Tag Archives: tablet

Tablet vs. Laptop: Which One Is Right for You?

By Tracey Dowdy

Ever since the advent of the tablet, the debate of laptop vs. tablet has raged. Well, maybe not raged, but frequently discussed, occasionally with vehement hand gestures.

Are they interchangeable? Does one perform just as well as the other? Well, yes and no. Before investing in a tablet or a laptop, stop and consider what your needs are and use these tips to determine which device is best for you.

PRICE

For most of us, price is a primary issue. Laptops generally start at $500, whereas a tablet like the Verizon Ellipsis 8 is available for as little as $79.99. Depending on what your needs are, if you’re on a budget, a tablet may be the way to go.

Advantage: Tablet

POWER

Most tablets use a variation of a smartphone operating system. For example, the iPad uses iOS and the Verizon Ellipsis 8 is Android based.  Like many mobile devices, the focus is on touch screens and ease of use. Consider that tablets generally come with 1 GB of RAM or less. Laptops on the other hand come with 4-8 GB of RAM making it much easier to multi-task. Think of your hard drive as a file cabinet and RAM as your desk. Once you pull files from the cabinet, you can spread them out on your desk and jump around. More RAM means faster speeds and better performance, which is especially important for gamers – and by gamers I don’t mean those playing Candy Crush or Kim Kardashian.

Advantage: Laptop

BATTERY

Ah battery life, the bane of our tech existence. To be fair, it’s difficult to compare laptop and tablet battery lives because of the different ways the devices are used. However, if you compare battery specs from the manufacturers you get a better picture of what to expect. The average laptop battery offers roughly 6 hours of continuous use whereas the average tablet offers 10 hours or more. Enough said.

Advantage: Tablet

STORAGE

Another important piece of the puzzle is how much storage you will need. Tablets generally come with 16-64 GB of storage. High-end tablets offer much more, but they also come with a high-end price tag. On the other hand, you can get a laptop with a full terabyte of storage for under $1,000. In fact, storage doesn’t really impact the price of a laptop. Of course, cloud storage is an option for tablets but you’ll need to consider security issues, whether you’re willing to pay a monthly fee, and whether or not you’re disciplined enough to regularly transfer those photos and other data to the cloud.

Advantage: Laptop

DISPLAY

Most newer tablets offer displays of over 250 pixels per inch, with the latest iPad mini coming in at a whopping 326 ppi. That’s why Denzel looks so good on Netflix. Well, that and good genes but I digress. On the other hand, most laptop displays are below 200 ppi, although the number of hi-res laptops is increasing every month. Keep in mind most laptops screens are larger than tablet displays, so that image doesn’t necessarily need to be as crisp.

Advantage: Tablet

CONNECTIVITY

Before making that purchase, think ports and connectivity. Will you want to connect to your home theater system? Will you need to print from your device? HDMI and USB ports are standard on most laptops, not so much with tablets. Likewise when it comes to printers. It’s relatively easy to connect your laptop to a printer, again, not so much with tablets.

Advantage: Laptop

Once you know what your primary needs are, the decision is much easier than you may think. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me ‘splain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up”:

Choose a laptop if you:

  • need high performance – think speed and compatibility
  • need lots of storage
  • will use it as your primary device

Choose a tablet if you:

  • already have a laptop or PC and you’re looking for a companion device
  • primarily want a device for surfing the net and entertainment
  • want something simple.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Put Down Your Remote and Pick Up Your Tablet

By Robyn Wright

In my house, the clickers (remote controls) always seem to be missing or, if we can find them, the batteries have mysteriously disappeared. This is no longer a problem though, because I can use my tablet to control all of our home entertainment devices. No more missing remotes; no more digging through the sofa cushions; no more missing batteries. Everything is in one place, right on my tablet, which I usually have in my lap anyway.

One caveat is that your home entertainment devices need to be current. You cannot control your console TV from the 70s with a tablet. Anytime you are buying a new TV, DVR, stereo, or other equipment, be sure to check out those extra features, like being able to control them with apps. Be on the lookout for devices that say they are Wi-Fi ready. Bluetooth ready and Airplay compatible are other terms you might see. My preference is for Wi-Fi, so I can almost always find an app that will turn my tablet into a remote.

Once you see what your connection capabilities are, then you can look for the apps you need. Start with the manufacturer’s website to see if they offer an app themselves. These will be the easiest to use, since they are specifically designed to work with your device.

If you cannot find a manufacturer’s app, then it’s time to search your favorite app store. Again, search for the brand name first to see what you can find and then move on to searching for terms like “TV remote,” “DVR remote,” etc. Because there are so many options and configurations, you have to find what will work with your tablet and your entertainment systems. Search for “remote control” and you will be amazed at the options.

Most of the apps are very intuitive and easy to set up. Many will allow you to control devices by room – one setup for the living room, one for the bedroom, and so forth. There can be a lot of options, just take your time, and don’t worry, you won’t break anything. One small warning: the kids (okay, and adults too) will think it is fun to add the remote apps to their devices and change the channel on you when you aren’t looking!

Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!