Laptop vs. Tablet, What Is Better For Me?

With how the world has been increasingly becoming more technologically advanced, there are now more options for us when it comes to computers that are compact and easy to carry around. This is where the battle between laptops and tablets usually happens as there are some people who are wondering which between the two they should buy. So, if you only have enough in your budget for either of these two, which between a laptop and a tablet is better for you?

Laptops and tablets both have strengths and weaknesses. Laptops are more powerful and are better overall in terms of their functionality and use. Meanwhile, tablets are becoming quite powerful as well and are able to do a lot of functions but are better off for those who prefer something simpler and more portable.

If you look at laptops and tablets, it can be hard to figure out which between them really is the better machine. As such, it ultimately boils down to preference and to use as different people use their computers for different reasons. So, in that regard, let us look at laptops and tablets and what their specific strengths and weaknesses are so that you can make a more informed decision in your next purchase.

thinkpad laptop next to ipad

The case for and against laptops

The laptop is still the king when it comes to all-around computing. That’s because laptops are capable of doing what desktops can do at a less powerful level but are simply easier and more portable to use. In that sense, while laptops are a tad weaker than desktops, they are compact and easy to carry around so that you can use them while you are on the go especially when you are traveling. That said, let us look at the case for and against laptops when you are comparing them against tablets.


  1. They are more powerful

Even though we often regard laptops as the weaker machines when compared to the bigger and more powerful desktops, they are still very much quite powerful when you compare them to what tablets can do. It is in the power of a laptop computer where a lot of the other advantages it has over a tablet springs out from as most people would compare the two machines chiefly based n the power of a laptop.

The power of a laptop allows it to do a lot of other things that you can’t do with a tablet, and we will go over such tasks later on as we go along with this article. Simply put, being more powerful instantly gives the laptop a huge advantage over tablets.

  • Can handle all-around tasks

Another huge selling point those laptops have is that they are basically capable of handling all of the other tasks that desktops are capable of doing. In a sense, laptops are all-around experts because there are simply plenty of things that you can do with a laptop. If you want to do simple word processing, a laptop can do it for you. If you want to watch movies, play games, or perform any other entertainment-related task, a laptop can more than handle it.

So, in that sense, if you want a machine that can practically do anything that a computer can do, there is a laptop that is ready to comply with your every demand. That is why there are more people who prefer laptops in terms of their overall functionality.

  • Better at multitasking

When it comes to doing plenty of different things with a computer all at the same time, you cannot discount what a laptop can do because, depending on how powerful your laptop is, you can basically use your laptop for multitasking and for performing a lot of other things that you may want to do.

With a laptop, you can run multiple programs all at the same time as long as your memory can handle it. You can also open different tabs on your web browser so that it will be easy for you to cross-reference between all of those different tasks. Of course, if you have a separate monitor that you can connect your laptop to, you can basically speed up your progress because you now have two monitors you can look at.

  • Gaming beast

Even though the best gaming computers are still desktops, there is no arguing against the fact that gaming laptops are now becoming more powerful every single year. There are now plenty of different gaming laptops that come with specs that are nothing short of amazing. This allows them to be great for gaming on the go as you can basically carry your laptop wherever you go and play your games during your free time. Playing high-level games isn’t something that you can usually do when you are using a tablet as tablets don’t come with the same gaming library or even the same power that gaming laptops have.

asus gaming laptop
asus gaming laptop
  • More apps and programs

Despite the fact that tablets have a wide range of apps and programs that you can use, laptops still have a bigger library because the entire internet is your library. They are not restricted to what is available in the app store because you can basically go online and search for different apps and programs that you can install on your laptop depending on what you want to use them for. This allows you to use your laptop for a wide variety of different purposes as such apps and programs are capable of basically anything under the sun so long as the computer’s specs can handle them.

  • All-in-one

When you buy a laptop, you buy it as a complete all-in-one machine that comes with all of the peripherals that you need. That’s because the laptop is built to have all of the different components you need to make it function such as the keyboard and the trackpad. As such, you no longer have to go out to buy the other peripherals when you buy a laptop.

  • Better OS

The operating systems that laptops come with are just simply better than any operating system that tablets run on. That’s because laptop operating systems allow you to have a wider range of control over the entire machine. Meanwhile, there are a lot more apps and programs that cater to the operating systems that laptops run on.


  1. Not too durable

It isn’t rare for you to see laptops getting repaired every now and then because they aren’t the most durable machines around. Granted that laptops go through a lot of wear and tear whenever they are carried by their owners during travels or whenever something gets spilled on the keyboard, they still aren’t very durable. Laptop screens can easily shatter and a small spill can basically short the entire computer out. Even a fall from a few feet can already ruin a lot of the different internal components of a laptop.

  • Heavier

As light and as compact as laptops may be compared to desktops, they are still bigger and heavier compared to tablets. This makes them more difficult to carry for those who really want to pack light as you actually need a bag that is big enough to carry your laptop. There are some laptops that are so slim and light that they are basically half the size of some of the other laptops on the market. Still, they are a lot bigger than most tablets available on the market.

  • You actually need to put a laptop on a surface

Even if laptops are named “laptops”, they really aren’t best used on your lap because of how they will easily heat up when used that way. Instead, you need to put your laptop on a flat surface so that you can properly use it. This isn’t the case for tablets, which you can basically operate with one or two hands without worrying about putting them on top of any surface.

The case for and against tablets

On the other hand, tablets are becoming more powerful every single year. In the past, they were seen as larger versions of smartphones but they have since developed their own unique identity as tablets are now regarded as hybrids between smartphones and laptops. So, if you are thinking of getting a tablet over a laptop, here are the pros and cons of tablets.


  1. Light and compact

Tablets are very light and compact. Even if you were to buy the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it still is lighter, slimmer, and more compact than most other laptops out there. This means that you can easily pack your tablet and carry it around wherever you go because of how small and compact they are. There are even other people who carry their tablets by hand without much difficulty, and that isn’t always something you can say about laptops that may be light but are still a lot heavier than most tablets.

surface pro screen and keyboard
  • Can be used anywhere

Because tablets are generally bigger versions of smartphones, it is quite easy to use them anywhere just like how easy it is for you to use your smartphone anywhere. You can easily operate a tablet with two hands or even one hand without much trouble. This allows you to have a machine that you can carry around and use anywhere you like because you don’t even need to put it on a surface for you to use it.

  • Intuitive and easy to use

Just like your smartphone, your tablet is also very easy to use because of how intuitive it is. You don’t have to go through a basic computer literacy course just so you could understand how to use a tablet as even kids that are barely old enough to read can learn how to operate a tablet.

That’s because tablets basically hand out everything to you on a silver platter as all you need to do is to press on the icon of the app you want to use. You don’t have to go through several folders just so you could access the apps you want to use whenever you are using a tablet.

  • There is an app for everything

When it comes to using a tablet, there is almost always an app for everything you want to use the tablet for. If you want to stream videos, there are apps for that. If you want to do word processing, there are apps for that. And if you want to play games, there are apps for that.

Of course, it is also easier for you to install such apps because all you need to do is to go to the dedicated app store and then download whichever app you want to download without even going through a complicated installation process.

  • More durable

Tablets also tend to be more durable compared to laptops. While laptop screens easily shatter, most tablets are made with durable screens that, even when shattered, can still be used. Moreover, because tablets are compact and are made with fewer moving parts, a simple drop won’t cause a lot of damage to the tablet. In most cases, it won’t even get damaged at all.

Moreover, the durability of a tablet can also be seen in how it doesn’t even need to be shut down throughout its lifetime. As long as you are putting it in sleep mode after using it, there is no need to worry about the tablet’s overall longevity. This isn’t the case for laptops, which often need to be shut down so that you can give their parts and components a rest.


  1. Accessories cost extra

If you want your tablet to be able to function as a laptop, you would need to buy its accessories such as the keyboard and the mouse. This will most likely cost you extra as you will see your overall expenses exceeding what you could have spent had you bought a laptop instead.

three ipads next to each other
  • Not as powerful

Tablets, while becoming more powerful especially when you look at the newer M1 iPad Pro, still pales in comparison to laptops in terms of their power. Of course, that’s because laptops are bigger and can afford to have bigger and more powerful parts. However, the lack of power in most tablets is what makes them lag behind laptops when it comes to gaming and programming.

  • Poor gaming library

Again, even though tablets are becoming more powerful every year, they still lag in terms of their gaming library. The games that you can play on a tablet are still far below the ones you can play on a laptop. This makes the tablet not as appealing to gamers as gaming laptops are unless you don’t mind playing mobile games that aren’t as amazing as the games you can play on a laptop.

  • The operating system can be restrictive

Even though tablet operating systems are easier to use and are very intuitive, they are more restrictive compared to laptop operating systems. That means that there are more limits to what you can do with a tablet as compared to what a laptop allows you to do precisely because tablet operating systems are restrictive.

Which one is better for you?

Now that you know the pros and cons that come with laptops and tablets, it is now time for us to decide which one is better for you. So, in deciding which you should go for, you have to look at it from a personal perspective because you need to go with the machine that matches your preferences and demands.

If you basically live through a computer in terms of your job and your hobbies and you want a machine that offers you a lot of different things to do in a package that is light and compact, the more powerful laptop should be the better choice for you.

However, for those who prefer something very light, intuitive, simple, and easy to use whenever they are on the go and whenever they are using it for simple tasks such as browsing or word processing, the tablet tends to be a better option.


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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