Can a tablet replace a computer?


Fact Box

  • The first touch-screen tablet ever released was Apple’s iPad in 2010.
  • The average session duration for a tablet user is 7.5 minutes.  
  • Although personal computers only became available for purchase in the late 1970s, more than 50% of American households owned a computer by the year 2000.
  • The first computer, ENIAC, weighed about 27 tons, while today’s laptops weigh on average between 2 to 8 lbs.

Ellery (No)

Tablets are a growing market with record sales numbers, but they consistently fall short of laptops--their biggest competitor--in almost every way.

Most people spend a lot of time staring at their devices, making screen size essential. Laptops completely outstrip tablets in this regard, with the average laptop screen clocking in much larger than even the most oversized tablets.

But large screens are not the only aspect about computers that outranks tablets. It's worth looking at how laptops' other components stack up, especially if you intend to do anything more strenuous than simply surf the web. Unsurprisingly, laptops again excel, this time in the storage category, with bottom-end devices holding two times the RAM and ten times the storage space of top-of-the-line tablets.

Said tablets are much more expensive, too--with many models costing upwards of $700-$1,000. On the other hand, it's relatively easy to get a mid-tier laptop for only $200-$300, and it likely has many times the functionality, too.

Laptops and computers' strongest suit is in a wealth of utility: disc drives, numerous ports, and robust operating systems. Similarly, most laptops are durable and very easy to maintain, whereas tablets are very fragile. Most laptops are also relatively easy to upgrade after purchase, whereas tablets may require purchasing newer models to upgrade.

Perhaps the most significant death blow for tablets is in web design. Many favorite websites and programs are designed with computer users in mind and will often work poorly (if they even function at all) when attempting to access them from a tablet.

Finally, the productive aid of a real keyboard (as opposed to some temperamental touchscreen) cannot be understated. 

Luna (Yes)

We typically assume computers are for working and tablets are for entertainment. But today's tablets fitted with advanced processors prove they are up to any task. 

Tablets like Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 can run on Windows OS, offering the same features as a Windows computer. Microsoft actually has a built-in operating system that provides equivalent performance on every device, so anyone using a tablet can access the same components as on a computer--but with the convenience of a touch screen.  

The best part: tablets are more efficient than some computers. In fact, the iPad Pro tablet is said to be faster than 92% of all laptops. These boosts in processing speeds--as well as extended battery lives and lightweight builds--have increased tablets' productivity and made them ideal for business professionals

In the past, tablets were not considered a good choice for streaming movies or for using typing-based features because of their design. But foldable screens have solved this issue by offering expandable displays that look like smaller-sized computers, detachable Bluetooth keyboards, and extended screens for a pleasant viewing and working experience. 

Another area where tablets trump computers is with portability. In today's fast-paced digital world, many business professionals and students simply don't have the time or space to set up a large desk with a bulky computer. They need something smaller and portable but just as fast. That's where tablets help. They can be carried anywhere in a small bag or even in your pocket and don't require an extensive set-up. 

In terms of convenience, portability, and efficiency, tablets are far superior to computers.

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