Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Feb 13

Tablet or laptop: which is best for you?

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With so many new portable computing devices on the market—from smartphones to tablets to laptops to something in between—it can be difficult to know which is the best kind. Or, more specifically, which is the best kind for you.

Full confession: I am a laptop person all the way. I don’t own a smartphone or a tablet, and I don’t, personally, have a need for either. I prefer to do my computing (for both work and play) at home or at the coffee shop/ library/ airport, but I don’t need to have my device on me constantly. I do a lot of writing, so a full keyboard is a must for me, and since I’m not carrying it around all the time, the extra weight of a laptop (compared to a phone or tablet) isn’t an issue for me.

But what about everyone else? While some readers out there might fall into the same category as me in terms of their computing needs and habits, there are a lot, I realize, who do not. If you’re on the fence about whether to get a new laptop or tablet, start by considering what your primary use for the device will be, and what your specific needs are.

As I mentioned, a laptop, while portable, is definitely less portable than a tablet— especially a small one like the iPad mini. So if you’re planning on taking this device with you everywhere, then you probably want to go with a tablet.

A tablet’s touch screen is ideal for web browsing, reading, and light gaming, and not as good for typing. So if you want access to a full keyboard, you should either look towards laptops, or tablets that you can pair with a detachable keyboard. While it won’t have the same hard drive or computing power as a laptop, the tablet will now be better equipped for typing and working.

You may also want to consider a hybrid or ultrabook—a convertible device that attempts to function as both a laptop and a tablet. There are several different models on the market now, with varying designs. The HP Envy x2, for example, is essentially just a tablet with an optional detachable keyboard. The Asus Taichi 21 actually has two screens; it’s a laptop with a touch screen on the back. Close the laptop and the turn on the touch screen on the backside for its tablet functionality. Cool, but that makes for a pretty heavy tablet.

What type of device(s) do you use? Does the convertible tablet/ laptop appeal to you?


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