Tablets: Pros and Cons
Posted on: August 1st, 2011
Yesterday I was browsing through the advertisement magazine from the mail and one thing surprised me: the variety of tablet computers available on the market. I’ve seen people who got the iPad but now there are at least five other companies making similar devices. I thought that it’d be helpful to get a bit more familiar with them.First let me describe what a ‘tablet’ is: It’s a miniature all-in-one computer that runs a simplified system (compared to a regular laptop). They have touch sensitive screens, which replaces both the keyboard and mouse. So all user interaction is accomplished using the screen. They are light-weight and thin, and have very long battery life which makes them ideal for travel, leisure reading, etc. They can all connect to WiFi networks, and some models have built-in 3G or 4G connection for on-the-road internet access.
This all sounds very nice, but there are some down sides:
- Due to space limitations and for the sake of longer battery life, tablets do not have traditional hard drives. Instead they come with solid state drives, which are not up to the capacity/price ratio as traditional hard drives. Therefore the storage capacity on these devices range usually from 16 to 64GB, which is tiny compared to a regular laptops’ 250-1,500 GB range. However, that limited capacity is still quite sufficient for storing thousands of pictures and music files, hundreds of books or a couple of full length movies.
- They might or might not have USB ports. Also not all USB devices might work with them. Flash drives and external hard drive most likely will, but others probably not.
- The don’t have disc drives. So you can’t watch DVDs or look at your picture CD on them. The small form factor simply does not allow space for a disk drive.
- The applications (software) are quickly developing for them but the choices are still much more limited than for a PC or Mac. For example you can find Office software that would allow you to edit Word or Excel files but there isn’t a full fledged Office suite like Microsoft Office.
- The user interface is different and works differently than on a regular laptop. They are not hard to learn at all, but you do need to get used to them.
- They are expensive ($400+), considering the limitation they have, i.e: a same priced laptop has considerably more features, speed and available software.
If you are debating on whether to get a laptop or a tablet then the deciding point will be this: “What are you going to use the machine for?”
Tablets have quite a few limitations, most importantly the number of available software for them. So if you are going to need features that are not offered by tablets then you better off getting a laptop.
In a nutshell: tablets are great entertainment pieces, allowing convenient web browsing, media playback, book reading, etc. However, they are not meant, at this time, for creating content, such as editing documents. So if you need to get work done then you’ll need a PC or a Mac.
Finally here are some pictures of Tablets available today, to get some idea. You can see the full size images by clicking on the images
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