Why Get a Tablet?

Summary: Weighing up whether to grab a sleek new tablet computer but not sure whether you'll use it or not? Here is the top reasons for and against a portable touchscreen device.

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Microsoft Surface

Although tablets first came in to the market back in the 1990’s, it’s the latest range of portable computers that has taken the world by storm. A combination of shape, style, power and design make a tablet for the perfect computer in a number of everyday situations.

Advantages:

  • Lightweight – Tablets often weigh about 1/3 the weight of a standard laptop, so the physical strain of carrying a lightweight tablet is far less.
  • Portable – The typical screen size on a tablet device is around 7 – 10 inches which means they easily fit in to most backpacks, carry bags, or briefcases.
  • Presentations – A rising trend in business is the use of tablet devices to run presentations. With presentation files on a tablet, it is relatively simple to share the content with a large screen in meeting rooms.
  • Fast start up – Most laptop computers generally take around 10 – 30 seconds to start up, however the initial start up on a tablet device is generally around 2 – 10 seconds. Once powered on, a tablet can 'wake' from a sleep mode instantaneously.
  • Easy web browsing – Portability and fast start up combine to make the tablet a first choice for quick web browsing, especially for when you're away from home or your office. A good example would be looking up a recipe for a meal. Set up the tablet in the kitchen, find a recipe online, and get cooking!
  • Education – Tablets, especially iPads, are now widely used and accepted by education institutes across the world. Interactive education is the key to the tablet's success in the classroom, where children can engage with learning materials in real time.
  • Fun – There is just something fun about a tablet. It may just be the hype surrounding a new technological device, but most tablet owners swear by them. There has to be something to it!

Disadvantages:

Apple iPad

  • No Keyboard – One of the major drawbacks of a tablet PC is the lack of a physical keyboard. The touch screen keyboard is OK for web browsing or using apps, but does making it quite painful to type emails or text documents. However, there are numerous optional keyboard accessories if this is important to you.
  • Low processor speeds for work – Although tablet devices can be very helpful for making presentations, they do have processor speed limitations when compared to laptop computers. Processor intense activities such as rendering video, complex spreadsheets, or image editing are not suited to tablets.
  • Less portable than a mobile phone – Although portability is often highlighted as a positive feature of tablets when compared to laptop computers, the opposite can also be said: Tablet computers are far bulkier units than everyday smart phones which can fit easily in your pocket.
  • Lack of ports – Many tablet computers do not contain basic ports such as USB or HDMI which means you cannot use a cable to connect your tablet to another PC or TV. Flash memory ports have become commonplace in laptop computers but are generally not included on tablets, meaning you cannot place the memory card from your digital camera directly into the tablet computer.
  • Fragility – The thin glass screens on tablet devices are not made for absorbing heavy impacts. Tablets are moved around a lot due to their lightweight and portable nature, which means there is the likelihood of the odd bump or even a dreaded drop. Tablet owners often seek to add some padding to the device by using a protective cover or tablet case.
  • Ergonomic discomfort – An often overlooked disadvantage of tablet devices is the strain they place on your body if used for extended periods. The dangers of repetitive strain injuries to hands, wrists, back and neck are commonly accepted for desktop computers, and these strains are substantially increased when using a tablet.

Summary

When it comes to computing, we are spoiled for choice. Though desktop and laptop computers are still extremely popular, there are dozens of everyday situations where a smartphone or tablet is the best solution. They are fun, easy to use devices best suited to web browsing and using apps.

The key question to keep in mind when considering a tablet purchase is: What do I want to do on this device? If you just want to browse online, use social networks, read books, view images, or use apps, then a tablet may be well suited to your needs. If you require the ability to type a lot of text or perform more complex computer functions then you will need to consider the benefits of a laptop computer.

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