Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

Summary:My recent article about using a tablet with a keyboard as a laptop replacement didn't make sense to some readers, who pointed out that a laptop is better for the purpose. That's correct to a point, except if the laptop is not with me.

Every time I write an article about using one of the many tablets in Mobile News Manor as a laptop I get flooded with responses from the netbook/ laptop crowd. The gist is basically "why would you set out to use a device for something it is not intended, when a netbook would better serve the purpose?". That is always a fair point, but it overlooks the reality that makes using a tablet this way a benefit. For times when I carry a tablet along for the benefits it provides, it is an extended use when I can hook it up to a keyboard and do a lot of writing. It's a "just in case" thing for me.

While some folks make an effort to leave the laptop at home and just use the iPad or Android tablet as a full-time system, that's not my approach. That smacks more of an attempt to make it work so the load in the gear bag is lighter. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not for me. I reserve my use of a tablet as a laptop replacement for those times when I leave the laptop at home because I don't anticipate needing one.

A tablet is easy to throw into the gear bag with a keyboard, so that's what I do. That turns the unexpected work session with the tablet into an extra benefit, not a forced session that may not be as good as using a real laptop. I don't do to prove I can do it, I am able to salvage an unexpected opportunity to get some real work done without compromise. It's a "just in case" thing that saves the day.

The tablet has revolutionized my free time with the many things it can do no matter where I happen to be. It is comfortable to use for long periods in the hand, and battery life is so good I never even think about it. I just throw it in the bag and use it as I desire. Sometimes the muse hits no matter where I am, and having a keyboard along is a very good thing. I don't use my tablet as a laptop replacement, but it's nice to be able to do that at a moment's notice.

If I was setting out to get a work system, a laptop would definitely be what I looked for. Those who insist that it makes more sense to get a cheap laptop than buying both a tablet and a keyboard to get work work are correct. But the truth is I already have a tablet for other reasons (several in fact), and several laptops too, so using it with a keyboard is not an either/or situation. It's a just in case thing.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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