R vs MATLAB: Unbiased Comparison to Choose The Best

R vs Matlab is one of the most crucial battles for the students. Because the students are always confused to choose the best between R and Matlab, they provide the best data analytics functionality to the users. Apart from that, these languages are widely used by data scientists and statisticians. We all know that the data is growing at a rapid pace like never before.

Therefore the demand for data modeling tools is also increasing. That is why R and Matlab are getting more popular than ever before. Both of these programming languages are also useful in business analytics to drive actionable insights from decision-making data.

But learning both of these programming languages is not convenient for anyone. Therefore the students want to choose the best programming language to learn between R vs Matlab. Let’s start this comparison with an overview of these programming languages.

Introduction to R

R is an open-source programming language. It is one of the most popular programming languages for statistical computing and graphics. You can extend the capabilities of R programming with the help of libraries and packages in R. There are hundreds of pre-installed libraries in R programming that are used for statistical and graphical techniques.

It is widely used for machine learning algorithms, time series analysis, regression, clustering, etc. You can also embed user-generated packages in R programming. Besides, you can create R programming packages in itself or any other programming languages, i.e., C, C++, Java, and Python.

You can use the command line and the graphical user interface i.e., IDE’s to code in R programming. One of the best IDE’s for R programming is R studio and visual studio. You can also access the R functionality with other scripting languages such as Perl, Php, Ruby, and many more scripting languages.

Matlab Definition

The full form of MATLAB is the matrix laboratory. It is a paid programming language developed by MathWorks. It is one of those programming languages that offer a multi-paradigm programming environment to the programmers. The major purpose of MATLAB programming is to use engineers and scientists for mathematical and technical computing.

It is widely used for functional plotting, algorithms implementation, user interface creation, and other programming interactions. Matlab is not like the traditional programming language where you need to code from scratch. In Matlab, you go to the build toolbox that allows you to perform almost every task in Matlab.

You can also extend the functionality of MATLAB by adding more tools in its toolbox. Its toolbox contains some default files i.e., known as M files. These files are quite crucial in MATLAB used to solve the specific set of problems in MATLAB, such as signal systems, control systems, neural networks, etc. MATLAB is one of the most powerful software for image processing in the world.


Easy to learn

R programming is quite tough to learn if you don’t have any programming background. Likewise, most of the programming languages it is having its unique syntax, decision-making statements, loops, and many more. That is why nonprogramming background students or users need to invest plenty of time to learn R programming.

R is not created for the beginner or nonprogrammer. But after the development of R commander and R studio. Now it is quite convenient to code in R programming as compared to doing coding in the command line interface. On the other hand, Matlab is quite easier than R programming. In this programming language, you need not learn the complex syntax and programming structures.

It is offering the best simple and easy to use syntax. Even a nonprogramming background user can also get familiar with Matlab. MATLAB offers the toolbox to accomplish most of the tasks. Therefore all you need to do is spend your time learning the toolbox that is not as tough as learning R programming from scratch. 


R is free of cost programming language. You need to pay for internet charges to download it from the internet. On the other hand, MATLAB is a paid programming language that offers different license types to its users, such as students, organizations, and many more. MATLAB costs you a little more than most of the paid programming languages.


R is quite faster than Matlab. But you can only achieve the faster speed from R programming if you have a good command over it. On the other hand, Matlab offers you a faster speed for technical computation, statistics, and machine learning than R programming’s normal speed. In this comparison between R vs Matlab no one is a clear winner.

Support and Documentation

When it comes to supporting, R programming does not offer official after-sales support to the users. But it is an open-source programming language. That is why it has one of the largest communities in the world. You can also find the official documentation of R on its official website.

On the other hand, Matlab offers official after-sales support to its users. It has one of the best customer support globally; apart from that, their official site also provides the complete documentation to its users. It also offers hundreds of prewritten code to the beginners to get started with MATLAB. It has more than 500+ dedicated technical support experts worldwide for 24×7 online support.

Machine Learning

Both of these programming languages are efficient to perform machine learning activities. R is offering the best in class libraries to perform machine learning tasks. On the other hand, Matlab is offering statistics and machine learning toolbox for machine learning tasks. With this toolbox, you can perform classification, data exploration, train model, data validation, and many more tasks.

If you want to perform image processing in machine learning, Matlab is the best option. On the other hand, if you want to use complex algorithms for machine learning, then R is best. Even you can have better control over machine learning using R. It may not be as fast as Matlab for some of the cases. But yes, it is quite reliable and capable of performing a variety of machine learning tasks. 


R programming and Matlab both are offering best in class data visualization to its users. R is offering the best graphics implementations. It has four graphic implementations i.e., Base graphics, Grid graphics, Lattice graphics, and Ggplot2. The base graphics in R programming can do most of the data visualization tasks.

On the other hand, Matlab is offering the 2D and 3D plotting functions. You can customize plots in Matlab either interactively or programmatically based on your skillset. Matlab also offers packages to extend its graphical capabilities, such as Simulink, for data modeling, simulation, and multi-domain analysis.

Platform Independent

R is a platform-independent programming language. You can run it on any operating system such as Linux, Windows, and macOS. You can also operate it on server-oriented OS such as Solaris OS. If you start to code in R on macOS and edit the code again on Windows, you can do it without any additional packages and code change. The code will work the same on every operating system. All the R packages were tested on CRAN to ensure that those will work on every operating system.

On the other hand, MATLAB is also a platform-independent programming language that can be run on Linux, Mac, and Windows. But you can’t run the same licensed version of MATLAB in more than the specified number of computers. Because it uses the MAC address of the computer to identify the license of MATLAB. 


Now we have seen the comparison between R vs Matlab based on some key points. We have seen that R is quite useful in education and government organization. On the other hand, MATLAB is quite useful in the industry. R is one of the best statistical programming languages, and you can perform almost every statistics calculation with R easily.

Nowadays, it is offering the best IDE for the programmer to do coding with R programming. At the same time, Matlab is widely used for mathematical computation. It is also quite easy to learn as compared with R programming. But if you have some basic programming knowledge and good command over statistics and mathematics. Then it would be best if you went with R programming. Otherwise, Matlab is the best option for you.

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