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Tablet vs Laptop

A subject that has come up more and more is whether or not a tablet can replace a laptop. Tablet technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last few years, but has it reached the point of replacing the ubiquitous laptop for everyday productivity? That remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at both sides of the debate.




Tablets are the ultimate in convenience and portability. Tablets often weigh about 1/3 the weight of a standard laptop, so the physical toll of carrying a lightweight tablet is far less. Tablet screens are typically around 7 – 12 inches which means they easily fit into most backpacks, messenger bags, or briefcases. Tablets are fast! Most laptop computers generally take around 10 – 30 seconds to start up. Once powered on, a tablet can ‘wake’ from a sleep mode in an instant. This makes the tablet an excellent choice for web browsing or watching a video. Whether at home, at a coffee shop, or on a train. They are also great for quick “look-ups”, i.e. looking up a recipe.

Tablets were envisioned to be masters of media consumption. For the most part, tablets, due to the touch screens, are simpler to use. They are also much easier and more interactive when deployed in educational settings. Most tablets have very good battery life, averaging 7 – 10 hours of usage. Finally, tablets are just fun! Most tablet owners wouldn’t have it any other way!


Laptops are the original portable computers; a device on which you can perform all the tasks available on a desktop but in a mobile, compact fashion.  Recent years have seen laptops become very svelte and lightweight. They are getting even lighter, but have made significant strides in power, functionality and performance. Laptops can now rival the power and performance of their desktop counterparts. Storage capacity is another area where laptops outshine tablets. 128GB tends to be the high end for built-in storage for tablets. Laptops currently tend to start at 250GB minimum when it comes to storage capacity (potentially less with a smaller SSD).

Laptops are also convenient in the fact they have built in keyboards, that while not as large as desktop versions, are still comfortable to use and be productive. Laptops have expandability. You can forego the built in keyboard & trackpad and add your favorite peripherals via USB or Bluetooth in many cases. Many laptops also have optional docking stations which let you use your laptop as a desktop, with the ability to use a full size monitor, keyboard, and mouse. With tablets still being relatively new, your IT department is more likely to readily accept (and support) your laptop, rather than a tablet.



Most low to mid-range tablets are lacking in power. They are also mostly running mobile operating systems (i.e. Android, iOS) which means they can’t handle heavy duty processing or even run most productivity software. To get into tablets with real processing power and running full operating systems (Windows 8, Windows 10), you have to venture into the higher end of the spectrum such as the Microsoft Surface Pro. Although some of the higher end Android tablets and the new iPad Pro are serious contenders for actual productivity machines. Probably one of the biggest “cons” is that the majority of tablets don’t come with physical keyboards. The onscreen keyboard is not conducive to doing a lot of typing for most people. The current trend is changing that though as more tablets are coming out with convertible or removable keyboards.

Tablets aren’t really expandable. Most only come with one or two ports (usually USB or Micro-USB) if any ports are available at all. The higher end tablets tend to have a few more ports, and more variety (USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt). Tablets tend to be a lot more fragile than laptops. It’s essentially a sheet of glass over an electronic board. Drops are extremely hazardous, but screens are getting tougher with the advent of technologies like Gorilla Glass.


Laptops can be heavy. Especially if you have to lug one around daily. Or you commute via public transportation. Most laptop computers weigh anywhere from 3 to 9 pounds. Laptops, by way of their design, and the ways they are typically used, are prone to overheating issues. This can be mitigated with proper maintenance and observing some usage do’s & don’ts. Laptops are more powerful so they tend to make more demands of the system, which results in shorter battery life. The typical laptop battery averages 4 – 6 hours of practical usage with some low-powered exceptions like the MacBook Air or some Chromebooks.

Laptops are relatively slow, compared to tablets during startup unless you are running an SSD with Windows 8-10 or just keep the computer asleep. This could be an annoyance if you have to shutdown and restart your laptop multiple times throughout the day. They aren’t as portable as tablets. You can’t walk around using a laptop comfortably, but it’s also harder to drop if you’re not walking around with it in your hands.


So can a tablet replace your laptop? Ultimately, you have to decide which device best fulfills your wants, needs and usage. A tablet may easily replace your home laptop, but it might not be ready to replace a laptop for work. It all depends on what you prefer to use, and luckily there are plenty of different options for everyone in the market today.


Have you already made that choice? Which did you choose and why? What was your experience like? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!


Geek Easy Computers – Making Technology Easier


me_smile Adonis Pointer is a photographer, a collector of vintage razors, and a certified technology geek!
Adonis has been involved in computer technology since well, a LONG time! He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry from sales to repair to training to consulting. As the Social Media Manager he writes the majority of the posts on the Geek Easy Computers blog.


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