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Can a tablet be your primary computer?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 pacificdenizen

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:18 AM

I can't wait for the tiny computer that projects a holographic keyboard into the air so you don't have to carry one around.

Until then, it seems like tablets may be the best option...

Can a tablet function as your primary computer these days, or are they still best in addition to a regular desktop or laptop? I am thinking that I might rather have a tablet and attach a real keyboard and mouse, than use a laptop.

Do those on-screen keyboards really work, or are they a pain to use?

Wondering about others' thoughts and experiences...Thanks.

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#2 joggiwagga

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:28 PM

from what i've done with tablets depending on what you want to do i'd say yes, a tablet might be all you need.

the on-screen keyboards do work pretty well, however they are not ideal for touch typing so they can drastically lower your rate of data input.

i also have no clue what sort of office-suite type applications and programs exist for tablets, nor do i fully know the range of business applications for tablets. i've gotten the impression they're quite broad just based on applications for smart phones (my other half just got his first and has spent the past week looking at options, and finds have included automotive diagnostic codes among other things).

#3 Didier Stevens

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 05:28 AM

I assume you are talking about a tablet without keyboard? Because you also have Windows Tablet PCs that come with a keyboard.

A tablet like the iPad can't replace a PC for me. I program a lot and I produce a lot of documents/media.
The iPad is primary a media consuming device, not a media producing device.
I've written articles on my iPad (with an external keyboard), and it worked well, except I was still lacking some basic features one takes for granted, like spell-checking.

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#4 pacificdenizen

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:14 AM

The tablets with Windows 7 and a keyboard are most attractive at this point. I have wondered how functional the on-screen keyboards really are, though--I suspected they might slow things down like you say, joggiwagga. Didier Stevens, thanks for underscoring the difference between the Windows 7 and IPad-type systems...I definitely need my normal programs on Windows, including Word...plus, I hate the idea of paying for new apps all the time. I just noticed that the two Acers I have been looking at have completely different systems....One is Android/Honeycomb. Only the other actually has Windows 7.

The definite plus would be having the versatility of both tablet portability when you want it and the ability to use Windows. I saw an Acer w500 that comes with Office starter applications and even has a fairly decent graphics card on it, for under 600 dollars. There is no stylus, though. It is getting great reviews from users on Amazon, although some of the tech reviews I saw were a little more critical. The biggest complaint from users seems to be that it does not have much space on it. That would not bother me.

The keyboard "docks" into the screen, and some of the reviews suggest that people have difficulty with the screen viewing angle if they use a cord to extend the keyboard's distance from the screen. I would really prefer wireless keyboard capability...I don't want a keyboard and screen locked together--that's why I'm looking at a tablet. I would like to be able to work on the keyboard, say, from a chair with the screen on a stand on the table nearby. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use a larger monitor at times, too, in order to mimic a desktop, but I don't know if that's even possible.

I may hold off....Windows 8 is supposed to start appearing on tablets in 2008, so the price on these may go even lower.

I really appreciate the input.

Edited by pacificdenizen, 24 May 2011 - 09:17 AM.


#5 joggiwagga

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 12:16 PM

Have you thought at all about convertible laptops? Those have tablet functionality (though not exactly the compact size) without losing the strengths and selection of programs of a PC?

I'll admit when I said that yes someone could use just a tablet I was thinking the case of probably less computer use than most of the regulars on this forum take part in.

#6 pacificdenizen

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:40 PM

Convertible laptops...That's a great idea. I will start looking.

I am beginning to realize there's a lot out there that I wasn't even aware of. Thank you!

#7 joggiwagga

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:02 AM

There's a wide range of convertible laptops, including some rather odd appearing conversions and a tablet that converts into a laptop as well.

#8 MarkGS

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:37 PM

I will always prefer an actual laptop, Tablets are awesome companion devices but will never be my primary.. atleast not for awhile. I used my iphone as my main device for the internet while I was saving to get a new PC (and I know it isn't a good comparative tool) but I couldn't stand it I love actually having a keyboard, being able to install + run actual programs, and I feel it gives me more control over my computing experience. Android has some customization options, but nothing like an actual computer in my opinion.

#9 samlee

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:04 AM

Correct me if I am wrong, but many tablets don't have video chat capability. This may not matter to you, but for it is a definite consideration for chatting long distance with family and friend. Even if they do have video, I would need a stand or soemthing because I am not going to hold it the whole time LOL

#10 code13

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:02 AM

Tablets do have video chat. Virtual keyboards using lights are okay, but if you like to touchtype, your speed will drastically decrease. Also, you will need a well lighted place to use the light keyboard and make sure your tablet has bluetooth.
Yes, a tablet can be a primary computer. Connect wifi to printers.
You can video/webchat.
Edit videos, use office programs, Word, excel, powerpoint, check email. Play games, watch videos, edit photos.

#11 stiltskin

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:01 AM

I have multiple tablets and a netbook, having given up a full desktop machine years ago.

I love tablets. But the netbook is a much better prospect since it can serve as both a desktop machine (mine docks to a keyboard, mouse, external monitor and a couple of external drives) and a mobile device. I run linux on mine because it runs well. There are two more netbooks in the house with Windows on them, and I find them to be a total chore to use. I'm the "lucky" person who ends up having to maintain them, too.

I use the netbook when I'm going to be someplace for long enough to sit and do real computing. When time or conditions don't accomodate that very well, the tablet is a great alternative. But it could never be my primary device. Not as they exist now.

The tablet is wonderful for quick notes, GPS (better than my phone and the dedicated GPS I have), videos (making and watching), price comparisons (which the phone can also be used to do), playing games and quick forays onto the internet. It would be wonderful for handwriting recognition, which could eliminate partially the need for a keyboard. But mine all have capacitive screens, and the only pen I could find that would work was almost as fat as a fingertip. I may buy a resistive screen model to see how well that works. In any case, the touchscreen alone isn't good for having to type large amounts of data. Predictive text helps with that part, but there's still the problem of key sizes and proximity. A keyboard attached in a case to hold everything can be a bit clumsy when the keyboard itself is not being used, which is most of the time in my case. So the tablet I use most doesn't have one. My son's, the same model, does. I don't think I've ever seen him use it.

I can video chat. I don't do it much, but I do it. I use Skype sometimes. Both require a decent connection, of course.

I use 7" tablets. I find the size is perfect for fitting into the pocket of cargo pants, it's just the right size to hold with one hand while working with the other, etc. The downside is the on-screen keys are closer together than a larger tablet. But I honestly don't think I'd do any more typing on a larger screen than I do on the 7" models. A keyboard/case on the 7" tablet is about double the bulk. That's probably true of many models with larger screens, too.

Whether or not someone could use a tablet as a primary connection depends on how they intend to use it and the capabilities of the tablet. Many people use their phones for everything. Those could get by much easier with a tablet. But I could never do that, not with today's designs and capabilities.

#12 sleepdeprived

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 04:14 PM

I don't think so. It's really not friendly to use.

#13 ChicagoMel

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 08:56 AM

I'm at ease with either my Ipad or my laptop, but it's frustrating trying to hammer out long posts on the Ipad. Plus the one big frustration with Apple: No flash. IDK if Android tablets support it or not. I think they ought to at least make it optional even if it isn't the default. Even my cell phone has it, they can find a way.

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#14 narins

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

I have an iPhone, an iPad and an HP laptop. Of these three, the iPhone is useful only for communication purposes - and listening to music (i.e. FB, chat, phonecalls, messages). The iPad is worth as a mobile entertainment platform - i.e. watching movies on the go, etc.

I find it difficult however to replace my laptop even by using both the iPad and the iPhone at the same time. A BIG problem for me is the lack of physical keyboard - it is just not as efficient. Especially if you are a student constantly taking notes or writing reports.

#15 joggiwagga

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:55 AM

I'm at ease with either my Ipad or my laptop, but it's frustrating trying to hammer out long posts on the Ipad. Plus the one big frustration with Apple: No flash. IDK if Android tablets support it or not. I think they ought to at least make it optional even if it isn't the default. Even my cell phone has it, they can find a way.


Sometimes Android supports Flash. Flash on tablets is sort of an ongoing issue - I came across an article yesterday that Adobe is planning on making Flash less available to devices that don't come with it in the first place (whereas before now it was a pretty simple matter to just add Flash to your non-iPad tablet).

Adobe Flash certified devices: http://www.adobe.com/flashplatform/certified_devices/tablets.html




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