Deciding what type of mobile computing device you should purchase can be a confusing one. Some say laptops are on their way out, and tablets are the future. While others are saying the complete opposite. In my opinion, they can coexist, as they both serve different purposes. In this article I’m going to help explain which choice might be better for you.

Let’s start with the good trusty laptop. It’s familiar, it runs the apps you do already on your desktop, they have built in keyboards, and they’re usually portable. They’re also frequently more powerful then a tablet. For example, if you are a graphic designer, most likely you are using applications like Photoshop and Illustrator, these applications only run on Windows or Mac. You also probably use a graphics tablet, which again have the best compatibility with a laptop. Gamers as well will want to look into a desktop replacement laptop. These are almost always massive however and not very portable. Some laptops act as convertibles and can be transformed into a tablet, albeit usually a bulky one. But, what if you’re not a graphic designer, or power user, and just want to get around online and check and send emails? For you, a tablet may be a better choice.

The tablet, extremely portable, easy to use, expandable through accessories, and largely integrated with web services. For example, pickup an iPad and most likely everything will just make sense. It’s plain and simple to see what everything does. Tablets come equip with applications for daily tasks, like web browsers and email clients. Tablets also have massive app ecosystems. Any app you can think of is most likely in the tablets app store. Some come with pens so you can draw directly onto the screen as if it were paper. However, bluetooth keyboards are really the only way to effectively type on one in my opinion, and that’s another thing to lug around. If you plan on buying a tablet, make sure it’s either running Android or that it’s an iPad. These have the broadest support by accessories and apps.

Now, let me give a few example of where a laptop would be a better choice then a tablet and vice versa.

If you are student, and will be writing a lot of papers, or using online tools provided by your educational institution, then I’d go for a laptop. Having a good full size keyboard, and full compatibility with whatever software your institution wants you to use will be invaluable. A 13” laptop would probably be the perfect size to go with.

If you’re someone who just wants to browse the web and check their emails, then a tablet may be a better choice. You will get an all-in-one solution, with great portability. It’s also probably the cheaper solution. You can throw in a bluetooth keyboard for the few occasions you’ll be writing long documents on it, however this is still less then ideal for a student; unless they want to lug a full size bluetooth keyboard with them.

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