Tablet vs Laptop – Which Should You Choose?

The world has rapidly improved and individuals of the current generation are benefiting from the most recent technology. People, regardless of their age, are relying on technology and they are using some of the recent machines and gadgets to complete most of the day-to-day tasks. A quick example, people use vehicles when traveling to reduce the amount of time they spend on the road and mobile devices or telephone to communicate with the people far away to reduce the costs. Similarly, they use personal computers to complete some daily tasks and almost every official work.


Introduction to Laptops and Tablets

Unlike it was several years ago, people are avoiding traditional desktop computers and buying either tablets or laptops. Even though you can use either a laptop or a tablet to complete your main tasks, the two have many differences when it comes to limitations and features. To start with, laptops are portable computers. That means that a laptop will provide you with every option you expect with a desktop computer but it is small and you will carry it easily from one place to the other. Tablets are also smaller computers, offering better portability but with few options and features. Tablets come with a touchscreen display and the display, battery and circuitry come in a single unit.

Laptops come with a physical keyboard but tablets come with touchscreens. After buying a tablet, you will have to do all the typing on the touch on-screen keyboard. Moreover, laptops boast a trackpad that functions as the mouse while a tablet does not offer such a facility. The user will have to do the scrolling and selecting on the touchscreen.

The battery life of the two devices is important and it is one of the differentiating factors. In the case of a tablet, the battery will last for many hours but that of a laptop will last for a short time. That is because laptops require more power to run the many internal devices while a laptop requires minimal power. Laptops come with a large removable battery and tablets come with a small one that is not detachable.

Moving on, laptops come with a CD or DVD ROM but tablets do not come with the feature. You can upgrade the hardware of a laptop, for instance by using the offered slots to upgrade the RAM. Nevertheless, you cannot upgrade a tablet because they do not come with slots. Unlike tablets, laptops provide more memory for applications. You can also upgrade or increase the hard drive of your laptop, which is hard in tablets.

Some tablets are hard to use and more complicated, but laptops and easier to the user. After buying a laptop, you will easily use it and complete most of your work comfortably. Laptops have a long screen and will benefit you when watching movies or playing games. Tablets come with small screens.

Laptop vs Tablet: The Usage

As we have said, laptops and tablets are different devices. That should not surprise you because the manufacturers design them for different purposes. In fact, when introducing the first iPad, Steve Jobs said that the purpose of tablets is to fill the gap between laptops and smartphones and they can do several things in a better way than both laptops and smartphones. So, which are the main things that tablets handle better than laptops?

If you require a device to use when browsing the web, listening to music, watching videos and playing casual games, a tablet will be a perfect choice. Tablets are light, compact, portable and boast long battery life and possibly better display than that of the inexpensive laptops.

If you need a device to work or to do more typing, a laptop is a good choice. By pairing a tablet with a large Bluetooth keyboard, typing will become easier, but a large device with a large screen would help with multitasking and overall productivity. If you were into gaming and you would want a device that will serve you better, a proper gaming laptop would be a good go for. And if you are a professional in need of a good workstation, a laptop will be a great choice. Professional software programs like Adobe Photoshop is limited on most mobile devices, which means that a quality laptop like Surface Book or MacBook should be the first choice.

Laptops are popular because they can handle almost every task and the user can move with it to almost any place. As millions of people from all parts of the world attest, anyone can use a MacOS or Windows clamshell. Even though the computers are not as portable as tablets are or as powerful as the desktop computers are, they will allow you to complete almost any job.

That is the main reason gaming laptops have been a popular choice and you are likely to find something like Windows-based gaming tablet. In fact, up to now, only Windows is offering platforms for serious gamers because the greatest and latest titles come first to the Microsoft’s operating system and you are likely to find some for MacOS or iOS in years to come. The average laptops come with a 14-15-inch display. On the other hand, tablets emphasize more on portability, which means that the screen is below 13 inches and the cheapest models will have a screen that measures less than 10 inches.

People who require a large screen but shopping on a limited budget can choose a laptop. The quality 15-inch models go for less than $500, while tablets within the same range will feature a 10-inches display. However, you will have to be careful because most budget models do not provide battery life or performance comparable to that of tablets in the same range.

A quality laptop will come with a video-out, USB ports and an Ethernet port to allow expansion. On the other hand, iPad users rely on a single multi-purpose Lighting port and most Windows tablets come with a single or two USB ports, and at times a video-out port.

Speaking of the expansion features, if you need to upgrade your personal device instead of purchasing a new one, then you will have to opt for a laptop. Even though most budget laptops and premium ones come with internal hardware that manufacturers solder or glue together like tablets, most gaming, and business laptops allow upgrades. If the need to add the RAM or a fast SSD arises, you will be able to do that.

Laptop or Tablet: Performance

Because tablets feature lowly powered processors, they typically fall behind laptops when it comes to the computation of tasks. Mostly, that depends on the laptop or tablet in use. For some tasks like website browsing, email, audio, and video playing, the two platforms generally offer similar results because none of them requires much performance. Things start getting more complicated when completing demanding tasks.

For the most part, laptops are a good choice for graphics or multitasking performance. For example, during video editing, people assume that a laptop is better than tablets are, but some high-end tablets can outperform them because of the specialized hardware. During your shopping, you will have to keep in mind that some tablets like the iPad Pro are as expensive as the good laptops are. The only difference is that the quality laptop versions have more capabilities.

Laptop vs Tablet: Portability

When it comes to portability, there are no doubts that tablets are the best option. Generally, tablets have a size of 7-11 inches, while most laptops will have a length of 12-16 inches. That should tell you that tablets are easier to carry. However, if you need a large tablet or one of the hybrids such as the Surface Pro 4 from Microsoft, you will have to consider whether a small laptop will be easier to carry. The laptop will have a slightly higher weight but when it comes to size, the large tablets and small tablets are similar.

Laptops or Tablets: Battery Life

Because of their small size, tablets offer a longer battery life than the laptops do. Unlike you expect with laptops, tablets power a small screen and fewer devices and they can, therefore, keep power for extended periods. Some of the expensive laptops can last for many hours, but you will have to pay a higher amount to get a laptop that can provide battery life that is similar to that of tablet computers.

Generally, most of the laptops that offer extended battery life will last for 11 hours on 40 percent screen brightness but tablets can last for 10 hours with regular usage. Overall, a tablet will provide better battery life than a laptop, which means that if you do not need something that will handle demanding tasks, a tablet is a better choice.

Tablet or Laptop: Storage Capacity

Laptops provide more storage. Considering the top available tablets – the Google Pixel C, iPad Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – you will realize that the internal storage starts at 32GB. For a laptop, 32GB is little offering and most models will boast 128GB of internal storage but the smaller laptops like the HP Stream 11 offer 32GB hard drive and others like Toshiba Chromebook 2 provide 16GB of storage.

Some tablets like the Surface Pro 4, which offer 128GB hard drive, come with more storage than that of the average laptops. Therefore, if you are planning to be working with several files that you will have to store in the internal memory of your device, a quality laptop is better than a tablet.

Laptops vs Tablets: Screen Size

As we have mentioned above, tablets feature a 7-13 inches screen, while a laptop will come with 12-16 inches one. The market offers exceptions, but if you consider the rough indications, you will realize that a laptop is likely to provide larger pictures. However, that should not mean that you will always get high-quality pictures all the time when using a laptop. The smaller screens that come with tablets most feature better PPI (pixel per inch) density meaning that the pixels are packed closely together to create sharp cohesive images. In fact, the average PPI of tablets stands at 262, where that of laptops within the same price range will stand at 176.

The precision is another thing to keep in mind when shopping for the best device. Tablets are unlikely to beat laptops when it comes to controlling – whether it is word processing or web browsing. Tablets offer the option of using detachable keyboards, but you will never feel like you would when using a full-sized keyboard. And even though some of the tablets support real mice, the setup of laptops is easier.

Put differently, touch screens offer great experience but when you get to precision, a laptop will serve you in a better way. Moreover, most modern laptops come with touchscreen technology for easier usage. During your shopping, you have to think about how you are planning to use the device. If you are planning to watch many movies on go, you would better try a tablet because it offers more pixel density and greater portability. If you need more precision than the touchscreen tablets offer, you would better go for a laptop.

Laptops vs Tablets: Cost

When it comes to the cost, the price for top-end tablets ranges between $700 and $900, which that of the top-end laptops range between $100 and $1600. You can opt for a quality tablet such as the Surface Pro 4 or the iPad Pro, which are within the same price range. The Google Pixel C might be the tablet offering great Android experience in the market and will cost you a lesser amount. iOS enthusiasts in need of an option cheaper than the iPad Pro can go for the iPad Air 2. In the world of tablets, those are among the best available options in terms of functionality and hardware.

Bottom Line

When doing your shopping, you will have to consider how you would want to use it. If you need a tablet, you will have to consider the key features and price. A laptop provides better multitasking, performance and it is easier to use for some things like word processing. On the other hand, tablets are ideal for light use to go. If you are not worried about the processing power or multitasking, you can go for one of the inexpensive tablets.

Lin - TabletAdvice

Lin Yang

Lin is a senior editor of TabletAdvice. She creates helpful guides and helps people in finding the best tablet that fits their needs and budget.

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