Tablet vs laptop – what’s the difference, and which one is right for you?

Tablet vs laptop - here's a brief comparison...

A comparison between a laptop and a tablet, highlighting their key differences.

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If you are debating “tablet vs laptop,” then we’re here to help you settle that argument.

While tablets and laptops are quite different devices, there are some overlaps. Some tablets can be as powerful as laptops, and some laptops are as portable as tablets. 

Now, tablets can said to be a middle ground between phones and laptops. They have larger displays than mobile phones, they usually come with power-efficient processors, and are quite portable. You can even hook some accessories to tablets and transform them into laptops. Plus, you get more intuitive controls with touchscreen and styluses.

Laptops, on the other hand, are usually meant for business and work. They come equipped with powerful processors and larger displays and are usually portable. Unlike tablets, laptops already have a keyboard and a trackpad built-in. 

If you’re looking to strike the right balance between performance and portability, you might want to compare the two devices and decide which one suits your needs the best.

Tablet vs laptop – what is the difference?

If you look at the specs of tablets and laptops, you will realize that laptops are meant for productivity and work, while tablets are more geared towards entertainment and media consumption. Of course, there are several exceptions to this generalization, and that’s why we have laid out elaborate comparison between the two devices based on performance, display, design, and other specs below.

List of some of the best tablets on Amazon

To give you a better idea, we have listed some of the best tablets right here –

Release dateTabletWhere to buy
2022Apple iPad Pro (6th gen)View on Amazon
2023Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+View on Amazon
2023Asus ROG Flow Z13View on Amazon
2023Google Pixel tabletView on Amazon
2022Apple iPad Air (5th gen)View on Amazon

List of some of the best laptops on Amazon 

To give you a better overview of the market, here are some of the best laptops on Amazon – 

Release dateLaptopWhere to buy
2023Apple MacBook M3 chipView on Amazon
2023Apple MacBook Air M2View on Amazon
2023Dell XPS 15View on Amazon
2023Lenovo Gen 11 ThinkPad X1View on Amazon
2023HP 17 LaptopView on Amazon

Tablet vs laptop – Performance

If we take a surface-level view of things, then tablets and laptops can perform things like browsing, media consumption, and basic functions well. However, when it comes to resource-intensive tasks like video editing or productivity, laptops have the edge as they generally pack in more power. 

The performance of a tablet depends on the specific tablet model that you get. For instance, if you get a powerful tablet like the Apple iPad Pro (6th gen) or Samsung Galaxy Ultra 9 tabet, then the performance comes close to a laptop. However, if you choose a mid-range or budget tablet like iPad Mini 6, then the performance resembles a smartphone. 

Now, a laptop’s performance depends on the kind of processor you choose to get. For example, if you get an Intel P or U series processor, then those laptops can handle basic tasks well. However, if you get a powerful laptop, then the performance resembles 

Another thing to note is that there are 2-in-1 laptops, which are a combination of tablets and laptops and can also be used for productivity tasks. For instance, Microsoft Surface Pro is a convertible laptop that you can easily use as your primary computer. 

Tablet vs laptop – Operating system

Now, tablets run on Android, iPadOS, and Windows – so it comes down to your preferences. If you want more productivity, then the iPadOS or Windows might be suitable. Both operating systems offer productivity tools – so the choice will depend on your preferences. 

On the other hand, laptops usually run on Windows, which is meant to mimic a desktop in a portable version. With laptops, you have more flexibility, as you can install and run several different programs. Plus, with laptops’ power, you can expect software to run more smoothly than on a tablet. 

Tablet vs laptop – Design

Tablets are like larger versions of mobile phones, with screen sizes ranging from 7 inches to 13 inches. The touchscreen is the main input device, although you can add accessories such as a keyboard and a mouse. However, it should be noted that tablets offer limited connectivity options, as they have fewer ports than a laptop. Tablets are sleek and lightweight, as they are meant to be portable. For example, the iPad Pro (6th gen) weighs only 600 grams. 

Meanwhile, laptops have a clamshell design, and they have a keyboard and trackpad built right into them, which are primary methods of input. The screen size usually tends to be bigger than tablets, so you will find laptops with screens as small as 12 inches to as big as 18 inches. Further, laptops offer more connectivity options like multiple USB ports, HDMI ports, and more. As you can guess, laptops weigh more than tablets, but usually, most laptops are portable. For context, you can check out some of the best lightweight laptops.

Tablet vs laptop – Display

As mentioned earlier, tablets usually have smaller screens than laptops. You will find tablets with screen sizes ranging from 7 inches to 11 inches. Of course, there are exceptions, like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra has a big 14-inch screen. In terms of resolution, budget tablets can be HD or FHD, while some high-end tablets can be QHD. 

On the other hand, laptops have screen sizes ranging from 11 inches to 18 inches, which makes them suitable to be a multitasking workstation. Further, laptops have various panel types – like LCD, LED, OLED, etc – so you can pick from these. As far as resolutions are concerned, you will budget HD laptops as well as high-end 4K laptops. A laptop display usually offers more brightness,

Tablet vs laptop – Battery life

If we look at the battery life of tablets, it is usually between 8 hours to 12 hours and even more. Plus, there are tablets like iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S9, which offer an all-day battery. Considering that a tablet has limited internal components and power-efficient mobile processors, tablets do not run out of juice that quickly. 

Meanwhile, laptops usually offer up to 8 hours of battery life, which is sufficient to get you through the day. However, if you perform resource-intensive and power-hungry tasks like video editing or gaming, then the battery tends to drain down faster – gaming laptops are a fine example of this. Again, there are a few exceptions here. For instance, MacBook Air offers up to 18 hours of battery life, which is one of the best battery life laptops

Tablet vs laptop – Camera setup

Now, cameras on tablets and laptops are more of a convenience rather than a necessity. Mostly, people end up using cameras for video conferencing or taking some quick reference photos. 

Most tablets have a rear camera and a front camera with decent resolution. For example, the iPad Pro has 12 MP front and rear cameras, which should be good enough for clicking quick snaps and video calls. Meanwhile, laptops usually have only one web camera with decent clarity, which is primarily used for video conferencing.

Tablet vs laptop – Price 

If you want a tablet for the most basic tasks like browsing and streaming shows, then you will find tablets that cost less than $200. For reference, you can check out some of the best budget tablets. The mid-range tablets, like the iPad Mini 6, offer more power and may cost anywhere from $200 to $600. However, if you look at the premium tablets, like the iPad Pro (6th gen) or Samsung Galaxy Tab S9, they can easily cost you upwards of $1,000. Some of these tablets are powerful enough to replace your computer. But at this price point, you might consider going for a laptop. 

On the other hand, the most affordable laptops can cost you around $300. These laptops are great for emailing, browsing, and other light productivity tasks. If you spend a little more, then you can consider getting mid-range laptops, which are powerful enough for resource-intensive tasks. And if you have a big budget, you can look at premium laptops, which might cost upwards of $1,500, like the Apple MacBook with M2 or M3 processors. 

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 with M3 Pro Chip

Apple MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip

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Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th Generation) M2 Chip

A white iPad Pro

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better laptop or tablet?

The ultimate decision comes down to your requirements and preferences. If your main requirements are work-related, then it is advisable to get a laptop. Generally, laptops are more powerful than tablets. Plus, they come equipped with productivity tools to make your work easier. For instance, it is easier to make an Excel sheet on a laptop than on a tablet. 

Meanwhile, if you want to stream your favorite shows on the go, play video games, check emails, or spend some time on social media, then tablets are more suitable. These devices are lightweight, have bigger screens, and offer excellent battery life. Plus, tablets can also handle basic computing tasks. 

Can a tablet be used as a laptop?

Yes, you can use your tablet as a laptop by attaching peripherals such as keyboards and mice. However, it can be quite an investment. For example, if you want to turn your iPad into a laptop, then you will have to buy a Magic keyboard and mouse separately. 

Conclusion

To sum up, tablets are great if you want to balance performance with portability. If media consumption is your main focus, then tablets are a great portable option. Plus, most tablets can handle basic, light tasks like browsing, word processing, data entry, and more. Some tablets also offer great support for illustrations. However, they offer limited options for productivity in general. 

If you need to do some resource-intensive tasks like video editing or programming, then you might want to consider getting a laptop. Especially if your main use case is work and productivity, then laptops offer better support, as they come equipped with useful tools.