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Tablets vs. Laptops & Notebooks: Buying Guide - Intel i7 products

Updated on June 7, 2014

In a world where active people’s daily lives heavily rely on technology, the rapid development of gadgets in the computer market has reached a level where products now evolve around one main characteristic: portability.

The competition between tablets and laptops has been significantly heated up in recent years, with many users seeking both productivity and consumption devices. In effect, it can be a challenge to establish a balance between your budget, product requirements and lifestyle in order to obtain the perfect machine for your needs.

Do you go for a laptop or a tablet? This question gets asked often, but then it is vital to explore both gadgets and their different types before making a final decision.

To begin, there is arguably no “winner” between the two contenders. Each gadget is targeted for a particular set of chores, thus, evaluating your goals is key in selecting the right product.

Tablets in brief

Tablets are very lightweight and easy to carry around; but they have less processing power than laptops, and their functionality is often limited. They can however handle basic tasks with perfection, and this conventionally includes sending emails, chatting, reading articles on the web, playing simple games, as well as running media files.

In brief, tablets are mobile devices designed to let you work, play and connect with others on the go. Some even prefer to use them as TV substitutes–something that many television networks around the world allow via online subscription services or mobile apps.

Known as an extreme gaming laptop, the Origin PC EON17-SLX is one of the most advanced desktop replacements, with an 3.0GHz Intel Extreme Core i7-3940XM processor.
Known as an extreme gaming laptop, the Origin PC EON17-SLX is one of the most advanced desktop replacements, with an 3.0GHz Intel Extreme Core i7-3940XM processor.

The versatility of laptops

Laptops today benefit from extreme thinness, which makes them more portable than ever. However, in the PC world, thinner does not necessarily mean stronger and smaller devices are not automatically the fastest.

Indeed, not everyone is willing to take advantage of the portable aspect of light personal computers. For any extreme user, sacrificing power and performance for better design and added flexibility is out of the question.

This is where desktop replacement laptops come in.

With display sizes usually larger than 16 inches, desktop replacements are equipped with fast dual or quad-core processors. They contain amazing graphics, a large amount of RAM and a variety of ports–just enough for you to ditch your all-in-one desktop for good, without losing your unique PC experience.

Yet, it is not all good news. Keep in mind that when customized for the best setup, these products can come with extremely high price tags. In addition, their robust systems require a lot of power, so expect a poor battery life if you plan to buy a desktop replacement.

Mobility can also be a concern with these machines. They are not only difficult to pack in bags due to their large sizes; but their weight, which can dwell around 10 lbs excluding their AC adapter, has nothing but a terrible impact on their portability.

It is therefore no surprise that many students and office workers prefer notebooks and ultrabooks, which are much thinner and lighter than traditional laptops. After all, the experience they provide is more than satisfying for the average PC user, and top manufacturers like Apple have made huge leaps in innovation to change the entire notebook experience into an enviable one. Let us look at a few examples:

At $1299, the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of upgradable RAM, support for millions of colors and 9 hours of battery life even with iTunes movie playback. For twice that price, the 15-inch option’s i7 processor can be clocked at 3.5GHz in Turbo Boost mode, and the larger MacBook Pro boasts 16GB of RAM, plus 8 hours of battery life.

Speaking of the portability of these models, there is practically nothing to worry about: they weight under 4.5 lbs and their height is below an inch.

Leading PC manufacturer Lenovo has also pushed the definition of laptop portability to the limit with the 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook. Starting at only 2.8 lbs, the carbon fiber-made laptop conveys durability and power through its Intel Core i7 processor, high graphics, 8GB RAM, Windows 8.1 Pro 64 system and nearly 9 hours of battery life. But as impressive as it looks, the flat computer comes with a huge price tag, which can exceed $2,000 depending on your configurations.

In effect, the gradual evolution of mobile technology has turned laptops (or notebooks) into highly versatile machines; but despite their undeniable usefulness, one still has reasons to set his eyes on tablets.

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The eminence of tablets

Many admire tablets because they look slick and have touchscreens. The reality however is that a lot of laptops nowadays also have touch support. To ignorant users, it may look as if tablets only serve to show off; nevertheless, there are areas in which they truly have the advantage over laptops.

When you compare the two gadgets and their most renowned series and models, it is noticeable that non-convertible tablets are generally way cheaper than laptops. Although demanding users can still acquire insanely sophisticated tablets at higher costs, modest users on a budget can be equally satisfied.

Through its Venue 8 Pro tablet for instance, Dell offers great features including front and rear cameras, micro-SD storage support, audio jack, micro-USB port, 32GB storage, 2GB RAM and a quad-core Intel Atom processor that can go up to 1.8GHz. The best part surely is that the 8" HD tablet, which is equipped with Windows 8.1 and 10 hours of battery life, comes with a starting price of roughly $300.

With only $100 more, one could enjoy a similar set of features and a collection of free apps–including digital audio workstation Garage Band–with Apple’s highly-rated iPad mini.

Likewise, one could aim for an all-new experience through Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 8. At less than $300, the Chinese Android tablet raises the bar with 18 hours of battery life–enabling you to work, play and interact all day and through the night, on a single charge.

Nonetheless, despite everything, uncomfortable usage can easily be an issue for new tablet users. A lot of people still prefer to type in data with keyboards, rather than using a tablet’s touch input, which can quickly result in many errors and consume time. The act of holding up and using a tablet at the same time is also said to cause fatigue and pain in the arms and wrists of some users.

Fortunately though, such hindrances can be eliminated with little efforts, as more and more tablets these days are released with full keyboards as an add-on accessory to provide a better laptop-like experience. This obviously means throwing in more cash, but it is certainly worth your comfort… And if durability matters to you, then going all out for security via protective covers and screen protectors is a smart choice.

Today, there is a variety of operating systems to choose from. Whether you decide to join the community of Android 4.2 or iOS 7 users, you can be sure of benefiting from some of the world’s most advanced mobile technology, with over a million apps available for each OS.

Nevertheless, if you are a Windows desktop or laptop user and would love to transfer your files back and forth on your tablet, then a Windows 8 tablet should be your pick. Not only is it compatible with the same type of files (as Windows desktops), but also can it run most programs designed for full Windows computers.

A tablet like Microsoft’s 10" Surface 2 is worth exploring as well, taking into account the fact that it comes with touch-optimized versions of Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The downside, however, is that you might encounter limitations, as it can only run apps designed specifically for Windows RT.

Apple's renowned iPad Air comes with free apps, including Garage Band.
Apple's renowned iPad Air comes with free apps, including Garage Band.
The Ultimate Choice? Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix convertible tablet comes equipped with Intel's i7-3667U (4M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz), 10 hours of battery life, 8 GB of RAM, an 11.7" screen, Windows 8, a light weight of 1.8 lbs, and up to 256GB of storage.
The Ultimate Choice? Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix convertible tablet comes equipped with Intel's i7-3667U (4M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz), 10 hours of battery life, 8 GB of RAM, an 11.7" screen, Windows 8, a light weight of 1.8 lbs, and up to 256GB of storage.

Conclusion

Imagine yourself playing games in a standing queue, or reading the news online during breakfast, tweeting while watching a live program on TV, sending emails while lying on your back in your bed or watching a movie while traveling… These are just a few instances when a tablet will serve you better than a laptop.

As another example, editing photos on a notebook or ultrabook is very convenient, but some tasks such as drawing digital images, painting or dragging objects are generally more enjoyable on a tablet.

Finally, if oftentimes you are on the move and you tend to perform basic tasks only, why spend on a laptop’s extra features? A few bucks for select add-on accessories will probably be enough to make your tablet experience perfect.

Evidently, anyone who wishes to do a lot of work while multitasking at the same time will be better off with a laptop. Hence, the latter is often regarded as a productivity machine, while tablets are recommended for consumption. That said, if you have the cash and wish to close all gaps, then going for the duo is ideal.

Otherwise, a deep thought and further comparisons is all you need to discover the product you really need.

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    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Hey isaacasante, I can appreciate another follower my friend.

    • isaacasante profile imageAUTHOR

      Isaac Asante 

      4 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Thanks word55! I'm glad I helped...

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Hi isaacasante, this is excellent information. I sent the link to a friend of mine looking to purchase a new computer. I prefer the mac over all because it's not bombarded with pop ups like many current, windows versions. The mac doesn't welcome viruses which are destroyers of computers as well. The mac has its own anti-virus software. Thanks for presenting this well organized and informative hub.

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