In the modern world of the on-the-go employee and the consumer with a short attention span, desktop computers don’t really cut it as well as they used to. Portability and power are the two biggest concerns of those looking for a computer, which means that tablets and laptops are the biggest contenders when it comes to computing today. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, each of which will be listed below so that you can determine which device is best for you.

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The Advantage of the Tablet

If portability is more important to you than power, then tablets are the way to go. Tablets are more lightweight than laptops thanks to their smaller screens, lack of a traditional keyboard and skinnier frame. If your goal is to check emails on your morning commute or finish up a spreadsheet on the way home, then a tablet is probably for you. Tablets are also great for an impromptu Netflix binge or a time-wasting round of Angry Birds– they can be turned on and off quickly and stored promptly, and their increased processing power and bigger screen when compared with your smartphone make them a worthwhile purchase.

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The Advantage of the Laptop

If you prefer power over portability, then you’re going to want to grab a laptop. They’re a little heftier and not as easily accessible when compared to a tablet, but they’re going to give you access to Microsoft Word and Excel and all of those other tools that are virtually essential in modern business. It’s not going to be as comfortable to open up your laptop on the way to work as it would be to whip out your tablet, but writing an article with a traditional keyboard and bigger screen is going to be much more intuitive than it would be if you were trying to do it with the touchscreen keyboard and notepad that comes with the typical tablet.

What are You Looking for in a Computer?

So we’ve discussed that tablets are great for portability and laptops are better for power, but how do you know which one is more important to you? One easy distinction to make is that laptops are better for business people while tablets are more conducive to the casual user. The reason is simple- despite all of the advancements that tablet technology has made, it’s just not as easy to surf certain websites or create business documents using a touchscreen when compared with a traditional keyboard and mouse. However, the easy accessibility of a tablet makes way more sense to a person who only needs a computer for Facebook or video streaming.

Business vs. Pleasure

With all of that being said, the simplest way to decide which device is better for you is to decide if you want a computing device for business or pleasure. If business is more important to you, then pick up a laptop. If pleasure is your main goal, a tablet may be better. However, there are plenty of cases where those roles get reversed, which is where the power vs. portability argument comes back up. If you’re a serious gamer, for instance, a laptop’s power is going to give you more opportunities to game seriously. If you’re a reporter, using the mic on your tablet to record an interview will be much easier than trying to do the same thing on a laptop. All in all, each person’s needs are different, so it’s important to read over the pros and cons of each device a few times before making your final decision.