Better for Business: Laptop or Tablet?

Not all small businesses are created equal and simply being categorized as a small business doesn’t automatically mean you conduct a “small” amount of business.

Likewise, all small business computing needs are not created equal and one size does not fit all. Whether your business needs are better served by laptops, tablets, or both is a highly individualized question that deserves some one-on-one consideration.

When deciding on the mode of technology that best addresses the needs of your small business, there are several key elements to examine.

What do you need to do?

There is a common thought that the most appropriate user for each might be summarized as follows: laptops are for content creators and tablets are for content consumers. But, like many things in life, this is true…sometimes.

Speed

When discussing “speed,” you need to specify speed with what. For instance:

  • Quick web browsing: due to the additional time needed to boot up a laptop, if you want quick answers from an online search or you want to surf different sites, you might prefer the shorter load time of a tablet.
  • Data entry/typing: if you are inputting a phone number, answering a quick email, or you are updating your social media status, a tablet is likely the best choice. However, if you are writing an article, a detailed memo, or pretty much anything longer than a paragraph, choosing the keyboard of a laptop is a no-brainer. However, light word processing and longer emails are easily handled through a keyboard for your tablet, a low-cost accessory that likely connects with Bluetooth and will enhance productivity.

Run Applications

Although there are more advancements being made in the world of tablet-centric applications, at this time, there is really no substitute for the computing power provided by a laptop.

If you need a larger screen to view multiple windows simultaneously or you need to have several different browsers running concurrently, you are probably going to want a laptop.

Soon, it’s expected that Surface Pro tablets running Windows 8 will allow easier multitasking of multiple windows and applications, but that’s yet to become a reality.

However, if you are interested in media applications – watching a video, reading an e-book or gaming, for example – you may want to stick with a tablet.

Battery Life

Laptops are notorious for their relatively short battery lives and it makes sense when you think about it: because they are continuously running and constantly pinging programs in the background (even when you don’t realize it), their batteries are on a persistent drain.

On the other hand, because you can quickly turn a tablet on and off, tablets have much longer battery lives, relatively speaking. If you need quick access throughout the day for shorter periods of time, a tablet will likely be the technology of choice for you.

Where do you need to do it?

For those tethered to a desk at the office or working remotely from home, a laptop is perhaps not only your best friend, but also the main tool of your trade. Their lighter weight made computing on the go possible and telecommuting a common-place practice today.

However, tablets are, to a large extent, even smaller, lighter laptops so if you need to move at all throughout the day – you have off-site business meetings with clients or you cover a bit of territory for your work, for example – the tablet could make business expansion on an even greater scale possible.

Although laptops and tablets have their strengths and weaknesses in different areas, at the end of the day, there is no “right” choice. There is only the choice that is right for you! And if your budget allows it, why not purchase both? Use the tablet on the go and for handling email, and then use the laptop when you need to do more complex operations.

Although there’s no easy black-and-white answer, which mode of technology suits your needs the best?

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