The main selling point of laptops is that they are portable and can operate on batteries. Not surprisingly, two of the main drawbacks of laptops are that they are portable and can operate on batteries.
Portability leads to a whole series of problems that you don’t normally encounter with desktop computers. About the worst of these problems is that laptops are easily stolen or lost, simply by forgetting them in funky places, like on top of the car or on the bus or train.
Beyond losing the whole laptop, portability introduces the problem of getting banged around and stepped on. You won’t encounter too many desktop computers with cracked LCD screens, but people often treat closed laptops like a plank of wood, which they aren’t. Stacking things on top of laptops, especially in overhead baggage compartments, can result in enough point pressure on the lid to crack the screen.
Component or board level damage is also possible when sufficient violence is done to a laptop. For most electronic products, high reliability is achieved by reducing the number of moving parts. Unfortunately, laptop designs universally feature a hinged screen that is opened and closed each time the laptop is moved somewhere.
While the engineers have gotten very good at designing the hinges and the cables that bring signal and power to the LCD screen and backlight in the lid, they are still moving parts. Intermittent problems with notebook screens that seem to come and go at random after you move the laptop are usually related to the opening and the closing of the lid. One time the wire twists the right way, next time the wire twists the wrong way.
The wiring bundles are no fun to fix, and doing any repair job on a laptop that requires working with the hinges can lead to wires getting broken or shorted. All this means that if you aren’t going to be carrying your computer from place to place, you’re better off buying a desktop. Batteries, which make laptops such popular café and classroom accessories, are another Achilles heel that desktops do without.
Battery technology has advanced tremendously in the last 20 years, but the same basic problems still plague all high power battery devices. Battery packs achieve a high enough voltage to operate a notebook computer by including multiple battery cells connected in series.
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