With all of the craze over iPads, Kindle Fires and the like, many business people are wondering if they need the “old fashioned” laptop. The answer is different for everyone. I think it is best discovered by identifying the benefits and shortcomings of the tablet, rather than deciding solely by price. In the end, getting the wrong product for less money can only mean more annoyance.
The benefits of tablets
- smaller and lighter – This is good if you travel often or are trying to slim down your briefcase.
- more mobile – Most tablets offer wireless internet access (for an additional charge) so you can get online almost anywhere. You can also use wifi at home or at many coffee shops to watch movies.
- less obtrusive in a meeting – If you love to take notes or to be able to quickly show something to a client in a meeting, a tablet is a more intimate way to do that and is less “in the way” than a larger and heavier laptop.
- intuitive interface – If you are a novice computer user, you will probably LOVE the tablet interface. It is touch screen and tends to require little-to-no training. These products are born from years of smartphone user behavior. They are meant to be simple to use, but robust enough to handle most users’ needs (and then some).
- snob appeal – Let’s face it: tablets are hip and sexy.
- cheaper – Tablets tend to run you $250 – $750, rather than $750-1500. The apps tend to be $1 – $20 instead of in the hundreds of dollars.
The downsides of tablets (it’s alright… you knew this was coming)
- small screen – A tablet screen is less than half the size of a typical laptop screen. Using it all day might be an eye strain for some.
- small or no keyboard – There isn’t a full-size keyboard (or any keyboard at all, in some cases). This was the drawback to the iPhone originally – but, millions have overcome that to be avid iPhone texters/emailers. There are also keyboard accessories that can be bought for $40-70.
- less robust computing – If you like to work in Photoshop or graphic design software, the tablet may not be right for you. Eventually all of that will probably be available in the cloud as online software, accessible from any device – but, we aren’t there yet. That is why I type this post on my trusty laptop.
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