Technology 7 min read

Notebook vs Tablet vs Laptop: What’s the Best Mobile PC?

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Main Notebook vs Tablet vs Laptop Takeaways: 

  • Laptops have better specifications than notebooks and tablets.
  • Some laptops come equipped with powerful graphics cards, which makes them ideal for creatives.
  • Notebooks work well for people who could buy either a laptop or a tablet.
  • A tablet is ideal for media consumption.
  • The primary input method on tablets is a touch-sensitive screen.
  • There are many factors to consider before picking between notebooks, tablets, and laptops

As simple as it may sound, the decision all comes down to the device’s purpose. If you intend to give a tech gift or replace an old computer, you may want to start with this post. Consider our guide to choosing between notebooks, tablets, and laptops before diving into a bloated market.



In terms of performance, laptops will always have better specs than tablets (and most notebooks). It doesn’t mean that tablets run slower than laptops or offer a worse user experience. The fact is laptops are equipped for more intense and heavy-duty tasks.

For example, the latest laptops offer as many as 12 CPU cores. As a result, they can perform every bit as well as desktop computers. Also, some laptops come equipped with powerful graphics cards — ideal for creatives.

Reasons You Need to Buy a Laptop

Productivity: If you’re doing any kind of work, whether it’s planning a bake sale or number crunching in Microsoft Office, having a laptop with a keyboard, ports, and a full operating system is vital. You could do all your work on an iPad with a keyboard, but that’s not the most comfortable scenario for most people.

Education: There’s a reason why most schools give their students Chromebooks instead of tablets. To do research and create content such as term papers, kids need a real keyboard and full desktop software. In addition, standard laptops offer much more in terms of media storage and gaming opportunities — something college students especially value.

Shopping/transactions: Yes, you can visit websites and make online purchases from a tablet or phone. But buying many items or making a major purchase, a full desktop version of websites can provide a better experience. 

Some of the most popular laptops today include Apple’s 16-inches MacBook Pro, Dell Precision 3450, and HP ZBook Studio G5.


Image via Source Today

Notebooks work well for people who could buy either a laptop or a tablet. In their most basic form, a tablet is more of a consumption device, whereas a notebook is more of a creation device. Many are similar in size and look like a small-size laptop with the ability to fold back and/or detach the keyboard.

Reasons You Need to Buy a Notebook

Artists: If you enjoy drawing, tablets such as an iPad Pro or a 2-in-1 like the Surface Pro are perfect for you. However, if you’re going for a drawing laptop, a detachable is a much better idea than a convertible with a bend-back lid. You want to be able to hold the slate in your hand without the added bulk of the keyboard and touchpad.

Professionals: In your professional life, you might need to hook up your gizmo to a projector, a broadband wire, or a printer. And you might even need to connect other gadgets such as pen drives or a phone to your device. A notebook is a clear winner here since most come with at least three USB ports, one HDMI port, an Ethernet port for broadband as well as a card reader. These machines also support USB dongles or Wi-Fi for internet connectivity.

Students and Teachers: A notebook provides a slightly larger keyboard display than a tablet and is perfect for taking notes during class and writing essays. Though not quite as professional and reliable, they can also be easily used to check emails, watch the occasional Netflix show, and browse the web.


Image via Pexels

When it comes to portability, there’s no question that tablets offer the best option. Generally, tablets are 7-11 inches while laptops are about 12-16 inches. That immediately suggests that the former is easier to carry around. Tablets also offer vastly better battery life than laptops. And with smaller screens, tablets often feature better pixel density than notebooks or laptops. Taking seven tablets from our list of best tablets, the average PPI works out at 262. Meanwhile, doing the same with our best laptops, the average is a PPI of 176 according to Trusted Reviews.

However, that’s changing quickly. According to Laptop Magazine, “the line between productivity slates like the iPad Pro and laptops is quickly disappearing”.

Reasons You Need to Buy a Tablet

Child’s first device: Tablets are the gadget of choice for younger children, because they are easy-to-use, have the best kid-friendly software, and don’t require you to read. Amazon’s Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 for kids are particularly great first devices because they come with a ton of age-appropriate content, fantastic parental controls, and two years of accidental damage protection.

Reading/video watching: If you want to curl up on the couch with a favorite movie or book, a tablet makes a lot of sense, particularly one that’s 8 inches or smaller. Yes, you can watch a movie on a 2-in-1 laptop, but even on a detachable, the device is much bulkier than a simple slate.

Of course, you could consume media on a large-screen phone as easily as you would on a tablet. But tablets are much larger, and most people wouldn’t give a smartphone to a young child.

Some popular tablets in the market today include iPad Pro 11, Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, iPad Air 4, and Samsung Tab S7 Plus.

What is the Difference Between Tablets and Notebooks?

The difference between tablets and notebooks begins with the design. Since tablets forgo the physical keyboard and trackpad, they’re usually smaller and thinner than an average notebook. Instead, the primary input method on tablets is a touch-sensitive screen. Tablets have sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors to enhance user experience. There’s also a front-facing and back camera. Notebooks, on the other hand, traditionally come with just the webcams.

Besides, notebooks run desktop-based operating systems such as Windows or ChromeOS. Meanwhile, tablets offer other mobile-based options. Along with Windows, the popular operating system on tablets includes iPadOS, Android, and Amazon’s FireOS.

Which Should I Choose?

Notebooks, tablets, and laptops are all fairly similar in their capabilities and size. However, each is built for different consumer needs. Before making a purchase consider several things about the intended user including:

  1. History and Function:  What tech products have the user gravitated to in the past? Do they have any brand loyalty?
  2. Interface Experience:  What devices does this user interact with and/or already own?
  3. Mobile Friendliness:  How mobile does this user need to be while using this device? Where will this device travel on a given day?
  4. Device Compatibility:  Will this device need to be plugged in or connected to another for presentations, projects, etc?
  5. Customization:  Does this user need access to special software/accessories (like e-pens for artists, HDMI cables for those who have projectors, or Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities for VR gamers)?

Read More: Intel “Accidentally” Leaks 9th Gen H-Series Processor Specs

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