Tech Tips

Laptops vs tablets: which is better for your student?

Laptops and tablets are both great learning tools for students, and these days they are essential to their work in and out of the classroom. Both devices allow internet access, easy reading of online textbooks and articles and quick access to emails anywhere on campus. The differences lie in their size, cost and functionality.

So which is better?

Many tech experts think laptops are the way to go for students because they offer a full suite of programs and functionality that most tablets lack. For example, built-in keyboards come standard in laptops and make it easy to write papers and build presentations. Additionally, programs like PowerPoint and Excel are built to run on computers, but are difficult to maneuver from a tablet. Fluency in these programs will be vital to your student’s professional success, so why not learn how to use them early? Not only is it easier to organize and access lots of documents on a laptop, they also come with more storage space to help get your student through all their years in school.

That being said, laptops can be heavy when carried around in a backpack all day, and you can buy a full-size keyboard to go with your tablet. They are lightweight, perfect for carrying to classes all day without weighing down a bag. Their smaller size allows you to quickly access the internet or pull up a document without ever needing to even sit down. If your student does use it in class, it doesn’t take up too much desk space, allowing plenty of room for books and other supplies. Tablets are also typically cheaper, providing many of the same core functionalities of a laptop while saving a little cash for the rest of the school supplies on your list.

Before purchasing a laptop or tablet for your student, consider the following:

1. How will they use it?

If they plan to use their device primarily for smaller tasks like reading, internet access or answering emails, a tablet would do the job well. But if they need something to write papers, build presentations and do extensive research, a computer might be the better option.

2. Will they have access to a public computer?

If not, then you may want to spring for a laptop for the added functionality. However, if they have access to computers at the library or in a lab on campus, a tablet could be a good daily solution, reserving the library for bigger projects.

3. How often will they use it and where?

If your student plans on taking their device to each class and having it on hand all day, the portability of a tablet would suit them well. But if they’ve got paper textbooks and can leave their electronics at home during class but want the functionality of a computer for homework, a laptop could be the better option.

So which team are you on? Team Laptop, or Team Tablet? Let us know below.