Since 14 years, many people asked me this question. In my view, answer of the question varies according to individual's requirement. I experienced that, while buying a computer most of the people get confused due to misguided suggestions from seller or non-technical person. Here, I tried to consider different scenarios to answer the question. Consider the following scenarios,
§ If you are a general user who surf web and use computer for personal use (like letter typing, home budgeting) then you should buy desktop computer only. Desktop computer is robust and cheap for maintenance.
§ If you are a businessman or marketing person who is frequently traveller then surely netbook, laptop or notebook (preferably Netbook) should be the best choice. Netbook is a light weight laptop which has basic computing facilities. Notebook is light weight, thin, advanced but expensive laptop.
§ If you are a small scale businessman (like medical, shop owner) who need to enter the data and take a print outs then buy a low-middle range desktop computer.
§ If you are a student, you need computer for education purpose and you stay at one place only then I suggest you to buy a low-middle range desktop computer. A desktop computer is easily upgradable and low maintenance as compare to laptop. If you are reallocating student then laptop may be the choice.
§ If you are an mechanical or civil engineering, geospatial technology or multimedia student/user who use software like AutoCAD, ProE, ArcGIS, Erdas, 3DMax then you can purchase big screen high range laptop or workstations with ATI or nVIDIA graphics card as per the budget.
§ If you are a game lover then buy a big screen desktop computer with ATI or nVIDIA graphics card. Laptop’s keyboard maintenance is not affordable because if any key fails, you need to replace whole keypad. Also, game playing experience is enjoyable at big screen only.
One more question arises while buying desktop computer, should I purchase branded (Like HP, Dell) or assembled computer? Today, desktop computer prices are very low, so if you have good budget then you can buy branded computer. I suggest HP or Dell as brands to purchase for laptop as well as desktop computer. If you know an authentic seller for assembled computer then you can purchase assembled computer. I give emphasis on authentic seller because duplicate parts are available in the market with the same brand name.