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Laptop or tablet?

Choosing the right device can make all the difference

Created date

December 11th, 2018
Laptops have the hardware and available software for greater power and versatility. Small in size and lightweight, the tablet can conveniently go wherever you go.

Laptops have the hardware and available software for greater power and versatility. Small in size and lightweight, the tablet can conveniently go wherever you go.

If you regularly use a smartphone, chances are it’s your go-to device for phone calls, texting, social media, and maybe a few games. But sometimes, that little screen and even smaller keyboard just won’t cut it for tasks like writing emails, browsing online, or viewing photos of the grandkids.

In that case, you’re probably in the market for a larger—but still portable—device, like a laptop computer or tablet. Knowing which one best matches your needs and lifestyle can be difficult, so we put together a few tips to help you make the choice.

Portability

Both laptops and tablets are intended to be as portable as possible, so this may seem like a draw at first glance. But tablets are often more compact: smaller in size and lighter in weight, thanks to skipping an attached keyboard and using a smaller battery. This means a tablet can weigh just a fraction of a laptop, making it easier to transport—sometimes even fitting in your pocket!

While you can certainly find a lightweight laptop that doesn’t take up a lot of space, a tablet is purposefully designed to travel simply and conveniently. It can fit seamlessly into your daily routine without monopolizing your space or straining your shoulder.

Versatility

With so many innovative accessories, the tablet is much more versatile than it appears at first glance. Keyboards, styluses, stands, camera attachments—they can all upgrade your tablet experience. Plus, an impressive number of apps and programs are now available on this platform for all types of activities and tasks.

But the laptop takes the cake on built-in versatility. The hardware and available software allow users to run bigger programs and multitask. It’s just designed for tougher work of all kinds: presentations, gaming, design, and more.

Battery life and power

Here’s the gist: Tablets have smaller batteries that tend to last longer, while laptops have larger, more powerful batteries that need to be charged more frequently. So if you want a device that has enough juice to read e-books through a full international flight or play games with the grandkids, a tablet will likely be the better fit.

To run more complex programs or multiple large-scale programs at once, you’ll need the battery power that a laptop provides. You’ll also need consistent access to an outlet (or a reliable external battery) so you can charge on the go if you plan to take it out on the town.

Screen size

Almost every tablet is going to have a smaller screen than a laptop computer and, ultimately, this difference will depend upon personal preferences for each user. If you plan to use the device for more advanced or detail-oriented work like graphic design or media editing, or if you would simply rather have more real estate for streaming video, the laptop’s larger screen and higher resolution will make the work easier and visuals clearer.

However, the tablet screen is by no means tiny, and it’s more than adequate for casual, everyday uses. Plus, its touch-screen design can be more accessible for some users than the laptop’s mouse or trackpad.

Price

Tablets are less expensive than laptops. Of course, you can find models of each that are comparable in price point—but it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll spend more for a laptop, where you’re paying for greater power and versatility. This makes the tablet a more attractive, affordable option for casual users looking for a device that’s one step (or maybe a few steps!) up from their smartphones.

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