The confusion about buying a tablet vs. a laptop is a common dilemma. Portable computing is becoming more relevant all the time. Smart phones are powerful tools, but they have limitations. There’s only so much you can do on that small screen, for starters.
As with many things, it really depends on your needs. Assessing your needs is always a great first step before making any decision. With that information, consider the following:
Tablets have several advantages:
The battery life of a tablet is far superior in most cases. Most laptops are only good for a couple hours of use. Tablets are typically good for 8+ hours of constant use.
Tablets are more portable and comfortable to use, within their limitations. Laptops are heavier, noisier, need a surface for optimum use, and simply take up more space. A tablet is comfortable to use, regardless of circumstances. Tablets require a lot less room, too.
Tablets utilize a touchscreen interface. Touchscreen are handy under the right circumstances and can eliminate the need for a mouse or keyboard. Many tasks are quicker and easier with a touchscreen. It also increases simplicity and portability.
Cost: Though the difference isn’t great, most tablets cost less than most laptops.
Apps: Tablet apps are surprisingly powerful and inexpensive.
Advantages of laptops:
Storage space: Laptops can hold a lot more information that a tablet. Even the least expensive laptop will have approximately 10x the storage of a tablet computer. It’s also possible to inexpensively add storage to a laptop.
Power: A decent laptop has much more computing power than a tablet. There are few limitations with a laptop. Try running a program with high memory and CPU requirements on a tablet and see what happens.
File formats: Tablets can be somewhat limited when using certain types of files. With the right software, a laptop can display or use nearly any file format.
Larger screen and keyboard: A decent sized laptop has a considerably larger screen, which makes certain types of work much easier. A laptop isn’t great for churning through spreadsheets, but it’s a lot better than a tablet! The keyboard on a laptop is typically quite a bit larger and more comfortable for extended use; not to mention that a keyboard on a laptop has actual keys!
Connectivity: Laptops have far more options for connection peripherals. External drives, monitors, printers, USB and HDMI ports, etc., are all possibilities with a laptop. The options are much more limited with a tablet.
Multi-tasking: A laptop is much more amenable to multi-tasking. An iPad, for example, won’t even accommodate playing music while another task is being addressed.
If you’re doing serious work, a laptop is probably the more optimal tool. Tablets are much more limited, but if the limitations don’t apply to your needs, a tablet’s portability and increased battery life have a lot to offer. Consider your needs and make the best choice for your unique situation.