The question for many people isn't which tablet they should buy, but whether to buy a tablet or a laptop. Tablets are capable of many tasks that were previously only possible with a laptop or PC. But that doesn’t necessarily mean laptops are obsolete. There are still limitations to what you can do with a tablet.
The obvious difference is that all laptops have a physical keyboard. Typing long documents is easier and more comfortable on real keys, rather than tapping away at a screen for extended periods. However, it's possible to buy keyboards for tablets, too. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad (Scosche, for example, produces the KeyPad P2 shown below), and some Android tablets such as the Asus Transformer have an optional keyboard with a second battery built in.
Tablets can't compete with laptops on storage, though. Most laptops have hard disks with capacities around ten times larger than a tablet's memory. With a tablet, you'll have to be choosy about which photos, videos, music and documents you store locally. The rest has to be stored online, or on a PC or laptop.
Printing documents is easier on a laptop too, as it’s closely tied to the operating system and works with a wider range of software. Printing is still possible from a tablet, but it isn’t as easy or versatile.
Of course, few laptops can match the portability and long battery life that most tablets offer. While a laptop might be too bulky to take on holiday, a tablet adds little weight to your hand luggage, and is ideal when the in-flight entertainment isn’t very good.
Ultimately, laptops and tablets are complementary devices: it's not a case of one or the other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and is suitable for different tasks. Manufacturers are certain to come up with new ways to make data even more device independent than it currently is, with elaborate docking stations for keyboards and additional storage, and online services that mean you never have to consider which device you’ll need to carry with you. It’s still early days for tablets, and while they haven’t yet made laptops redundant, this might not remain true forever.
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