Laptop Vs Tablet Computers (iPad), Advantages and Disadvantages

When it comes to choosing a brand new computer, there will be confusion. It is not just because of the range of laptop/PC brands available in the market, but also because of the different types of computing devices that have been launched. With devices like the Apple iPad (iPad 2 also) launched in the market, which is a tablet pc. So, an average consumer’s questions would be, “Should I buy a laptop or tablet pc?” I decided to make some pros and cons of a Laptop and Tablet PC in this article.

Use this as a guide, if you are really a confused consumer. I took iPad as an example of tablet pc, because almost TABs come with the similar configurations.

You will find the difference between iPad and iPad 2 here

So, which one is better, iPad or Laptop?

Here are the main features of the Apple iPad. iPad has completely revolutionized the tablet pc range of devices, but it won’t be a laptop killer. With around 1Ghz Apple A4 processor and 256 MB DRAM (512 RAM in iPad2)and a maximum of 64 GB storage space, battery life offering 10 hours of video, 9.7 inch multi touch screen and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi + 3G connectivity, iPad works best as a media player and as an ebook reader, but you can’t use TABs for serious computing works. For people who are addicted to operating keyboards on laptops, the switching to a touch screen keyboard cannot be comfortable. A laptop computer costs less than half the price of the Apple iPad or iPad 2.

Update: Now there are plenty of keyboard options available for tablets, which includes USB Keyboards as well as Keyboard docks as in Asus Eee Pad Transformer Tablet.

LAPTOP-VS-TABLET-PC

What is in a Tablet PC (here iPad)

iPad is a tablet PC, with the size and weight roughly between smartphones and laptops. It uses the same OS as the Apple’s iPhone and the iPod Touch. The iPad can be a mobile gadget, equipped with an e-reader, gaming device, digital photo frame and iPod (music). Apple and other tablet pc manufacturers has small application programs designed for all ‘above said’ uses, which is called as Apps, you can install them using the App Store or other app marketplaces. The touch screen is easy to clean and Apple users will adapt easily to the iPad look and feel. Some Tabs use android operating systems, which is growing quickly. You can find android apps in android marketplace (Google Play) for android based tablets.

What is in a Laptop?

A Laptop is a combined the functionality of a desktop with the portability of a mobile phone. You can take laptop everywhere and desktops are not. In business, entertainment, gaming, networking, name the sphere of use, there is a laptop for it. Laptops have Wi-Fi, bluetooth, USB connectivity, web cameras and many more features can additionally be added in a less cost. Each manufacturer has something unique to offer, and you can install everything and anything onto a laptop.

Comparing iPad with a Laptop:

Size

The average laptop weighs around 5 to 7 pounds and the iPad weighs 1.5 pounds. The iPad (Tab PC) is easier to carry around and you get through security checks in airports a lot faster. There are smaller Tablet (7-Inches) and smaller Laptops (10-Inches or 11-Inches Notebooks) available in the market. A laptop needs to be opened up, plugged in, and booted up to be used. iPad can be quick booted and no need to unpack and repack a bag.  The iPad dimensions are equivalent to a book, but it’s made of glass. It’s also more expensive than a book. Just because it’s portable, that doesn’t mean you should pack it in a bag without a protective case.

Battery Life

iPad has up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. The charger fits easily in a purse or pocket. A laptop lasts at a maximum of 3 hours and life decreases with applications like games or video. Laptop chargers are heavier than iPad chargers

Productivity

Laptop is more productive than Tablet PCs. But with additional keyboards and accessories, a tablet PC also converted into a serious machine!

Hardware Connectivity

There are huge peripherals support to laptops and Tablet devices are yet to come to standard ports and connectors. For laptops, you may find these ports and connectors less costly than tablet PCs

Navigation

It is difficult to compare a touch screen with standard mouse and keyboard. They are 2 completely different input devices. The touch screen is responsive and more natural to use than a mouse. It boots up very quickly. The keyboard is on-screen, so you have to look down on the screen to type. Also, you have to hold the TAB in one hand and type, unless you get a dock. With an USB keyboard, it will be easy to use Tablets.

Others

Laptops can have any OS, even the MacBook Pro allows you to have Windows as a secondary OS. But you can’t change OS of a TAB. You can only use apps from the App Store/ marketplace. There are ways to download and install other software on your iPad, but that affects TAB’s warranty issue. The TAB PC is a good e-reader. It’s more comfortable and easier to use the TAB, when just reading. The maximum hard disk capacity currently available in an iPad or any other TAB is 64 GB. Now that’s nothing in hard disk land. Laptops have an advantage over here, since the average laptop has at least 200 GB.

Finally, choosing between a TAB and a Laptop should be based on your usage and needs. If you are looking for a portable, efficient and smart device, then you should go for a tablet PC, with good handy apps and easy wireless connectivity, it will be a great addition to any household. If you like a lot into heavy-duty gaming, some serious programming and similar other works, need software and hardware support, then laptop will suit you. Newer laptops models are lighter and more portable than old laptops.

Now, you can decide what you will buy. Do let me know in the comments field below, what do you think? Go through my Smartphone Vs Netbook article, if interested.

Comments

  1. Leonard Yuri:

    I prefer laptop over tablet PC. On the other hand, I find Tablet really easy to carry and lighter compare to laptop but if you want an over all usage of a desktop then laptop is winner. Both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages but better if you have the two :)

    Leonard Yuri
    pchealthadvisor
    PC Health Advisor

  2. Leonard Yuri:

    I prefer laptop over tablet PC. On the other hand, I find Tablet really easy to carry and lighter compare to laptop but if you want an over all usage of a desktop then laptop is winner. Both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages but better if you have the two :)

    Leonard Yuri
    pchealthadvisor
    PC Health Advisor

  3. Edwardruanas:

    I got the conclusion we can´t compare both of them, they are very different, laptops are strong and much better.

  4. Augugstinegeorge:

    I was finding it difficult to make a choice..Your article was very useful.I will go for a lap top.Thanks.

    • PythonSkynet:

      Yes George, Laptop is always laptop :)

  5. Realdeal:

    Pythonskynet. It is my understanding that all the apps are for smartphones or tablets. I prefer a laptop because of the additional features but I would also like to be able to have access to all those apps out there. Need some help on this. Thank-You very much.

  6. BlakeAkari911:

    I’m doing my final for college on the concept of ” Tablets vs. Laptops” your article was very Very helpful, I would like to know are the any health issues involved you think? ( like what could reduce stress or prevent arthritis ?). Also which do you think is more popular in the upcoming future?

  7. Jhene_phyper18:

    can i work efficiently the MS office in a tablet PC?

    • PythonSkynet:

      you can Open, Edit and Save Microsoft Office Documents with OfficeSuite Pro for Android and “iWork” for iPad

  8. Gagan Arora:

    i think laptop is much better than any tablet….

  9. Julie:

    My son got a Nook and it looks so handy and wonderful. I needed to know just what a tablet does compared to what i would use it for (mainly on vacations, i would want to upload my photos and do the editing and send off to get developed, so they would be ready when i got home!).
    I don’t believe that a tablet is going to accomplish what i would want it for… not familiar with ‘apps’ but just the storage size tells me I am not in the right realm of thinking for the tablet usage.
    Your article was VERY helpful… thank you for sharing your knowledge! I will wait until the tablets come around to have more storage & come with photo editing software… then i will join the ‘quick connect crowd’ and carry it with me everywhere. Until then… i will have to lug my laptop along on vacations and weekend outings.

  10. Varun:

    Hello all
    in my opinion. I would like to mention that ipad 2 and any other such tablet pc are attractive in looks but if you come to the usage and purpose of the same I would say laptops are better in any of ways
    tablets can not be used for the business purpose it is more of entertainment device and laptop can be used as entertainment and business.

  11. Olawale Daniel@Technology Blog:

    This is very interesting comparison, I will rather choose the two because they both have their benefits…

    Thanks a lot Buddy :)

  12. Sheila Williams:

    Thanks for the information, it helped me a lot. My son will be in 11th grade this fall, and will be taking more Honors and AP classes. We have been advised the
    students can bring lap tops or tab pc to school, however the device will be required to have notepad,word and a powerpoint option. For the winner is a lap top. Thanks again for sharing your information.

  13. shenoyjoseph:

    both have their unique advantages but i prefer laptop only because its more convenient to work easily. :)

  14. lori:

    I still can’t decide ..I have a desktop computer so is a tablet better than a laptop? Laptops are cheaper than a tablet.. Still can’t decide.

  15. stacey hamill:

    Having used both a tablet and pc I find no similarities, they are separate entities to be used for different purposes. If you are looking to keep spreadsheets, pay your bills/do banking and work away from home, the laptop is your go to. If you want to browse the internet, read, do research, store pics, then the tablet is the perfect tool. My choice, both.

  16. Alyise:

    Thank you for your article. My husband and I are returning to school, he for his PhD, and for myself my bachlors. We were trying so hard to determine which one would be more useful for our needs and we decided to stick with the laptop simply because of the ease of use ergonomically ( we are use to the old way of typing) and ability to do everything we needed to do such as military work, home and office connections and travel across the world with it. Thank you again.

  17. SHAMSHU:

    I am from mangalore ,i have an apple ipod touch,i have heard that i can use internet from my cell phone in ipod as a bluetooth dialup,and the app used for it is “iblue ever”,but i cant get that application from net,if u have any knwledge about this please help me.

  18. jasmine:

    I am just getting ready for college and i have a choice for a tablet or a laptop but i didnt have enough information to make a choice. but from reading this article i can see for serious college work i think a laptop will be a better more efficient choice.

  19. Wendy:

    I am a special education teacher who travels between schools and classrooms, so I rarely have time to sit at a computer. I have tons of paper work. I was thinking of buying a tablet to carry instead of binders of information. Could tablets hold scanned documents? Could I take notes that could be put on to my desktop at the end of the day? I have been handwriting them for years now and it honestly kills my hands.Can I work on web-based programs and read and send emails? I also would love an ereader too. The size, weight, battery life, and portability sound perfect, but I am wondering if an Ipad or a windows based tablet would be a strong enough device to do what I need? Tomorrow is a the start of the tax free weekend in south Carolina and I would love to take advantage of the tax break and help myself out this school year. Please advise…

    • PythonSkynet:

      If you are really considering of hardcore works, then go for a laptop.

  20. Igodan victor jr:

    IPad rules….but it’s better to have both…

  21. Phillip Cohen:

    Hi!
    I am a Resource Specialist who also works, like Wendy, at different schools. I strongly lean toward a laptop because of the amount of paperwork, database programs and research that is needed. I will double check with friends and family who are more attuned to everything tech to see if my decision is the correct one. There are a few Laptops that also “convert” to tabs. This should resolve any conflict one might have in deciding between a Laptop versus tablet.

  22. Malky:

    What about for reading newspapers, magazines and books? Can you do that with a laptop? Are books purchasable, and downloadable via pc’s?

  23. saeed bakhshi:

    i prefer a tab over laptop it’s portable and easier to use

    and tnx for info it helped me a lot :D

  24. Marsha_durham04:

    Thanks for the clear explanation of the differences.

  25. Pebbles:

    My son is 11 and looking to get his own personal laptop or tablet that he will not have to share with siblings.  He uses the computer mostly for gaming such as Wizards 101 and typing school papers.  Should we go laptop or tablet??

    • Ninja-jason51:

      Go laptop lol, eventually your son will find better games and tablets are not good for games. I don;t even think you can play Wizards 101 on a tablet because its a program, not a app.

    • Anonymous:

      Oh my god, an 11 year old needs HIS OWN laptop/tablet? I guess learning to share is so 20th century.

    • Marc-André Voyer:

      Definitively laptop. More functions

  26. CoolBrain:

    There is nothing to compare. the TAB is only for shows off. Nothing more. Just to show to your friend that you are “cool”. But laptop is for a real work in mobility environment. Period.

    • Marc-André Voyer:

      Except tablets like the Asus Eee Slate EP121 which has windows on it ^^

      Yes for the show off part, yes for the productivity part.

  27. Anonymous:

    I think that if you buy a tablet you 1) don’t know the value of money, and 2) have too much of it. Nuff said.

  28. Ollie and Friends Pet Care:

    I’m not sure which way to go.  I am a small business owner, and at this time, I’m also the only employee. That will change soon, and I’ll be opening and operating a non-profit soon, too. Currently my laptop is a Dell Netbook, bought a few years ago as a simple home laptop since I never needed to work from home in my old job. I just needed something for internet and photos. Now it’s time for a new laptop or iPad. Needs: write and update client forms, keep client information, internet, photos, record and bookkeeping. What do y’all think? 

    • Dakota:

      Go with a Macbook Pro. Battery last 7 hours on a single charge, it can run windows if you need to, comes preloaded with iCal for making appointments, etc; Mail for setting up an email account; Address book to organize all of your contacts; Mac App Store to download new apps such as magazines, invoicing apps, etc; Safari to surf the web; iChat for instant messaging; iTunes for music, games, movies; FaceTime to video call other Mac, iPhone 4/4S and iPod Touch (with facetime) users; Preview witch allows you to open PDF files; Photo Booth to take photos using your webcam; iPhoto to store and customize your photos; iMovie to create movies; iDVD to burn dvds; GarageBand to create music; Time Machine to set up automatic back-ups to an external hard drive and Software Update to update your software from Apple.

  29. Ddkedem:

    how about downloading pictures ftom your camera?

  30. Ramzan Mohammed:

    Thanks for the article, very helpful to choose between th eiPad 2 and Laptop.

  31. Shawn Mccraney:

    I think you have definitely help me make a decision. I love what the laptop has to offer, so I will purchase that device because I want more bang for my buck.

    • Musthafa Ullal:

      Yes You can use your hard earned Money for a Laptop than a Tablet

  32. Irene Lopez:

    thank u! u helped me which to choose.. GOD bless! :))

    • Musthafa Ullal:

      your welcome ;)

  33. Nancy Wolbers:

    Thank you that has answered several of my questions…

  34. Shîñîgämï Sourabh Mendhey:

    Nice topic made my decision easy….

  35. Habeeb Crazyabout Doingdifferent:

    hope you helped me a bit………………….but am still confused.

    • Dakota:

      Basically an iPad is a portable version of a laptop/desktop that doesn’t have the fully capacity of a laptop or desktop. Meaning, if you plan on writing college essays or business work plans/ letters than a laptop or desktop is much easier because it has a keyboard instead of touch screen and it allows you to store your documents on the home screen or in other folders. When you create a document, spreadsheet or presentation on an iPad, it only allows you to store the file in the app you are using (i.e. “QuickOffice”). You can print on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch but you have to use either an AirPrint or e-Print printer which is usually more expensive. A laptop/desktop can use virtually any printer either plugged directly into the computer or on the same network. If you are constantly checking your email, surfing the web and typing a paper simultaneously, then a laptop or desktop is way easier. Even just switching through multiple web pages is much easier on a computer than on an iPad because you can have multiple windows open at the same time. You can only view one thing at a time on an iPad. I have a Macbook Pro and an iPad. I use my Macbook mostly for viewing videos on website (such as watching CSI on cbs.com), typing letters, writing long emails and browsing multiple websites at once. I use my iPad when I’m sitting on the couch and I want to check my Facebook or play Bejewled or just checking and responding to short emails.

      Hope this helps.

  36. Mahboob Hussain:

    A good article, comparing the laptop vs I pad. Thanks a lot for providing help to people. Can you compare a laptope vs note book (netbook) also.

    • Musthafa Ullal:

      sure, I will come up with a neat article on Laptop vs Netbook soon… thanks for the visit ;)

  37. Uday Kiran:

    Thanks got a good clarity over these devices, I'm going to buy Laptop.

  38. Sheraz Ahmad Khan:

    The article is worthwhile as far as general disucssion is concerened. Even a layman after reading this can decide what to buy, a tab or laptop….Thanks.

  39. Amit Khanduri:

    Objective.

  40. mahi:

    pls take me some five points of laptop and tablet [thanx]

  41. Matt Tysoe:

    When it comes to CAD, games, video editing nothing will beat the desktop. It doesn't matter how much tablets/laptops catch up – desktop technology will always move on too, so the relative gap is always maintained. Granted, desktops are becoming more of a niche for geeks, high end users etc but then how many people do you see on the road in a supercar?

    I love my handheld device for on the move – but my 3960X CPU is absolutely GODLIKE.

    • the don:

      if you look hard and are willing to pay tons of cash you can get a laptop that will kill any desktop available.

      icore7 rocks

  42. Devanshu shah:

    Goood one cleared ma confusionn thank you dude…………….

  43. Monica Verma:

    I would say for me both have their advantages! desktop for heavy video editing suites and laptop for mobility

  44. Ho Chan Wai:

    I still confusing on selecting laptop and tablet because nowadays most of everyone also using table to surfing internet. The price between a standard laptop and tablet is almost the same…so hard to make the purchase decision :(

  45. Schneider Mcloving:

    I have a laptop already I'm going for the new ipad.

  46. Star Kinnison:

    Thank you for this basic information! This is so awesome of you to make a simple, to the point, informative site. This was the best & easiest site to assist me in my decision. Please make more sites like this about every subject! LOL I'm going w/a laptop because I watch/burn movies, videos, music. Now I just need to find the right laptop! I've been searching for info re: GHz, RAM, storage Along w/ Single, Dual, or Quad processor.

  47. Doris Abraham:

    Still don't know what I want.

  48. Gagan Soni:

    Well, I believe the scene willl change when Windows 8 based tablets will hit the market.
    Intuitive, yet productive!

  49. aravind:

    You had shown a door for me.

  50. prachi:

    Thanks for the article…. But my query is now that Ipad3 is here, does all your arguments still hold true? Please guide..

  51. Nadine Landis:

    What tablet should I buy? Samsung or iPOD?

  52. Akshata Jaiswal:

    i am already having PC. So now for my further studies i will be out off town so for BE studies should i go for laptop or ipad?
    Please reply….

    • Musthafa Ullal:

      Dear Akshata,
      If you are going to study BE, then definitely you need a Laptop than a Tablet because you may need to do more accurate drawings, browsing, learnings and more. You may buy a cheap and best tablet for quicker internet browsing, social media and leisure time pass games, which might cost you $200 approx. Better, buy a cheap and best tablet along with a good and reliable Laptop, which should not give you trouble for at least 3 years, until you complete your studies. All the best.

  53. Mariaangelica Egana:

    love it

  54. sumit kumar yadav:

    i am already having a pc, so now my further studies. So which device is best hp pavillion laptop or a samsung tab.

  55. Mohameed Hameed:

    This is the best article wich sincerely put the matter in a most effective way.

  56. sathish:

    Hi!Musthafa Ullal.I am working at Photographer.I need Adobe premiere cs3,4,5 etc.So,Which is best for me Tablet PC or Laptop ?Please reply me.My Mail id is **************.

    • Musthafa Ullal:

      Hi, Although you can get many quick photo editing android and iOS apps, you will not able to give quality and unique touch to the photos by using a tablet. Hence, I recommend you to buy a mid-level Laptop rather than a tablet for the same.

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