“Scott, I’m thinking about buying an iPad and doing some research. I know very little about them, except that they are very handy,” Janet wrote me in an email a few weeks ago. “I’m curious. What are the benefits of an iPad over a laptop?”
With the advent of numerous mobile computing devices like iPad, the Kindle Fire, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the new Google Nexus 7, many computer users – maybe even you – are asking the same question.
Which is better – a laptop or a tablet?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. As with all technology purchasing decisions, it comes down to you answering two important questions: 1) What do you need or expect the device to do? 2) How much are you willing to invest?
What Will You Be Using The Device For?
This is the most important question when purchasing any technology device – or anything for that matter. For example, you need transportation. You can choose between a bicycle, a moped, a motorcycle, a car, and a truck. You have to answer certain questions to determine which of those vehicles will meet your specific needs.
It’s the exact same when choosing between a laptop and a tablet. What will you want or need to do on the device? Are you only checking email? Will you do a lot of typing? Will the size of the screen affect what you will be doing? Do you need a device that offers plenty of storage for files and pictures? Will you need to edit pictures? Will the device be used for business or pleasure? Do you prefer a traditional keyboard with real keys or an on-screen keyboard?
The list of questions could be quite lengthy. But taking time to answer questions like these will help you make the right purchasing decision. After all, no one likes to buy something only to find out that it doesn’t work like they had hoped.
Once you’ve decided on either a laptop or a tablet, your work isn’t done. You then have to select among the variety of options available for the product you chose.
For example, if you determined a tablet would meet your needs, you now have to decide between iPad and one of the dozens of Android-based devices. Each of them has its own pros and cons.
How Much Are You Willing To Invest?
Once you’ve determined the right device that meets your needs, then it’s appropriate to consider the cost. You may find the perfect device that fits right in your budget. Or you may find that to get exactly what you need may cost a little more than you had expected. Then you have to decide whether to pay the extra or scale back on what you need.
I personally own both a laptop and a Google Nexus 7 tablet. For most things, I find myself using the laptop because it’s much easier for me to use – a full-size keyboard that’s easier to type on, a larger screen to be able to view documents and websites in their entirety, and the availability of all the software programs that I need to use.
I generally only use my Nexus 7 tablet for checking email, reading Kindle books, checking Facebook and Twitter, and tracking my vehicle mileage.
So many options make it challenging to determine the perfect device for your needs. As always, I’m here to offer advice and help you navigate the ever-changing world of technology.