Tablets have come a long way. The question is no longer whether you can find a place to use a tablet alongside your laptop and phone. Instead, these devices have reached a point where many of us now ask whether we need a laptop at all.
Here are some areas where tablets have not only caught up but are ahead of their desktop and laptop counterparts.
1. Tablets Have a Simple Learning Curve
Tablets are remarkably easy to learn. If you hand a child one, there is a good chance they will quickly figure out how to take a picture, view photos, or play music. You tap an icon that looks like the thing you want to do, and it changes the entire screen to look like the thing you want to do.
Many people find the traditional computer interface to be an intimidating and confusing experience. They don’t know how to search for what they want in the Windows Start Menu or navigate a menu bar. But something about a tablet’s interface, whether on an iPad or Android, feels more comforting. People understand how to navigate the app grid, and they quickly figure out how to use the app they’ve opened.
This empowers them to use the device to do whatever they wish, including feature-rich tablet apps for professional work.
2. Tablets Offer Better Battery Life
Tablets are mobile devices. They aren’t designed to be tethered to a desk or occupy a space near a power outlet. They may not be as portable as a smartphone, but they’re close. And for a tablet to be any good, its battery must last for at least the better part of a day, if not more.
The same could be said for laptops, but having one whose battery life can compete with or outperform a tablet is still a luxury. The laptops most people use at home or in the office still need to be charged after a few hours of use. And not only will a tablet usually last longer, but you can often charge the device using the same battery bank or car adapter you use to power a phone.
3. They’re Better for Reading
Most laptops and desktops have widescreen displays. This is great for watching videos and editing photos, but it’s not ideal for reading documents. Unless you have a massive monitor or you rotate your display sideways, you can’t view a PDF at a size that is comfortable to read. In addition, reading on a PC tends to involve a lot of scrolling.
Tablets are an ideal form factor for reading digital documents of all types. You can easily read ebooks, comics, magazines, newsletters, and any number of free PDFs offered on the web. Even websites, which still involve a lot of scrolling, are pleasant to take in on a tablet. It’s like browsing on a phone but without squinting.
4. Tablets Have Better Screens
Their physical demeanor isn’t all that makes tablets better for reading. They also tend to have higher-resolution displays with greater pixel density. This leads to less eye strain, though you may want to consider an e-ink Android tablet like the Boox Tab Ultra if you really want to reduce eye fatigue.
The panels on tablets are great for watching videos and viewing photos. However, a 1080p screen has higher pixel density when it’s only stretched across ten inches than when it’s pulled across 12 inches or more (as is common on a laptop), and this has become a relatively low screen resolution for a tablet these days.
5. Tablets Are Lightweight and Travel-Friendly
Tablets and laptops are both portable, but one tends to weigh significantly less than the other. A tablet is essentially the top half of a laptop with a CPU, RAM, and battery crammed in. Tablets also tend to be a few inches smaller, though a few models have reached 13 inches.
Tablets require less material to make, and they occupy less space. This results in a lighter device that’s easier to toss into a bag while also putting less strain on your back and shoulders.
6. You Spend Less Time in a Browser
On a desktop or laptop, a web browser is often always open. You not only need the browser to access sites, but we increasingly use web apps that have supplanted desktop software. You may spend more time switching between browser tabs than application windows.
This is less often the case on a tablet. Many websites have dedicated apps. There are downsides to this since apps allow for far more invasive tracking than websites, but from a user interface perspective, it means you aren’t spending all day on many disparate things within a single app that isn’t quite optimized for any of them.
7. You Have Quicker Access to a Camera
Laptops come with webcams, but those are for video chats and taking not-particularly-good pictures of ourselves. We usually turn to some other device to take photos, which we then have to transfer to our PC.
With a tablet, another device is often not necessary. You can aim your tablet at something and get the photo, which you can then begin editing or share with others immediately.
8. It’s Easier to Share Files
There are many ways to share files on a desktop, but they generally begin with opening webmail or a chat app and uploading a file as directed. The method can vary with each one.
On mobile devices, a share button often functions the same way, regardless of the app. Sharing a photo or document from one app to another is pretty seamless. It’s a quicker workflow and one that’s easier for newcomers to learn.
9. Tablets Tend to Be Cheaper
Computer prices have reduced enough that you can buy a laptop for $100, but it will likely be a Chromebook. A Windows computer costs more, and it won’t deliver a quality experience unless you spend substantially more. MacBooks start at closer to $1,000.
Like computers, tablets under $100 aren’t likely to be great. But once you get to the $500 range, you can already purchase a more high-end, capable device. Sure, you can spend over twice that much for an iPad Pro, but it’s one of the few tablets in that price range. If your needs and workflow support it, you can live a luxurious tablet life on a mid-range PC budget.
10. You Can Sign Documents With Less Hassle
Signing documents can be a pain. Many of us still find the easiest way to sign a document from our PC is to print it out, physically sign it, and scan it again.
On a tablet, particularly one that comes with a pen, you can sign the document quickly. You write on the screen as you would paper, export the document as a PDF, and send it back. Done.
That said, you may still need to download a tablet app specifically for signing and annotating PDFs. But from then on, the task is a breeze.
Can a Tablet Replace Your PC?
For many people, the answer is yes. In the early days of tablets, they lacked the necessary software. But tablets now have full office suites, top-notch multimedia editors, creative tools, and fully capable web browsers.
The biggest issue comes down to screen size and window management. If you’re comfortable with the one-app-open-at-a-time workflow of a tablet, it may just be all you need.