Can a Tablet Be Used as a Laptop? Best Tips!

Mobile gadgets have gone a long way as we now have tablets that are actually very versatile and powerful. Once seen as a gimmick, the tablet computer is now almost as good as a laptop in terms of its productivity and functionality. Of course, this also means that a tablet has enough power to actually help multitaskers in today’s fast-paced world. But can your tablet really be used as a laptop or even replace it?

Tablet can be used as a laptop but still cannot replace it. That’s because there are many things that you can do that you cannot do with a tablet. But if you are only after simple word processing, spreadsheets, and internet surfing, a tablet can be good enough for you.

It might be true that the tablet has gone a long way from its inception many years ago. Then again, it still is evolving. Similar to how the laptop was previously seen as something miles away from what a desktop computer can do but is now catching up or may even be close to equal levels, the tablet is also on its way there and may even end up catching up sooner than we think. Nevertheless, let’s talk more about how you can use your tablet as a laptop.

iPad Pro tablet using keyboard cover

Can a tablet be used as a laptop?

Many of us now live and breathe using our mobile devices as we often are in front of our mobile phones. If not our mobile phones, we may be in front of our laptops working, gaming, or watching movies. And the hybrid version of our mobile phones and our laptop computers are the tablets that are just as popular as both of these products.

Not many of us know that the tablet has been around for nearly four decades already as some early iterations of the tablet we have today can be dated back to the 80s and the early 90s. However, it was not until the introduction of the Apple iPad in 2010 that the tablet has become revolutionary.

It is needless to say that the mobile tablet has only continued to grow in terms of its functionality and popularity since then. And like it did in 2010, the iPad is still the one ruling the tablet market today with Apple ruling about 60% of the market share in the tablet industry. But there are also plenty of other tablets that are just as good as any other tablet out there.

As the tablet is still very much evolving right now, is it right to say that it has now reached a level where it can now be used as a laptop? After all, the tablet is no longer just a larger version of your smartphone but has already evolved into a device all on its own.

Yes, you can actually use your tablet as a laptop if you are on the go and you need something that is smaller and more convenient than most laptops are. Aside from the fact that tablets are now more powerful, they now come with peripherals and improved interfaces that will allow you to use them in a way that is similar to how you use your laptop computers.

As such, it is now easy to understand why more and more people are making the switch to tablets or are buying tablets so that they can use them in a similar way that they use their laptops. Tablets are no longer just oversized devices that will allow you to watch videos or play mobile games on a larger screen but have already become quite capable to act as alternatives for the conventional laptop that most people still own today.

Dell Inspiron Laptops

How can you use a tablet as a laptop alternative?

Now that you know that your tablet can be used as a laptop, let us now go into the details that will allow you to actually use your tablet in a similar way as a laptop so that you can use your tablet when you are on the go or if your laptop is unavailable as of the moment.

How can a tablet become like a laptop?

As you might have already known, the tablet and the laptop are two different devices that are each unique on their own. Tablets run on their own specific operating systems, have different user interfaces, and have touchscreen surfaces that will allow you to top on icons or on an onboard keyboard so that you can work or communicate using the tablet. Meanwhile, laptops are just like desktop computers but only smaller and more compact.

So, if you want your tablet to be able to function just like a laptop, here are some things you would need to get:

  1. Keyboard

The one weakness that has hindered the tablet for many years since the release of the iPad back in 2010 is that it is extremely tough to work fast and efficiently enough using the touchscreen keyboard that comes with tablets. In some cases, people can even type faster using their smartphones than their tablets because of how it is extremely tough to mimic the same touch-typing you do with your laptop keyboard on a touchscreen keyboard.

But, over the past few years, more and more keyboard attachments have been entering the market so that tablet users can use them for their tablets. These keyboards are usually proprietary products of the brand that manufactured the tablet just like Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which works together with the Apple iPad. So, in a sense, buying the keyboard that should go along with your tablet should make it easier for you to type on your keyboard so that you can type just as fast as you would on a laptop.

  1. Mouse

While the touchscreen surface of a tablet has its own perks because of how you just simply tap the icon for you to be able to access it, it still has a few weaknesses that have hindered it in the past. That’s because touchscreen still pales in comparison to the efficiency and the amazing hand-eye coordination that comes into play when you are using a mouse.

That’s why there are now companies that offer their own mouse for their own tablets so that you can mimic the same efficiency that laptops have when there are functions that require the function of a mouse such as when you are dragging things along the screen or copying or highlighting certain paragraphs that can be tough to do when you are dragging your finger along a touchscreen surface.

  1. Media hub

Another problem with tablets is that they usually only come with one port, which is the charging port. This can become problematic for a lot of people that make use of different media devices and storage disks when they are using their laptops. As you might have noticed, laptops have multiple ports for USB and even come with an HDMI port that will allow people to connect them to larger monitors.

That said, you need to secure a media hub for your tablet if you want to be able to use it like a laptop. There are media hubs that you can connect to the tablet’s port and extends the port into multiple ports such as USB ports or even an HDMI port that will allow you to extend the tablet’s display onto a bigger monitor screen. Without this port, you will have to stick to cloud computing if you want to transfer different files from different devices.

  1. A powerful tablet

Let’s be real here when we say that you need a tablet that is actually powerful enough so that it can perform tasks that you can only perform using a laptop. That’s because laptops are great at multitasking such as when you have plenty of apps, programs, and tabs opened for your work or for other purposes. To that end, you can’t just do that with any ordinary tablet because you actually need a tablet that is powerful enough to handle the same kind of load that laptops tend to carry on a regular basis.

However, the market now has plenty of different powerful tablets that are capable of standing up to the speed and performance ratings of most laptops today. One case in point is the M1 Apple iPad Pro, which has enough speed and power to blow most laptops out of the market. Meanwhile, the entry-level iPad might be pretty powerful in its own right but it might not be the best when it comes to handling several tasks all at once. That’s why you might want to go for the more powerful versions such as the iPad Pro.

keyboard with phone and tablet pc

In what ways can a tablet function like a laptop?

If you already have all the things you need to allow your tablet to function as a laptop, let us now talk more about how you can actually use a tablet in a similar way as a laptop.

  1. Media viewing

This is actually a no-brainer because tablets have already had this function for as long as we can remember. You can use your tablets to watch movies through your favorite streaming services or by using movies that you downloaded and stored. The best part is that tablets come with their own apps for popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Of course, because tablets now have larger storage spaces than ever before, you can actually store media files such as movies in your tablets without taking up a huge chunk of space.

  1. Word processing and spreadsheets

If you have a keyboard and a mouse for your tablet, you can now use your tablet for word processing and for spreadsheets in a way that is similar to your laptop. This will allow you to type inf speeds that are similar to that of when you are using a laptop’s keyboard as many of today’s tablet keyboards are actually pretty functional and intuitive.

  1. Online meetings

While smartphones are capable of handling this function as well, it might not be the best idea for you to be carrying a smartphone for extended periods of time while trying to make sense of what is happening in a meeting on such a small screen. As such, because tablets come with their own integrated cameras and microphone, it is now easier for you to attend online meetings without the use of a laptop. Of course, having a keyboard around with you can allow you to type fast enough when you need to do so during an online meeting.

  1. Light gaming

When you have a keyboard and a mouse for your tablet, you can handle light gaming sessions in a similar way to what a laptop can do. So, if your tablet has certain games that are also available on a laptop’s operating system, you will be able to perform better in that game if you have a keyboard and a mouse instead of struggling to play that game using your tablet’s touchscreen surface.

Is a tablet a replacement for the laptop?

Now that you know that your tablet can do certain things that laptops can do, is it safe to say that the tablet can be a laptop replacement?

Unfortunately, no, a tablet is not a laptop replacement but is actually a laptop alternative in case you can’t use your laptop during certain periods of time. That’s because laptops still have plenty of different things that tablets can’t do, which include the following.

  1. Coding and programming

As powerful as tablets have become, they still lack some of the basic capabilities that will programmers to code and develop programs and apps using tablets.

  1. It’s all in the operating system

Even if the operating systems that tablets come with have come a long way, the operating systems you see in laptops and desktops still offer more freedom and customizations and fewer restrictions compared to the mobile OS you see in tablets.

  1. Advanced gaming

Again, tablets are becoming more powerful but game developers are yet to integrate to them the same kind of advanced and graphics-intensive games that you see in laptops and desktops. In fact, the GPU of a tablet is a lot weaker than that of the ones you see on laptops and desktops, and that is the main reason why some of the more advanced games are still unavailable on mobile devices such as tablets.

Msi gaming laptop

The laptop is still more versatile

At the end of the day, the laptop still reigns supreme in terms of its overall versatility because there are simply more things that you can do with your laptop compared to your tablet. However, the tablet still has its own niche in terms of the things that it can do as a laptop alternative especially for those who are looking for a more convenient and portable way to do simple computing such as word processing. That said, the tablet is still evolving and growing, and it might not be long before it catches up to what the laptop can do.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade.

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