Tablet, PC, or Laptop: Which to Buy?

16. August, 2012 Play No comments
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Let’s say you put a PC, a laptop, and a tablet computer into an arena and armed each one with a tiny weapon. Which machine would come out victorious? Okay, a better question to ask yourself is, “Which machine is best for me? Should I buy a PC, a laptop, or a tablet?” 

It all depends on what you need. If you’re looking for heavy-duty computing, a PC or a laptop is still your best bet. If you’re looking for portability and efficiency, a tablet won’t steer you wrong. Do your research. Compare. Shop around. 

To help you along, here are some hardware comparisons that should help you decide whether you’re better off buying a PC, laptop, or a tablet. 

Remember: a tablet does not ship with a physical keyboard – If you type at the speed of light on a tactile keyboard, you might need to re-train yourself to work on a virtual keyboard if you adopt a tablet. Some people have no trouble latching onto on-screen keyboards; others have a harder time of it. Consider which option you’re more comfortable with. Android and iOS tablets both have optional add-on keyboards, but even though said keyboards are typically lightweight, they’re still a mark against the tablets’ inherent portability. There is one exception: Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet comes with a keyboard that doubles as the tablet’s keyboard. Pretty neat! 

Tablets are much lighter than PCs and laptops, and are equipped with efficient batteries – You can’t beat a tablet for portability, especially if it’s a smaller model like the Kindle or the Kobo. Tablets tuck neatly into your bag, and they add practically zero weight to the stuff you already schlep around on a day-to-day basis. Tablet batteries are also engineered to run for a long time without recharging, whereas a laptop performs heavier processes that require more juice.   

Laptops and PCs offer more data storage than tablets – The average tablet offers up to 64 gigs of flash memory. If you like to hoard music, games, and movies, you’d be surprised how quickly that seemingly huge 64 gigs can get whittled down. By comparison, laptops and PCs offer storage solutions that can go up to hundreds of gigs. Granted, if you’re proficient at navigating and storing data in the cloud, you shouldn’t have too many data storage issues regardless of which platform you choose. 

PCs and laptops are suited for heavy-duty processing – Tablets are ideal for doing quick, light tasks on the road. They’re great for writing, surfing the web, and even small art projects. If your job requires a lot of data-crunching, a tablet might not be an ideal replacement for a good PC or laptop. 

PCs and laptops have very flexible prices – Tablets go on sale, of course, but they generally sell for set prices. They’re hot items right now, so you’re not going to find one at a bargain price unless you really know where to look/how to haggle. PCs and laptops are a very different story, though. Their prices are continuously dropping, they’re frequently on sale, and if you expend even a little effort, you should be able to net a great rig for a good price. 

Still unsure of what you need? For more PC/tablet/laptop comparisons, visit: 

Tablets vs Laptops at About.com

Tablets vs Laptops: Which Should You Buy? at LaptopMag

Tablet PC vs Laptop: Think Before You Buy at Buzzle

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About author

Nadia Oxford

Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com's Guide to the Nintendo DS.

View all posts by Nadia Oxford

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