With manufacturers losing interest in tablets, Apple’s iPad remains the best options for those who actually wish to own a tablet. But are laptops really better than iPads? That is what we’re going to answer today.
And the truth is that the decision is extremely subjective. I personally love my iPad and have loved it since 2015 when I bought the first one – and already upgraded a couple of times since.
But many people say that a laptop is actually better than a tablet. So why are laptops better than iPads?
Laptops can offer an improved performance over iPads, while also featuring a larger screen. If you’re a gamer, then you won’t be able to play most games on an iPad. Finally, laptops offer more storage than iPads, an actual keyboard and are more versatile, in general.
But not all laptops offer this by default. Very cheap laptops will only have just a few of the advantages mentioned above. While some other “advantages” might not matter for many.
But let’s get into some depth here and try to pit iPads vs laptops and see which is the best, in the end.
Are laptops better than iPads?
The truth is that all tablets have their limitations, iPad included. This doesn’t mean that they are completely useless, but if you want to use a tablet as your main device, you should know which these limitations are.
Almost any laptop you can buy out there will have more storage than your regular iPad. Sure, there are some very cheap options available that offer less (like Chromebooks or similarly cheap laptops) but if you are to compare iPads and laptops in the same price range, I am sure that any laptop will win the storage battle.
You can read our previous article where we shared a hard drive storage capacity chart to better understand how storage works.
However, even though iPads will usually offer a lower capacity than laptops, you might not need more. It all depends on what you use it for. I personally had 32GB and 64GB iPads and still made them work (as secondary devices).
Still, we’ll consider the battle in the storage area won by laptops which will offer much more GBs for the same price, allowing you to simply store more data, no matter if we’re talking about photos, movies, music, games or whatnot.
While iPads have built-in features that allow for multitasking and multi-window views, you can’t really compare them with what a good laptop can offer.
Especially if you’re working and need to multitask – but even when studying and researching, for example, or just being at school, laptops offer better options for multitasking.
Not to mention the fact that they natively come with a keyboard and a mouse (or at least a touchpad) which make everything easier.
Sure, you can buy an external keyboard for your iPad as well and also get a mouse that works with your iPad, but that’s just extra money spent and it still won’t be as good and natural as it is on a laptop.
Also, you can do some heavy photo or video editing on your laptop, graphic design and basically anything you can think of. iPads are limited in this area.
The navigation itself – like switching from one program to another or from a browser tab to the other – is easier and faster on laptops, making them win the multi-tasking battle against iPads as well.
Sure, you can play games on your iPad and they have gotten better and better over the years, but if you’re a hardcore gamer and you want to play the latest AAA titles, you will only be able to do that on a laptop.
Here, things are pretty simple: the iPad runs on Apple’s proprietary operating system, which won’t be able to run Windows-based games.
Some developers are creating versions of their games for mobile (including iPads) but it rarely is the same thing.
Plus, playing some genres on a tablet (like shooters, for example) is a lot more difficult than playing on a laptop, where the keyboard and mouse help you with your aiming and overall gameplay.
So if you plan to do a lot of AAA gaming, laptops are the better choice. But you still have to be careful and pay attention to actually buy a laptop that can run the games you plan to play!
And have in mind that sometimes the best gaming laptops out there are more expensive than iPads! Actually, you would have a difficult time to find a good gaming laptop for the price of an iPad.
Laptops come in various sizes and most of them offer larger screens than iPads. You can even choose a smaller model – like one of our recommended 13-inch laptops – and still get a larger screen with good image quality.
Laptops come in various size, from tiny 11″ displays to huge 19″ ones. You can learn more about display sizes and why bigger is better (ahem!) in this laptop screen size comparison chart.
A larger screen is usually better – no matter if you’re just browsing the internet, watching movies, working or studying but this also makes laptops a bit less portable.
However, we’ve seen 15.6″ laptops that are as light as 2 pounds – and we wouldn’t consider that too heavy!
Better processing power
While iPads have a mighty fine processor, it’s not uncommon for you to be able to find a laptop with a better processor and more RAM in the same price range.
This means that laptops should be faster than iPads. I say “should” and not “are” because they will also use a different operating system which also requires more resources.
But even so, solid laptops will have better processing power that iPads and you will feel that in terms of performance and speed.
I personally consider iPads gadgets that are really nice to have and on some occasion I even prefer an iPad over an iPhone (but we’ll leave this for a different article).
Laptops, on the other hand, are better for productivity. So if you’re working or studying, things are usually easier done on a laptop. Things move faster, you can switch faster from one program to another, multitask and get the job done easily.
For example, I can’t even imagine how much more difficult it would’ve been to write this article on my iPad – even with an external keyboard – than on my laptop.
If you really want some of the features that an iPad offers, you can find those by getting a 2-in-1 laptop. We’ve recommended the best ones here.
A 2-in-1 is a laptop that can be turned into a tablet by detaching the display from the laptop’s body or by turning it around completely.
These are, however, bulky in most cases and don’t perform as well as tablets would. But if you really want that, you have options here and still get the benefits (or most of them, at least) mentioned above.
Not all laptop are better than iPads
Even though all laptops have a larger screen than iPads and are easier to use for work in most cases, it doesn’t mean that all of them are better than iPads.
You have to be careful and read all the specifications when making your purchase if you want to spend on a laptop no more than you would on a new iPad.
I am saying this because a $200 laptop might not offer the same performance and all the advantages listed above when compared to a $400 iPad. You do have to take prices into consideration here as well and make sure that you check all the details about the laptop you’re planning to get.
Also, it really depends on what you want your next device to do. If you want one that’s light and extremely portable, one that can easily take photos or videos (pretty good quality too) and get access to iOS apps and games, then an iPad is definitely a better choice than a laptop.
So make sure you know your needs before deciding which is best: an iPad or a laptop.
Laptops have some major advantages over iPads and this makes them the better choice in most occasions.
However, this doesn’t mean that iPads are bad purchases – on the contrary. I usually prefer using my iPad instead of my phone – especially when I watch movies or play games, simply because it has a bigger screen.
But when it comes to work or study – or even watching movies while I’m not on the go, I do prefer my laptop. And you now have all the details you need to make your choice.
My recommendations? If money is not a problem, get both – a good laptop as your main device, and the iPad as the secondary one.