Hardware Devices

Portable computer or desktop?

What's the Difference?


Carries out the same functions as a computer but is designed to be light and portable so can be carried around


Similar to a laptop but even more compact


Similar to a notebook but designed to be used for wireless communication. Usually cheaper and a lower specification

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

Small enough to be held in the palm of your hand, usually contains an address book, note making features, telephone and internet features

Is a desktop or portable computer be more suitable?

For a teacher

A portable computer would be more suitable for a teacher because they can plan their lessons at home and produce presentations at home then bring it in to school the following day.

However, some people could argue that a desktop would be more suitable because it is faster and has more memory. A memory stick can be used to transfer any presentations and documents between home and school.

For a news reporter

A portable computer would be more suitable because they will be travelling around a lot and so would want to take their work with them.

For a website designer

A desktop would be more appropriate because it has more memory so can have a wider range of software's in-stored. In addition, they are unlikely to take their work home.

For a doctor (GP surgery)

A desktop would be more suitable because they are sat at the same desk all day and aren't allowed to take their patients information home.

For a traffic warden

A portable computer would be more appropriate because they are walking around a lot so need a more compacted device.

Special needs an individual may have for a computer or laptop

  • Sight difficulties
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Mobility
  • Learning difficulties

Who could these facilities could help?

- Touch screen

If somebody doesn't have full control over their hands/fingers they could touch the screen with the side of their hand or fingers.

-Track Ball/Pad

This has been designed for people with limited hand movement because there is a large ball on top, which can be rolled around easily and big buttons on either side to act as the two buttons on a mouse.

-High Contrast

This is for people with sight problems because having the screen at a more vivid colour will allow the user to see the screen clearer.

Speech Recognition

Speech recognition is another device for people with limited hand movement or hardly any movement because there is no movement involved.

Spell Checkers

People with dyslexia will struggle to spell correctly so having spell check will help correct any mistakes.

Special Head Pointer Mouse

This has been designed for people with hardly any movement in their arms. This device gets strapped to the head so the user moves their head to move the mouse not their hand.

Wrist Support

A wrist rest for people to use while typing on the keyboard