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Two PCs Instead of One

RebelDroid asked the Laptops forum to recommend a laptop that does everything. I think he needs more than one computer.

RebelDroid asked the Laptops forum to recommend a laptop powerful enough for gaming and heavy video editing, but with good battery life. I think he needs more than one computer.

I usually steer away from "What computer should I buy" questions in the PC World forums. I hesitate to recommend particular PCs unless I've spent a considerable amount of time on them, and the forums have plenty of other people who can offer good advice.

But RebelDroid's question intrigued me. A very powerful laptop with a long battery life is going to be very heavy, very expensive, or both. But current trends offer a better solution to his problem.

Years ago, many people owned both a desktop and a laptop PC. One stayed at home, one traveled with the owner, and syncing the two was a hassle. As laptops got more powerful, many users (myself included) simply stopped buying desktops. Why spend more money and hassle with all that synching.

But today, thanks to free, cloud-based services, syncing is a no-brainer. Web-based email services like Gmail and Hotmail give you your mail and your contacts on any Internet-connected computer. Services like Dropbox sync your files between PCs.

Prices have dropped, as well. For the price of a very powerful laptop, you can buy an equally-powerful desktop and a modest laptop.

Nevertheless, you might also want to consider getting a netbook or a pad instead of a laptop. They're cheaper and lighter, and depending on your needs, one or the other may be sufficient. You'd still have all the power and versatility of your desktop at home.

Read the original forum discussion.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at [email protected], or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter.

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