With the incredible advancement that tablets have made in recent years, many people wonder whether they really even need a laptop anymore. However, both tablets and laptops have features that fit specific purposes better than the other.
As such, they both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages over each other.
This article will focus on these unique strengths and weaknesses of these devices. It will compare the capabilities of a laptop to those of a tablet to help you determine the device that best complements your needs.
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The first aspect that usually stands out when comparing a tablet to a laptop is portability. In most cases, tablets are more portable than laptops. The sizes of the majority of tablets range between 7 and 13 inches. However, there are larger tablets that are geared towards professionals.
The most popular screen sizes of tablets range from 8 to 10 inches. This size strikes the perfect balance between ergonomics and usable screen size. Also, tablets are much lighter than laptops, with most of them weighing from 300 grams (10 ounces) for the smallest devices, to about 700 grams (1.5 pounds) for the larger devices.
Laptops, on the other hand, have a wide range of screen sizes. The sizes range from as low as 12 inches to about 21 inches.
Most laptops, though, have screen sizes ranging between 15 and 17 inches.
On average, laptops weigh more than tablets. They have a large variation on their weights depending on the model and features of the laptop. Some laptops weigh under one kilogram while some heavy-duty laptops can even weigh as much as 8 kilograms.
All in all, most tablets will be lighter and smaller than even the lightest and most compact laptops currently available. Therefore, tablets are a better option in when it comes to portability.
You might also need to consider the performance of the device depending on what you intend to use it for and your price range.
Some tablets have the same or even better performance than lower-end laptops, but the gap between the performance of laptops and tablets widens with the increase in price.
If you intend to use your device for casual gaming, web surfing, and multimedia, then a tablet should work just as fine for you or even better than a low-end laptop. However, most mid-range and above laptops outperform tablets by far.
Another important thing to consider is the battery life of your device. Tablets will generally have a longer battery life than laptops.
Most tablets can endure between 8 to 12 hours of active use on a single charge while laptops tend to last between 2 to 6 hours, depending on their use.
Some high-end laptops can keep up with tablets in terms of battery life, with some lasting more than 12 hours.
The reason why tablets tend to last longer than laptops battery-wise is the fact that that they have ARM CPUs that consume less power than the more complex version of desktop CPUs found in laptops. ARM CPUs also produce less heat, making them ideal for tablets, which have no active cooling systems. Tablets also have operating systems that are well optimized.
Laptops, on the other hand, have hardware that consumes a lot of power. Their operating systems are also not as optimized as those of tablets. Laptops have more advanced power-saving features that reduce the amount of power being drained at the cost of the performance of the device.
This allows them to last much longer when they are being used for tasks that do not demand a lot of power.
All in all, tablets have better battery life than laptops of a similar price range. They last longer than laptops even without any additional throttling. Therefore, based on battery life alone, tablets are the better option.
There are two main aspects to be considered with regard to display: resolution and size. Laptops have larger frames than tablets, and as a result, have larger screens. On the other hand, since tablets have a smaller display, they have a higher pixel density than most laptops.
This means that they tend to offer sharper images with less visible individual pixels than laptops.
That said, resolution also varies depending on the price of the device with more expensive devices having a much better resolution.
At the end of the day, though, tablets in the lower price range offer better visuals than laptops of a similar price.
Software and Operating Systems
The most popular operating systems used by tablets are either iOS or Android. Laptops, on the other hand, use the same operating systems as desktop computers. These include Windows, macOS, and Linux as the most popular ones. Windows is also a common operating system with hybrid devices.
The mobile operating systems used by tablets and similar devices are easy to use and are more streamlined. Desktop operating systems, on the other hand, have more features and enable you to access more software.
Mobile operating systems are rather limiting when compared to desktop operating systems. This is why mobile apps tend to miss several features that are present in the desktop program version of the same app.
Therefore, desktop operating systems are undoubtedly more powerful than mobile operating systems, making laptops superior to tablets when it comes to software and operating systems.
Another factor that is important to consider before purchasing a device is its storage capacity. Laptops almost always have a larger storage capacity than tablets. Laptops, on the lower end, have storage of either a 128 GB SSD or a 500 GB HDD.
This storage capacity is way better than the storage offered by tablets. The storage capacity of tablets ranges from as low as 8 GB to 512 GB of internal storage.
Most devices have storage that ranges between 32 GB and 256 GB.
You should not limit yourself to the default storage capacity. You should also consider the expandable storage capacity of your device. Most tablets, apart from iPads, have easily expandable storage capacity.
Their storage capacity can be expanded with the help of microSD memory cards. The highest expandable storage capacity for the newer tablet models is 256 GB.
Laptops, on the other hand, have a wider range of options to choose from when it comes to expandable storage. You can choose from memory card readers to external hard drives. Upgrading the internal storage of a laptop is also much easier.
You might not need much storage, to begin with. If you do not need a lot of storage, then having a tablet might work just fine for you. If you require a lot of storage, laptops have greater storage capacity and an SSD that can easily surpass a tablet’s performance.
The price of the device is also a factor to consider before choosing between a laptop and a tablet. Tablets tend to be cheaper than laptops, with some of them going for as low as $50. Low-end laptops, on the other hand, go for about $150.
Tablets can go as high as $800, with some hybrid tablets that are geared specifically towards professionals costing even more.
Mainstream laptops, on the other hand, will start from $500 to $800, with high-end ones costing anywhere between $1000 and $5000.
All in all, tablets are cheaper than laptops and, in most cases, cheap tablets tend to have better functionality than a cheap laptop.
Another important aspect to consider is the connectivity of your device to both physical and wireless devices. Modern laptops have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Few laptops, however, support cellular connectivity.
The bulkier laptop models usually have all the ports that are usually found on the motherboard of modern desktops. Compact laptops, however, tend to only favor the smaller type-c USB ports.
Similarly, tablets are also well-equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Most tablet manufacturers also include cellular connectivity, an aspect that is rare among laptops. For wired connections, tablets use either USB-C or Micro USB connectors. iPad uses the lightning connector.
Choosing between a laptop and a tablet in terms of connectivity is mainly dependent on the user as different users have different needs when it comes to cellular connectivity or different ports.
The interface of a device enables you to interact with the device simply. Laptops primarily have an integrated physical keyboard and a touchpad for input.
You can also use external mice and keyboards as long as your laptop has the necessary connectors to external devices and wireless technology.
Tablets, however, rely almost entirely on their touch screen for input.
They also use a virtual keyboard. This usually proves to be a problem for those who find it hard to type on virtual keyboards. Most tablets allow Bluetooth keyboards but it may be tricky to support a mouse.
Depending on what the device is used for, having touchscreen control and keyboard and mouse controls both have their advantages and disadvantages. All in all, laptops have a more precise interface while the interface of tablets is more intuitive.
Both laptops and tablets have built-in cameras. However, most tablets have better cameras than laptops.
Most modern tablets have both a front and a rear camera, and in most cases, both the cameras are of better quality than those of similarly priced laptops.
This is mainly because tablets are more portable and most of their features are borrowed from smartphones.
Most laptops have only one camera with only very few models having a rear camera. The laptop’s camera is mainly intended for video calls.
Tablets are more versatile when it comes to camera quality with many models offering quality cameras at lower prices compared to laptops.
At the end of the day, tablets are by far more portable, much easier to use, have better cameras, and have a longer battery life than most laptops. If this spells “convenience” for you, then a tablet will most likely meet your needs.
However, in terms of mobile computing, laptops offer a much greater deal of flexibility. This means if you intend to use complex apps, a full keyboard, and multiple HDMI and USB ports, then a laptop is the device to get.