Tablets vs. Laptops: Which Device is Ideal for Students?

As technology keeps growing, students can now use tech gadgets in school to help in learning, doing research, writing assignments, and attending online classes, among many other activities. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are among the top gadgets most students are using when learning. The interesting part is that some schools require students to have specific devices to facilitate studying. For instance, some prefer a tablet over a laptop, while some prefer a laptop over a tablet.

This leads us to an interesting question: what is the ideal device for students? A laptop or a tablet? While both gadgets can help with they both have their advantages and downsides. That is why, in this guide, we will give you a detailed overview of the two gadgets so that you can decide the ideal one for either learning or teaching your students.

Why should students use smart gadgets?

Laptops and tablets are smart gadgets that help students in many ways. Among the top reasons why a student should have either a laptop or a tablet includes the following:

To perform research

Research is inevitable, especially when writing academic papers and assignments. It is, therefore, easier to check through online resources than to research in books. Besides, online platforms offer students a wide range of sources to explore and compare information to ensure they get accurate answers to research questions or assignments.

Prepares students for the future

The future is almost everything relies on technology. Allowing students to use smart gadgets while learning equips them with digital literacy skills. These skills are effective in life after school, especially in workplaces.

Attend online classes

Online learning is one major trend that is shaping the education sector. Students can now study in institutions of their choice through online learning. In such instances, laptops and tablets can come in handy as they enable a seamless connection and engagement for students and their tutors.

Enhanced collaboration

Through laptops or tablets, students can collaborate effectively with fellow students, whether in the classroom or outside the classroom. Collaboration among students is a key skill in shaping students’ knowledge and social skills.

What are the differences between laptops and tablets?

While both laptops and tablets can perform similar functionalities to some extent, they have some notable differences, as outlined below:


As a student, the number one concern before buying a tablet or a laptop is the budget. Ideally, a tablet is relatively cheaper than a laptop. However, you should note that advanced tablets have higher charges than basic ones. Again, the brand from which you buy your tablets will determine the overall price.

Battery Life

Another distinguishing element between laptops and tablets is the battery life. Again, the tablet battery is likely to last a bit longer than one for a laptop. Depending on the nature and volume of work or lessons you need to use a laptop or a tablet, the battery life factor will help you determine the appropriate gadget for your needs as a student.


Peripherals are extra features that enhance the functionality of a smart gadget. When you compare a laptop to a tablet, a laptop has peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse, unlike tablets, which have only the touch screen.

With a mouse or a touchpad, it is easy to navigate through different web pages, especially when doing research. A physical keyboard, on the other hand, is a resourceful peripheral as it enables students to master typing skills.


Portability is the ability to carry and walk with the gadget around. As a student, think of how often you will need to move with your gadget between classes. Again, as a parent or a teacher, think of the age of the student. Can they carry a laptop or a tablet without struggling?

Ideally, tablets are more portable than laptops. But then, depending on the needs and the ages of students, portability might not be a big problem when selecting the appropriate device.


When compared to tablets, laptops are more powerful in terms of performance. With laptops, students can access different programs and perform different functionalities. Although the experts are already integrating tools and resources to produce even advanced tablets, they still cannot match what a laptop can do.

Comparing tablets vs laptops: advantages and disadvantages of both

To help you decide on the best option between laptops and tablets, let’s explore the pros and cons of both devices.

Advantages of laptops

  1. They are powerful in terms of performance and functionality due to peripherals.
  2. They have a larger storage space, especially for students doing research and want to store large volumes of documents and files.
  3. The screen size is big enough, giving a clear view
  4. Laptops have several ports that can enhance user experience.
  5. They have reliable processors compared to tablets

Disadvantages of laptops

  1. Laptops are quite costly compared to tablets
  2. Less versatile
  3. Prone to damage if dropped
  4. Laptops take much space on a working station compared to tablets

Advantages of tablets

  1. Tablets are highly portable compared to laptops, hence easy to carry around.
  2. The battery life is higher than that of laptops
  3. Tablets occupy less space on a working station compared to laptops
  4. Highly versatile – you can use a tablet for video recording, for e-book reading, and as a camera.
  5. Less costly when compared to laptops

Disadvantages of tablets

  1. The screen size is quite small
  2. A tablet cannot function seamlessly on complex software programs
  3. The touch screen can be unresponsive, hence affecting the overall user experience
  4. Less storage capacity

With this said, it is evident that both tablets and laptops have their best sides and downsides. Depending on the student’s needs and age, the ideal gadget that will enable them to achieve a specific task or function.

Tips to help you choose the best device as a student

Before you buy that laptop or tablet for your study needs, factor in the following elements:

The purpose

Think of why you need a smart device as a student. Is it for research? Is it for online classes? Or do you just want a backup solution to your study routines? This tip will guide you on the best device that will match your requirements.


There are varied smart gadgets available in the market with different price ranges. Sometimes, you can get one brand that is extra expensive while another brand is offering the same product at a considerable price. You don’t need to go beyond your limits. With your budget, you can do research and find an ideal gadget that will meet your needs.

Storage space

Of course, you will need to store files and documents. Therefore, before committing to buy that tablet or laptop, compare the specs, specifically the storage space. You can then select a device with enough storage space to serve you.


Laptops and tablets play a key role in simplifying education for students. Especially for college students who need to do research and write large volumes of essays and other academic papers, a good laptop will always come in handy. Tablets, on the other hand, can be a good option for a student who wants to embrace e-reading.

Tablets vs. Laptops: Which Device is Ideal for Students? was last updated December 18th, 2023 by Irina Pashchenko