As computer technology gets smaller, faster, and more powerful, professionals are finding themselves with more options for the modern workplace. Specifically, technology companies are developing better tablets which could replace the traditional laptop computer for the professional on the go. So the question becomes, in the tablet vs laptop showdown, which tool is the most effective for meetings?
Main Differences Between Tablets and Laptops
Lifewire has a great article detailing some key characteristics to keep in mind when purchasing a tablet or a laptop.
For the purposes of this article, talking about the effectiveness of a tablet vs laptop in a meeting, we chose 3 characteristics (plus a bonus 4th):
- Input Method
- Performance / Software
- What kind of meeting are you attending?
Which input method for typing do you need?
Input method refers to the way a user enters information into the computer or tablet. For longer information entry (email, document preparation), laptops’ keyboards are ultimately more effective. Compared to a tablet’s on-screen keyboard, typing is significantly faster on a keyboard.
So, the advantage depends on the amount of words that you need to type.
If, during the meeting, you will be actively editing information in a presentation, or adding to a longer document, the keyboard may prevail.
If instead, the meeting is more of a summary setting, and you are simply reviewing information or making decisions about already-prepared materials, tablet on-screen keyboards can suffice without any trouble.
What level of performance or variety of software do you need?
Price points come into play here, as a higher-end tablet can compete with the processing power of a mid-tier laptop. However, the application of the hardware is what counts.
Generally speaking, in terms of true multi-tasking, laptops continue to outperform tablets (although higher end tablets are catching up, fast). By multi-tasking, that might mean image editing, video streaming, browsing the internet, editing a slideshow, editing a spreadsheet.
If your meeting is one where you will be actively working – so creating new content – a laptop will often provide better multi-tasking. It will also offer wider compatibility with software needed to complete your tasks.
If your meeting is one where you may be:
- Opening links to online resources
- Downloading and making notes on documents
- Navigating calendars
- Reviewing spreadsheets
A tablet can do all of this and much more.
How important is the size of your computer?
How far do you need to go to attend your meeting? Is the meeting being held at your workplace, or somewhere else?
Tablets are objectively smaller and lighter than laptops, so they are easier to carry around. They trade size and weight for less powerful computing and hardware.
If your meetings are typically held in your workplace, there’s really no reason to not have a laptop available. The laptop will give you a much wider range of tools.
If your meetings are held in an association business office or boardroom, there is a distinct advantage to grabbing your small tablet and leaving a bulkier laptop behind.
What kind of meeting are you attending?
We’ve alluded to this question throughout the article, but it really matters. What are your meetings about, and what is your role?
Directorpoint works directly with boards of directors, who gather to review documents and make decisions that can affect companies or systems at scale. These board members need to be able to quickly view documents, make notes, add suggestions, and review upcoming events. Our board software helps to achieve that.
For board meetings, tablets can help a board member complete all of the necessary tasks, while offering benefits of being lightweight. They are easy to take to meetings, which might often happen at a university campus, or in a bank building boardroom.
In contrast to board meetings, other meetings might be creative meetings, where professionals are gathering to work together on a project or presentation. They might be writing grants, or putting together video content, and need to have different software and the ability to multi-task.
Generally speaking, if your meetings are creative meetings (both in meeting to brainstorm and to actually create new things), laptops are still the way to go. In a near future, that may change, as tablets keeping getting better and price points have consistently stayed below powerful laptops.
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