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Grow Your Business Technology

Want a Business Tablet? 5 Reasons to Buy a Laptop Instead

Want a Business Tablet? 5 Reasons to Buy a Laptop Instead
Tablets are packed with potential for business users, but a laptop may be a better business machine. / Credit: Shutterstock

Tablets are packed with potential for business users. The slim devices boast powerful hardware, handy software features and an ultra-portable form factor. And unlike laptop PCs, touch-screen tablets were designed for mobile use. But before you rush out to pick up an iPad or Android tablet, consider the downsides to trading in your old notebook for a shiny new slate. Read on for five reasons to consider sticking with your business laptop and forget about working on a tablet.

Tablets lack a physical keyboard, a practical necessity for real productivity. In most cases, that leaves two basic options for tablet typing: use a virtual keyboard, which is slow and imprecise; or link your tablet up with a keyboard accessory, usually wirelessly via Bluetooth. But Bluetooth keyboards are usually smaller and more cramped than a standard keyboard. And without a kickstand, there's no good way to prop most tablets up while you type.

A good business laptop, meanwhile, has a full-size, high-quality keyboard that was designed for productivity. Better yet, a laptop keyboard acts as a base to prop the display up at any angle you want, so it's comfortable to use on your lap or in cramped quarters.

Try these tablets:

ASUS Transformer Book T100: This budget-priced Windows tablet is a well-rounded slate with a detachable, hinged keyboard dock included.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2: A tablet/laptop hybrid that's more like an Ultrabook. Its keyboard is one of the best, but the add-on is sold separately.

The best tablets have plenty of horsepower. The Surface Pro 2, for example, packs an Intel Core i5 processor that should satisfy even the most performance-picky of business users. And more and more, budget tablets are being outfitted with zippy, energy-efficient Intel Haswell chips that offer good performance for basic business tasks.

But pound for pound, you'll pay more for a fast tablet than you would for a laptop computer with comparable specifications. On average, laptops simply have faster processors and more memory than tablets, which are designed to conserve battery life. A fast processor is important for heavy multitaskers, and business users who perform processor-intensive tasks such as spreadsheet computation.

Try these tablets:

Apple iPad Air: The latest iteration of the iPad isn't just slim. It also packs a blazingly fast 64-bit processor.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro: Samsung's new high-end tablet is primed to be one of the fastest performers yet.

Of course, small tablets have small screens. The average laptop display is far bigger than most full-size tablets, and a cramped display is a problem for business users who need a mobile device they can really work on. Small tablets just aren't fit for multitasking, and even basic productivity tasks such as checking email and browsing the Web are less comfortable on a small screen.

Tablets with screens around 10 inches are usually considered full-size devices. But for business users, a 13-inch laptop might be the best balance of productivity and portability.

Try these tablets:

Google Nexus 10: Google's flagship slate isn't just big; it also packs the highest resolution you'll find on a 10.1-inch tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro: Samsung's newest business tablet packs a sprawling 12.2-inch display, sacrificing some portability in the process.

The most popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS, are packed with features, and each supports a huge library of useful apps. But ultimately, these touch-screen operating systems simply weren't designed with business users in mind. Mobile versions of popular applications such as Microsoft Office are often stripped of advanced functionality. And neither iPads nor Android tablets can run demanding desktop software such as Photoshop.

MacBooks and Windows laptops, meanwhile, offer all the functionality of a full desktop computer in a portable package. Opting for a laptop over a tablet means you'll never have to settle for a second-rate app or limited multitasking functionality.

Try these tablets:

Dell Venue 11 Pro: Dell's flagship tablet runs the full version of Windows 8.1, packing packs most of the power and features of Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 for about half the price.

Galaxy Note 10.1: Samsung's flagship tablet runs on an enhanced version of Android with the ability to run two apps side by side on screen.

It's possible to purchase a tablet that's a decent laptop replacement, but it will cost you. The best laptop computers are simply a better value than their tablet counterparts, with better features, bigger displays and faster processors.

There are plenty of high-quality, affordable tablets. But business users, especially those on a budget, may be better off sticking with a familiar laptop computer for work.

Try these tablets:

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Amazon's sleek, speedy slate has a low price point, making it one of the best tablet values around.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T:This hybrid Android device is a big, speedy tablet at a reasonable price, and business users will get a lot of mileage out of the optional keyboard accessory.

Brett Nuckles
Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.