- Laptops have larger screens. This makes it easier to type and work on assignments on a laptop as you’ll never be frustrated by the small size of your screen. In addition, if you plan on watching television or movies on your laptop, then having a larger screen may improve your viewing experience.
- Laptops have more memory. If you are someone that likes to store everything on your electronic device, including movies, pictures, documents, and lots of apps, then you may require a laptop. Laptops are larger and therefore have more memory.
- Laptops are heavier and bulkier meaning they are harder to carry around with you. If you know that you have a long commute, perhaps bringing along a heavy laptop may not be the best option.
- Laptops have poor battery longevity. A widely expressed concern with laptops is that after only a few months, your laptop battery will be so fried that your computer will barely be able to keep charge beyond a few hours. This is a legitimate concern and if you don’t take proper care of your laptop, you can end up with a laptop that needs to be re-charged every two hours or less. This is a major problem if you have a class that spans 2 hours or more.
- Tablets are lighter and easier to carry. They will fit into purses, tote bags, as well as backpacks, and they weigh almost nothing, meaning even if you have a long commute between campus and your house, a tablet won’t weigh you down.
- Tablets have excellent audio and visual recording quality which will allow you to record class lectures and play them back with ease. This can be a great study tool and is something that is simply not possible with a laptop.
- A tablet’s screen is smaller which can be frustrating when trying to work on assignments. For taking notes, a tablet will serve its purpose, but if you’re writing a paper or trying to work on a powerpoint it can be a bit difficult at times.
- Tablets may not give you access to the best apps. When you have a laptop, you can download programs you’ve used for years like Microsoft Word. However, on a tablet you have to rely on the apps available, many of which may not be what you want. You also may have to pay a higher price for the app than if you had downloaded it on a laptop.
- Tablets are expensive. The gap on this is quickly closing, however, the average tablet costs far more than the average laptop. A lower end laptop that is of comparable quality to a good quality tablet will cost an average of $300-400, while the tablet of equal quality will set you back $500-600.
The takeaway: It’s all about what’s right for you. Think about how much time you spend on the computer, how many hours of class you have a day, and what you need your computer for. For example, if you’re an art or graphic design student that needs to be using apps like Photoshop on a regular basis, then a laptop’s larger screen may be preferable. However, if you have a long commute and only need the device for taking notes and sending emails, then a tablet may be right up your alley.