obvious differences from laptops. PCs are huge, powerful, and less portable whereas laptops are small, portable, and less powerful. But in general, they both accomplish the same task.