A client asked us the other day if their company should be looking at tablets or laptops for their employees. While every situation is different, we talked to them about five different things to consider while making the decision:
Connectivity – How connected do the users need to be?
Tablet: While there’s a connection to the cloud and Internet resources, there’s also limited access to data on corporate network.
Laptop: Network access to data and other resources both internally on a corporate network and externally through the cloud and Internet
Conclusion: If you need to access corporate information, a laptop will offer more security, easier ability to get to the network, and better performance once connected.
Consumption and Usage of Information – How are they using the device?
Tablet: Good for consuming information, bad for creating content. Even add-on keyboards are small, no mouse. Touch screen has some advantage.
Laptop: Not terrible for consuming information, excellent for creating content. Easier input, larger keyboard, mouse. No touch screen, well at least in most cases.
Conclusion: If you simply need information that has already been created then a tablet will serve you well. The limited processing power, input methods, and lack of multitasking on a tablet makes it much easier to create content on a laptop.
Battery Life – How mobile do the users need to be?
Tablet: Very mobile, very light, with a long battery life.
Laptop: Laptops are also portable but with shorter battery life and are heavier to lug.
Conclusion: Tablets are designed to be a take anywhere device and the longer battery life keeps you connected and productive longer than a laptop.
Processing Power – What types of programs and applications are you running?
Tablet: Has just the right amount of computing power for what it does, but lacks computing power for complex operations. Single purpose tablet apps have a “cool” factor and can be very useful for a particular task. The Microsoft platform is available on some tablets, but these apps will run slower on a tablet and are harder to use.
Laptop: Depending on the processor, laptops can perform very complex and process intensive applications. Multiple windows and tasks can run simultaneously. Applications tend to be more general and allow the user to complete more tasks.
Conclusion: While there are some applications on the tablet that make single tasks easier, the tablet has limited processing power. You need the faster processor, memory, and storage capabilities of a laptop for complex projects or data manipulation.
Storage – What are you storing or running on these devices?
Tablet: Storage capacity limited to 16-64 gig.
Laptop: Standard laptops come with 500 gig hard drives.
Conclusion: While 64 gig is plenty, most users consume several hundred gig of space on their laptop. Think of a tablet as being a purse when you travel and a laptop as a suitcase.
So the question is, tablet vs. laptop? Which device should your company buy for its employees? The answer: it depends. It depends on why your staff is using computers in the first place. Use the 5 criteria above to help you make the best decision for your business.