What can you actually do with a laptop?

Laptop YouTube use
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Laptops are everywhere these days, and most of us know at least one person who owns one. But if you are thinking of getting a laptop for yourself, you might be asking whether or not you really need one.

The good news is there is a whole host of fantastic things you can do on a laptop, each of which provides an excellent reason to get one and make your computing experience a bit more portable. 

In this article, we will lay out some of the key uses for a laptop and why they might convince you to pull the trigger.

woman using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Get your work done

The beauty of a laptop is that it lets you work wherever you want – all you have to do is pick it up and go. When combined with a laptop, there are a lot of services that can make your work life easier too. 

For instance, you can sync your work across multiple devices with programs like Dropbox and Google Drive. If you are working on a big project at work and need to continue it from a different location, just drop your files into the program, then open it up wherever you want to work on your laptop and all your files will be there, ready to go.

What if you don't just want to sync your files, but work on them too? Well, there are plenty of options here too. If your work involves a lot of writing, a distraction-free writing app would be a great addition to your setup. 

These apps strip back features in order to give you a blank slate to write on, helping you stay on track. Then there are various productivity programs, including reminders apps, calendars, planning programs and much more. All these options can prove to be valuable weapons in your work life arsenal.

Finally, working remotely on your laptop can sometimes be a problem if you need help fixing an issue, as your company’s IT support staff may not be on hand to see your laptop in person. 

But that is not a worry with a program like TeamViewer. This allows trusted colleagues to view your laptop’s desktop remotely, allowing them to help you fix the problem and get back to work.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Indulge your creative side

These days, laptops are powerful enough to be impressive content creation machines. You may have heard of Adobe Photoshop, one of the most popular image-editing programs on the market, but there are a lot more apps out there if you want to get creative.

If painting is your thing, apps like Corel Painter and Affinity Designer let you make art on your laptop wherever you are. Add in a painting tablet and a digital pen or stylus and you can draw as if you are using a brush and canvas.

But that is not all you can do to express your artistic side on a laptop. With portable computers getting more and more powerful, it is now easier than ever to create professional music and movies on your laptop. 

Kit yourself out with a pair of high-quality headphones and an app like Adobe Premiere Pro or Ableton Live and you will be ready to get going.

(Image credit: Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia)

Enjoy your down time

It does not all have to be hard work, though – laptops are just as good for relaxing as they are for working. In fact, your laptop can function as an all-in-one media center for whatever you want to enjoy.

There are many dedicated gaming laptops that feature high-powered graphics cards and advanced cooling systems that enable you to enjoy games in high quality and high frame rates. 

While some of these laptops are quite bulky to accommodate their advanced components, there are lots of impressively thin and light devices that show you do not have to compromise between power and portability.

If you want to keep your current laptop but get a gaming boost, there are options here too. For example, you can hook up your machine to an external graphics card to increase its gaming performance. Alternatively, you can stream games from your console or third-party services like Google Stadia, which are ideal if your laptop is not quite powerful enough to run the games you want to play.

Not interested in games? There is plenty more you can do in your time off with your laptop. Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ allow you to enjoy top-notch movies and TV shows from the comfort of your home or out on the move. There is no need to head to a packed cinema or buy a box set – just stream the shows on your laptop.

That is not all you can stream. Music services like Spotify let you listen to as much music as you like in return for a monthly fee, which is a great way to find your new favorite artist. And since many laptops now do not have optical drives, you will not need to worry about stacking up piles of CDs whenever you want to try a new tune.


What else can you do?

One of the best uses of a laptop is as an educational tool when it is combined with online courses such as FutureLearn and edX. Many of us learn new skills whenever we can in our spare time, which makes a laptop’s portability so useful – take your laptop with you and you can learn whenever you get some downtime, wherever you are.

In fact, a lot of people use laptops for more advanced educational uses. Powerful laptops can be used to carry out scientific research or crunch through numbers and algorithms. With a strong processor and graphics card, these tasks can be made easier without having to lose the advantages of a laptop.

It's also now more important than ever to keep in touch with friends, family and co-workers remotely, no matter where they are in the world. A laptop is a brilliant tool for this, with built-in webcams and microphones – along with video calling services such as Skype and Zoom – allowing you to stay in contact regardless of distance.