Anybody working in the digital era would agree with one fact – it is now an established industry standard to put ‘mobile first.’ Whether it’s for web design or  graphics, the first and foremost idea is to make sure it is all accessible to mobile users. This, of course, has created somewhat of a gap when it comes to applications being used on a tablet.

The differences between smartphones and tablets are many, but the main difference is the way in which users experience and interact with each device. Smartphones have of course dominated the market for a while now, and these numbers continue to grow.

Tablets on the other hand seem to have peaked in their sales and have already captured the audience they could. So the answer to the question – ‘smartphone or tablet, which is better?’ really depends on what a user needs. Also new in the market are phablets – smartphones that are just shorter (literally in size) than tablets, but are bigger than your average phone. 

Tablet vs Smartphone – Pros and Cons 

Smartphones are generally preferred by users in the age bracket of 18-34 years, but for younger and older users,  tablets seem to be the go-to device. One reason for this is because tablets are an easy switch between a phone and a laptop – they’re just easier to use, and their portability is a huge plus.

People between the ages of 18-34 tend to move around a lot more. While students and younger kids would enjoy watching multimedia on a tablet, people above the age of 34 may prefer them for the larger screen and general functionality. Also, another interesting thing to note is that towards the evening, many people switch to using tablets for the ease of using a bigger screen. 

Another major difference comes through in the usage patterns, and what each platform is used for. For example, 39% of users use their smartphones for games,  24% of users use them for social media and networking, while 17% use them for utilities. Tablets, on the other hand, see 67% of users using them for gaming alone, while 10% use them for social media, 9% for entertainment, and only 4% use them for utilities. 

Also, while smartphones are definitely used more during the week, tablets are used less but for longer durations. For every 4 minutes being spent on a smartphone, users are putting in 8.2 minutes of their time on a tablet. 

Some other key differences between smartphones and tablets are in terms of the user experience and design. Let’s take a look at these :

Smartphones are more portable than a tablet, and can be used more frequently and in more places as compared to a tablet. These are also used in a more distracted manner, and the attention span of using a smartphone can be shorter than the use of an average tablet.
While the use of the internet on smartphones has increased, it is still not considered to be a primary go-to. It is also why users tend to flip from one app to another on a  smartphone, and on a tablet they would rather spend more time doing particular activity. Likely to be used for multi-tasking (users flit from app to app rather than spending significant times doing any particular task)

Tablets on the other hand are less portable, and not as convenient to carry around when stepping outside. These are definitely more likely to be used in a fixed palace as compared to a smartphone which goes everywhere with the user. The higher resolution also offers a better multimedia experience.
The experience of using a tablet is thus very different from that of a smartphone, and so many people opt for both – depending on what task they want to accomplish on their device. Smartphones will continue to be popular due to the portability, but tablets can be great for at-home or in-office work or entertainment, and also suit very young kids as well the elderly.