Types and Kinds of Computers


A computer or processor is defined as an electronic device built to accept data, perform mathematical operations at a high speed and display the results of such operations on a screen. Over the years these computers have changed size as well as shape. While technology is changing and advancing year by year, there are a handful of computers or electronic devices that remain constant.

Desktop Computers

  • The desktop computer is rather large and is meant to remain stationary. In most cases, a desktop computer sits at a work desk and is plugged into an outlet for its power supply. It consists of two solid items -- the tower or computer casing and the monitor. The monitor is placed on the top of a desk where it can be seen while the tower generally sits below it on the floor, mostly out of sight. The computer memory, a processor or engine, a cooling fan and video and sound cards are housed inside the tower. This is one of the most common types of computer and can be found in many homes.

Laptops and Notebooks

  • Laptops were designed for portability and were never meant to be used as stationary computers. Unlike computers that require an electric outlet, laptops have a battery inside which allows them to run even when they aren't plugged in. The battery life is limited, but it's just enough for students or businesspeople to carry around to places such as a two-hour class or dinner with a client. The laptop still has the same parts as a computer, but they're compact and rest underneath the keyboard. These computers, while portable, can come in a variety of sizes based on the width of the monitor.

Handheld Personal Digital Assistants

  • These small handheld computers trade the computer and laptop's power for portability. They use what is called an LCD screen where the user uses a small pointing device such as a pencil to perform small tasks. These handheld computers can then be plugged into a desktop or laptop to transfer data onto a larger drive. Some handhelds have been built to allow wireless Internet access.


  • Netbooks are much smaller than the smallest laptops and are essentially meant for surfing the Web as well as writing and sending emails. These computers don't come with CD-ROM drives, so the ability to install common programs such as Microsoft Word is rather limited. In most cases, netbooks can be found ranging anywhere from 7 to 10 inches in width. They are wireless compatible and come with a short battery life, making them ideal for college lectures. Their keyboards are smaller than that of a personal computer or laptop but still hold all the same buttons and keys.

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