Once things get really small, that keyboard starts to get in the way. It’s relatively heavy, and do you really need it? Perhaps a touchscreen is really all you need.
Some of the netbooks do both: they give you a keyboard AND a touchscreen. Personally I think that’s just waste of space and material. For my smallest pc I want something really lightweight – like only a pound or something. You don’t get that if you have to carry along a keyboard AND a screen.
Enter… tablet pcs. The big thing about tablet pcs, like the iPad, is that you only enter information through the touchscreen. There are really three kinds – organized by operating system:
- Mac: iPad. These are the most user friendly, but also the most limited. Don’t expect to do easy word processing – or if you do, to get easily the created document from your iPad to your PC. It does not come with a USB entrance (personally I’m hoping for that to change with the next generation. You have to synchronize to port documents from iPad to PC and back.
- Windows Tablet pcs like the Archos 9 PC Tablet. These have lots of options, like USB entrance, getting your own favorite software installed etc. However, they do have to be configured before you can use them comfortably.
- Android Tablet pcs. Like open software often is, these really aren’t ready for most consumers.
All of these can be used reasonably comfortably as an ereader btw.
Personally I went with the iPad: it’s easy to use, which really makes all the difference. I love doing presentations on it, keeping to-do lists, writing article drafts at any time day and night and reading books. It has even replaced my planner.
More about choosing between iPad 2, Netbook or Laptop for travel.