Open Forum: Tablet or laptop for computing on the go?

By Scorpus · 29 replies
May 20, 2016
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  1. Over the past couple of years we've seen companies like Microsoft, Apple and Samsung try to convince customers that their large-screened tablets are just as good as laptops for everyday use. Some of the products they've come up with, like the Surface Pro line and the iPad Pro, have been reasonably successful, though not to the same extent as the best laptops.

    Having used a number of these products, I still firmly believe that a good laptop (like the Dell XPS 13) is a more versatile tool for a user on the go. Often you'll get better performance, larger displays, and significantly better typing experiences from a laptop. However I know many people that swear by their Surface Pros, citing its superior portability and the excellent stylus experience.

    So what do you think? Is a tablet or laptop better for everyday use/while on the go? Or is there a really compelling hybrid that truly gives the best of both worlds? Let us know in the comments below.

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  2. penn919

    penn919 TS Addict Posts: 220   +71

    To be honest, a laptop is all that I would ever consider. Sure, the tablet is a bit more wieldly when on the go, but a smartphone is even more so. There aren't any tasks I could achieve on a tablet that I couldn't already achieve on my smartphone.; however, there are several things I could do a notebook that I couldn't do on either tablet or smartphone though.

    I feel as though the tablet fad appeals far more to the casual user who doesn't do much other than email and browse the web.
  3. anticeon

    anticeon TS Rookie

    Tablet is the future ... the problem is technology of Wireless input is still sucks .... tablet must be able to use Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, and speaker at the same times without any noticeable delay.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,869   +1,288

    So for a tablet to be useful, it has to be a laptop. Sounds like the future will be a lot like the present.
    dms96960 and hahahanoobs like this.
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,869   +1,288

    Hybrids/convertible devices will be future once they have the power of laptops in a form factor that includes a wireless or stow-away keyboard. Tablets without input accessories will never be serious productivity or gaming devices.
  6. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

    Computing? You mean goofing. No one computes on the go
  7. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Posts: 463   +136

    I don't think their markets are fully converged yet. Laptops still remain a powerhouse for portable computing at any sort of affordable price, I just picked up an Asus K501UB laptop for £580, I wouldn't say it's slim enough to be compared with a Macbook Air but is much slimmer than other laptops I've compared to, it's got a GTX 940M so is alright for gaming - when I'm home I can use Steam streaming to play games on ultra from my gaming PC if I don't feel like leaving my bed.

    I also have a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, it is extremely portable, I use it for watching TV and Netflix most of the time - I'll grab the latest TV show episode I'm following in the morning before work and watch it in my lunch time, and I normally watch Netflix in the evening. It's good enough to handle eBooks and PDFs and light-medium Microsoft documentation but nothing more. It can android game but I wouldn't dream of trying to run any complex games on it, and most bluetooth keyboards are pretty flaky so it's not suitable for full time working.

    I've not really tried my hand at the official 'hybrid' market, but things like the Surface Pro are a really good effort at the convergence and I respect that a lot on Microsoft's behalf, but I notice that most are half baked attempts; a laptop that can rotate 359 degrees into a tablet or a tablet with an attachable keyboard. It's normally one with some features of the other thrown in.

    Thing about the Surface Pro is although you can have a tablet with laptop specs there, it costs so god damn much, so half the interested consumers can't afford it - I couldn't really justify getting a Surface Pro as it'd be £1079, which is £500 more than a laptop with the equivalent specs (and no GTX 940 I might add), you have to buy the keyboard seperately (another £100?) and portable computing isn't worth paying £500-600 more.
    murray02 likes this.
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,375   +168

    I think that nails it. If you need to do actual work on the road, a laptop is usually the better choice. If I'm just going on a trip, an Android tablet covers my needs. I can browse, read, play games, and I even have a keyboard cover if I really feel for something better than the on-screen keyboard. All in a 500g device (including the keyboard cover).
  9. gcarter

    gcarter TS Enthusiast Posts: 82   +23

    Im reading / responding to this article whilst having a coffee and a bacon sarnie in a local coffeeshop whilst my daughter attends her Cathedral singing choir.

    I've had several laptops / tablet / smartphone combinations over the years, and do you know whats the best... my new Macbook 2016! Retina display, full size backlit keyboard, big n fast SSD and light as my previous iPad.
  10. JJ Shephard

    JJ Shephard TS Member

    Tablets may take off if the input technology is developed more rapidly and the tablet market doesn't slow down too much before then. I'm sure if speech input for mobile and tablet devices is improved then quite possibly tablets could completely take over the computer market. With standard keyboard/mouse input being pushed down the ranks of legacy peripherals.

    I noticed there are many technologies in development that are web based, but can be implemented and some are already implemented in standard mobile devices, I'm just thinking of facial recognition which I believe Facebook developed and there are a host of other technologies that Google is developing such as ‘voice’.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Neither. I have both and they're white elephants, dust collectors. A smartphone and a desktop PC does for me perfectly.
  12. gcarter

    gcarter TS Enthusiast Posts: 82   +23

    Me again, this discussion is a tad subjective.

    For example I work for a large IT company, and am required to be "on-call" on a regular basis.

    Again I need functionality and uber portability and a laptop fits the bill, especially as you can virtualise other operating systems with the likes of vmware, parallels etc.... you can't do that on a tablet / smartphone whilst out and about!
  13. JJ Shephard

    JJ Shephard TS Member

    Well my personal preference would be desktop computer, all 10 of them :p and my mobile just for calls, texts and the occasional email when away from my computer(s). I tried tablets before and quickly parted with them, as others have mentioned, they are more geared towards casual users and entertainment rather than for productivity. Cannot really think of a practical way to use them as a replacement for a working computer without the proper input devices.
    gcarter likes this.
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    On the go: tablet

    Travel: laptop
  15. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Maniac Posts: 273   +104

    Or just settle with a convertible 2-in-1.
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    I like to have my cake and eat it.
  17. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,335   +843

    I would choose laptop for everything else except media consumption. Tablet is easier to carry and it does pretty much the same job of watching videos and listening to music.
  18. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,325   +1,974

    It really all depends on the application. If I'm involved in serious business, it's going to be the laptop just because of the range of applications that a tablet cannot handle. For news, chatting, and entertainment the tablet handles it well. At some point in the future the tablet has the POTENTIAL to replace the laptop, but I think we are still a few years away, especially considering the price vs. performance issue.
  19. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    My vote goes for laptops, although I don't own one, and I currently operate a tablet that cost $1 with my smartphone. The reason is simple. To do anything meaningful such as video editing, I need a relatively powerful computer. My tablet, and many tablets in general, run old Snapdragon 400 CPUs and only have 1GB of RAM. At best, they're like a giant smartphone, good for browsing and app use.
  20. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +186

    Really depends on your usage scenarios, personally my tablet usage outweighs my laptop usage so my Surface Pro 4 fit my needs perfectly. That being said, I have no desire to ever purchase a standard laptop again.
  21. murray02

    murray02 TS Rookie

    Nailed it on the head there!
  22. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +69

    Think I'm gonna buy a mac with an ssd. Don't like windows 10. Had a mac before and it failed after updates so I returned it to frys for a full refund, but some years afterward I figured out that the dsl line was dirty and apple doesn't checksum its updates. Have att uverse internet mostly via fiber now, so that won't ever happen again. The case of my 2004 toshiba laptop is broken, so that will give out someday. They don't make laptops with ati graphics and fast intel cpus anymore, so I really shouldn't buy a laptop, but for fast booting a mac would be better. That toshiba boots in 40 seconds, really a gem. Upgraded it to windows xp pro then vista, where microsoft had a free upgrade to vista business offer, which people don't like but I've had much success with, thus no bloatware. Replaced the hard disk which had 2 dual boot partitions. Tried to replace my brother's laptop's hard disk, but the new one or backup software was defective. Bought the toshiba at best buy, then circuit city had the same model for $100 less, and best buy had a refund the difference policy. Really had to argue to get the $100 and call the supervisor, but did it.
  23. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,669   +413

    I've never had a lightweight laptop so I'd have to go with iPad.
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,693

    With the current state of hardware, for me a tablet is pointless. Maybe in another ten years, processing power will be strong enough for me to consider a tablet. As it is a notebook's processing power has only been strong enough the last few years.
  25. JJ Shephard

    JJ Shephard TS Member

    If I had to do my current work on the go I'd choose a laptop over a tablet any day, however if it is just for checking emails, browsing the internet then a tablet maybe more portable and handy. But can't think of much else you can use a tablet for than that, but then again I haven't really laid my hands on a surface pro before so I can't really judge fairly on the tablet side of things.

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