A recent PR release by Technavio suggests that tablet sales will increase by 42 million units between now and 2026.
These small computers occupy the middle ground between mobile phones and laptops, making them a popular choice in the realm of portable technology.
If you’re considering some new tech to suit your computing needs, you might have spent some researching which of these three options suit you best.
Get all the details here in this breakdown of laptop vs tablet pros and cons.
What Is a Tablet?
Tablets are small, flat devices with mobile technology and touch screens. They have fewer features than laptops do, but more versatility than mobile phones.
They’re good for internet browsing, playing music, and streaming videos. You can also use them for some work-related tasks like social media updates, sending and receiving emails, and even making calls.
Tablets have an onscreen keyboard for typing, and many modern apps have tablet versions available. You can add a small mouse and keyboard using Bluetooth connectivity.
Like laptops, tablets are rechargeable technology that you re-charge using a cable akin to a cell phone charger. Some have replaceable batteries that you can upgrade when the original wears out.
Tablet dimensions are usually from 6″ x 3.2″ x .4″ to 12″ x 8″ x .4″, and they weigh from 0.5 to 1.5 lbs.
What Is a Laptop?
Laptops are best known for their portable size when compared to desktop PCs. They can’t offer all the power and functionality of these behemoths of the office realm, but the latest models come close nowadays.
They’re great for streaming movies, typing documents, corresponding via email, browsing the web, and storing documents.
You can get laptops in a huge range of sizes from 9″x 8″ x 1″ to 18″ x 13″ x 2″ and can weigh between 1 lbs. and 8 lbs.
Most laptops fall into one of the following categories:
There are models designed to bring convenience to every kind of user at every stage of life. There are laptops to suit:
- Everyday users
The largest models of laptops, known as desktop replacement laptops, are almost as versatile as desktop PCs but offer portability, too.
Weighing Up the Laptop vs Tablet Pros and Cons
When compared with desktop PCs and laptops, tablets occupy only a small percentage of the market share in modern times, according to figures released in late 2021.
These are the major differences between tablets and laptops:
One of the most noticeable differences between laptops and tablets is the keyboard or lack thereof in the case of the laptop. For those who need to work out complex spreadsheets or type long documents, laptops win hands down.
Many high-end laptops provide the added convenience of an ergonomic keyboard to prevent repetitive injury strain, as well as back and neck discomfort.
Tablets only have onscreen keyboards built into them. If you want to use a keyboard with these devices, you’ll need to buy a separate keyboard.
These keyboards are small and unsuited to huge volumes of typing. They’re not ergonomically designed, and it’s cumbersome to lug them around with your tablet wherever you go.
Tablet screens are better than laptops in some instances. Top models offer high pixel-density displays, plus there’s the convenience of having a touchscreen.
Laptops have much bigger screens, and specialized models feature high pixel density displays suited to graphic design and photo editing.
Like desktop PCs, laptops offer a variety of ports for attaching peripherals. These include:
- Audio speakers
- USB and HDMI ports
- Memory card slots
- Wi-Fi connection ports
- Ethernet network ports
Many laptops nowadays have thunderbolt ports, designed to both send and receive data. Thanks to all these peripherals, you can easily set up a laptop workstation featuring all the conveniences of a desktop setup.
Most tablets have no ports at all, and you can only attach peripherals to them via Bluetooth. This limits your options to keyboards and some mouse models.
If you buy one of the newer tablet models, you could enjoy a USB port or Micro USB and lightning connector (for Apple only). These top-of-the-range models are often as expensive as a small laptop, though.
Unless you have a tablet with a sim card, you’ll likely need a Wi-Fi connection to go online with your tablet. This is very inconvenient if you need to send emails or want to go onto the internet on the go.
Laptops also offer Wi-Fi connectivity, but you can also connect to your home or work network via an Ethernet cable. In this way, laptops often offer superior performance when it comes to connectivity.
Nowadays, laptops offer macOS, Linux, and Windows operating systems, while tablets mostly work off mobile operating systems, i.e. iOS and Android.
Since there are over 1.3 billion Windows devices worldwide, it’s a cinch to find programs compatible with this operating system. As the second-most popular operating system, most macOS users also have little difficulty downloading or installing the programs they require.
On the contrary, it’s often difficult to find programs and apps compatible with every model of tablet, especially older varieties.
There’s no contest when comparing laptop processors with tablets.
Since laptops have the space to house internal fans, they can support and cool much faster, more powerful processors. As such, they can run much larger, more demanding programs.
Laptops can also run multiple programs at once without skipping a beat. In this way, they’re much better suited to multitasking and more efficient than tablets.
Laptops outstrip tablets by far when it comes to storage capabilities. Using traditional hard disk drives, laptops can offer as much as a terabyte of space to store programs and files.
So, you’ve got plenty of room to store your work documents, movies, images, and music. If you need even more space, you can connect an external hard drive to one of your laptop’s ports.
Tablet technology makes it possible to expand your storage options, but it’s a lot trickier and less seamless than with a laptop.
Despite their small size, tablets outperform most laptops when it comes to battery life. That’s because the battery occupies most of the space in these devices and their low-performance processors use less battery power, to begin with.
In general, tablets will retain their charge a lot longer than laptops once they’re unplugged from a power source.
Laptops’ battery life depends on the make and model you choose. Although they won’t stay charged for as long as a tablet, especially when in use, some laptops feature rapid-charging capabilities to enhance their battery life.
Most cybercriminals target laptops and PCs with viruses and malware, so it’s rare for a tablet to pick up a virus. Most tablets also operate on closed systems, making them impervious to online attacks.
If you have a laptop, you must install the latest antivirus software and keep it updated.
Laptops aren’t known for their good quality cameras, and most users rarely use their laptop’s camera for more than the occasional Zoom meeting.
On the other hand, most tablets have excellent cameras, that you can use to take photographs, zoom in if needed, edit your images afterward, and upload them directly onto social media.
Tablets are unexpectedly well suited to low-level gaming. They have augmented reality to simulate real-world settings using virtual layers.
Tablets also offer vibration feedback for greater immersion in games.
Overall, laptops offer far superior features when it comes to gameplay, graphics, and storylines. Even the smallest laptop has superior processing power when compared to tablets.
Specially-designed gaming laptops are exceptionally powerful, offering the ultimate gaming experience. These features include:
- The latest Intel Core processors
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPUs
- HDMI 1.3 ports
Tablets are great for biding your time with a casual game while you’re waiting in line or traveling on the bus, but laptops offer the best experiences when it comes to both online and offline gaming.
Laptops are much more expensive than tablets since they feature more technology. Some of the best models can cost several thousand dollars each.
However, due to the competitive laptop market, you can get a lot of extra features for a more affordable price if you know where to look for good deals.
If you only have simple computing needs with little typing involved, a tablet is a much better option for you.
The Best of Both Worlds
Due to the shortfalls on the part of both these tech devices, some manufacturers have tried to bring together the best benefits of both, to better serve a wider group of users.
They usually have touch-screen technology and may feature either a mobile or PC operating system.
These devices, known as convertibles, hybrids, or 2-in-1 laptops, fall into two main categories:
These laptops are thin and flat, like tablets, with a keyboard that detaches when you want to use the device as a tablet. You can remove the screen portion of these hybrids and use them as a tablet when you want to.
A 2-in-1 attached, has a keyboard that folds or flips out the way when you use the screen as a tablet. They’re often smaller and lighter than the detachable varieties.
Another state-of-the-art innovation is the laptop-tablet crossover that can fold in half to maximize portability and then back out again for big-screen convenience.
You can see some available 2-in-1 options on websites like acer.com, Lenovo.com, or hp.com.
Pros and Cons of 2-in-1 Laptops
Hybrid laptops offer full typing capability, so it’s easier to type long documents than it is with a tablet, and they also have trackpads for added convenience and flexibility.
Like conventional laptops, 2-in1s have powerful processors, capable of multitasking and using more than one program at a time, so you can get more done, faster.
It’s cheaper to buy a 2-in-1 PC than it is to buy a laptop and a tablet if you need both capabilities, and you’ll have less tech to carry around. That said, a hybrid PC is still more expensive than a tablet on its own.
If you’re a fan of iOS or Android technology, you’re out of luck with a 2-in-1 laptop, they only run chrome or Windows operating systems. Right now, you’ve got limited options when it comes to choosing between different models of 2-in-1s.
Is a Laptop or Tablet Best for You?
There’s no right or wrong answer when comparing laptops and tablets. You should select the one that meets your needs and budget.
Pick a laptop if you:
- Type many documents
- Run large programs
- Travel for work
- Can charge your devices regularly
- Need to store masses of data
- Work on complicated spreadsheets regularly
- Want a family-friendly device
- You enjoy gaming
A tablet might suit you best if you only:
- Want to stream online content
- Have low gaming expectations
- Need to perform simple tasks for work
- Have a little to spend on tech
A laptop is always the best option if you can afford it, and despite the higher cost of laptops, a cheaper, smaller model might still fit in with your budget restrictions.
Embrace Modern Technology in Your Everyday Life
This article should make it a little easier for you to make up your mind when it comes to weighing up the laptop vs tablet pros and cons.
If you’re still undecided, it won’t take long before technology offers an answer that suits your every need. The distinction between laptops and tablets is becoming blurrier by the day as tech advances.
Researching your options is the best course of action, regardless of which kind of modern convenience you’re searching for. Browse our blog for all the best information.