Mulligan Management Group, LLC

Tablet or Laptop: What Makes Sense For Your Event


As a meeting planner, you have decided it is time to get rid of your conference binders.

As an exhibitor, you are going to eliminate all marketing materials.

As a speaker, you have made the decision to go completely green.

With cloud computing alternatives being free (or a private one bearing a fraction of the cost of binder publication) and more and more apps with the capability to be web based and web responsive, does it really matter which device your attendees, exhibitors and speakers rent or bring to the conference?

The simple answer is yes. The more complex answer is it depends on how each of the parties plan to use the device.

Below are six characteristics of each device that can help make your decision easier. Ultimately, this choice is up to you – but at least you will have all the information.  


Tablet Rentals are Great When Your Stakeholders…

…Need a Large Screen with Bigger Fonts.

Because the iPad is made of glass and has touch at every surface point, if you cannot read what is on the screen you can always “pinch” it to your appropriate readability level. While this is possible on a laptop as well, it isn’t native to the device and requires a bit of trial and error.

In addition, because the iPad is “all screen, most of the time”, the fonts are going to be naturally larger than what you would see on a laptop.

…Want Touch.

The attraction of an iPad is the ability to navigate functionality with the touch of a finger.

…Need iOS or Android applications.

This could go either way for a Mac laptop or iPad but generally speaking if your stakeholders are used to one operating system, getting to change is very difficult. They will have just grasped the new operating system about the time they are leaving your conference.

…Need long Battery Life.

With the ability to last up to 10 hours, tablets can probably take you through the entire day. If electrical outlets are going to be a challenge, go for iPads.

…Require Portability.

Whether it is an attendee, exhibitor or speaker, tablets are generally one pound or less in weight and about ½ inch thick. These devices are great for walking, standing or sitting.

…Expect a lot of Social Channels to be Used, Especially Instagram and Vine.

There are some social media apps that don’t work well on a desktop because they are mobile driven. The two I just mentioned, won’t work at all on a laptop – other than to view the collective work of an individual or organization.


Laptop Rentals are Great When Your Stakeholders…

…Are going to take a lot of notes.

Nothing helps a person capture complete notes, like a laptop. If your attendees are planning on typing a lot, either rent a keyboard along with the tablet, or go completely to a laptop. This probably makes a lot of sense when attendees are going to be stationary at the meeting, such as a training conference or sales meeting.

…Are using a Stationary Setting.

If the laptop is going to be connected to PowerPoint equipment, large Plasma display or sitting in a trade show booth running a continuous product loop, a laptop is a great connectivity and scalability device.  

…Need Windows-based Applications.

You need to know what your attendees are used to and want to access while they are at the conference. If they are going to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint – probably best to stay with laptops.

…Have Electrical Outlets easily available to them.

Some classroom settings have the electrical outlets available for every seat. No worries about draining batteries because your laptop is constantly charging.

…Love Their Keyboard or Have Never Used a Tablet.

Some individuals work best when they can navigate through a keyboard. They are word driven and even if they take very few notes, it has to do with their device comfort level.

…Are going to consume a lot of Wi-Fi in hard-to-reach access points.

The antenna on a laptop is stronger than a tablet; therefore if you decide to use iPads, you will need more access points in order for that tablet to remain in Internet range all the time.


CRE Rentals, a premier supplier of cutting edge technology rentals for corporate events and projects, can provide you with the technology answers to your meeting needs! With both laptops and tablets available to rent and project managers available to understand your needs, they can provide you with the total package! 

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