Laptop Vs tablet Vs phone? What to choose 😬😬
One of the questions I get asked most is what is best a laptop or tablet? Yesterday I had a text off a customer asking me for help and saying she was confused and needed help knowing what to pick. I though this would be a good choice for a small blog post so here goes........
I have been working with laptops and computer equipment for almost 15 years now and have seen huge changes in the technology and a swing in usage away from computers to laptops and now towards more mobile technology in tablets and phones. The way in which we use our devices has also changed drastically with a huge shift towards increasingly more mobile technology. In other words mobile phone and tablet technology is on the rise and has been for a while.
That said over the last maybe 8months we have seen a trend back the other way with many people moving back to laptops. This is something that I expected to see from the onset. One area of massive growth at the moment is crossover machines that work as both laptop and tablet. There's a reason for this too as I shall now discuss.
In many ways a lot of us are guilty of using our mobile phones for almost everything these days. Mobile phones have advanced exponentially in their capabilities and have faster processing power, more ram and an instant response time. They are faster than many computers but this is for a reason. The operating systems that phones run on (iOS or Android for most part) are very light systems that do not need a huge amount of power to run. The demand for power comes from the way we use them. The range of apps has improved across all platforms allowing us to become essentially a mobile addicted globe. We are walking around with thousands of pounds worth of computing equipment in our back pocket. Many look at the prices of mobiles with total disgust but if you were to compare the spec to a similar spec computer I think you would get a shock at how much you would be spending. Ts
That said mobile phones do have their limitations. I find typing anything longer than the odd text or short email on a mobile phone hard work. Generation X and Z (younger generations whom have grown up with these devices) have developed greater hand_eye coordination, greater levels of manual dexterity and changes to the musculoskeletal structures of their hands for a reason. This is all to do with the amount of time the spend on phones and games consoles. Mobile phone technology is literally altering our DNA in ways that has never been seen before.
Screen size is another factor that limits phones. As you age and your eyesight declines people will find using mobile screens more and more difficult. New apps and technology have now allowed for pairing between devices so you can connect your phone to the likes of the TV..... Not really practical whilst in Aldi doing the weekly shop though. My mum has a tendency to squint at the screen then moves the phone closer and further away trying to read it. It is a common sight now as people try to read on screens.
Tablets have grown like mobiles and with good reason. The technology is so very similar. A tablet is essentially a large mobile. Many are capable of taking a SIM card like a mobile phone so it can be taken and used anywhere with a constant internet connection. Ideal if your broadband is rubbish or you are out and about a lot of work away from home. Just remember that this can get costly on data charges as my grandparents recently found out! If they can embrace mobile technology then anyone can! They cannot even work the Sky TV remote properly and pay for services they don't use as they just cannot grasp how to use them! Yet at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, my Aunt gave them an old phone and set them up with a SIM card so they could have a form of contact when they were not at home. Safety really but she showed them the internet and that my grandfather could get the news online and they have not looked back..... They learnt quickly though that the more the phone is used the more credit required! My nan now wants a tablet for the larger screen.
I am typing this using my tablet but generally find using my laptop the most convenient and easiest way of computing. Yes, I will pick up my mobile or tablet if I just need an answer to something quickly. The technology is made to be instant. No waiting on Windows to load and install updates as is always the way when you just need to do something quickly!
Yet I find it much easier for accounts, day to day jobs and printing to use my computer or laptop. These are designed and made for Office jobs. The apps on tablets and mobiles for things like Microsoft Office tend to be much more reduced and lacking in the level of options. These have improved but as many have found with working from home and homeschooling at the present time, tablets just do not work in the same way.
These limitations have resulted in a rise in accessories like Bluetooth keyboards, wireless printers and cases with built in keyboards to try and make tablets more like laptops and more user friendly. I often use a Bluetooth keyboard with many tablet as typing on a screen via touch and typing on a physical keyboard are a totally different experience and with a screen there is no feedback like a keyboard in terms of the physical feel of keys. One thing I have discovered though is that there can be a lag between the two in communication and it does sometimes miss letters.
The desire of people to have the convenience of a tablet but in the form of a laptop have given rise to crossover machines that will work as either. More and more laptops these days also feature touchscreens. These multiple functional crossover machines often run Android operating systems for speed.
One area of growing popularity we have seen of late are Chromebooks. These are like a laptop but run a Google Operating system. If all you are doing is browsing online and replying to the odd email these maybe an ideal solution for those that do not want a tablet. The Google OS much like Android and iOS is super fast and light. It means the boot and load time is very low. They are designed to be online though and require a constant internet connection.
For doing anything remotely Office based involving typing etc there is nothing that beats the ease of a laptop. They still have the portability of a tablet and with changes in battery technology, they are running for longer on a single charge. They have full functionality. They can be installed with an Operating system called Linux (essentially what Android and iOS are) that will speed up boot time. There are many versions of Linux that are available for free download. One that has an easy user interface is called Ubuntu. They are. Little more complex to use than Windows as they are a much lighter system. Once adjusted though then you will find it easy enough to use.
Windows has been around for many years and is extremely popular in its many guises and Microsoft have developed now a system that works very well in Windows 10. It is much like anything else in terms of technology - you get what you pay for in most cases and the more you spend the better you will get. Screen sizes vary and you still have the capability to attach to a TV to use two screens or view on a larger screen.
There are still downsides with laptop computers. The load time tends to be higher, they are larger, heavier, battery life is less than a tablet or phone for most machines although this has improved drastically over the years and power supplies are unique to the machine not like tablets and phones that one charger does all.
In conclusion, the question over what device to choose boils down to two main questions: what do you want to spend and what do you want the device for? In the typical way of evolution, be it humans, animals, plants or machines, development occurs and improvements are made. Technology is an evolving world and new products come onto the market every day. Have realistic expectations about what your expecting from your device.
We live in an instant gratification world these days where time is in short demand, life is busy and as internet and devices speeds have improved, the expectation is for instant results. Patience and allowing the results to arrive have become a thing of the past. We need the answer now all of the time. If you need instant speed then a laptop may not be the best device. You may need to allow a higher budget to get a better spec of machine.
Be aware that there are functional limitations to tablets and phones and so that may impact upon your choice. Go back to the old fashioned method of a pen and piece of paper and write a list of expectations and requirements and then look at options within the budget to choose what best suits you. It maybe that you are best with a combination of both worlds to cover all of your needs.
Trends in technology are consumer driven and so it is the choices of people buying that allow for the development of new ways of doing things, new systems and new technologies. Technology companies are trying for increased speed and function and the evolution of these products in some cases is still in early days. Whilst the impact of technology upon humans will continue and we will evolve to better suited to its uses,the technology itself will do the same.
The simplest answer to the posed question of what to choose is all down to personal choices and no two answers will ever be the same. It is not one size fits all. Some people will find iOS easier and other Android. Others will not get on with either system and will just stick to Windows. A person's ability to adapt to change and a different system certainly plays into the answer too.
If we can offer any more help and advice on the subject or anything else to do with technology, please do not hesitate to contact us. There are a range of methods all listed on the website.
Take care and stay safe