Smartphone vs. Tablet: What's the difference?

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Difference between Smartphone and Tablet

Today's consumer electronics market is literally littered with gadgets, many of which have become essential accessories to the average consumer. Virtually unheard of until only a few years ago, devices such as smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous features of today's technological landscape. Both serve different purposes of course, although many of the newer models in both camps display a great degree of overlap in terms of features and capabilities, as you will see in this comparison article. 

Smartphone
Tablet

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Smartphones are mobile phones that offer more advanced computing capabilities and features than contemporary phones. In fact, smartphones are often more like handheld computers that come with mobile telephone capabilities. 

Tablets or tablet computers on the other hand are complete personal mobile computers that are designed for portability. They are generally larger than mobile phones and personal digital assistants, and feature a flat touch screen that is its primary means of operation. Tablets also generally feature an onscreen virtual keyboard and/or a digital pen, which take the place of the traditional keyboard.

Relative Advantages And Disadvantages

Since smartphones have smaller screen sizes and less powerful processors than computers and even tablets, designers and developers often have to wrestle with a variety of usability issues. Touchscreens are only some of the ways by which developers have gotten around the size and power limitations, and they allow the user to perform a variety of task that would have otherwise required a keyboard and/or a mouse. That being said, the small screen size of such devices generally restricts content developers to mostly text-intensive pages with few images and animations.

Tablets have a much larger screen size than smartphones obviously, and along with processing power that is often equal to desktops, this has allowed tablet developers to sidestep the limitations of even the most advanced smartphones. While editing a Word document on a smartphone is a cumbersome and almost impossible process, it is almost as easy as using a desktop with a tablet. Furthermore, the larger screen allows for higher resolution images and resource intensive content such as video, animation and even complex graphics.

Power

Although smartphones may seem hindered by their relatively lower powered processors and smaller sizes, they are actually quite powerful devices at the core. The introduction of features such as multi-touch go a long way in enhancing the smartphone user experience by allowing users to use more than one finger for certain tasks.

Nevertheless, the smaller screen size is a significant stumbling block, regardless of any multi-touch features offered.  Although it is likely that such devices will continue to improve in the future, even the most advanced smartphones equipped with 4-inch screens and dual-core processors simply cannot compare with tablets and notebooks at present.

Similarities and Differences

Smartphones

  • Mobile phones that offer more advanced computing capabilities and features than contemporary phones
  • Even the most advanced smartphones are still no match for tablets and notebooks

Tablets

  • Complete personal mobile computers designed for portability
  • Have much larger screen sizes than smartphones
  • Processing power is often equal to that of desktops
 
 

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