Tablets have been around for a number of years, but only in recent years have they become a viable replacement for a laptop computer. With the release of the iPad and similar competing models, many users are ditching their laptops in favor of the portability and simplicity of a tablet. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of making the switch? Let us take a look at some of the most important tradeoffs.
The main benefit of tablets is their portability. Compared to a laptop, which may weigh from 4 to even a hefty 12 pounds, a typical tablet weighs around 1.5 to 3 pounds, depending on the model. This is a significant savings in weight, especially for a frequent traveler. The slim profile and lack of a keyboard also makes most tablets much more compact and easier to use in tight spaces, like an airplane seat.
Keyboard and Mouse
Tablets generally lack a keyboard and mouse. Depending on user preference, this can be a blessing or a curse. Models such as the iPad and Android tablets are designed with a touch-screen interface in mind, so a lack of a mouse is not a huge problem, but Windows tablets sometimes suffer, as the interface was initially designed with smaller icons and elements that don’t always translate well to a touch-screen device. Users can usually add a mouse and keyboard to a Windows tablet, but this adds extra bulk, negating some of the advantage of portability.
Hardware and Connectivity
Laptops have an advantage in that they usually offer more storage and devices such as a CD/DVD burner built right in. Many tablets, such as the iPad, don’t have any easy way to connect or use many external devices. Windows tablets usually offer more connectivity, allowing users to connect external devices, but this comes at the cost of more bulk, which might make a laptop a more efficient choice.
Overall, the choice between a laptop and a tablet has a lot to do with user preference and the aspects that are most important. Those who prefer a more streamlined interface and want extra portability should probably choose a tablet. Those who find tablet interfaces to be too simplistic, or need a physical keyboard and other devices, such as an optical drive, should probably choose a laptop.