Tablets vs. Smartphones – Which should you buy?

Some people have the budget and the inclination to purchase both a tablet and a smartphone, although for most of us this may not make practical or financial sense. But if you are trying to work out which of these two device types to purchase, there are a number of key considerations.

Design and Portability

Both smartphones and tablets are portable, but there is a distinct size difference between the two product families.

The largest modern smartphones can have screens of 4.8 inches in size, as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy S3. This will still slip into a pocket or purse. The same cannot be said of tablets, since even those with seven inch screens are going to require rather more space.

That said, tablets are vastly more portable than laptops and offer a big screen experience which smartphones simply cannot match.


Tablets have evolved from smartphones and thus share the same underlying software platforms. Today’s market leaders, iOS and Android are to be found in the majority of popular tablets and smartphones, so the user experience is fairly consistent whichever type of device you choose.

Manufacturers can add their own interfaces and extensions when using Android for smartphones or tablets, but the principal difference is once again down to screen size. You will have more screen “real estate” on a tablet and thus there is more that app developers can do with the available space.


Like for like, smartphones are more expensive than tablets. Many come with mobile network connectivity, although the cheapest tablets will only have Wi-Fi on-board.

You can get a smartphone free with a pay monthly mobile contract, but finding a subsidised tablet is rather more challenging and you will usually have to pay for the device.