Notebook vs Tablet: What is the Difference?

ipad tablet

When it comes to different devices nowadays, there tend to be plenty of different names that we use to call them. The notebook is one such name that is used to call a certain kind of portable computer. Meanwhile, the tablet is an in between of a laptop and a smartphone. So, what makes the notebook and the tablet different from one another?

Notebooks are actual computers that make use of the same operating systems that desktops and laptops do. They are only smaller laptops, which are basically portable versions of desktops. Meanwhile, tablets may be the size of notebooks but they use their own mobile operating systems.

With all of the different devices we have, it can be quite difficult to differentiate different gadgets especially when you only base their differences on their sizes and appearances. However, there is a good reason why a notebook is a notebook and a tablet is a tablet. And we are here to talk more about what makes these two devices different from one another.

Is a notebook the same as a laptop?

When you are talking about different computers and devices in today’s world, it tends to be quite difficult to keep up unless you know the specifics. That’s because technology has given birth to a lot of different types of computers and portable devices that each have their own specific purposes.

In that regard, one of the things you need to know is that there are actually different types of computers other than the desktop. The most notable version of the computer is currently the laptop, which is a mobile and portable type of computer.

There is another type of computer that often gets compared to a laptop. This is the notebook, which is often used to describe computers that also look like laptops. So, are notebooks just similar to laptops?

It can be difficult to really draw the difference between a laptop and a notebook nowadays especially when there is hardly anything that’s different between them. Basically, the name notebook was used on smaller versions of laptops that are about 11 inches or smaller. 

However, back in the day, the difference between these machines boiled down to the fact that notebooks did not have some of the parts and components that laptops did such as an optical drive and certain ports.

But, because optical drives are almost non-existent in laptops today and because ports have become quite universal, the only difference between a laptop and a notebook is the fact that a notebook is smaller. Other than that, there are no differences between the two. Then again, due to how smaller notebooks are, they also come with weaker specs compared to conventional laptops.

Basically, notebooks are smaller and weaker laptops. But, for the sake of making things simpler in this discussion, we are going to refer to notebooks as machines that are entirely unique on their own.

What are the differences between a notebook and a tablet?

Now that you know that notebooks are basically laptops that are made to be smaller and more compact, what makes a notebook different from a tablet? Let’s look at their differences using a table that you can easily refer to:

Point of comparisonNotebookTablet
What it isNotebooks are computers that are made to be smaller and portable. They are generally laptops that are made to be smaller than laptops. Most notebooks are laptops that are about 11 inches or smaller. Some notebooks also lack the power that laptops generally have.A tablet is a touchscreen device that is similar to a smartphone but is made to be bigger. Tablets are usually bigger than 8 inches and may even reach 13 inches. These are all-screen devices that are similar to smartphones but lack a few key features and have bigger screens.
KeyboardNotebooks come with keyboards that are just smaller versions of the regular computer keyboard. That’s because notebooks are not capable of functioning without the use of a keyboard as it is the keyboard that you use to type on a notebook computer.Tablets do not come with their own physical keyboards right out of the box. Instead, you use the on-screen keyboard to type on your tablet. If you want to use a physical keyboard, you would have to buy it separately from the tablet.
NavigationThe way you navigate through a notebook is the same as a regular computer in the sense that you use an on-screen pointer that can be controlled using the notebook’s touchpad or an external mouse.Navigation through a tablet is quite easy because all you need to do is to tap your way through the different options and apps that you want to use. You can also use an external mouse or a touchpad for some tablets but they do cost extra.
Form factor and sizeNotebooks are just laptops in the sense that they come in foldable clamshell form factor with the screen and the keyboard serving as the halves of the notebook. Most notebooks are usually 11 inches or smaller.Tablets are single-screen slate-like devices that do not come with the clamshell form factor that notebooks have. These devices are usually somewhere over 8 inches long.
PortabilityNotebooks are pretty much portable because you can carry them in smaller bags without having to worry about their weight. Of course, because notebooks are smaller than laptops, it is much easier to carry them either in your hands or in your bag.Tablets were made to be devices that are just as portable or even more portable than laptops and notebooks. That’s because tablets, despite being just as long as notebooks are, are still a lot lighter and slimmer than notebooks. This makes it easier for you to carry them around in one hand.
Operating systemNotebooks use the same kind of operating system that any kind of computer uses. There can be some slight variations depending on the notebook you are using.Some tablets use the exact same operating system that mobile phone devices use especially if you are running Android. However, Apple iPads come with their own operating systems, which are pretty much just the regular iOS that was modified to fit the demands of a tablet user better. Tablet operating systems were specifically made to cater to the tablet’s touchscreen capabilities.
VersatilityNotebooks are just as versatile as laptops are in the sense that they can do almost everything that a computer can do. However, don’t expect a notebook to have the same gaming capabilities that laptops and desktops have because they do have weaker specs.Tablets are known to be quite versatile because they come with the capabilities of a mobile phone and the size of a notebook. However, for you to take advantage of a tablet’s versatility, you would have to buy a keyboard so that you can type a lot more efficiently.
PriceNotebooks are very affordable because they are made to be smaller and weaker laptops. In many ways, notebooks are called entry-level laptops because you can find notebooks that are priced under $500.Tablet prices vary from one tablet to another. There are some tablets that are priced under $400 or even cheaper when you go with the less notable brands. However, if you buy accessories for a tablet, the total expense can be more than what you would pay for if you purchased a notebook instead.

Which is better between a notebook and a tablet?

With all that said and done, which is better between a notebook and a tablet? Well, it depends on what you are going to use them for.

Notebooks are still better when it comes to overall productivity because they are more compact than laptops but come with the same capabilities albeit with weaker specs. However, tablets are the more compact and more portable of these two devices.

So, if you want to focus more on productivity, notebooks are the best for you. But, if you want to take advantage of the tablet’s versatility and portability especially when you are always on the go, you might want to use a tablet instead.

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