When telling customers that their computer might not actually be worth fixing anymore (…and I don’t give up easily!), the most commonly asked question is whether to invest in a new laptop or to just get a tablet.
As you might have guessed, the answer isn’t that simple and really depends on your individual needs.
So, what exactly is a tablet?
A tablet is a mobile computer with a touch-screen display, circuitry and battery all in one single unit. Some even have cameras and sensors built in, and most are bigger than 7 inches (measured diagonally).
Tablets have been around for a lot longer than you might expect – in fact, commercial products go as far back as the 80’s (full history here) – but most people probably associate the first tablet with the release of Apple’s iPad in 2010. Nowadays, there is a huge choice of tablets out there from many different manufacturers like Samsung, Lenovo, Asus, Acer and many others.
The Beauty of Tablets!
Tablets are small, compact, lightweight and, mostly, beautifully designed.
An intuitive interface combats any steep learning curves – and best of all, no hanging around for ages waiting for it to boot up: from naught to ready in seconds.
Updates, although still necessary of course, seem less frequent than their Microsoft Windows computer equivalents – as well as less troublesome (or at least not as scary!).
With most of the tablets automatically backing up to the Cloud – if things go wrong, you just reset it all and off you go again…or at least that’s the theory!
The Ugly of Tablets!
When it’s good, it’s very good indeed, but when it’s bad, it’s horrid.
After all, beauty comes at a price and that is: “limitations”.
Storage space is often very limited as is availability of software (or “Apps” as they like to be called on tablets). Don’t be surprised if your favourite software, anti-virus or printer won’t work with your tablet – and ironically some even need to be plugged into a “proper” computer to allow for updates or backups.
Troubleshooting is also fairly limited. Even with small niggles, you often have no choice but to restore to factory settings – a computer technician’s idea of a dream – although a very boring one, if like me, you like to troubleshoot to get to the bottom of problems to avoid them from re-occurring.
As for hardware repairs – parts are mainly proprietary and repairs often not cost-effective.
And the winners is…
If your computing habits are limited to mainly browsing the internet and typing emails, maybe playing a few games and listening to music and looking at photos (so basically, all the fun stuff!), then go for a tablet.
Although tablets are becoming more and more advanced and with Microsoft Office now available on most tablets, the lack of flexibility and tie-in with proprietary apps can be very frustrating…. And yes, did I mention: limiting.
So, if you need to get some serious work done, do a lot of typing, work with spreadsheets and so on, get a laptop – or, if your budget allows it, get both!