Laptop and desktop computers—what's the difference? Aside from the fact that laptops can go with you wherever, whenever and desktops must remain in one location, the main differences come from their set-ups. While all of the parts of a laptop are connected, desktops use multiple parts like an external keyboard, mouse and monitor that can be positioned to support the user’s posture.
With a desktop, the screen is placed at or slightly below eye level (so your head is level, with the eyes looking slightly down) and the keyboard is positioned so you can comfortably type without straining you wrists, elbows or shoulders. Desktops are an ergonomic dream, since they come with a keyboard, mouse and monitor that can be properly adjusted and stay put.
With laptops, however, the screen and keyboard cannot be adjusted, so laptops can become an ergonomic nightmare. While convenient, laptops can also cause physical problems down the road if used incorrectly.
Laptop ergonomics looks at how, where and why we use our computers and determines the most effective and least damaging way we should use them.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Lee, M.D.
With special thanks to Dr. Heshmat of the Heshmat Pain Management Clinic
Read more about ergonomics in the work environment
More information on computer vision syndrome (CVS)
Laptop ergonomics video demonstrating how to make your laptop use ergonomic.