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iPad vs Tablet vs Netbook vs Laptop

post by Tony Hogan - 25/5/2011

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iPad's are the latest Techno gadget to have, and as with any craze the imitators are coming in thick and fast. But which one is best for me and will it replace my laptop?

I'm not going to answer that question, as the answer lies with what you want to do and how you want to do it. What I will do in this post is tell you the options, the differences and the potential of these exciting new gadgets.

What are the Options?

There are 4 main categories of devices that can help you out in your day to day business on the run.

  1. Your Phone
  2. iPad / Tablet
  3. Netbook
  4. Laptop (or Notebook)

1. Your Phone
Your phone is the most portable of the devices and is usually close to you for most of the day. If you want quick, easy access to email, contacts and your calendar, your phone is usually the first place to go. If all you need is to read emails, access the Internet occasionally and make phone calls, then get an Iphone, Android phone or Windows based phone.

2. iPad or Tablet
If you find you respond in length to emails or you need to read long documents or view video, images or plans, then a tablet is the way to go. It's great for sales people on the road because you can easily show your clients pictures and video of your product. The iPad (Apple Operating System) and Tablets (Android or Windows based) give you a larger viewing area, while still being easy to carry around. They still have a LOT of limitations and beware of companies marketing them as a laptop replacement.

They're touch screen which makes it easy to scan through lists of pictures or emails and to scroll through documents, but if you have to type out an essay, then get a keyboard. Some allow you to plug in an external keyboard but most of the time you still can't print, load standard applications that you might run on your computer, or plug into your work network.

3. Netbooks
Netbooks are cut down versions of laptops, with a much reduced price. Netbooks come with a keyboard and mouse instead of the touch screen, so therefore are not as portable, but they can do most things that a laptop can do, just a bit slower. Netbooks generally have a 10" screen, around the same size as a tablet, but you can hook them up to a stnadard printer, get onto your work network and transfer files, run standard applications etc. For those that want all the functionality of a laptop, with almost the same portability as a tablet and can live without the 'Look at my new Gadget' feeling, than I'd recommend these for most business customers.

4. Laptops
If you want the ultimate in power, flexibility, functionality and with the largest screen, then the laptop is for you. You do however trade off the portability. Battery life is also an issue. The latest 13" notebooks are now extremely stylish, portable and have a long battery life, but do come with a matching price tag.

You can also use your laptop at work, so you don't have to have multiple devices. A docking station will also give you a massive screen, external keyboard and mouse and give you the ultimate computing experience.

I really want a Tablet!

So you've got to have that gadget. I don't blame you. They look great, are great fun and can make your work life much easier. But which one do I get? Again that is up to you. Go out and try them is my best advice, but have in mind what you want to do with them first.

  1. iPad2. The latest offering from Apple. Does the same things an Iphone does, but bigger, but without calls or messaging.
  2. Android Tablets. Android is the Google Operating System for phones and tablets. It is quickly catching up to the Apple market. Unlike the iPad, Google has allowed all manufacturers to use their operating system, so Samsung, Motorola, HP etc have all got Android phones and tablets. All have different characteristics, but generally meet or exceed the iPad.
  3. Windows Tablet. For some reason Microsoft hasn't been able to get into the market like the other 2. In theory they could have much greater advantgaes, but so far I'd say you'd be better of with an Android or iPad.
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Summary

To summarise everything.Work out what you want to do with the device, see if it can be done, then go and test them in store. If you simply want to VIEW content such as emails, video, pictures, documents etc, then get a tablet. From my point of view, if you want to CREATE content such as write documents, edit pictures, run standard applications AND you can live without a new super gadget, then get a netbook or a laptop.

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