Apple recently launched the iPad Pro, its largest tablet yet with a 12.1 inch display. Just a few days earlier, Samsung had unveiled the Galaxy Tab S2, a 9.7 inch tablet for Android users whereas the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and the Asus Transformer T300 have been around for a little longer. What does this say? Well, just one thing, that it's time to press the sleep button on our laptops.
While tablets were initially meant to offer a larger displays to smartphone users, these devices are now increasingly getting crisper, sharper, better and larger, thus threatening devices which until now seemed large enough to be unaffected by the rise.
A look at the best and the largest tablets that have rolled out this year offers us an insight of the things to come. We take a look at Apple's iPad Pro, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 and ASUS Transformer T300 to check the difference for ourselves.
Among these new tablets, the Surface Pro 3 and the iPad Pro stand out with displays exceeding 12 inches, a spec that is very close to what the newest laptops are available in. Display resolutions like the Galaxy Tab S2's QHD, the ASUS T-300's LED Backlit WXGA IPS and iPad Pro's 264ppi Retina display are also the best in the industry among tablets and can support HD videos and hi-res gaming apps as well.
With large displays like these, we wonder why we should go for bulky laptops anymore.
The more we talk about everyday gadgets, the more we wonder if they can sufficiently store all our favourite movies, music and documents and still have space for more.
The Surface Pro 3 makes us wonder why it is called a tablet. It holds up to 512GB RAM followed by the iPad Pro with 128GB, which are more than suitable for our storage needs.
Modern day laptops come in very few variants that hold in excess of 1TB storage. For most users, 64GB and 128GB are usually ideal, and new tablets do come in such storage variants.
Ports, buttons and cameras
The recently released iPad Pro contains, among other things, a Touch ID sensor, built in stereo speakers, a lightening connector, dual microphones, a stereo headphone jack and an on/off button. This makes it short of the MacBook just because of the lack of USB ports, which it otherwise makes up with 128GB storage.
With such connectivity, audio ports, high res cameras and Wi-Fi ports, newer tablets are increasingly turning to 24-hour devices rather than being mere accessories for gaming and watching movies.
These new tablets also contain cameras that are comparable to their smartphone counterparts. The ASUS T-300, the Galaxy Tab S2 and the iPad Pro contain 8MP rear cameras that are sufficient for delivering good quality images. The Surface Pro 3, on the other hand, has a 5MP camera which is great for Skype and video calls.
All four tablets mentioned above offer at least ten hours of constant use on a single charge where the best of laptops max out at 12 hours. This makes tablets both long-lasting as well as useful in terms of connectivity, multi-tasking and as entertainment companions.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 runs a combination of Intel's 4th Gen processors: the Core i3, i5 and i7 chips. These offer CPU speeds of up to 3.3GHz, clock speeds of 1.9GHz and amazing graphics performance.
Similarly, the A9X chip powering the iPad Pro is larger and more powerful than the A9 chip powering Apple's latest iPhones. In terms of single-core and multi-core tests, it showed 28.7 per cent and 22.7 per cent improvement over the A8X chip that powers the iPad Air 2.
In terms of overall performance including 3D gaming, the new chip outperformed Samsung's Exynos 7420 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 chips as well.
The NVIDIA Quad-Core chip in the T-300 tablet also offers performance comparable to laptops and is as powerful as Intel's Core i5 processor.
While digital keyboards in tablets usually eat up precious space for the display, modern tablets are most often accompanied by physical keyboards that suit them in terms of dimensions and can offer similar typing experiences as laptops.
The Galaxy Tab S2 comes with the Book Cover keyboard, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a fully-functional keyboard with a multi-position Kickstand and Apple is offering the Smart Keyboard to go with the iPad Pro. These keyboards offer more surface area for every key and are self-illuminated for better use in dark conditions.
Apart from keyboards, these tablets also come with a range of accessories that enhance their usage. The 10.1 inch ASUS T-300 comes with a full QWERTY chiclet keyboard mobile dock which also enhances the tablet's battery life by an astounding fifteen hours! Also available with it are an external USB adapter, a connect dock and a micro digital to VGA cable.
You can also purchase a Galaxy Tab S2 with a 128GB memory card, Bluetooth Keyboard cases, HDMI adapters, travel chargers and case covers.
With more and more tablets turning larger and demonstrating new features and functionalities, it seems the days of laptops are literally numbered. With the addition of higher storage variants, more colour options, and cross-connectivity with other devices, tablets are no longer accessories to your smartphones but all-round performance gadgets themselves.
It is possible that in a year or so, we will see more laptop manufacturers turn their attention towards tablets and larger phablets.