A Gamer’s Choice: Tablet or Laptop for Gaming on The Go?

If you’re on the market for a portable gaming device, then you are probably debating with the question many gamers ask: which is better for gaming – tablet or laptop? It goes without saying that while desktop PCs have the best performance, they are not really relevant if you are looking for a portable device. And although your mobile phone is nice for casual on the go gaming, it’s too small if you are looking for a true gaming experience. So that brings us back to the question we started with. What you will learn in this article is that there is no definite answer. Each has its own advantages and at the end of the day your choice depends on your needs and preferences. These are the key factors that you should keep in mind when you make your choice:

laptop vs table for gaming

Laptop vs Table for Gaming

Portability
This is mainly the reason you are looking at these two devices in the first place. and this is where the tablet wins big time. Most tablet sizes vary between 8 and 10-inches. The weight of a tablet ranges between 300 to 700 grams but only the larger tablets come close to 700g.

A laptop can be anywhere from 12 to 21 inches but most laptops are 12 to 17 inches. A laptop can weigh between 1 to 4 kilos. Lighter laptops are not all that powerful and gaming laptops tend to be heavier. So, a laptop is going to be much larger and much heavier than the average tablet, which makes it less portable.

Display
Laptops have larger displays but image quality can be better on tablets. The smaller size means that there are more pixels on the screen at a fixed resolution. 1080p footage will look better on an 8-inch tablet when compared to a 15-inch laptop. The quality of the display will vary with the price.

Keeping all of that in mind, tablets have the advantage at lower price points but this becomes less noticeable as the price increases.

Storage
Both devices handle storage differently. Laptops have the advantage here. Even the cheapest laptop on the market right now will have at least 500 GB of storage, Tablets can have as little as 8 GB of storage. Laptops are very flexible when it comes to storage. In most cases, you can swap the drive that is inside your laptop with a higher capacity one or a faster one.

Laptops are the clear winners here when it comes to storage capacity and upgradability. You can extend the storage on a tablet by using SD cards but they are not as fast as SSDs.

Operating Systems
Tablets use iOs or Android operating systems while laptops have the same operating systems as desktops. This means that any game that you can play on your desktop PC can be played on a laptop operating system as well. That is not true for tablets.

I would say that tablets are great for casual gamers. If, for example, you want to play the Winstar online roulette, a tablet is a great choice. But if you need a device for a more serious gaming experience, like in the War of Warcraft or League of Legends then you will be better off with a gaming laptop. Tablets can be more limiting when it comes to software and games.

Hardware
Tablets are powered by mobile chips that are optimized for being efficient. Laptops, on the other hand, offer various configurations and you have a lot of hardware options to choose from. You can get pretty close to the performance of a desktop on a decent gaming laptop with similar specifications.

In 2019 you can get a laptop with the top of the line Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU and Intel i9-9900K CPU, like Dell’s Alienware m51 gaming laptop. This hardware can run pretty much any game that you throw at it and it also offers features such as real-time ray tracing which you cannot experience on a tablet.

Productivity
Chances are that you are going to do a lot more with your device than just play games. If that is indeed the case then laptops offer a lot of flexibility. They are great for productivity and you have access to all the software in the world. As mentioned before, tablets are limited when it comes to software support.

Tablet vs Laptop – Bottom Line

Now that you know what each device brings to your gaming table, it’s time to make your choice. Take all the factors mentioned in this article, along with your gaming preferences and you are good to go.


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1 Comment
  1. Andrew says

    This is a debate I’ve had for a long time. I’ve tried Android tablets, Windows tablets, an Ipad and now a Switch.

    The Switch wins hands down for gaming, but obviously is useless for productivity.

    Android just felt like using a big smartphone and performed worse than the ipad on comparable hardware in games like BG2 (Galaxy Tab S2 vs Ipad 9.7″). The Surface Pro was actually reasonably good for productivity, but had terrible battery life and syltruggled even in older games at native res (eg Witcher 1). I bought the i7 for in the go photo editing and light gaming, but realised I wasn’t able to do anything that I couldn’t do on a cheaper tablet.

    For now, I’ll take the ipad if I want to play infinity engine rpgs, or the Switch for anything else (especially now the Pillars and BG2 etc are all heading to Switch).

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