Input and Output Devices

By Katie Piper

The difference between an input and an output devices

To understand the difference between an input and output device, you must understand the difference between input and output. Any information or data that's entered or sent to the computer to be processed is considered input and anything that is displayed from the computer is output.

Input Devices

An input device is a piece of hardware that is used to enter data into a computer.

There are many different kinds of input devices. They are split into two categories - manual input devices and automatic input devices.


Examples of input devices include:


  • A Keyboard
  • A Mouse
  • Drawing Tablet
  • Bar code scanner
  • Touch screen
  • Joystick
  • Microphone


Output Devices

An output device is a piece of hardware that is capable of representing information from a computer.


Examples of output devices include:



  • A Monitor
  • Headphones
  • A Printer
  • A Speaker
  • Disk Drives


Devices that are both input and output devices

Some devices are both input and output devices, such as:



  • A tablet
  • An Interactive whiteboard
  • A mobile phone
  • Digital camera
  • An iPod


These devices are classed as both an input device and an output device because they feature properties of both.

For example a tablet is both because it has a touch screen which also works as a monitor.