Laptop & tablet buying guide

With such a huge choice between laptops and tablets, memory sizes, features, screen sizes and processors, just creating a shortlist can seem a little daunting!

Particularly since this can be a significant purchase that plays an important role in your everyday life. With this in mind, we hope you find this a helpful guide to help determine what is really important for you.

This is a question we get asked all the time, but it really depends on what your needs are. If you want tech primarily for entertainment, such as for browsing social media and streaming the latest TV shows, then a tablet would be brilliant – although a Laptop can do all of these things too. Tablets are incredibly popular, thanks to their portability, easy to use apps and the wide range of functions they can be used for. Tablets are the go-to for children and they’re increasingly popular, but you need to consider if a tablet is a better choice for you. On the other hand, modern laptops are also extremely portable and usually offer a much wider range of tasks that they can be used for. By and large, laptops give you advanced performance in comparison to tablets, as their larger cases can house more in the way of hardware.

When it comes to software, tablets use apps (applications) and are largely touch-screen while laptops offer a more versatile desktop experience. If you need to use in-depth and complex programmes like Photoshop or anything that demands more than tapping a screen can accommodate, then a laptop is your best bet. We even stock Apple MacBook Pro’s which specialise in navigating things such as Adobe programmes without slowing down or struggling. Once you’ve chosen between a laptop or a tablet, you then need to consider the options below to narrow your search further.

The memory in a laptop is called the RAM (Random Access Memory), and it means the physical hardware inside a computer that effectively serves as the “working memory” by temporarily storing data. The greater the RAM capacity, the more information can be dealt with at the same time, meaning that there is a considerable effect on overall computing performance. Where possible, choose the largest RAM in your price bracket.

  • 2GB - 4GB

  • 4GB and over

Thanks to advances in technology, laptops are lighter than ever. That also applies to the screen manufacturer, so there’s less need to compromise between size and heft! Smaller screens will, of course, be lighter and easier to transport but if you’re largely static, then it makes sense to opt for a larger screen.

  • Smaller screens (up to 14")

  • Larger screens (over 14")

The operating system of your laptop is important software that manages the computer's memory and processes, as well as all of its software and hardware. It also allows you to communicate with the computer without having to use programming or coding.

Tablets are incredibly intuitive to use and are normally operated by tapping on the touch screen to open apps (applications). Apps allow your tablet to do almost anything that the programmers can imagine and create, subject to the technical limitations. This means that you can turn your tablet into a remote control for a drone, a turbo-charged drawing pad, a gaming device, the hub of your social media, the centre of your smart home and so much more. Tablets are easily portable and weigh less than laptops, making them ideal for those on the move. We stock a wide range of Apple iPads and iPad Minis in a range of colours, storage and screen sizes which you can browse here.

There are few things more frustrating than getting your new tech set up… only to discover that you’ve missed something vital. From screen protectors, to WiFi extenders, cables and eco-friendly printer ink, you’ll find our computing accessories department has got what you need.

Whether you choose a tablet or a laptop, having a printer is a great way to make your tech even more versatile. From printing out pages to creating the perfect photo keepsake, you can browse our printers and find out more in our dedicated buying guide here.