Tablet, Laptop, or Smartphone? Which works best for you?

November 26, 2014 at 6:47 am 5 comments

tabletChoice This is the season when consumers get bombarded with commercials and ads on the latest tech devices and gizmos, emphasizing that you must buy, buy, buy now, now, now!  But do you really need all of it?  We cats are good at ignoring what’s said to us and in doing what works for us. (Don’t believe me? Try calling a cat and watch him ignore you.)  Android and iPad tablets are the current rage.  But will a tablet fill your needs, or do you need something else?  I’ll describe the differences between the top three portable devices–laptops, smartphones, and tablets–so you can make the right technology choice as an informed consumer.

Aren’t they all just like computers?

Even with all the “Apps” you can download, a smartphone or a tablet still cannot replace a computer. The reason is in the Operating Systems (the “brains” of the device). To keep phones & tablets from being too slow and too battery-hungry, special Operating Systems–that don’t have all of the features found on computers–were created in order for these portables to remain speedy and energy-efficient.  The two best-known Operating Systems are Google’s Android (for Droid smartphone & tablets) and Apple’s iOS (for iPad and iPhones).  Laptops (and the poor-performing net-books) use the same Windows and OS X brains as the “full grown” PC and Apple computers sitting on office desks.

Just to let you know, there are some tablets (also known as “slates”) that use the same Windows Operating System as laptops and computers. They usually have a bigger screen than Droids and iPads, but check with the salesman what Operating System it runs on before you buy these.

Choosing the right device

A Laptop: If you do a lot of typing that requires an actual keyboard. Full features of installed applications like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, will work in a laptop just like on a desktop.  They usually have ports to connect to devices like a printer, a video projector, or a network domain at work.  If half of your computer activity does not require being on the Internet, a laptop is the best choice for you.

Laptops are best for people who need a portable version of their desktop or office computer.

A Smartphone: Movies, Internet, camera, video, text, & talk–all in one little package that can fit in your pocket or purse.  Cellular phone companies make smartphones even more attractive by subsidizing most of the cost of the phone if you sign up for a 2-year cell service contract.  Getting a smartphone that can also receive WiFi can help keep those monthly “data use charges” down.

So, if you yak a lot, text a lot, surf around the ‘Net a lot, then a smartphone is the right lot for you.

A Tablet: Android tablets and iPads are simply big smartphones without the phone. All of the other features and Apps you can download on a smartphone also work on these tablets.  The size of the screen can range from 5” up to 11”.  All tablets can receive WiFi, but the more expensive tablets can also use cellular G3/G4 signals (provided you pay for the cellular data plan, just like a phone).

If you like the features of a smartphone but on a bigger screen without the phone part, a tablet will fill the bill.

If none of these gadgets meet your needs, then don’t worry about having one!   Be like a cat–what’s important for us is having what suits our needs, not what’s the latest trend.

~The Computer Cat


Entry filed under: computer help, grandparents, laptop, newbies, seniors, Technology. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sebastian Raschka  |  January 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Nice article! I figured out that I am totally happy with iPhone and MacBook, I wouldn’t find any useful niche for an tablet so far. An iPad would be kind of redundant for me, I guess, and therefore it’s really too expensive to have it lying around as a dust catcher


    • 2. cc  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

      Meow, and thank you for the nice “Sardine”, Sebastian!

      My Human finds the biggest complaint she gets comes from tablet users who try to use their ‘Droids & iPads at their job as a replacement to their work computer.


      • 3. Sebastian Raschka  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

        I agree, too many people try to find their universal tool/device and are forcing themselves (and their device) to do each and every sort of task with it.


  • 4. Buying Your First Computer | The Computer Cat's Corner  |  August 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

    […] article “Tablet, Laptop, or Smartphone? Which works best for you?“, will give you “the 411″ on whether you need one. If you plan to use it for […]


  • 5. Nice Wbs Student Notebook Case | Student Laptops  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:38 am

    […] 5. Here are traveling to altercate about eating. It added up to more than $30,000 to go there for one […]



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