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, Netbook or Laptop for travel.
There is clearly a market for tablets with keyboards and all three major operating systems for tablets have options to consider.
iPad – you can get an iPad cover that has a physical keyboard built in, so you can type away. This works through bluetooth and therefore you can always get your iPad first and a cover with keyboard later.
Windows – Since the main selling point of windows tablets is that they can have the full MS Office suite installed, they often come with a keyboard attached. For a nice tablet experience, it can be taken off – otherwise it would not be a tablet. These are also sometimes known as tablet-laptop convertibles.
Android – There is a lot available in the android space. Personally, for instance, I use a bluetooth keyboard with my tablet on the few occasions when I have a lot of typing to do. Otherwise I am very happy with simply a tablet.
However, the keyboard can, as with the iPad, be included in a cover or it can also – depending on the manufacturer – be included as a click-on keyboard in which case it becomes an android laptop-thingy. Shown here is the Asus Transformer Pad which has a removable keyboard.
Advantages and disadvantages of tablets over netbooks, chromebooks and small laptops
Advantages and Disadvantages: touch, but no keyboard
Past attempts to introduce Touchscreen Tablets were unsuccessful and it was not recently that the new generation of tablets literally took off. The iPad is around the same size as an A5 sheet of paper (7.31″ x 9.50″) and is extremely lightweight at just 1.5 pounds.
The portability of Tablets is one of their major attractions. They can easily slip into a briefcase, messenger bag, school bag, backpack or purse. Prices range from several hundred dollars to over $800 – this for the top of the range iPad.
It is by doing away with the need for a keypad that the tablets really come into their own, making them even more compact and portable. However, a new generation of tablets also include the option to add on a keyboard.
The easy to use touch screen interface make Tablets easier for older people, who may have never become used to or been comfortable with Computers. However, the biggest disadvantage is for anyone who may have to enter a lot of text – the tablet interface will leave them longing for a keyboard.
Tablets are also great on-the-go media players, making them appealing to any age group who is travelling or on the daliy commute via bus or train. They may be compact but the relatively larger screens make them easy to watch anywhere. And while Netbooks have problems with HD, the tablets do not.
Tablet do not run on the standard PC operating systems. They benefit from being able to run on systems originally designed for smartphones. Of course the disadvantage to this is that you may not be able to use the applications you would normally use with a netbook so Tablet Users will need to get programs that are compatible and can interact with their laptop or desktop computer applications.
- Easy to use touchscreens
- Excellent media players
- Some can also be used as Cell Phones
- Tablets need a different set of Applications
- Limited space for file storage space
- The touchscreen keyboards are more difficult to use for a lot of inputting of text
Fortunately the Windows Surface tablet comes with MS Office pre-installed, so you can edit your documents just like on a laptop. However, I would recommend using one of the two covers (touch or type) with it, because the classic interface is not tablet (and touch) optimized.
For me the Microsoft Surface Tablet is the best of both worlds – Tablet with it’s easy touch interface and Netbook: capable of being used with a full MS office suite. However, check out my review of Windows 10 as a tablet OS.