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

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.

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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

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

    Sometimes I think you're just making excuses James. It's great to demonstrate the abilities of hardware, but just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean it is the ideal answer. For many folks, myself included, common sense still dictates.

    There are many arguments I could make that favor netbooks over slates, and I won't go pasting more links than I already have. The bottom line is your particular work needs are met with a slate and keyboard.

    What you fail to point out however is that those needs met by your solution are very limited, going little beyond basic typing. You also seem rather insensitive to price, as again $600 can buy far more advanced solutions than a slate+keyboard.

    In my opinion, a $400 netbooks beats any slate for mobility, productivity and entertainment. Enough said.
    lgpOnTheMove
    • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

      @lgpOnTheMove Then there's this way of thinking:
      My iPad is more portable than a laptop, has more/cheaper/free apps that inform and entertain, fits my lifestyle perfectly as a bed time browser and TV companion, and can easily fit any number of situations where a laptop can be awkward (airplane, car, subway, restaurant, travel, briefcase, backpack). Laptops (specifically netbooks) are great for doing lots of typing, but tablets are better for just about everything else. I have a desktop computer that handles all of my work (I'm a graphic designer) and I needed a portable solution. I settled on a tablet because its simply better for more situations than a laptop for me, and those instances where typing and traveling meet, I know that I can hook up a keyboard and it'll do.
      So yeah, the author isn't saying tablets are the BEST solution for EVERYTHING, just like you shouldn't be saying laptops are the BEST solution for EVERYTHING. because they're not.
      danyowell
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @danyowell Agreed. The author isn't saying tablets are the BEST solution for EVERYTHING.
        <a href="http://www.kecioyun.com/" title="oyun">oyun</a>
        oyna
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @danyowell Ohh...I tell you every ting!
        great-ish-soul
    • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

      @lgpOnTheMove

      depend what the user intends to do. most tablet users are satisfied with their software keybord. Having a hardware keyboard to me is kind of defeating the point of having a tablet in the first place.
      Bakabaka
      • chuckle

        @Bakabaka
        but then my Transformer keyboard gives me:
        1. extra battery life (16 hrs)
        2. more ports
        3. touchpad

        yeah..... think the keyboard is worth it.

        :D
        rhonin
    • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

      @lgpOnTheMove

      It sounds to me as though you didn't actually read the article.
      msalzberg
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @msalzberg I use my Laptop as a desktop and it's never been a thing I thought was more or less in need of a reexamination. Alien Nation. Italian Rapscallion. Ya Mamma's got the wooden leg, Woo hoo...Freak!

        The addition of some speakers and a larger, box-like uber-speaker (can't remember the name at the moment) makes this arrangement a satisfactory one. For me. Si!
        great-ish-soul
  • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

    Luddites, stuck in the PC era.

    Purposely ignoring the power of these things, especially when the heavy lifting is done in the cloud.
    bannedagain
    • All fine and dandy...

      @bannedagain ...but some of us regularly go places where the almighty cloud does not follow.
      itpro_z
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @itpro_z You can only fool yourself for so long, IT Pro. The Cloud knows that wherever you go, Cloud go. Just so ya know. nonononono!
        great-ish-soul
    • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

      @bannedagain

      It depends on your definition of "PC". If you state your definition in it's entirety, then your assertion can be examined. Otherwise, it's too vague to even consider.
      TechNickle
    • Think you mean &quot;desktop&quot;

      @bannedagain

      ...since a tablet *PC* is still a PC.

      And since not everything is done "in the cloud" yet -- probably not even close to 50% of it at this point -- that's left to the tablet to do the heavy lifting... which they're still not so great at doing when compared to other PCs. They make me think of Scary Movie 2: "It's my strong hand!".
      spdragoo@...
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @spdragoo@... Partly cloudy, fifty/fifty, Scary Movie : Bomb. Not Booty!
        great-ish-soul
    • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

      @bannedagain Determined indeed-y, dem Luddites!
      great-ish-soul
  • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

    I think this article presages a time when most tablet users will in fact decide that their notebook/netbook is redundent. With a decent word processor and a good keyboard you get a whole lot more than just basic typiing. My next buying decision would likely be to choose which high-spec laptop will replace my home desktop. Then the laptop will be my "just in case" machine.
    Chris Blessing
    • Almost....

      @Chris Blessing
      Let's call it situationally redundant.
      rhonin
      • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

        @rhonin - Ditto
        Chris Blessing
  • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

    I have to agree with lgponthemove. I have both a slate and laptop but simply would a foolish expenditure to purchase a keyboard for it. The slate is primarily only for surfing, retrieving emails, and reading ebooks. I will gladly accept the additional weight on the laptop for the ability to be truly functional in the field. I truly believe for most people a rather inexpensive netbook is all that they really require.

    remarquee
    remarquee@...
  • RE: Using a tablet as a laptop, it's a just in case thing

    Personally, I think this "all new form factors are a 100% replacement for all old form factors" mentality that some people seem to have is misguided.

    Not you necessarily, but many ZDNet bloggers do sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that the future is only going to be in certain form factors.

    But that's not true. Where I work, there's still a lot of desktops. My personal main machine and gaming rig is still a tower. I may have an iPhone, but for vacations I still bring a laptop.

    IMO the idea that we're "converging" to a single form factor is patent nonsense. I don't have a problem with people having multiple devices for multiple purposes.
    CobraA1