When shopping for a mobile device a few factors should be taken into account. What may be a deal breaker for one may not necessarily be a problem for you. Make educated decisions based on your research. The tablet and laptop market is quite a robust one, there’s something for everyone. Also don’t be afraid to chase bargains, ask questions, and hold off on big purchases.
Some of the most important factors needed to make your final purchase are; price to performance ratio, battery life, connectivity, dimensions, supported software, and also some lesser factors such as; build quality, durability, and compatibility. With all that in mind, it’s important to remember that there is no “perfect product” only products right for the buyer’s needs.
Price to Performance & Battery Life: Understand all the terminology and become familiar with the buzzwords. Look for figures such as 1.2 GHz and 1GB RAM (Random Access Memory) as they are key determining factors in the device’s performance. Bare in mind that higher clock speed and increased core count (dual core and quad core) chips normally provide increased performance but typically come at the cost of more heat and higher battery consumption. RAM improves the load times of the programs on your device and generally improve the “snappiness” of the OS (Operating System). Increased RAM affects battery life as well although not to the same extent as processing speed does. Larger or heavier batteries are often needed to power all the hungry parts inside, this usually increases the weight or size of a device. With all this in mind; tablets are generally cheaper, more portable (smaller), have a longer battery life, but less processing speed and RAM due to the lack of any means of dispensing heat and a smaller battery. While on the other hand Ultra-Portables are usually more expensive, somewhat less portable, have a shorter battery life, but the more efficient cooling of a laptop will allow for much faster components and higher performance.
Wireless Connectivity: As far as wireless connectivity goes tablets and ultra-portables offer much of the same functionality. However tablets will usually have a slight edge since proprietary or preloaded drivers aren’t required as they would be on a laptop. Drivers are files needed for the computer’s hardware to operate effectively. As for tablets any updates needed for your tablet come in “update packages” and installing them requires less micro management. When it comes to 3 and 4g connectivity tablets usually don’t require any additional hardware. On the contrary many ultra-portables may require you to purchase an additional mobile hotspot device (usually USB). Other than that they both have near identical capabilities as far as Wi-Fi connectivity goes. Also keep in mind that 3g, 4g, and Wi-Fi also drain a considerable amount of the device’s battery life.
Dimensions & Compatibility: As far as weight, height, and width goes tablets are generally going to have the advantage being smaller and less “weighty.” This almost always comes at the cost of some commonly used connectors and devices being negated. Tablets don’t have the space for CD drives, usually lack built in keyboards (have to be purchased separately), and regularly lack many ports needed for multimedia; HDMI, USB, Mini Display, DVI ports, etc. Expect to pay a lot more for additional accessories and peripherals needed to provide your tablet with anything close to the functionality of a laptop. This usually brings the price right up there with the price of an equal value laptop.
Build Quality & Durability: Build Quality is a factor almost entirely dependent on the manufacturer and the price range of the product. Build quality can only really be determined by the “feel” of the device. Does it feel solid in your hand? For example does the device bend or creak when typing or when you hold it? Is the product made of quality materials such as metals, plastics, rubbers etc.? Does it fit comfortably in your hand? These are just a few factors that determine the quality and durability of your product. Also keep in mind that the more “closed” designs of tablets make them more costly and difficult to repair.Tablet screens are primarily made of glass and spend most of their time used in your hands, making them more prone to accidental drops. Cases, screen protectors, and protective bags go a long way towards protecting both devices.
Software: Software is one of the most important factors that should go into purchasing your next device. And it’s also the single most differentiating aspect of the two. Tablet programs come in the form of “apps,” while on the other hand laptops have installers that place shortcuts on their “desktop” interface. If you want video & photo editing, word processing, home media, high end gaming, etc. an ultra-portable laptop may better suit you. Tablets focus more on the “fun” more simplified side of things. Laptops are also generally more reliable, have increased functionality, and have more “robust” programs due to their more spacious hard drives and higher performance.
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