Laptop vs. Tablet? What's right for you?
You're considering buying a new tablet or laptop but can't decide which to choose? That's no surprise. Today's ultra portable, ultra functional tablet PCs can function nearly as full-fledged laptops -- advanced mobile apps allow you to surf the web, run spreadsheet or word processing applications, play interactive games and so on. Yet some users find a tablet's touch screen interface to be limiting, and others prefer a regular keyboard over a virtual, on-screen one.
So, tablets and laptops have comparative advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you intend to use your new system. This article presents a Laptop vs. Tablet analysis based on their pros and cons in the areas of Performance and Popular Uses.
NOTE: This article only compares laptops to the traditional "slate" tablet form factor (thin, one-sided, without a keyboard). Manufacturers also make combination tablet-laptop models called "2-in-1s". Therefore, in the analysis below, if a laptop gains the advantage due to its keyboard, faster processor, or something similar, then a 2-in-1 that can be used in laptop or tablet mode might be the best option for your particular needs. [For more information, see What is a 2-in-1?]
Refer to the following table for a quick review of some factors that typically help buyers choose between a tablet or a laptop.
Laptop vs. Tablet:
Laptop vs. Tablet: Business
Different business users have different needs:
Laptop vs. Tablet: Industry
New industrial uses for tablets (including so-called "ruggedized" models) seem to emerge every day, whether they're in the hands of a waiter at a restaurant, a service technician making house calls, or a quality inspector on a factory floor. (Advantage: Tablet)
Laptop vs. Tablet: Family (Casual)
A tablet's superior all-around portability, long battery life, and capacity for entertainment (surfing the web, streaming movies, playing games) makes it an ideal choice for everyday use in the family room. (Advantage: Tablet)
Laptop vs. tablet: Family (All-Purpose)
For families that need one PC that does it all, a laptop is the likely choice thanks to its wider range of uses -- particularly typing-oriented business programs that might be difficult on a touch-screen. (Advantage: Laptop)
Laptop vs. Tablet: Student
Given their comfort with digital devices, students heading to college for the first time might use a tablet almost as productively as a laptop. But for all-around educational use, students need a system that's nearly as portable, more powerful -- and keyboard-equipped. (Advantage: Laptop)
Laptop vs. Tablet: All-Around Convenience
If for you, "convenience" means easy carrying, fast boot-ups, smartphone-like camera features, etc., then a tablet likely meets your needs. But if you care more about having multiple external ports, direct keyboard input, and so on, then you'll want a laptop. (Advantage: None)