I am often asked this question, and the answer is, it depends. Every person uses their technology a bit differently, and some can indeed get by with a tablet alone. Laptops, like desktop PCs before them, have a built-in benefit over tablets, and that benefit is power. As a rule, laptops have more powerful processing hardware, allowing for a wider range of uses, faster performance and better multitasking.
And while games may be a significant part of any app store, serious PC gaming is worlds away from Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, relying on faster processors and discrete graphics processing to crank out complex rendered environments at resolutions and frame rates that tablets can’t touch.
Joining the processing hardware is storage. Where tablets may boast anywhere from 16 to 128GB of storage space, the average laptop offers 500GB or more. Add in features like optical drives for DVD or Blu-ray discs, card slots for full-size SD cards, and USB-connected flash drives and portable drives, you can have mountains of data at your fingertips.
There’s also the question of form factor. Laptops have the benefit of having a keyboard and mouse built-in, allowing you to do all of the typing and mouse-related work you would do on a desktop. Touch screens don’t offer the same level of granular control that a mouse and cursor does, while on screen keyboards are really only fit for entering short bursts of text, such as a status update or a tweet. A physical keyboard is a must for entering long blocks of text, and a mouse is far more efficient than a touchscreen for frequent swapping of windows, clicking of links, and general mousing around. This is even more important in the workplace, where those very tasks may make up the bulk of your day.
On the other hand, considering that most laptops start at $400 and go up from there, tablets are, with few exceptions, more affordable.
The design of the modern tablet—all touch screen—is also extremely intuitive, especially when paired with touch-friendly operating systems, be it Windows 8, Android, or iOS. The icon-heavy designs are very easy for tech-newcomers to figure out, and gestures like swiping from one screen to the next are far easier to grasp than tapping Windows keys or navigating a file tree.
Many tablets support some level of multitasking; allowing you to run one or more apps in the background while working in another, but the full screen focus of most tablets is also seen as a distraction-free alternative to the multitasking of Windows. The small screens are also well-suited to personal media consumption, whether it’s watching shows and movies or reading an ebook or website.
Tablets also offer excellent battery life. This efficiency is the flipside of the processing issue–smaller, less powerful mobile processors are also more battery efficient, sipping at a battery for hours longer than even an extended battery laptop.
If your daily computer use revolves around the internet and social media, streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, and only light productivity, then you may be able to make do with a tablet alone.
And though there are clear reasons to favor one device over the other for certain specific uses, the laptop versus tablet debate is a false one. In today’s connected world, there isn’t really an either-or decision to be made—laptops and tablets are best used together, as companion devices.
The ideal setup will vary from one person to the next, but many of my clients who make the decision to forgo a laptop or skip the whole tablet thing find themselves butting up against the simple reality that there is no one device that is best for everything.
Thanks for reading, and keep your PC secure and your family safer. Remember at Hunt Technology, you always get Quality Service & Individual Attention you deserve.