Choose between a laptop or tablet
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Tablet vs. laptop: Which is right for you?

You may think laptop and tablet features are similar, but in reality they're quite different. Put simply, laptops are best suited for longer stretches at the keyboard and the precision of a mouse. They are great for "creating" content, such as videos, slideshows or writing the great American novel. A tablet computer's strong point is mobility, and tablets are best suited for "consuming" content—viewing a slideshow, browsing email or reading that bestseller you just purchased. Before you decide where to put your money, here are a few key points to consider:

Benefits of a laptop computer

  • Keyboard: Can't type in all text-speak? Then only a real keyboard will do.
  • Compatibility: Need full compatibility with the office suite that you use at work? You'll have to have a laptop with a full version of the program for that.
  • Content creation: A laptop has the edge over tablets in editing video and photos. You can burn them to a disc, too, if it has a DVD or Blu-ray burner.
  • Real browser: Tablet browsers are very good compared to a smartphone's, but most websites are still designed for the full-featured browsers that are used in laptops.

Benefits of a tablet computer

  • Excellent battery life: Tablets typically offer a full day or more of use before needing a recharge, while most laptops max out after a few hours.
  • Instant on: Need to check a recipe? Forget the two-minute startup of a laptop. A tablet turns on in a second and lets you find information fast.
  • Touch screen: Once you get used to scrolling a page with a swipe of your finger or zooming in on a photo by pinching the screen, it's hard to go back to anything else.
  • Lightweight: A typical tablet weighs just over a pound, with smaller units coming in under a pound. Because they're so slim, you can easily slip a tablet into your purse or backpack and barely notice that it's there.

Now that you're equipped with the knowledge you need to make the right decision, brush up on tech terminology.

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