For uncountable years now I have been using a laptop as my main machine to get my work done. I thought I would share a few reasons why this has always worked well for me.
Not being tied to a desk is great. I actually don’t even have a desk at my house (nor have I for a long long time). I do most of my work from a comfortable chair with the laptop in my lap. I can (and do) however move up to my “machine room” with my servers easily, or coffee shops, or pubs, or hotels or anywhere really. I think not sitting in a desk chair in front of a desk has really helped my back over the years.
Laptops don’t tend to have as much memory or resources as desktops, but then desktops don’t have as much as servers and almost all my work is done on remote servers. Need a vm? Sure, I could make one on my laptop, but why not make a cloud instance thats much faster and won’t impact my laptop at all. With the cloud and remote resources you really can offload as much computing as you like to remote servers: anything from making your laptop into just a terminal and browser device to running lots of things locally. It’s your choice. I personally like to keep things running locally such that I could disconnect from the net and still be able to read and reply to email/rss, so I keep my mail and rss locally.
Laptops are handy for when you are doing other things as well. For example, I will often have my laptop out on my lap, but be mostly watching a movie or watching a video game played by my girlfriend. If you were using a desktop it would be more difficult to have it in a space such that you could do other things or pay attention to other devices.
Noise, space, power are also factors. My laptop is very very quiet. You have to work to get it to spin up fans. It takes up little space and power. In the event of a power outage it has a built in UPS/battery.