Updated: 05/02/2021 by Computer Hope

A device may refer to any of the following:

Laptop with a tablet and two smartphones sitting on the keyboard.

1. In general, a device can refer to any electronic device, including a laptop, tablet, and smartphone.

2. When referring to a computer, a device is any internal or external hardware peripheral that attaches to a computer to send, receive, or process data. For example, a printer is an example of a device, although more appropriately referred to as a peripheral.


See our peripheral definition for a full list of peripheral devices, examples, and further information on this term.


A device may be referred to as a physical device, a device that can be physically touched. A virtual device is a device that cannot be physically touched.

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