Luke M wrote:
I've never owned a laptop so this is a naive question. Is there any problem with using a laptop as a desktop replacement? That is, is it normal and standard for a laptop to support using an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, never needing to use the built in keyboard and display?
Sure. Many people in corporate America do just that. Laptops are standard corporate issue these days instead of desktops. This allows them to work at home in addition to at the company office, and also take their computer when they travel on company business or even into a meeting room (wifi is usually available these days). But if you need a computer for personal use and don't need to use it in more than one location, or travel at least occasionally and need to take it with you, I am not sure it makes a lot of sense.
Generally you will sacrifice some speed and/or pay more for a laptop. Every laptop I have worked on has a fan, and although it relatively quiet, it is not silent, and the fans do go bad (and sometimes make really obnoxious noises). Obviously the fans can be replaced, but not as easily as in a regular computer.
If you do move around a lot and need to take your laptop, you will need a carrying case and may want a docking station. Make sure you factor those into your budget.