Buying Guide: Laptop or tablet?

By September 7, 2012Buying Guides

With an ever-expanding array of operating systems and hardware to choose from, consumers have to make the decision whether to pick a laptop or a tablet as their next device. Functionality and portability are the two biggest factors in the decision-making process of consumers who are figuring out which option would best suit their needs.

One of the primary criticisms against tablets is their inability to display multiple frames and windows at one time. If users want to conduct business or perform research, they have to switch back and forth between screens in order to glean the information they want from one to input it onto the other. According to a study at the University of Washington, students were quick to stop using Kindles because they could not stay organized with the devices.

That said, tablets are finding a foothold in schools, with Apple posting sales of one million iPads to schools in contrast to 500,000 laptops. However, teachers sometimes prefer laptops because of the functionality they offer. Even as schools start to move towards tablets, teachers often opt to use laptops in the classroom. The educators cite the difficulties in creating and working on documents on a tablet as the main reason for laptop preference.

The portability of a tablet cannot be matched by a laptop. Because of the constantly-connected state of society, the device that is lighter and easier to store will have a huge advantage over anything else. For example, one of the lightest ultrabook laptops (the Acer Aspire S5) on the market comes in at only 2.65 pounds. This is almost twice as heavy as the iPad, which weighs in at only 1.44 pounds.

Some laptop manufacturers are focusing on slimming down their products, while tablets are gearing up for more functionality as Windows 8 tablets will boast the same OS as that of the latest generation of Windows-powered laptops. As the differences between the two disappear, the decision will become even more difficult for consumers to decide which one would be better suited to their needs.

Which one would you pick: the laptop or tablet?

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  • Richard says:

    I would like to have a tablet but the same time a laptop. I would like having a laptop for video and photo editing and have the freedom to run more on the laptop. but having a tablet in my eyes gives you something to check your emails,listen to music,go online if needed, and to play games along with reading books. So picking just one for myself would be hard but i see my family getting a tablet more then a laptop.

  • Taristin says:

    Honestly, both. But not in the way that this question seems to be aimed. When I want a tablet, I’m generally looking at a slate pc. Something like the EP121 or the Samsung Series 7. Pen input with wacom (or some equivalent) pressure sensitivity. I had an EP121 for a little while, and I loved it for art and for reading, but it was just too heavy, hot, and a little underpowered for photoshop, despite the i5.
    I have a Galaxy Nexus for a phone, and it does an admiral job of stepping in for a tablet, while being much more portable. And I have a laptop, a macbook air. It’s great for on the go computing and even light gaming on steam, watching movies while undergoing treatment or just chatting with people. But the problem with the macbook as well as the EP121/Series7 is that they come with an entirely too small SSD, and replacements are of not-yet-widespread form factor and… expensive.

    So there’s my 2 cents on the matter.

  • William says:

    I would have to say in these times A tablet with windows 8 would be the way to go….

  • Justin says:

    I personally would get a laptop. In every single way it is better, except for touch capabilities, and for touch games. xD I’m still working on even getting a good laptop. xD I’m 15 and running a IBM R40e. And yes phones are much like tablets. I would prefer a phone just because its way cheaper than a 300, 400, or 500 dollar Ipad. And that my part about the matter.

  • Jason Clishe says:

    Why choose either? Go with a Windows 8 hybrid such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro and you’ll have both. Game changer.

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