If you’re thinking of buying a portable computer, then there’s one big question you’ll need to ask yourself first – whether you want a laptop or tablet device. Sure, there are a few other portable devices (netbooks spring to mind here), but these two are by far the most popular on the market. While tablets were fairly little known until a few years ago, the arrival of the best-selling iPad catapulted them towards the mainstream. Laptop sales have suffered as a result of the tablet’s growing popularity, and this trend looks set to continue. However, you shouldn’t let this sway your judgment. Here are a few things you might want to consider before you decide whether to buy a laptop or tablet device.
Laptop Or Tablet – Which Is Best For You?
Keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen
Perhaps the most obvious difference between a laptop and a tablet is that while the former has its own built-in keyboard and trackpad for moving the cursor around the screen, the latter has a touchscreen layout with no physical keyboard – instead, tablets use on-screen keyboard software.
If you’re used to typing with a physical keyboard, then it might take some time for you to get used to typing stuff out using a touchscreen. You won’t feel the individual keys at your fingertips, and this can be quite problematic for many users at first. You’ll find yourself looking down at your on-screen keyboard more, which is likely to slow your typing speed down.
However, using a touchscreen to navigate your way around your tablet’s various functions is probably easier than using a trackpad. Just drag your finger across your tablet’s screens to access the functions you want to use. Trackpads can be a little bit fiddly – underneath the trackpad itself, there are two buttons for left and right clicking.
Portability and versatility
It should go without saying that tablets are far lighter than tablets, and so are easier to carry around. If you need to use your device while you’re on the move, then a tablet may be the better option for you. However, it’s worth remembering that many of the newer laptop computers are themselves a lot lighter than their older counterparts – in fact, it’s possible that the convergence between the two devices will continue over the next few years and they’ll come to resemble one another more closely. Regardless, laptops are more versatile and more powerful than tablets so general computer users may be better off with a laptop.
Obviously, a lot of people are somewhat strapped for cash at the moment and so cost is a particularly important consideration when it comes to deciding whether to choose a laptop or a tablet. In this regard, the laptop would appear to be the clear winner. Laptops have come down quite dramatically in price over the last few years, as users have made the switch to the tablet instead. This means there are some real bargains to be had if you look around in the right places. Plus, tablets are more recent than laptops, which is part of the reason why they’re still more expensive.
Johan Kemp is a consumer advice columnist and is currently writing in conjunction with the BT Shop.