Difference between a Laptop and a Tablet
By Theydiffer - March 18, 2016

Having trouble choosing between a laptop and a tablet? There is one way to help you decide, and that’s learning the differences between the two. It will not only educate you about how these two work, but it could also help you decide on which one suits you the best.


Tablet computer

Tablet – Shortened from the term ‘tablet computer’, a tablet is a mobile computer that features a touchscreen display, circuitry, and a battery in a single device. Tablets offer the same usage as the desktop computer, but do not require a keyboard and are often slower in performance. Instead of a keyboard, tablets offer on-screen, pop-up virtual keyboards instead. They are often compared to smartphones as they have the same features, but are usually larger and heavier.

The tablet was first conceptualized in the mid-20th century. The first mass-market tablet was the iPad (the first-generation tablet computer by Apple Inc.) that was released in April of 2010. Prior to its release, there were already projects that pushed with the creation of the tablet such as the Dynabook (a portable personal computer forf all ages) that was developed in 1972 by computer scientist Alan Kay, the ST-Pad in 1992 from Atari, the NewsPad project in 1994 from the European Union, the Tablet PC in 2000 from Microsoft, and the DelphiPad in 2001 from Ericsson Mobile Communications.

Types of tablets

  • Slate – This is your standard tablet that varies in different sizes starting from 6 inches and up. Examples of these are Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro, Dell XPS, Sony Xperia Tablet Z, and iPad Pro.
  • Mini Tablet – This is a smaller and lighter tablet than standard slates. Sizes can only go from 7 to 8 inches. Examples of these are Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and Nexus 7. They usually have lower specifications.
  • Phablet – This tablet is a combined feature of a tablet and a phone. Examples of these are LG Optimus VU, Samsung Galaxy Note, and Dell Streak.
  • Convertible, Hybrid, 2-in-1 – This is a tablet that features a detachable keyboard, has typical laptop I/O ports, and can connect to a number of PC peripheral devices and external displays.
  • Gaming Tablet – This is a tablet that features physical gamepad buttons such as D-pad and thumb sticks. Its intent is to provide a better gaming experience for users. An example would be Nvidia’s Shield Tablet.
  • Booklet – A tablet that offers a dual-touchscreen feature, and can fold like a laptop with its clamshell (flip/fold) design.

Advantages of Using a Tablet

  • Portability – Allows users to use laptops anywhere and anytime. Much smaller and much lighter than a laptop.
  • Functionality – While it may be smaller than a laptop, it can still provide the same functionality, but to a lesser degree. Also, it does not have the need for a keyboard.
  • Battery Life – Tablets have better battery life than laptops.
  • Flexibility – A tablet can fill the role of a laptop, while acting as a larger smartphone. This means it can perform most of a laptop’s functions and can also perform some features of a smartphone such as shooting videos, or taking photos in an easy manner.

Laptop vs Tablet

What’s the difference between a laptop and a tablet? There are a great many differences between the two, but only several are noteworthy.

In terms of their performance, laptops take the advantage of typically having higher RAMs and faster processors. In today’s laptops, RAM usually tends to be between 4GB and 8GB, while tablets only have 1GB or less. Storage is also another factor where laptops win again. While a tablet can reach up to 512 GB of space, a laptop can reach up to 1 TB. Now consider the pricing of both storages: a 512 GB tablet will cost you more or less $2,000, but with a 1 TB laptop, it only costs $1,000. In terms of display, laptops usually are bigger with a standard screen size of 13 inches at 116 pixels per inch, while tablets usually have a screen size of nine inches with 218 pixels per inch.

Now here is where tablets have the advantage; in terms of portability, there’s no doubt tablets are more easily carried around with their smaller size and lighter weight. In addition, tablets also have a longer battery life than laptops. Regarding their functionality, they each serve a different purpose, making their features dependent on what users need. If you’re looking to get some work done, then a laptop is hands down the better pick, but if you’re into some smart phone features with a little bit of PC functionality, then a tablet can be the one you’re looking for. In the end, it all comes down to your budget and your needs.

Comparison Chart

Bigger (Standard size at 13 inches)Smaller (Standard size at 9 inches)
Costs less (in relation to its specifications and manufacturer)Costs more (in relation to its specifications and manufacturer)
Recommended for office tasksRecommended for Media and simple internet usage
Battery life lasts shorter time (1 to 6 hours)Battery life lasts longer time (10 hours or more)
More connectivity optionsFewer connectivity options
Requires keyboard usageDoes not require a keyboard (Touchscreen feature)
More data storageLess data storage
Upgradeable componentsCan’t upgrade components