Smartphones vs. Tablets vs. Laptops

Many people currently bring multi-part mobile gadgets to access information anyplace, anytime. But a question always lingers: between a smart phone, a laptop and tablet, what mobile device should you carry?

Smartphone and Tablet and Laptop are the most popular mobile devices. Mobility is the buzzword these days and this is precisely why electronic gadgets are becoming smaller and lighter. Laptops were invented to give a person ability to take his computer along with him anywhere. Technology has been moving ahead at a fast pace, so much so that mobile devices with internet connectivity are crossing the boundary lines and performing similar, overlapping functions. This is especially true in the case of smartphone, tablet and a laptop. All three are portable and have internet connectivity. But each has its own distinct features and cannot take place of the other two.

Most mobile device users feel that the smart phone is the thing of the future and with more sophisticated technology with advanced hardware emerging, smart phones will replace laptops and tablets even for basic computing functions such as e-mail and web browsing. However, another sect of users strongly believe that while smart phones have transformed the mobile computing landscape, laptops/netbooks and tablets will continue to dominate purchases, especially for business or enterprise users.

With three devices now in the fray, let's understand the types of usage required from any mobile device:

  • Multimedia consumption
  • Document viewing/editing
  • Voice/video calls
  • Text SMS and Emails
  • Gaming
  • Web browsing

While smart phones, tablets and laptops all serve each of the needs listed above, users are confused over which single device can serve their burgeoning need to be online while on the move. Let's look at each of these devices.

Of the three mobile devices, the laptop is the most powerful when it comes to computing and for Web browsing as well. While laptops don't have 3G connectivity (supported by tablets and smart phones), for those on the move laptops are an ideal choice. Laptop has the fastest processor and also largest capacity of internal memory. It integrates all the capabilities of a computer with the added advantage of mobility. However, its weight and size can be a little prohibitive towards mobility, especially for professionals who want to work "out-of-pocket".

They are small – between 7 and 10 inches – light and slim, and with their 3G capability tablets are extremely portable laptops. How usable they are varies between machine types and brands. One of its basic functions, the onscreen keyboard, doesn't function well on some models and takes a while to get accustomed. Some tablets still exclude Flash content making much of the Internet unavailable, while others have opted out of making tablet native sites or apps, hoping that the Internet will translate. This results in poor scrolling and white spaces where pages won't load properly.

On the upside, tablets are great for multitasking, fabulous graphics and an ever expanding app market. All tablets can be used to surf the Internet via Wi-Fi, and are equipped with dual camera both for capturing HD videos and to make video chatting and video calling possible. However, as there are compromises in hardware, the functions such as multimedia tasking and other complex operations are difficult to perform in tablets.

The Smartphone
Smart phones are the ultimate internet-in-your-pocket devices. They are not meant for text heavy activities and you may find yourself returning to a PC/laptop or a tablet for data entry, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Smart phones sync easily with your computer, allowing not only your entire music collection to live in your pocket, but also your weekly schedule, emails, accessing social media on the move.

Smart phones can be thought of as handheld mini computers and can work as a personal digital assistant. These phones have fast processors and large internal memory, big display screens and operating systems that are very user friendly.

Which device is better is determined more by the user's main needs. People want to be able to access applications and data anytime and anywhere. To understand which device should be your primary access point, here are some points you should evaluate:

  • Size and form factor
  • Operating system
  • Battery life
  • Multitasking
  • Storage
  • Price

One thing is for certain: mobility is an essential, not just a good-to-have feature. Each device allows easy mobility as well as additional features for running a mobile office. Over time, thin lines dividing them are getting blurred as smart phones and tablets are coming closer to a laptop. Soon, gone will be the day where these three devices co-exist so happily. Instead, they will merge to make a fully featured, fully functional hybrid device where connectivity is the key.



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