Do you ever sit in a lecture thinking of how you’re tired of handwriting all the notes but also not able to imagine yourself carrying your laptop to college? In the second case, you will probably hate your decision to use a laptop at college by the afternoon.
Tablets are not very popular among internet users. According to Statista, they bring traffic of up to 10%. Mobile phones are the source of about 50% of internet traffic. Still, when we want to explore the website in full, we have to use a computer. The reason is, there are few websites that have a fully adapted interface for them to be equally functional on smaller devices. Some plugins don’t work, some interactive elements do not display from a phone.
The user experience is also better from computers because of the hover effect that activates on a sensor screen only via click. However, these are the general advantages of laptops and computers over tablets and mobile phones. Let’s discuss whether there are significant differences between tablets and laptops when it comes to their use in studies.
The main reason a tablet is considered by students a good substitute for a laptop is its size: not too bulky but big enough to be used for the same purposes as a laptop. Basically, it’s a large smartphone. Yet, think about all the tasks related to learning. It would be quite hard to write and format your whole research paper using your smartphone, right? Unless you use WritePaper services you can simply download the final paper from, a tablet is not a good choice. Still, let’s look at the pros and cons this device offers for students.
Pros of a tablet:
- combines features of a smartphone and a laptop;
- convenient for online meetings;
- good for students who need to draw a lot (arts, design, etc.);
- can substitute an e-book reader;
- a good option for lectures and workshops since you can carry with you all the necessary materials and readings.
Cons of a tablet:
- the keyboard is not suitable for fast typing (unless you have a lot of experience with it or buy a physical keyboard for it);
- if you buy a too cheap model, it will be too slow and annoy you;
- not all tablets support convenient division of open windows;
- its size can become a drawback if you try to use it at home for several hours straight;
- still has limited functionality it’s got from smartphones, which slows you down when you need to prepare homework or write an essay;
- you can access only the apps that are available in the store (side software can’t be installed properly).
As you can see, a tablet is quite suitable for use in class. However, if you don’t have a laptop – or at least a keyboard you can connect to the tablet – the process of learning, writing, and research may be significantly derailed. Still, there are amazing models that will help you a lot when used in class, at least:
- iPad Mini, 6th Gen (the best option due to smooth operation, it’s very light and small);
- Huawei MatePad Pro (the main pro is that it goes with a physical keyboard);
- Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) (the most budget option with respective quality issues that can be dealt with if you need a tablet urgently);
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.
These days, laptops get smaller and smaller. Some can be used as a tablet when you fold them. However, these are either new pricey models or the ones that are no longer available.
In addition, their functionality can be barely compared to tablets or smartphones. For instance, even though a tablet is good for online meetings in contrast to smartphones, laptops allow you to switch between windows if you need to double-check information and perform other operations. With a tablet, holding official meetings or the ones related to tests or presentations is not the best choice.
Still, laptops are not small enough to be used as e-books during commuting. So, the weight and size are the main drawbacks. If you can survive without e-books, consider the models listed below:
- ASUS EeeBook 12 E203NA-FD164T Celeron Dual Core (4GB RAM, suitable for minimum needs of any student who doesn’t want to handwrite lecture notes or carry heavy books);
- LG LCD Laptop 17″ Ultra-Lightweight (quite pricey but worth it, especially if you need software like Photoshop, SPSS, etc.: 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD storage);
- HP Chromebook 11-inch Laptop & Samsung XE500C13-K03US Chromebook 3 (quite compact, but will be helpful mainly in studies due to limited functionality, storage, and 4GB RAM);
- Lenovo Ideapad 720S Thin and Light Laptop 720S-13IKB (has bigger storage than the models from the previous point);
- LG gram 14” Ultra-Lightweight Laptop (a perfect model that will serve you both for studies and other daily purposes).
First of all, take the device you already have (or borrow one from a friend) to have a test drive. Take it with you to lectures and workshops and check what functions you really need. For example, you can notice that a laptop is rather bulky and noisy or that you use it only for typing. On the other hand, a tablet can limit you if you need to perform several operations simultaneously.
It may appear that you need both devices for different subjects or types of classes. Yet, a laptop can’t be fully substituted with a tablet. So, buy it first and try to use it in class. You may get used to it or, vice versa, become motivated enough to buy a tablet to simplify your student life.
If you still wonder whether a tablet can substitute a laptop in studies, the answer is ‘partially, yes’. They are quite good if you need to carry something lighter than a laptop to classes. However, it would be quite hard for a student to live without a laptop. The latter offers a much faster operation and the ability to multitask. Therefore, it’d be perfect if you had both devices for different needs, and if you’re choosing between a tablet and a laptop, stick to the latter to avoid limitations that may hinder your learning progress.