Laptops, Tablets or E-Readers: Which Should I Choose? (Part 2)

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By: Stephanie Petrashko

Last month, we began a blog on factors to consider when shopping for a new portable electronic device, and we focused on laptops. This month, we’ll be highlighting the pros and cons of tablet devices:



Tablets are notebook computers that rely on a touch screen interface for all input.

You can use a tablet for almost anything that you might want to do on a laptop computer.

Tablets are ideal for casual web browsing, moderate gaming or watching movies. Tablets can also be used in a variety of specialized careers such as music and design.

Most tablets have back-lit, LCD screens that are great for web browsing, viewing photos and audio/video playback.

Tablets have instant on/off functionality, compared to a laptop that requires going through a boot-up sequence.

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Tablets are battery efficient compared to laptops. You should be able to get around 10 hours between battery charges, depending on the types of applications you’re running.

There are plenty of handy apps that can significantly extend the functionality of your tablet.

Tablets are very lightweight (typically 1 – 1.5 lbs), compact (typically 8” – 10” screen sizes) and easy to carry compared to a laptop.


The most obvious difference between a tablet and a laptop is the lack of a keyboard. This is fine when navigation primarily involves pointing, dragging or tapping, but inputting text into a program, such as in an e-mail or a document, can be more difficult. Since you’re typing on a virtual keyboard, most people cannot type as quickly or as accurately as they could on a regular keyboard. You can add an external keyboard to most tablets; however, this adds costs and peripherals to a device that is generally intended to be portable and cost-saving.

Tablets do not possess the same processing power as a laptop. Their functionality as a computing device is limited, although sufficient for many people’s uses.

Tablets require learning about how the programs you regularly use can be supplanted by application equivalents.

Tablets are not ideal for heavy researching, frequent keyboard use, document and presentation creation or hardcore gamers.

Tablets are also not practical for reading e-books on, as they don’t use the same e-ink displays that e-readers have. Tablets are fine for reading in short periods, but prolonged reading can lead to eye strain.

Tablet screens tend to be reflective, and are not ideal for reading in bright sunlight or under certain types of artificial light.

Screens can also be susceptible to scratching or damage.


Choose a tablet if you...

  • Already have a laptop or desktop computer and want a secondary device for travel or leisure purposes
  • Are comfortable navigating using point interaction
  • Are looking for a device that's very simple and easy to use
  • Have basic needs, such as casual web browsing, checking e-mail or posting to social networks
  • Want something purely for entertainment (movies, TV, music, moderate gaming, etc.)
  • Read for short periods at a time
  • Read material that uses a lot of colour and/or graphics

Next month, we’ll be covering the pros and cons of e-reader devices. Stay tuned!