Which is better device for online learning: Tablet or Smartphone

by Neilson Gesite - February 10, 2021

A helpful tip for parents out there on choosing which device to choose for their children undergoing distant learning.

COVID-19 changes the way of learning in the Philippines due to the nationwide lockdown. Students in public schools use modules and participate in classes through video call while most private schools do online learning. With this major change, parents and student guardians alike seek for a way to let their childrens have a quality educational experience despite these trying times by providing quality gadgets either as a Laptop, Tablet or smartphone.

But due to the daily expenses and cost cutting of many companies, parents had a problem affording Laptop devices which is the most commendable gadget for online learning leaving them to choose between tablets and smartphones.

The question is, which is better between tablets and smartphones for online classes?

Things to be considered when choosing a device for online classes


When we want a quality experience for our children studying through online classes, we should consider the experience they will get on the device they are going to use. Online classes use different visual presentations and having a better visual aid device is a must which is available only for devices with big screens such as laptops.

While tablets and smartphones have smaller screens in comparison to laptops, online visual presentation is still visible for these two devices as long as it is near the user. The only negative effect is that due to the screen being near to the users eyes, a possibility of eye problems might happen when used regularly.

Comparing tablets and smartphones in this area, Tablets given its size naturally won in this regard for having a bigger screen.

Tablet: 1 point - Smartphone: 0;


The reason why we are comparing smartphones and tablets was due to laptops being expensive for parents to afford. As for smartphones and tablets, there are many low price but have quality enough for online learning. Since we think of affordability in this case, we must consider as well if the device we are purchasing is giving more value.

When we say value, we can ask ourselves what we can use the device for aside from online learning. Let us think positively where the pandemic will end this year especially with the vaccine already available. So with this in mind, which is more valuable? A tablet or smartphone?

A tablet can be used for stuff that requires a bigger screen such as recording stuff at work which is easier with a big screen, participating in a online class, video conference or meeting which sometimes includes screen sharing where the sharer uses a bigger monitor. In these cases, a bigger device is better to use which makes a tablet a good choice.

But if you are employed in a company and are allowed to work from home, are you going to use the tablet or the laptop provided by the company? Of course work from home requires an employee to have a laptop so this will leave the tablet only usable only for the students online class. Aside from that, it can also be used for communicating through the internet since using it as a phone seems like not going to work. Just imagine calling and putting a tablet in your ear, did you just feel you return back to the old times?

In this case, a smartphone is the answer, while it has a smaller screen, it is still possible to participate in online classes via video conferencing apps. Since it is made as a device for call and other communication channels, this is better to have for daily uses and since it is smaller compared to a tablet, it is easy to carry anywhere you go. You probably think that since there is a pandemic, you won't need to go outside and carry a device, the thing is, as I said, let us think positively here where the pandemic will come to an end. Devices usually have a lifespan of three years so if you choose to buy a tablet and everything goes back to face-to-face classes, the value of the tablet will drop to being a gaming device.

If we put it this way, a smartphone which is more valuable from the very start, in normal circumstances, is better than a tablet. Well if you plan to give it as a gift to your child and plan to buy a separate smartphone for him or her, then nevermind. But we will give this one point to smartphones.

If you are considering smartphone for online class, you may want to check out this article: Best Online Learning Smartphones

Tablet: 1 point - Smartphone: 1 point;

Battery Life

Another thing to consider is how long does the gadget last while having an online class. We don't want the device our child uses to end up having a low battery or suddenly die while in the middle of class, right? Though we can charge it while using, smartphones and tablets are not recommended to use while doing it or else it might affect the phone life itself. So it is still necessary to have a longer battery life to prevent such inconvenience.

In this case, tablets won in all regards as they have higher battery life. A tablet can last for 8 to 10 hours or more while on use. So there is no chance to encounter a sudden black out of a device in the middle of something as long as you charged it before using it. Some tablet models can even win against some laptops in terms of battery. While smartphones also have a bit of a long life, 5000mAh which is already high for average devices today is not expected to last that long compared to tablets while being used as a visual aid for online classes. Though you can always charge it on breaktime to make sure it won't die while being used.

But for this, we will give a point to tablets.

Tablet: 2 points - Smartphone: 1 point;


In the end, we can conclude that Tablets are better for online learning than smartphones due to its bigger screen size giving the student a better quality educational experience and longer battery life. But if we want to get more value to what device we will purchase, while smartphones are shorter in size and have shorter battery life, it is still usable as a device for online classes and at the same time, is more valuable.


1. Can I use tablet for online classes?

Answer: Yes, because it has a bigger screen and sometimes has a better experience than a laptop.

2. Can online classes be done on phone?

Answer: Yes, as long as your phone has at least android version 4, dual core CPU and 3 GB of memory are good enough.

3. Can mobile phones be educational tools?

Answer: Yes, because it is a very useful device to access information.

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