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Laptop vs Tablet Computers (iPad) – Advantages and Disadvantages


Many users face dilemma, when the time comes to choose between different type of portable computing devices – laptops/desktops or tablets. An average first time buyer will always questions himself/herself – Should I buy a tablet or laptop? Here in this detailed article (opinion), I will explain the pros and cons of laptops and tablets, where I will take one popular tablet PC – latest version of iPad for the comparison with laptops. If you are a really confused consumer, this guide will help you to choose the right one for your needs.

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Technically, which is better, Laptop or iPad?

Here are the rough specifications of a popular tablet -Apple iPad, which has revolutionized the tablets market against the PC market, but don’t expect it as a laptop killer device. Current latest tablets comes with dual-core 1GHz to quad-core 2GHz processor, 1GB to 2GB of RAM and with an average of 64GB internal storage, whereas some high-end models climbs up to 128GB to 512GB SSD storage as you can see in recent Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 tablet. However, new iPad 5 might come with the mightier 512GB storage option, but the cost of SSDs in tablets are much higher than the laptop’s HDD. Guys, it’s cloud era, where everything is saved in Clouds, with your own storage space and accessible anywhere.

Tablets comes with more than 10 hours of battery backup, which is an advantage over average laptops, but latest 4th generation Intel Haswell CPU based laptops can bring the battery backup time up to 14 hours. Multi touchscreen was the considerable feature in tablets over laptop, but you will find the similar feature in high end laptops and ultrabooks. Both type of computing devices comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but iPads comes with 3G, 4G and other SIM features, which can enable a tablet to make calls and browse web via mobile internet data.

You can use an iPad or any other tablets (Windows and Android) as a part of your laptop, but it can’t replace the entire computer. You can use iPads as a media player, quick presentation gadget, ebook reader and music player. Other than this you can also use for following: Using maps, browsing web, playing tablet-optimized games, video calling, voice calling, taking photos and uploading it to the social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

These all above features comes with a laptop too, but you can’t use Tabs for serious computing such as video editing, high-end gaming, comfortable typing on keyboard and using the mouse on any projects can make much difference than that of the touchscreen. Ultrabooks with touchscreens, trackpads as well as mouse is a better option for serious works. Moreover, people are addicted to the traditional keyboards and mouse, which makes switching to the touchscreen keyboards harder. Latest tablet accessories and inbuilt docking system can help connect a keyboard to the iPad tablets, but those are not as comfortable as traditional keyboards with “full keys”.

Laptops and tablets price difference?

Price difference is a big factor, where high end tablets costs much higher than a laptop, where all features of tablets can come in the laptops, may be in the form of ultrabooks. And, whatever tablet manufacturers claim, the tablets are not as powerful as a laptop computer. A good average laptop comes with the half price of the latest iPad, but the average price of a simple android tablet is equal or less to that of a laptop PC. Lower price, less features.

A tablet with as high as 8-megapixel rear camera could be useful for spot photography and no need of transferring to the PC to upload it to the web, but laptops comes with only a front camera, with an average of 2MP camera for video calling using internet, which is available in iPad too.

Here you see an ASUS laptop, which be used as a tablet too by removing the keyboard dock.
Here you see an ASUS laptop, which be used as a tablet too by removing the keyboard dock.

Special feature of a high end tablet – here Apple iPad:

iPad is a tablet computer with the dimensions and weight is approximately comes in middle of smartphone and laptops. The operating system of both devices differs (except Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 – optimized for both kind of gadgets) and it can be a music player, media player, e-reader, light gaming device (some latest paid games are awesome, believe me!) and there are apps and app markets of respective tablet operating systems, where different developers produce useful applications for tablets. Now, Microsoft also created a Windows Store, which brings similar idea of application productions from different developers for the windows tablets and PCs.

New iPad’s look and feel is attractive to the consumers and high end android tablets also luring in consumers, but do always remember, a tablet owner always has a desktop computer or laptop for full fledged usage or as a backup.

Here another LG's laptop cum tablet - But remember, the tablet comes out of these kind of laptops is not superior or equal to the high end tablets in the market.
Here another LG’s laptop cum tablet – But remember, the tablet comes out of these kind of laptops is not superior or equal to the high end tablets in the market.

What is in a laptop?

A laptop is a portable version of desktop computer, where it almost has every feature of a desktop PC and even more. Almost every feature of a tablet can be found here, except few – rear camera, high-res display, portability and battery backup (not in current high end devices!). You can use laptops for power use and business use – with Wi-Fi, ethernet port, Bluetooth, webcams, entertainment software and you can install almost anything on a laptop, with less cost for the gadget.

Comparing Tablet with a Laptop:

Size

An average laptop weighs 5-6 pounds, where the weight of new iPad is less than 1.5 pounds and it’s very easy to carry – can get through the security checks in airports easily. Although there are smaller computing devices of both variants available in market, carrying a tablet is much easier and can be kept anywhere in a flat area. Booting time of iPad is much faster, and you don’t need to shut down it every time you finish using it. No need to be plugged in and opened, but the size of a small book with a protection carry bag will help the device for easy handling, but remember, don’t hurt the glass display, which can be easily broken.

Battery Life

Latest iPad comes with up to 10-12 hours of battery life before a next charge. The charger is smaller than the bulkier laptop chargers. Although average laptop has 4-5 hours of battery life, the new laptops comes with power efficient processors and displays, and will bring up to 14-15 hours of battery backup.

Productivity

By using the docking station with keyboards ad mouse, you can’t convert a tablet to a more productive gadget. You can’t do the work, which can be done by a laptop. Is it possible to burn or watch DVD video from a disk in tablets? iPad is not necessary, but a laptop is must. With a laptop and a tablet together, your productivity increases, by using the syncing feature provided by Apple’s iCloud for iPad/Mac/iPod and other services such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive for android and Windows tablets.

Hardware Connectivity

The peripherals support in laptops are more than a tablet’s peripheral support. There are standard ports and connectors available in laptops, which can also used in a desktop computers. Standard USB ports, additional display ports (for extra monitors and projectors), LAN ports can’t be found in an iPad, but micro USB port, HDMI output can do some tasks, which are possible in laptops.

Navigation

Touchscreen navigation vs keyboard/mouse navigation is tough to compare, but both are very useful depending on the usage of the device. Both are very different input devices. The capacitive touchscreens of latest tablets is very responsive and natural to use than a mouse, and some touchbooks comes with touchscreens too.

Using a touchscreen keyboard is harder than using a physical keyboard. With USB OTG (On The Go) feature, you can connect a USB keyboard to a tablet and there keyboard accessories for popular tablets available in the market.

Other facts:

Laptops/Ultrabooks can get itself installed with any supported operating systems, even you can install Windows OS on a MacBook Pro as a secondary OS. But, the operating system of a TAB. You can only use the manufacturer provided OS (except rooting and custom OS installations for experts, which voids warranty) and you have to only use the apps from respective app stores/markets. Laptop has huge advantage in storage feature of average of 300GB, where it can support 1TB to 4TB hard disks and it can’t be available in iPads, not yet!

Conclusion:

Finally, it’s up to you to choose between these devices depending on your needs and usages. If you want to buy a gadget with portability, efficiency with handy apps and wireless connectivity, you should go for new iPads or any other tablets and it will be a great addition to your computing devices. And if you don’t have a fully fledged computer with you, then I recommend you to go for a Laptop or a latest Ultrabook, which will do a lot for you such as – hard core gaming, serious programming and coding, web designing, important project works, hardware and software support. There are new entries to the market with lighter and very portable models with more features than older laptops. Now, just think again, which one you really want?


About Ariana Whitmore

ariana@thenextdigit.com'
She has been writing columns on consumer gadgets since 2010. Her areas of interests include smartphones, tablets, mobile OS and apps. She holds M.C.S. degree and working on her startup, which aims to solve IT support issues.

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