(The Above Image Is NOT Me!)
If you are in real estate: GET A LAPTOP.
Desktops are often more powerful, but they are anchored on your trusty desk: not very portable. And, what if you have two desks... one at your home, and one at your office? Atop them are two terrific computers, probably. This certainly runs the risk of "scattering" your files. You work on a file on one computer, and then, later, decide to work on the file on the other computer. Oops! That pesky file is on the O-T-H-E-R computer. Dang!
There are ways around the scattered files annoyance, but the solution isn't always available to you, if you are away from an Internet connection.
Tablets have made huge strides, in a very short time. Apple led the way, with the IPAD, and now, the race is on! There are lots of competitors out there, and every day some other manufacturer throws their hat in the ring. The problem with the tablets is that few, if any of them, even pretend to be computers. They are highly capable, and are a useful tool for we real estate professionals, but, if some of your software won't work on your tablet, you have a useful, but, expensive toy. Double dang!
Smart phones are in a class by themselves. We all need cell phones, and, when you add the "smart" functions to them, they are amazing. But, like the tablet, you are limited in the software you can purchase, or operate, from the tiny wonders. They are also quite useful,. in their own way, but tend to be better for communications than for business. Triple dang!
A good laptop, sometimes called a "notebook," is the essential tool. Happily, computer technology is exploding! Every day, they become faster, more powerful, more reliable, and more affordable. Most of us do not place very heavy demands on our computers. Even the low-to middle priced laptop is capable of more than what we need to run our MLS access programs, word processors, spreadsheets, and contact managers.
I will make a flat (controversial) statement: I would never spend over $1,000.00 for a business laptop. Unless it comes LOADED with productivity software, I would stay in the $600.00-$800.00 range.
If you are one of those users with heavy graphic usage and/or processing, or if you run a HUGE database, feel free to triple my numbers. Most of us though, can easily afford the indispensable real estate tool... the laptop; without needing to get a second mortgage on our homes.
Stay tuned, though... because even the trusty laptop don't always work. Quadruple dang!