Mobile computing is a way of life. The world doesn’t stop just because you get up and leave your desk, and you need tools to stay engaged and get things done no matter where you are.
Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are each capable mobile computing devices in their own way, but each also has distinct benefits and disadvantages. If you’re heading out the door, and you only want to grab one device, which one will it be?
Here are five reasons that the laptop is a better choice for mobile computing than a tablet or smartphone:
1. Physical Keyboard
Nothing can replace a physical keyboard when it comes to crafting long documents or communicating extensively by email. The virtual keyboard on some tablets rivals physical keyboards in terms of size and sensitivity, but touch typists rely on physical markers like the raised bumps on the “F” and “J” keys to keep their fingers in the right position and be able to type without looking down.
2. Storage Capacity
Laptops basically start at 250GB when it comes to storage capacity. That is four times more storage than high-end tablets that come with 64GB. There are some notebooks--particularly more portable devices like the MacBook Air--use SSD drives that are more expensive, and generally have lower capacities, but most notebooks have 300GB or more.
3. DVD / CD Drive
I have argued that the disk is a dying technology. I still believe it is, but it’s not dead yet. Whether it’s a CD that has important business data burned onto it, a vendor DVD demonstrating a product or service you are considering, or a new release you rented from Redbox that you’d like to watch during a flight, or while staying at a hotel, you might appreciate having the DVD drive there as an option.
You have software that you rely on to get things done when you’re sitting at your desk. It would be nice to have those exact same tools available when you go mobile. For most people, the laptop is also the desktop--just disconnect it from the external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and you’re out the door, and you still have all of the same stuff you normally use. It is also more likely that any software a customer or vendor might give you will be designed to run on Windows.
The IT world is built around certain accepted standards. It is nice to have a mobile computing device that has USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, SD memory card slots, or other ports that are somewhat universal and ubiquitous. There is some peace of mind that comes with knowing that no matter where you go, or what you’re doing, your laptop probably has a port or slot somewhere to handle it.
As great as these reasons may seem, there really is no “best” mobile computing device for everyone. In fact, there probably isn’t even a mobile computing device that is best for you in all cases. You have to consider the scenarios in which you intend to use the mobile device, and choose the best tool for the job.