Difference & Similarities Between Cell Phones & Personal Computers

By Arlen Hershey

Updated September 28, 2017

Cell phones are smaller, but share some similarities to PCs.
i cell phone image by sonya etchison from Fotolia.com

Cell phones and personal computers (PCs) are both very popular devices used by people of every age and background. In addition to that similarity, PCs and cell phones are alike in many other ways; for example, both can be used as a form of direct communication. However, there are distinct differences between the two devices.


PCs and cell phones are both electronically powered devices, though cell phones require a charged internal battery while desk PCs remain plugged into a wall outlet during use. Similar to a cell phone, however, a laptop can be charged and used on battery power. Many modern cell phones have Internet capabilities, one of the primary functions of a PC. Just like the initial purpose of a cell phone is vocal communication, it is also possible to have live conversations on a PC through programs like Skype. Both devices also have illuminated screens which display digital information. It is possible to text messages from both a cell phone and a PC. Smart phones can be used like a computer due to their ability to surf the Web and use computer software.

Cell Phone Differences

The most obvious difference between a cell phone and PC is the size. Cell phones are significantly smaller than PCs, and are able to fit in the palm of one's hand. Cell phones are also designed for mobility. Since they have internal batteries which may be charged from any wall outlet, they can be used practically anywhere. They are also intended for personal use, meaning they are rarely used by more than one person. Cell phones have less command functions than a PC's keyboard and considerably less storage space. Some cell phones may be used as a GPS device.

PC Differences

There are two types of personal computers, desktops and laptops. Laptops share more similarities with cell phones than desktops, because laptops are portable. Larger desktops remain stationary, for the most part, and may be used by multiple members of a household. Laptops and desktops have much more room for software and digital media than any cell phone, and can oftentimes play CDs and DVDs. It's also easier to attach hardware like printers, speakers, and external drives to a PC.