Tablets Or Laptops - What Is Best For Business Use?


I had a great question from my friend who is realestate professional in Florida, Vaughn Herren. He asked me for advice on whether or not he should buy a laptop or a tablet device for work purposes.

He liked the idea of the portability of a tablet device, but wondered if it would have the utility of a laptop. Plus, he had plans on using Microsoft Office with whatever device he picked.

Tablets can be a great tool for real estate agents. They can take pictures, get online with mobile 3G or 4G service, and can run certain software packages. They are widely used and are very popular with agents across the country, especially the Apple iPad.

While tablets are super convenient and very powerful devices, it might not be the best choice depending on the type of software you need to run. If you're going to be doing any work on a spreadsheet, a tablet can be maddening.

Manipulating your way around Microsoft Excel on an Android tablet or Apple iPad is not easy. You've got to learn a lot of tricks to get the functionality of what the mouse can do with ease. In my opinion, it is not worth the trouble if you will be working a lot with spreadsheets.

Yes, you can perform the functions that you need to do. But if you are looking to be fast and efficient, you're not going to be breaking any records doing cumbersome number crunching and spreadsheet analysis on a tablet.

That's where a laptop comes ahead and wins the competition. Having a mouse touch pad or external mouse gives a clear advantage in manipulating and working through spreadsheets and databases.

One alternative is to get an iPad or possibly the upcoming Microsoft Surface RT with a keyboard. This makes the tablet much more usable. I find tablets useless when it comes to typing on a touch screen. Without real keys to seat your fingers, you just can't type with any real speed.

So adding an external keyboard to an iPad or Surface RT will give it a laptop-type user experience. There are some high quality keyboards available, so your typing efficiency would be off the charts if you're a fast typer.

But you still don't have the use of a mouse with a tablet. That's a big drawback. For me, I'm a spreadsheet finatic. I use it to make balance sheets, cost estimates, inventory tracking, payroll tax calculations, and more. There isn't a way in the world I would do my business computing on a tablet. If I did, what little hair I have on the top of my head would be gone.

But that's just me. Maybe the uses a person may have are more geared toward a tablet. If they are, then a tablet may be the way to go. But for maximum computing power and flexibility to run all business related software efficiently, I'm going to have to say that a laptop would be the smart first investment.

Later on down the road, if money is not a problem, I think a tablet device would compliment the use of a laptop. I just don't think it would replace it.

For me, you'll see me toting a full size 17" HP laptop. And how will I diversify my cadre of computing components? With a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. That will be my bottom-level device. Desktop PC, laptop, and phablet. My winning formula!

What is your comination of gadetry that you haul off to the workplace or field each day? Share with us in the new Disqus comments section what your weapons of data warfare are!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Advisor