Which type of device should you get for your next purchase: Laptop vs Tablet? This is a question many people ask themselves, and the answer really depends on what type of use you will be giving it. Laptops are great if you need to do intensive work like video editing and HD graphics, but tablets can be more convenient for less intense tasks.
In this blog post, medCPU compares laptops vs tablets in terms of portability, size, keyboard with or without? Performance and storage capacity, battery life, security options as well as FAQs about laptops vs tablets so that by the end of reading it you are armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision!
What is Laptop?
A laptop, also known as a notebook computer, is a personal computer designed for portability and ease of use while nominally operating away from mains power. The term laptop may refer to just the main portable device (often called simply the laptop), or it can mean both the main hardware system plus any detached display screen that could be used separately.
Laptops offer two basic flavors: clamshell models where one part closes over another forming an overall envelope with virtually no exposed outer surfaces except at their hinge points; and convertible designs where rotating hinges allow you to fold the keyboard behind your tablet’s screen so that either side can serve as its surface.
A laptop is typically a personal computer designed for mobile computing and usually has an LCD screen capable of displaying under many different resolutions, in contrast to the heavier CRT monitor which most often uses only one fixed resolution.
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What is Tablet?
A tablet can be defined as a hand-held computing device with a touchscreen display that responds to touch gestures. Tablets are more compact than laptops, making them easier to carry around when you’re on the go; however, some tablets may not have a keyboard or mouse so typing will require interfacing through other means such as tapping.
The size of the screen also varies between models: there are both large screens found on monitors and small screens found on smart pads. You should consider how much space you need before you make your purchase.
Comparing Laptops and Tablets
Performance is mainly dependent on the device’s purpose and price. Tablets are generally comparable to similarly priced laptops in terms of performance at lower prices. However, the gap grows as laptop prices rise.
If we are talking about a device used mainly for web surfing, multimedia, and casual gaming, then a tablet will probably outperform a lower-end laptop.
Laptops can offer superior performance than tablets in the mid-range to higher-end, winning this category.
laptop vs tablet: Portability
The first and most important question is portability. Tablets win in the majority of cases.
Tablets generally range from 7 to 13 inches, with some larger tablets aimed at professionals. Tablets with 8-inch or 10-inch screens are most popular because they strike the right balance between ergonomics and screen size.
The smallest and lightest tablets weigh in at around 300g (or 10 oz) when weight. Larger devices like the 13-inch iPad Pro weigh in at 700 grams (about 1.5 lb).
Laptop screens, however, can cover a more excellent range. You can get them as small as 12 inches or as large as 21 inches. However, the majority of mainstream laptops are in the 15- to 17-inch range.
The average laptop 15 inches weighs in at 2 kg (around 5 lb). This laptop is heavier than a tablet, but there is a wide range of weights for laptops, just as with the screen size. Notebooks are typically less than 1kg. Gaming laptops, however, can weigh over 4kg and sometimes even 8kg.
Tablets are lighter and smaller than the most compact laptops, so they have the edge in portability.
laptop vs tablet: Display
The display should also be mentioned while we are on the topic of size. There are two main factors that you need to be aware of: resolution and size. Laptops offer a higher volume than desktop computers due to their larger frames. This means that they are more likely to be able to display larger screens.
When the resolution is considered, however, the smaller tablet display would have a higher pixel density. This would mean that the displayed image will be sharper, and the individual pixels won’t be as visible.
Like everything else, the quality and cost of the display will determine its quality – a 1080p screen in a $150 tablet won’t be as good as one in a $1000 laptop.
In any event, it is essential to remember that tablets tend to have better visuals at lower prices than similar-price laptops. This is due to the higher pixel density.
Laptop vs tablet: Storage
Another essential factor to be considered is storage. Laptops are almost always the leader in this regard. The cheapest laptops come with either a 500GB HDD or 128GB SSD. These are superior to most tablets.
Tablets in 2021 will have internal storage capacities ranging from 8 GB up to 256GB. However, some higher-end tablets can store as much as 512GB or 1TB. Expandable storage is also an option.
Many tablets, except Apple’s iPads, can easily be increased in storage capacity with microSD cards. These cards can be as small as 1GB, but they can also go up to 1 TB. However, the maximum support memory card capacity will vary from one device to another.
Laptops have many more storage options. Although most laptops come with memory card readers, memory cards are not the most common type of external storage.
External hard drives can be used alongside internal solid-state drives to offer more storage for a small cost per gigabyte. External SSDs, however, are an option for anyone who needs high-performance storage. You can also upgrade the internal storage drive of most laptops. This is not possible with tablets.
Overall, we would give the storage capacity to laptops as the speed and capacity of SSDs can easily match that of tablets. There are also cheap options for external storage, and the possibility to upgrade the internal storage of the laptop at any time.
However, it is possible that you don’t need as much storage. For example, mobile operating systems and apps don’t take up too much space. If you don’t plan to fill your tablet with media files and apps, 32-64GB internal storage plus cloud storage may be sufficient.
Tablet vs laptop Cameras
Both laptops and tablets have built-in cameras. However, tablets tend to be more powerful in this area.
The reason is that tablets come with both a rear and front camera. Additionally, the cameras are often better quality than those found in comparable laptops. It makes sense, considering that tablets are more extremely portable than laptops and can borrow many smartphone features.
Rear cameras are rare in laptops. While some laptops include a rear camera on specific models, most laptops only have a front camera for video calls. These cameras are not of the highest quality, especially for less expensive laptops.
Tablets are more versatile and have better cameras for a lower cost. It is important to remember that not all tablets are as good as flagship and mid-range phones.
Keyboard: With or without
Tablets are operated much like smartphones, with a touch screen. To type, you can use the touchscreen keyboard. You can also tap the screen with your finger(s) to select options. You can purchase a separate wireless keyboard and a protective case with a built-in keyboard if you find it difficult to type on the on-screen keyboard.
The physical keyboard on a laptop allows for faster typing and more comfort. If you are planning on creating spreadsheets or documents, it is probably the best option.
Because of their more powerful hardware, laptops can perform more complex tasks than tablets can. A laptop’s typically larger size also allows for a bigger screen, a more powerful processor, and greater storage capacity, meaning laptops are better for graphic-intensive applications, such as gaming or processing photos and videos.
The compactness and power of high-end laptops allow them to bridge the gap between tablet portability and desktop pc processing power.
Tablets work well as e-readers because they are portable devices. Tablets have both front- and back-facing cameras, which allow them to be used as digital cameras. This can also make it worthwhile for video calling.
Tablets have a longer battery life than laptops. They can last for between seven and twelve hours on average. Tablets have a long battery life because they can’t perform complex tasks that consume a lot of power.
Laptops run the same operating system as desktop computers: Windows, macOS, Linux. Windows is very popular on hybrid laptops.
We won’t go into detail about the differences among operating systems. Instead, we will focus on the main differences between desktop and mobile operating systems.
It could be summarized in one sentence: Mobile operating systems are intuitive and straightforward, but desktop operating systems have more features and can access a wider range of powerful software.
Many people consider tablets poor alternatives to desktops and laptops because of the limitations of mobile operating systems.
A mobile app version of a desktop application is likely to lack some features. This would mean that the desktop operating system is the winner in this respect.
The most important thing about deciding between a tablet and a laptop is what you can do with them. The vast majority of tablet users use Apple’s iOS operating system. It is a well-crafted platform with many apps that include productivity, creativity, and gaming.
They can be straightforward to use if used as a self-contained unit. However, once you start moving files around or importing images and documents from other sources, it can become much more complicated than it appears.
Things have improved with iOS 12, but you can still feel like you’re fighting against the device itself at times to achieve what should be a simple task.
Full-featured operating systems like Windows and macOS are available for laptops. These allow you to manage files and data more effectively. The pro-level software on laptops is far superior to the equivalents on tablets, offering Photoshop, video editing, and other similar programs that offer users a wider range of options.
You will need to verify that certain apps or programs are compatible with the other platform.
Tablets are great if you have very limited needs. However, for those who need to dig deeper, Windows and macOS are the best options.
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Tablets and laptops: Gaming
The iPad and Android tablets offer a wide range of casual gaming. Popular titles such as PUBG and Fornite are joined by a variety of puzzle, RPG, and racing titles.
Windows (or a gaming console) is the best choice for serious franchises such as Call of Duty, and Starcraft 2. To play AAA titles, you’ll need a powerful laptop. The cheaper laptops won’t have the processing power to process such graphically demanding games.
Tablets are powered by low-power components that ensure energy efficiency. The battery takes up most of the internal space in most tablets. A combination of large batteries and power-efficient components allows many tablets to run for up to ten hours on one charge.
On the other hand, laptops are more powerful and require more intensive processing, storage, and functionality. Laptops are more complex, which means that they have less room for the battery. Laptop components are also more powerful and require less energy than tablets.
The average laptop’s battery life is four to eight hours, even with similar-sized batteries.
Accessories and connectivity
Let’s now look at the connectivity options for both tablets and laptops, both in terms of physical ports and wireless connectivity.
Modern laptops have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. However, very few of them also support cellular connectivity. The situation with ports varies.
The bulkier laptops usually include all of the ports you would find on a modern desktop motherboard, such as multiple USB 3.0 and Ethernet. Smaller USB-C ports are often used in smaller laptops.
Tablets also come with Bluetooth and WiFi. However, manufacturers may offer models with cellular connectivity, which is much more common than laptops.
While most tablets are still wired with Micro USB, most Apple’s iPads still use their proprietary Lightning connector. However, the majority of newer devices use USB C instead.
There is no clear winner as users will need to use a variety of ports and cellular connectivity.
Tablets have a touchscreen interface that allows for input. This cannot be easy to use when entering text, and it may vary between tablets.
Although Bluetooth keyboards and devices with a detachable keyboard may be available, they are not as good as a laptop experience because of their small size and limited key options.
Additionally, an external Bluetooth Keyboard can increase the cost and weight of your table, which will reduce its portability.
The next step is how you interact with your device, particularly the interface. It’s quite simple.
Laptops rely on a physical keyboard and touchpad to input. They also support all peripherals that are available on desktops. This means that you can use external keyboards or mice with your laptop, provided it has the appropriate connectors.
Wireless keyboards or mice can be used if the laptop supports that type of wireless technology.
On the other side, Tablets rely solely on their touchscreen to input and can use a virtual keyboard. For those with difficulty typing on virtual keyboards, tablets almost all support Bluetooth keyboards. However, mouse support can sometimes be more difficult.
The keyboard and mouse controls are the best for productivity. However, there is no clear winner here as both touchscreen controls and KB&M controls have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the device’s purpose. The former is more precise, but the latter is easier to use.
laptop vs tablet: Price
Last but not least, prices for tablets are generally lower than laptops.
Tablets can be purchased starting at $50, while laptops start at $150. You can buy used laptops starting at $100. This is affordable enough to do classwork. Some colleges even offer laptop programs for new students. This offer might be worth considering.
Tablets can be as expensive as $1000 on the other end of this price range, except for high-end tablets or hybrid devices that are geared towards professionals.
The cost of a laptop can go up to $800 for the mainstream model. High-end notebooks, gaming laptops, and notebooks can be purchased for as little as $1000 up to $5000. Rarely, they even reach five-digit prices.
A tablet is usually cheaper than a laptop. If you are on a budget, this is something you should keep in mind.
FAQs about Laptop vs Tablets
Can you use a tablet to watch videos?
Yes! Tablets come with their own video player which makes it easy for users to stream movies and other video content directly from the internet on their devices.
Can a laptop replace a desktop pc?
A good quality laptop can replace a desktop computer. It offers the same performance and storage, but without compromising productivity.
Do I need anti-virus software when using laptops or only tablets?
You should have an antivirus installed regardless of what device you’re using. They both require protection against viruses and malware that could potentially harm your data storage space and system integrity while web browsing online.
Can I use a tablet to do college work?
If your college allows tablets to be used as a laptop replacement, you are allowed to use a tablet.
Can an iPad replace a laptop for a college student?
An iPad can be used to replace a laptop in college by adding a wireless keyboard or mouse. It would be a good idea to upgrade to iPadOS to use the desktop-class Safari browser. It is possible to use the browser on a tablet or mobile phone, but it will not be as good.
What is better: an iPad or a MacBook for college?
It all depends on what you prefer. The MacBook is the best choice if you are looking for a device that can do a lot. iPads are a better choice if you want portability.
Conclusion: Laptop or Tablet?
A laptop is more powerful but heavier while tablets offer mobility with an LCD screen which makes it easier to use on the go with natural gestures instead of using keyboard input or mouse movements! Tablets have some technical limitations but offer better battery life and portability.
The best choice comes down to what your specific needs require depending on whether you need something that will last for years easily or would prefer portability overpower! If you don’t have a desktop computer, professional software like Adobe Photoshop can be limited to mobile devices. A MacBook or Surface Book is a good choice.
Eyal Ephrat serves as the co-founder and CEO of medCPU.com, where technology is making significant strides in the field of medicine. Through his experience in purchasing PC and laptop equipment and various other tech products, Eyal Ephrat contributes valuable insights to medCPU’s mission.