Should You Use a Laptop or Desktop for Medical Transcription Work? - dummies

Should You Use a Laptop or Desktop for Medical Transcription Work?

By Anne Martinez

Medical transcription work can be done from both laptop and desktop computers. Unless you have a compelling reason to use a laptop, a desktop computer is the way to go. You’ll have much more control over the arrangement of the various components, and you can set them up for optimum comfort and efficiency.

If you work on a transcription system that’s entirely Internet-based, it’s likely to have a piece of local “client” software that allows you to securely connect to the remote system, while everything else is located on a central server. It’s quite possible that you can install the client software on both your desktop and a laptop, allowing you to work from either one.


Here are some advantages of desktops:

  • They’re more ergonomically adjustable, because you can move the screen and keyboard independently.

  • They allow for greater productivity potential for the same reasons.

  • They’re easier to upgrade and expand.

  • They offer more places to plug stuff in (and there’s always more stuff to plug in).

  • You have more options when selecting monitors, keyboards, and other peripherals.

If you’re short on desk space, an all-in-one desktop may be tempting. Standard desktops consist of a case that holds the computing components and a separate monitor.

All-in-ones integrate computing components and the display into a single unit, resulting in a computer that has fewer cables and takes up less space. However, all-in-ones don’t offer the performance and flexibility of a desktop computer or the portability of a laptop computer, making them a less desirable option.


The main advantage of laptops is portability. You can work from virtually anywhere you can get an Internet connection.

On the downside:

  • The smaller keyboard and screen size and lack of ability to adjust the components independently will reduce your productivity and comfort.

  • You have very limited ability to upgrade components or add new technology.

  • Laptops have a tendency to overheat when used continuously for long periods, which can contribute to a shorter computer lifespan.

If you decide to go with a laptop as your primary work computer, get an external full-sized keyboard. An external monitor is also a good idea. Almost all laptops include ports for connecting both.

If you think you’ll be plugging and unplugging them often, consider getting a docking station; it makes connecting a laptop to a set of external devices as simple as plugging in a single USB cable. That makes it easy to bring a lot of desktop features to your laptop, including external monitor, keyboard, speakers, and extra USB ports, while still allowing you to unplug and go when you want.