Tablet vs Laptop

If you’re in need of a new laptop, you may have considered purchasing a tablet instead; after all, many of today’s tablets have similar capabilities to a laptop and it will probably cost you less money. But when it comes to a tablet vs. laptop, which one is better? Unfortunately, this isn’t a clear-cut situation of one being better than the other, and it really depends on what you intend to use it for.

What Do Tablets and Laptops Have in Common?

Tablet and Laptop Comon Features

There are a number of features that come as standard for both tablets and laptops and they’re all important if you’re looking to use your device to work while you’re on-the-go.

  • WiFi – an absolute necessity for any computer hardware these days, and when it comes to tablets and laptops, you can also connect via your smartphone’s mobile hotspot.
  • Cloud storage – since there’s WiFi access, you can continue to backup your important files to the cloud.
  • Webcams – like it or not, Zoom, Facetime, Skype (and even fun apps like TikTok and Houseparty) have made a webcam as essential as email for work and personal use.
  • Great for streaming – whether you’re looking to stream music or movies or both, tablets and laptops are more than up to the task.
  • Bluetooth connectivity – connect to headphones to listen to music and nearby devices to share files. You can even respond to text messages on your phone!
  • SD card slot – with extra storage space and the ability to back up and transfer files, SD cards are a great option for quickly and easily copying files from one device to another.
  • Long-life battery – you needn’t worry about your device dying after a few hours, as modern batteries will last most of the day.

Sounds good so far, but what’s the catch? As you might expect, despite the similarities, there are a number of differences too.

Can a Tablet Be Used Like a Laptop?

Tablet for Business

Tablets have become very popular in the past few years, especially now there are thousands of apps available to download. Tablets have a number of advantages over laptops, but they’re not without their pitfalls too.

Pros

  • Portability – yes, laptops are designed to be portable too, but most tablets are smaller and lighter, making them a great option for working on-the-go.
  • Software – a lot of the software you might be currently using on a daily basis (for example, Microsoft Office) is also available for your tablet.
  • Cross-platform – the vast majority of the apps you use on your phone can also be used on your tablet, with some developers creating a version specifically for tablets.
  • Cost – on average, a good laptop will set you back between $600 and $700, whereas tablets are about half the price.12
  • File sharing – just as with your phone, you can easily transfer files to/from a laptop by connecting the two with a USB cable.

Cons

  • Storage – tablets have less storage space than laptops, but then the software usually takes up less space too. Plus, you can always get an SD card if you need more space.
  • Screen size – the average tablet has a screen size of about ten inches, which can make text a little harder to read. Web pages can also appear a little messy.3
  • Hardware – tablets aren’t really designed for gaming or producing breathtaking videos, so if you need some serious computational power, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
  • No keyboard – you can buy a Bluetooth keyboard, but the chances are it’ll be relatively small and might be trickier to use than a regular laptop keyboard.
  • No mouse – not necessarily a big problem as apps are touch-based, but if your work involves art or graphic design you might need to get a stylus.
  • No CD ROM drive – if you have a Windows tablet, you may be able to connect an external CD ROM drive through the USB port, but it’s not guaranteed.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Laptop?

Laptop for Business

Most of us have used a laptop at some time or another and we’re used to thinking of them as portable versions of a desktop PC. While that’s a big plus, laptops aren’t without their disadvantages either.

Pros

  • Storage space – you’ll have a lot more storage space for your software, work files and personal files. And you could add yet more space with an SD card.
  • Software – you can, of course, continue to use the same software you’ve been accustomed to, and still run those old CD ROM-based programs too.
  • Larger screen – on average, laptop screens are about 15 inches in diameter, so you won’t need to squint or make any adjustments to the resolution.4
  • Keyboard – you’ll get a built-in, decent-sized keyboard, so there’s less danger of having typos or other errors in your work.
  • Touchpad – while some laptops have a touch screen, they all still have a touchpad in lieu of a mouse (and you can always buy your own mouse if you need one.)

Cons

  • Weight – while laptops have certainly become a lot more lightweight since the 1990s, screen sizes of 15 inches or more can sometimes make the laptop cumbersomely heavy.
  • Size – have you ever tried working with a laptop while sitting in an Economy seat on the plane? With passengers squeezed in beside you and a tiny foldaway tray, it’s not easy!
  • Apps – this might not be an issue for you, but if there are certain apps you like and use on your Android device, you may not have a Windows version available.

Tablet vs. Laptop – The Verdict

Laptop and Tablet

If you’re in need of specialized software that’s only available on a laptop, or you need an all-in-one device to handle both work and home with files that can be stored on an internal hard drive, then a laptop is for you.

If, on the other hand, you need a lightweight, portable device that’s capable of performing everyday, essential tasks (such as word processing and spreadsheets) then there’s no reason why a tablet shouldn’t fit the bill.

Still can’t decide? You could also consider either a Chromebook or a 2-in-1 laptop. A Chromebook is more like an Android tablet but with more functionality (and a built-in keyboard), whereas a 2-in-1 laptop works like a laptop but can also function like a tablet.

Lastly, whether you make your decision based on your budget, your software requirements or your work commitments, always be sure to check the reviews before handing over your cash or credit card. And remember: if it works well and you’re happy with your purchase, then it’s good value for money!

Article Sources

Tech Pro Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Gigabyte Kingdom. How Much Should I Spend on a Laptop (The Surprising Truth). Gigabytekingdom.com. Accessed October 6, 2021.
  2. Statista. Average price of consumer tablets in the United States from 2018 to 2024. Statista.com. Published February 3, 2021. Accessed October 6, 2021.
  3. Hardy E. How To Choose the Best Tablet Screen Size. Tabletpcreview.com. Published July 13, 2017. Accessed October 6, 2021.
  4. Poland A. The Average Laptop Dimensions. Techwalla.com. Accessed October 6, 2021.