The Now and the Not Yet

3 Posted in: iPad, Laptop, Opinion on: by John

iPadvsLaptopWith all the rage about tablets (iPads, etc.) we’re often asked “I’m in the market for a new PC/Laptop, I was wondering if I shouldn’t just get a tablet instead.”

Well – it depends.  Purpose and usage are everything.  Tablets are GREAT devices, and they can probably DO everything a PC can, but not always as easily.  Tablets are, however, incredibly convenient and portable and shine at certain tasks.

Personally, in addition to a standard PC and a laptop, I have a tablet – an iPad.  The iPad has network connectivity and I’ve attached a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on several occasions.  Sounds like a pretty complete setup, right?  Do I do my job on it?  Can I do my job on it?  Not usually.  Why?  Is it me?  Am I just not giving it a fair shot?  Admittedly, part of it is a learning curve.  To accomplish the same tasks, in many cases, I would need to purchase custom applications to do tasks I’ve already learned how to do well on another platform.  In some cases, it’s just not physically practical.  Manipulating documents on a ten (or seven) inch screen is in no way the same experience as the larger real estate of a twenty-something inch desktop monitor.  I also can’t balance a tablet on my legs when travelling (no matter what accessories I buy) the same way I can my laptop.

But that really is the point.  Tablets aren’t made to be manipulated the same way a desktop (or laptop) is.  When you find applications and tasks built for the touchscreen, you’d never want to try and do them on a PC again.  Also, the convenience of a zero-boot-time tablet operating system to do a quick email check/send or look up something on-line has caused me to remove my laptop from the living room.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took it out of the bag after work hours.  At work, the tablet takes on a different role.  I can’t find a better way to access my media library.  It also serves as a great third (smaller) monitor where I can keep applications like TweetDeck or Seesmic within viewing distance.

Bottom line, if I’ve got serious work to do, I still reach for my PC/Laptop first.  If I’m looking for convenience or specific applications that are either ancillary, or touch-fantastic, it’s iPad all the way.  If you’re in the market to purchase one or the other (I’m looking at you college-student), pick the laptop.  Tablets definitely aren’t toys, but in this writer’s opinion, they aren’t replacing PCs just yet.

- John

This article was originally written for and published in the August/September 2011 issue of Around About East/West Canton.

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