Is a Laptop a PC? Is a PC a Laptop?

Buying a computer is overwhelming, especially with the varying technical specs. You will often encounter different terms, including laptop and PC. Is a laptop a PC? 

Yes, a laptop is a PC. A personal computer (PC) is a computing device. It is a broad term that people generally use to refer to a tower or desktop PCs. However, it also encompasses small-scale computers for individual use, including laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets. 

Read on to learn more about what a laptop is and how it is different from a PC.

Is a Laptop a PC? 

is a laptop a pc

Computer terms are confusing, especially their classifications. Laptops and PCs are two examples of these words. People use these terms interchangeably. Do they refer to the same thing? A laptop is a PC. Nonetheless, a PC does not just refer to a laptop. It can also encompass other devices, such as smartphones. 

However, when most people use the term PC these days, they often refer to desktop computers. They are for stationary locations, such as home or office. On the other hand, a laptop refers to a more portable counterpart, which you can bring outside your home or office. 

The Evolution of Personal Computers 

The first computers were huge and expensive, making them inaccessible for most end-users. They require engineers and specialists to run. Not to mention, they have multiple cables and connect various parts, requiring a large area. 

Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC)

One of the first computers is the Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC) at the University of Pennsylvania. Its main purpose was to carry out ballistic calculations during World War II. Weighing 30 tons, costing $500,000, and occupying more than 2,000 square feet, this wasn’t a computer for everyone.

PCs became popular in the 1970s. With the introduction of parts like the microprocessor, it became easier and cheaper to manufacture computers meant for individual use. It started with mail-order and DIY kits. 

Apple 1

Eventually, personal computers became more accessible. It started with the birth of the Apple 1, a computer by Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak. IBM and other companies soon took part in the PC revolution. The PCs became smaller and faster through the years. 

The first laptop isn’t as portable as what we know today. It was 55 pounds, but a lot more compact and lighter than the computers at that time. This gave way to developing smaller laptops and evolved to the ones that we are using now.

Today, personal computers exist in many forms. They are also available in tablets and handheld PCs, including highly functional smartphones.

What Is a Laptop? 

A laptop is built to have the same functionalities as a desktop computer, but the main difference is its size. As the name implies, you can use it even on your lap, unlike traditional desktops with independent parts that require a tablet or a stationary surface for the set-up. 

Despite being small, it does not mean that they lack power. Many laptops today have exceptional technical specs. Although, most laptops are only for light applications and entertainment. Some are powerful enough for gaming. Nonetheless, regardless of how advanced, it is often no match to high-powered workstations and desktops. 

Types of Laptops

Laptops are available in an assortment of styles, sizes, and features. Below are some of the most common types you will find: 

  1. Ultrabook: This is an ultra-thin laptop, which is usually less than one inch. It is a name that Intel made popularly, but today, it includes laptops from other brands. Despite getting thinner every year, it does not compromise specs and power. 
  2. Netbook: Also called a notebook, it is slimmer and lighter than a regular laptop. The screens rarely go above 10 or 12 inches. It is affordable but has low power. It is a common option for students on a budget. 
  3. Gaming Laptop: If you need a powerful laptop, this is what you should choose. It has specs that are almost similar to desktops. It has top-of-the-line components and incredible graphics for an immersive gaming experience. 
  4. Chromebook: A budget-friendly laptop, it runs on ChromeOS, the operating system of Google. They have built-in Google apps, including Chrome and Google Docs. It is a cheaper alternative to Mac and Windows laptops. 

Pros and Cons of a Laptop

Pros

Here are some of the most compelling reasons to invest in a laptop: 

  • Portability: The biggest advantage of a laptop is that it is lightweight and comfortable. It is a great investment for students and people in business since you can use it anytime and anywhere. If the battery is charged, there is no need for a power source for a laptop to run. 
  • Offline Operation: You can use a laptop offline. Even without an internet connection, you can still run various applications. 
  • Internet Access: With a laptop, you can enjoy the internet. From social media to email, it allows access to different apps that you can enjoy when you are online. 
  • Instant Use: This is one advantage of desktop computers. Right out of the box, it is almost ready to use. This is unlike desktops, wherein you still need to connect the different components. 
  • Versatility: It is worth every dollar as it has multiple uses. From business to entertainment, a laptop is a lifesaver. 

Cons

Despite their many benefits, laptops also have some drawbacks, including the following: 

  • Unpredictable Battery: Especially as the laptop gets older, the battery becomes more unreliable. It is frustrating when you are outside without a charger and a socket when the battery drains. 
  • Upgrade Limitations: Unlike desktops, laptops have a few options for customizations. Most of the components are built-in, which means that you cannot build from scratch. For instance, you cannot choose the keyboard or monitor. 
  • Productivity Issues: If you are running power-intensive applications, your productivity can suffer on a laptop. It can run slow, especially if the specs are sub-par. 
  • Small Screen: Most laptops have a small screen to be more portable. While it is good for mobility, this does not work for people who love working, browsing, or watching movies on a big screen. 

What Is a PC? 

is a pc a laptop

A PC is a cost-effective and general-purpose computer that is meant for an individual end-user. It depends on a microprocessor that runs the central processing unit. In businesses, it is for doing basic functions like word processing and accounting. In households, it is for multimedia entertainment. 

As earlier mentioned, PCs exist in many forms, including desktops, laptops, handheld PCs or tablets, and smartphones. Nonetheless, it is most often used to refer to a tower or desktop computer. This is a computer in a stationary computer. It differs from a laptop that you can easily bring anywhere because of its portability. 

Typically, a PC will have a screen, keyboard, motherboard, power supply, random access memory, a hard disk, and a power supply. 

Types of Personal Computers

If you are looking for a personal computer, below are some of the most common types available:

  1. Laptop: This has been discussed above. It is a smaller and lighter version of a traditional desktop, built for portability. It includes everything you will need in one unit, including the screen, keyboard, and processor. 
  2. Desktop: As the name suggests, it is a personal computer on the top of a desk. It is often more powerful than laptops but has separate components, such as the monitor and the screen. 
  3. Tablet: It is a portable computer with touchscreen functionality. Often called a handheld PC, it comes with an onscreen keyboard. Although, you can also connect a physical keyboard as a peripheral.
  4. Smartphone: Today’s phones are smarter than ever. They fit the designation as a personal computer. Aside from touchscreens, they also feature GPS, Bluetooth, and other powerful programs that make them work like traditional computers. 

Pros and Cons of a PC 

Pros

In the list of the benefits below, we are referring to the conventional PCs that most people know, which are desktop computers: 

  • Power: Desktop PCs are more powerful compared to their smaller and lighter counterparts. The processors and other parts have top-of-the-line specifications allowing them to run multiple applications without compromising speed
  • Customizations: You will have lots of options for customizing a desktop PC. You can easily build it from scratch using individual components, such as graphic cards, monitors, mouse, and keyboards. This is unlike a laptop that comes pre-built. 
  • Economical: Desktops are generally more affordable than laptops, especially if you need them only for basic functions. Nonetheless, as your system requirements go higher, it gets more expensive. 
  • Easy to Repair: A desktop PC has separate components, making it easy to repair. It is quick to detach the parts and fix them when necessary.

Cons of a PC 

Similar to above, the list of the drawbacks below is exclusive to a desktop, which is what most people talk about when referring to a PC: 

  • Size: Most desktop PCs are large, and hence, they lack portability. They are meant for fixed installations in homes, offices, and businesses. They are quite hard to move around. 
  • Requires Fixed Power: Unlike laptops, desktop PCs require a socket to plug the power source. This is also the reason why it isn’t portable. When there is no electricity, you cannot use the desktop unless there is a backup power supply. 
  • Noisy: Most desktop PCs will have a fan, which is what keeps it cool. However, this can also be a disadvantage as it is noisy when it runs. If you are the type of person who easily gets annoyed with the slightest sound, this may not be for you. 

Is Laptop a PC?-FAQs

what is a pc laptop

Is a Laptop or PC Better for Gaming? 

A PC is better for gaming. It offers more options for customizations depending on the set-up that you want. The graphic cards, processors, and other components are more powerful, making them ideal for intensive applications like gaming. 

Today’s laptops have gone a long way, so many are powerful enough for gaming. Nonetheless, despite these advancements, hardcore gamers still prefer using a PC. They have more efficient cooling systems, which allow them to run at high speeds without getting hot. It is also more capable of handling various peripherals, including virtual reality headsets and 4k monitors. 

Is a PC a Laptop? 

Yes, a PC can be a laptop but not all the time. As we have earlier mentioned, it is a category of small computers that are for individual use. In most cases, a PC is a desktop computer. However, it can also be a smartphone or tablet. 

Is a Laptop a PC or Mac? 

A laptop can be a PC or Mac. Over the years, a PC has been used to refer to a computer that runs on a Windows operating system. Technically, however, it can run even on Mac. 

What Is a PC Laptop? 

It might sound not very clear when you see a product advertised as a PC laptop, but a PC laptop is a laptop. It is a small computer that is powerful enough to run basic applications, including browsing and multimedia. 

What Is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Desktop? 

The main difference lies in size. The name itself will already give you an idea. You can use a laptop on your lap, making it more portable. Meanwhile, a desktop sits on the top of a desk, so it requires a larger space. 

Because a desktop is larger than a laptop, it is also more powerful. It runs power-intensive applications, such as games. From the processor to the graphic cards, desktops have higher specs compared to laptops. 

Conclusion – Is a PC a Laptop? Is a Laptop a PC?

A laptop is a PC. It is a lightweight and more compact version of the traditional personal computer. Today’s laptops are built more powerful than ever, having technical specifications at par with many desktops or tower computers. It is the perfect option for people on the go.

Meanwhile, a PC is an umbrella term that encompasses different types of mini-computers. These are computers for single users. This is what most people think of when someone mentions computers. It includes not only laptops and desktops but also smartphones and tablets.