The tablet computer is an electronic device with touchscreen functionalities that can connect to a cellular network. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Amazon are the biggest tablet manufacturers.
Tablets come with different operating systems. The most popular ones are iPad OS, Android, Fire OS, Windows, and Chrome OS.
Tablets are a mix of laptops and smartphones but with different functionality and capabilities.
How Do Tablets Work?
Tablets work similarly to most electronics. They have their own operating system, display(touchscreen), rechargeable batteries, cameras, processors, storage, RAM, etc, where you can store files and download apps.
Each tablet has it’s own application store(depending on the tablet’s operating system) where you can download all sorts of apps—entertainment, educational, communication, health, etc.
Is iPad and a Tablet The Same Thing?
Yes, the iPad is a tablet. Just like the iPhone is a smartphone. A tablet is an electronic computing device with a touchscreen, and an iPad fits in that category.
Due to Apple’s brand popularity, people often use the word “iPad” to describe tablets.
The term ‘iPad’ is synonymous with a tablet. People might use the term they are most familiar with. However, in a broader sense, the iPad is a tablet computer. Just like a ‘MacBook’ is a laptop.
How Is A Tablet Different From a Laptop?
Tablets have different designs, are more portable, have touchscreens and input methods are different.
Laptops are heavier and come with keyboards and trackpads.
Laptops provide a broader range of capabilities, including more extensive multitasking and higher performance for demanding tasks like gaming, video editing, video rendering, streaming, and scientific applications.
There are also very lightweight laptops and even touchscreen laptops, and you might be wondering what’s a unique feature on tablets?
The unique feature of tablets is the touch-sensitive screens that support Stylus input. These pens are used for handwritten notes, drawing, and precise on-screen interactions.
How Is A Tablet Different From a Smartphone?
In essence, tablets and smartphones share common functionalities. Tablets are distinguished by their larger screens and are often more focused on content consumption and productivity, whereas smartphones are designed for on-the-go communication and versatile daily tasks.
Tablets, unlike smartphones, don’t inherently function as devices for making calls and sending text messages. However, workarounds are available to bridge this gap—apps like Google Voice, Skype, or WhatsApp for communication.
The unique features of tablets over smartphones are the larger screens, stylus input, laptop-like accessories (mouse, trackpads, keyboards), multitasking capabilities, and longer battery life.
How Can You Use A Tablet? (Use-Cases)
Tablets are very versatile and offer a wide range of functionalities, from productivity and entertainment to creative pursuits.
Here’s a list of popular tablet use cases:
- Reading (eBooks, textbooks, websites, etc.)
- Watching movies and TV shows
- Streaming music and podcasts
- Note-taking (With Stylus & Keyboard)
- Playing games
- Web browsing
- Online shopping
- Video calling (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.)
- Document editing
- Document markups(with stylus pen)
- Creating and presenting presentations
- Learning (new language, playing an instrument, drawing, etc.)
- Drawing (graphic designers, tattoo artists, etc.)
- Photo and video editing
- Online courses and tutorials
- cooking and meal planning (recipes)
- Maps and navigations
- Guided workout routines (fitness apps)
- Flying (pilot apps)
- Code writing (programming)
- Smart gadget management
Understanding Tablet Specs
When examining a tablet in-store or online, you’ll encounter numerous specifications, including the chipset, screen resolution, CPU, GPU, RAM, dimensions, weight, battery, operating system, etc.
Let’s go through each of these so I can explain what they do and why they are important.
Some of the tablets are customizable before the purchase. You can get it with more RAM, different chipsets, etc.
The tablet operating system is the software that manages hardware and provides a user interface, enabling communication between the user and the device and coordinating and controlling various applications and functions.
The most popular operating systems in tablets are iPad OS, Android, FireOS, Chrome OS, and Windows. There are others like Linux OS and Huawei HarmonyOS.
A chipset in tablets is a set of integrated circuits that includes the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), memory controllers, and other essential components, working together to manage and control the tablet’s functions, enabling it to process data, execute tasks, and handle overall performance.
To put it simply, the Chipset is the brain behind the tablet. The chipset and the CPU take care of the thinking, and the GPU provides you with the visuals from apps and games. Storage and RAM help the Chipset to remember where things are.
CPU (central processing unit):
The CPU in a tablet is like its brain, responsible for doing all the thinking and calculations needed to run apps, games, and other tasks. It’s crucial because a fast and efficient CPU means your tablet can respond quickly, run smoothly, and handle various activities without slowing down.
You will notice that the more powerful the CPU and chipset a tablet has, the more expensive it gets. People are willing to pay for speed and power.
GPU (graphics processing unit)
The GPU in a tablet is like its artist, focusing on visuals and graphics in games, videos, and apps. It’s essential because a powerful GPU ensures smooth and vibrant graphics, making your tablet display images, videos, and games in a way that looks great.
It’s also responsible for displaying colors. The more powerful GPU, the more vibrant the colors will look.
There are two display types when it comes to tablets LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode).
- LCD is the most common display types for tablets. It works by using a backlight to illuminate pixels, and liquid crystals modulate the light to create images.
- Each pixel in an OLED screen emits its light, eliminating the need for a backlight. This can result in more vibrant colors, higher contrast ratios, and deeper blacks compared to LCD displays. OLED screens also tend to be more energy-efficient as they can turn off individual pixels.
The main difference between LCD and OLED displays lies in how they generate and emit light:
- LCD: Requires a backlight to illuminate the entire screen, and liquid crystals control the amount of light that passes through.
- OLED: Emits light at the pixel level, allowing for more precise control over individual pixels and enabling deeper blacks and better contrast.
Each display has its advantages and considerations. While LCDs are generally more cost-effective and provide excellent image quality, OLEDs are known for their superior contrast ratios and energy efficiency. The choice between them often depends on factors like budget, use case, and of course personal preferences.
PPI Density (pixel per inch)
When you will browse tablets and take look at display specs you will notice a term “ppi’ which means pixel per inch.
it measures how many pixels are packed into one inch of a screen’s surface. The higher the PPI, the more pixels there are in each inch, resulting in a sharper and more detailed image.
In the context of tablets PPI is an important factor in determining the clarity and crispness of text, pictures, and videos. A higher PPI indicates a higher resolution and a more visually appealing display. It’s one of the key specifications to look at if display quality is important to you.
Screen To Body Ratio
Screen-to-body ratio refers to the proportion of the tablet that is occupied by the display compared to the overall size of the device.
It is expressed as a percentage and indicates how much of the front surface is utilized for the screen and how big the bezels are.
If the tablet’s screen-to-body ratio is 85%, it has relatively small bezels. If the tablet’s screen-to-body ratio is 70%, the bezels are bigger, and the screen is smaller.
Can I use a tablet without the internet?
Yes, you can use a tablet without an internet connection for various tasks. While many tablet functions rely on internet access, there are several activities you can still do offline, such as:
Offline Apps, eBook reading, note taking, play offline games, watch predownloaded movies, TV shows, take pictures, etc.
Can I use a tablet without a smartphone?
Yes, you can use a tablet without a smartphone. Tablets are standalone devices that operate independently of smartphones. They have their own operating systems, processors, and functionalities.
However, it’s important to note that certain features, apps, or services may involve syncing or integration with a smartphone for additional functionality. For example, if you use a tablet and smartphone from the same ecosystem (e.g., both from Apple or Android), you might benefit from features like cross-device notifications, shared apps, or handoffs.
I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.