What should I buy, a tablet or a laptop? The new iPad Pro with the M1 chip or the new MacBook Air. Microsoft's new Surface Pro X or the LG Gram. Apple tried to bury the laptop a few years ago with the arrival of its new iPad Pro. The keyboard cases got better and better until the spectacular Magic Keyboard with illuminated keyboard. A fully-fledged laptop that could even be used with an external mouse. Apps were reinvented for the tablet environment so that the user never had to switch on the laptop again. Even Microsoft improved Office so that it could be used on iPads.
But users are fickle and rarely get confused. They buy what they need at any given moment in their personal and professional lives. Companies are not giving up their business model either, and are continuing to produce laptops and tablets, because they know that there is a market for everything. Apple is showing the way. It did so with its smartphone, which it called the iPhone, and then with its tablet, which it named the iPad. The rest of the manufacturers followed suit without departing from the script in terms of size and performance. Microsoft is able to go off the rails with its Surface range and all its accessories.
There are a few questions to ask yourself before deciding between a laptop or a tablet:
The world of apps has made mobile devices much easier to use. A kind of reduced version of a website where we can listen to music, write or watch movies. In fact, many applications were never anything else. A specific product to perform on a tablet with its own options. This is the case of Netflix or Spotify. Both have their own app on a tablet, but if we want to run them on a laptop we have to go through the browser of the day and consume a lot of resources.
Another big question that buyers have when choosing between a laptop or a tablet. In general, tablets have more time of use, because their environment is more prepared to not consume memory and battery unnecessarily. The new iPad Pro includes the M1 chip, which further improves performance and reduces power consumption. Elsewhere, Android takes a slightly heavier toll on the battery, because processes continue to run, even if the user thinks the app is not running. Something similar happens with Windows 10 on Surface models. Chrome OS, Google's operating system for some tablets, does manage to improve battery consumption as it is a specific system.
A laptop is for working, writing, editing videos or photos. A tablet is for less intense and more nomadic use. These are two axioms that the market is trying to break. The new MacBook Air or the LG Gram prove that a laptop can be as light as an iPad. The new iPad Pro disrupts the market with up to 2Tb of memory, 16Gb of RAM and a power that allows you to edit photos and videos like a pro. Now let's think about the average user. The one who wants to be entertained. Watch films, series, listen to music, social networks and take a virtual tour of the shopping app storefronts. A tablet is the best option. However, writing in Word, surfing certain websites and still being surrounded by a Windows or Mac desktop, because it feels more comfortable, requires a laptop.
In this section the forces are very evenly matched, but the laptop is still a step above. We are talking about current models of tablets and laptops, of course. More or less the same components, the same memory, similar RAM... Everything that depends on Apple will run more smoothly in the long run and everything that depends on Windows/Google will slow down over time. It's a law of digital life. The iPad Pro's Magic Keyboard has been found to not support long continuous typing in Word. The keystrokes don't get through and the iPad doesn't respond to the user's typing. It has also been found that tablets under Android unexpectedly close applications, because they don't quite adapt or other processes create interference. A laptop is generally more stable when it comes to running certain processes that take a long time, because its processors are capable.
More laptops and more tablets are on the horizon. No doubt about it. Manufacturers will continue to upgrade their technology. What will be important is not their external image. What will be really intriguing will be the soul of their machines. To refine it so much that the user will not notice the difference between tablet and laptop. Apple took a very interesting approach when they made their Safari browser run websites in desktop mode and not in tablet mode. They intended the iPad user experience to be that of a laptop. The level of Safari usage has gone up, although websites have not yet perfected their responsive model.
It's hard to make a choice between buying a laptop or a tablet. Touching a screen with your finger and not having to unfold a keyboard can be more comfortable. But there are also laptops with touch screens... The compulsive technology buyer will not hesitate to have a laptop and a tablet and use them interchangeably, because they like them and feel more comfortable with one or the other at certain times. Something similar can happen to the professional: if you work in imaging, you might opt for the iPad; if you need to save files in folders, work with Office... better the laptop. In short: the tablet is for a more passive use and the laptop is for a more active one. Whatever you choose, enjoy it.