Laptops, tablets and ultrabooks compared feature by feature

Laptop v. Tablet v. Ultrabook

by Rebecca Keller

When the time comes to purchase a new mobile computer (and by that I mean a laptop, tablet, or ultrabook because we do have choices these days), it's often a case of finding the cheapest option and pulling out the old credit card. However, choosing between a laptop, ultrabook, and tablet should be determined on more than price alone. For instance, which device offers the best features for your lifestyle?

As a writer who's used a laptop for years, I decided to take an honest look at all three before I ran out and bought the cheapest laptop. Here are the pros and cons of all three (tablets, ultrabooks, and laptops) to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of laptops

Laptops offer the full features choice, such as a full keyboard for typing, a CD or DVD player, camera for chatting, and more.

  • Laptops are the most durable option with a hard outer case, especially if you travel or take it with you everywhere.

  • Another cool thing about laptops is that they offer the user cloud-based storage that the other options don't.

  • Also a laptop can be hooked up to docking station if you want a full keyboard hook up or battery charge.

  • Laptops also offer full video, audio, and typing capabilities.

  • They also offer full word processing for writing and editing of documents.

Cons of laptops

Remember there is always a downside, and what laptops offer in speed, features, and performance, they lack in convenience.

  • They are the bulkiest and heaviest of all mobile computing options.

  • Laptops also require regular and inconvenient upgrades in terms of processing and graphics capabilities.

Pros of tablets

Tablets are a popular mobile option because they're not only the cheapest option; they're also the lightest and most portable option. You can literally slip a tablet into your purse, bag, or backpack and carry it around without getting a bad back. Here are some further benefits of tablets:

  • Tablets offer the same basic features of laptops and ultrabooks.

  • They offer big, bright screens for e-reading.

  • They're great if you like intuitive, touch-screen controls.

  • You'll enjoy on-the-go internet access at free public Wi-Fi hot spots.

  • When it comes to roaming around campuses (for students) and town (for small business owners or work-at-home moms), tablets take the cake due to their extreme light weight.

  • They have surprisingly long battery life.

  • They start up and surf very quickly.

  • You can use a tablet just about anywhere (on a bench, bar stool, campus steps, or your lap) even when there's virtually no space handy.

Cons of tablets

On the flip side, a tablet might not be for you for the following reasons:

  • You need a traditional keyboard like I do for typing.

  • While cheaper, tablets also offer less durability.

  • You won't get the full capabilities of a laptop, such as DVD/CD, imbedded camera, etc.

Pros of ultrabooks

Lastly, ultrabooks are high-end, slim, ultra-portable laptops that attempt to marry the best features of the laptop (processing and speed) and the tablet (portability and convenience). Here are the pros:

  • They have serious processing power that almost rivals a laptop.

  • The offer fast connectivity and battery back-up (6+ hours).

  • They have extremely thin, lightweight frames for easy portability.

Cons of ultrabooks

Function and convenience always come with a cost and the same is so with the ultrabook.

  • They're expensive. The most affordable ultrabook is almost twice as much as the most inexpensive laptop.

  • An ultra slim, lightweight frames limits upgrading options.

  • There's an added risk for dropping and permanently damaging.

  • Upgrade options for ultrabooks also tend to be very expensive and somewhat limited.

Rebecca Keller is a graduate of the Arts and Technology program at the University of Texas. An admitted tech-junkie, she writes about everything from new ultrabooks to the latest in home theater, as well as Android devices. This offers the perfect outlet for a tech geek like Rebecca. When she's offline, which isn't very often, Rebecca enjoys volunteering for her local animal shelter and off road mountain biking.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here

True or False

Prices keep rising while my income remains stagnant and I worry I am heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think I am heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, I am not in debt trouble but I am always looking for new ways to help keep my budget on track!

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to any newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
The Computer Lady

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt