We bet many of your friends and colleagues own a tablet or a notebook, and we won’t be surprised if you have one of your own, too. Whether for work or for play, tablets and notebooks have both found a firm following that ensures they’ll be around for a while.

Now, with innovation being as unstoppable as it has always been, we’re beginning to see new gadgets that seem to bring the best of tablets and notebooks in one device. We’d like to call them the tablet-notebook hybrids, and they’re starting to pop out like mushrooms after a storm due to their perceived potential. The question is, are these two-in-one devices really as good as advertised?

Tablets, notebooks, and tablet-notebook hybrids—they make for a potentially confusing affair if you’re out in the market for a new mobile device, so we’re helping you find your perfect gadget match by comparing what they have to offer with each other. Click “next” to see how they’ll match up!

TABLETS

Tablets (sometimes called slates or simply tabs), can be seen as oversized devices for multimedia consumption, like that portable audio-video player of yours blown up to be three times as large.

LOOKS: There are tons of these devices in town, although they seem to look like they came from one mother. There seems to be one “default” look shared, and by that we mean a façade dominated by a large screen with few or even no physical buttons up front. For those who like it simple, this is a good thing. However, if you’re looking for more creativity in terms of appearance, tablets might not be able to give you that although many find them appealing due to their thin frames.

SIZE AND PORTABILITY: Tablets might not be as small as smartphones, but they’re still portable and mobile. With each release, they tend to shed more grams and millimeters. In terms of display size, however, the norm remains constant with standard measurements at seven, nine, or 10 inches (although some can go beyond 10 inches). Although you will have a hard time using one with one hand, you won’t have any problems lugging them around as long as you have a medium-sized shoulder bag (or your guy’s backpack) to carry them.

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE: On the inside, many of today’s tablets come with dual-core or quad-core processors (the latter being faster) and between 512MB to 2GB of RAM. This is usually more than enough to take care of the usual mobile chores (e.g. using apps, playing mobile games, web browsing). In terms of software, the bulk of the tablets in the market run on two operating systems: Android and iOS. There are other platforms like BlackBerry OS and Windows, but most run on either of the two.

PERFORMANCE: While tablets continue to evolve, they are still meant for content-consumption and not for content-creation. This means they're great for browsing the web, viewing photos, watching videos, using apps, and playing mobile games. They’re not really for creating some serious multimedia content—at least, not yet—and this is primarily because of the hardware limitations. Sure, the specs look good on paper, but they still fall short if you want to, say, edit an HD video. Still, if you’re just out to use apps or post a pic on Instagram or Facebook a tablet will do just fine.

MULTIMEDIA AND CONNECTIVITY: The good thing about tablets is that they don’t fall short in terms of multimedia features, as they come with at least one camera and built-in music and video players. The same can be said for connectivity: most have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, while some even have 3G and 4G in the mix.

PRICING: Tablets might not come in many shapes, but you have a lot to choose from when it comes to SRPs. Some can be as cheap as P5,000 while the really expensive ones go beyond P30,000, depending on the hardware.

(Photo courtesy of Amazon)

NOTEBOOKS

Notebooks are almost like desktops in terms of hardware and power, although they come in much smaller packages which offer mobility and portability.

LOOKS: Notebooks (with the exception of really wacky concept variants) have a fold-to-open form factor. However, they have much to offer by way of being unique. Some sport textured plastic frames, while others come in smooth metal. Certain laptops are even covered in glass! While most current offerings follow the “thin is in” trend, there are still some that are much bulkier than others.

SIZE AND PORTABILITY: Notebooks come in many sizes, depending on the power and hardware packed inside. Some laptops are meant to be desktop replacements or hardcore gaming notebooks, so, they're chunkier and heavier than the norm because of the souped-up hardware inside them. You might have a harder time carrying them, so if your main focus is mobility and portability, you should probably go for a slimmer model.

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE: This is where it really gets interesting. Being larger than tablets, notebooks also have more space to pack better hardware inside. Current laptops come with a 3rd-generation Intel Core processor with at least 4GB of RAM. Add to the list a host of physical ports, a display over 11 inches in size, wired and wireless connectivity, at least 500GB of storage capacity, and video cards that contribute to better graphics. As for software, most laptops pack either Windows or Mac OS, although a few run on Linux and other less popular operating systems. These platforms offer more if you’re out to do things on a larger scale and want more productivity compared to their tablet counterparts.

PERFORMANCE: Notebooks are made for both content consumption and content creation (i.e. creating and editing photos and videos), which explains the need for upgraded hardware. By sheer power alone, most laptops outclass most tablets. However, the overall performance of a laptop still depends largely on the programs installed and its hardware. If you have crappy specs and loads of unnecessary programs running, then you’ll have a very slow device in your hands.

MULTIMEDIA AND CONNECTIVITY: Most laptops come with Wi-Fi, a wired Internet port, and Bluetooth. Both 3G and 4G are not normally part of the package, which is a disadvantage if you want to use a SIM card for a mobile connection. HD video viewing and photo editing come as standards in current notebooks. A basic built-in webcam (normally found just on top of the display) is also included, although the quality is usually just good for taking basic photos and doing a bit of video calling. Depending on what programs you have, you can also increase your notebook’s multimedia capabilities.

PRICING: There are tons of notebooks out there, so prices vary. A starter notebook will cost you about P30,000 while powerful models can go well beyond P100,000.

(Photo courtesy of HP)

TABLET-NOTEBOOK HYBRIDS

Tablet-notebook hybrids are devices that try to offer the best of both worlds in one package. Compared to other gadgets, they’re relatively new to the scene.

LOOKS: At first glance, tablet-notebook hybrids resemble tablets more than notebooks. This is primarily because they are usually patterned after the former. Many of these hybrids can be connected to an optional compatible keyboard. In terms of their frames, some come with a mostly plastic construction, while others have a metallic shell. Almost all of them are also thin and light, although maybe not as thin as tablets if you include the keyboard.

SIZE AND PORTABILITY: As with looks, tablet-notebook hybrids also follow tablets more than notebooks, with display sizes between nine to 11 inches, making them slimmer and lighter than most laptops. This also means that they’ll pose minimal problems when you’re travelling.

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE: Most, if not all, tablet-notebook hybrids run on Android and offer tons of apps. They can also come equipped with productivity suites that allows users accomplish more on the go. As for the innards, tablet-notebook hybrids normally sport slightly better hardware compared to standard tablets. Many of them have quad-core processors or even Intel-made CPUs and 1 to 2GB of RAM. Some models also carry advanced mobile graphics for better gaming and viewing of multimedia files. However, tablet-notebook hybrids still pack inferior hardware when you compare them to notebooks.

PERFORMANCE: With better hardware, tablet-notebook hybrids are speedier and more powerful than standard tablets. Due to their added features and capabilities, they can go beyond being content-consumption devices to a certain extent. Technically speaking, you can do a bit more with them, especially in terms of content creation. However, notebooks are still usually better in terms of benchmarks and performance compared to tablet-notebook hybrids due to their superior hardware.

MULTIMEDIA AND CONNECTIVITY: Most tablet-notebook hybrids come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, while others add 3G connectivity. The keyboards of these devices also give more ports (e.g. HDMI, USB) for versatility in file-sharing. Photo and video viewers and players are included as part of the software of tablet-notebook hybrids. They also have at least one camera with a megapixel count between 2 and 8.

PRICING: Tablet-notebook hybrids are more expensive than normal tablets, being priced between P25,000 to around P35,000. Some of them are even more expensive than basic notebooks.

(Photo courtesy of Asus)

WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU GO FOR?

It really depends on your needs. While notebooks offer the most power, they are also the least portable and are the heaviest for our poor wallets. Tablets, on the other hand, are not that powerful but are really mobile and can be very cheap. In the case of tablet-notebook hybrids, they’re both mobile and powerful, although not as fast as laptops or as cheap as tablets.

Now, if you’re out for a new mobile device and are planning to choose among these devices, here are our simple recommendations:

BUY A TABLET IF: You put great value on portability and mobility. This is the device to get if you want to get connected to the Internet quickly even if you’re outside your office or home and if you only need basic multimedia entertainment.

BUY A NOTEBOOK IF: Money and portability isn’t an issue for you. If you want a device with some serious power under the hood for content-creation, top-notch multimedia entertainment, and increased work productivity, this is the garget for you.

BUY A TABLET-NOTEBOOK HYBRID IF: You want a bit of speed and power to go along with portability and mobility, and if you can spend a bit more cash for more versatility and productivity.

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