Laptop vs. Tablet: What’s your best bet?

With so many gadget choices on the market these days, it can be very difficult for consumers to decide where to sink their money. Laptops and tablets are wildly popular within different groups and demographics, mostly because they deliver specialized experiences to their users.

A laptop is generally characterized as a mobile personal computer -- a device on which you can perform all the tasks available on a desktop but in a mobile, light, compact fashion. Laptops have become lighter and smaller over the years, but have made significant strides in power, functionality and performance. For many users, laptops have become their preferred computing device because it allows them to complete all the tasks they would need on a desktop but with the convenience of mobility and flexibility.

Tablets, on the other hand, are currently the pinnacle of mobile technology. They are compact, very lightweight and extremely easy to carry. However, they do not possess the processing power of a laptop. Their functionality as a computing device is very limited, although sufficient for some people’s uses. Tablets can be ideal for those who browse the Web casually, such as read the news or popular websites, and those who play "lightweight" games, or want to watch TV or films while traveling. Additionally, tablets can be used in a variety of specialized careers like design and music.

Oftentimes, designers use tablets to transfer drawings on tablets into design software and programs. Tablets have also been popping up as essential hardware for music producers and traveling DJs, who use the devices for everything from mobile production to live sequencing, FX and mixing in their shows. Many music production programs and hardware designers are creating applications for tablets so DJs can use their favorite studio equipment away from home.

Despite these advances in some niche professions, tablets are often not suitable for hardcore gamers, presentation arrangement and creation, or heavy researching -- tasks sought after by a larger portion of the population.

When trying to decide between a tablet and laptop, remember that there is not necessarily a "winner", only a more preferable choice for your specific needs. Both laptops and tablets offer extremely convenient and powerful features, but the most efficacious for you will be based upon the tasks you seek to complete by the device.

First, think about what tasks will be imperative for the device to allow you to perform. For example, perhaps you travel often for leisure, like to read the news and books, and only occasionally view films while en route to your next destination. While a laptop might be nice in the off-chance you pick up a design side project, engage in academic research, or the like, this device is probably a costly, inconvenient option. A tablet would be much better suited for your needs, particularly because it is such an easy device to travel with.

Second, think about how much you are interested in spending. While tablets often have less functionality than a laptop, they tend to be much cheaper. You should think about the "more-bang-for-your-buck" element here, as casual computer users and Internet browsers will prefer the cheaper option despite a more limited scope of work available to explore. Even on the low end, laptops can be costly and one should carefully weigh convenience and function to price. Overall, there is no "right" answer to the laptop vs. tablet debate, only well-researched, smartly-made purchases.

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