Do I Need a Tablet?

I’ve got 2 laptops, a netbook, a large mp3 player, three cameras, and a smartphone. Do I need a tablet?

My Tech Toys

I use one laptop as my main computer. It’s running Vista, has a DVD drive, connected to a widescreen monitor, keyboard, and optical mouse. I’ve installed Office 2010, SPSS 19, Adobe Fireworks and Elements, Picasa3 to manage photos, and store my entire collection of music. It is directly connected to my router and stays in my office.

I have a second laptop w/Windows 7. It’s lighter than the one in my office and has much longer battery life. It is a little bit slower than the office laptop. It has SPSS 18, Office 2010 on it. It also contains a copy of my entire collection of music. This laptop sits in the living room. I use it to surf the net while watching TV and also take this on the road for longer trips. I have a small USB external DVD drive I take with me on trips to watch Netflix movies.

I have a netbook w/Windows XP Home. This laptop has very few applications on it. It has all my subscribed podcasts and syncs with my MP3 player. It stays in the bedroom. I use it to listen to and download podcasts. I take it on the road to pick up my email, read the news, and download new podcasts to synch to my player.

I have 2 SLRs which I occasionally schlep on long trips or planned photoshoots. I carry a little 12MB point and shoot in my purse for almost any unplanned occasion. I much prefer it to taking a picture with my smartphone–I can control zoom and exposure with the camera but not the phone.

I have a Droid smartphone. I carry it most of the time, including long walks with the dogs. I get very phone calls but carry it for emergencies, surfing, and the rare incoming call. I use it on the golf course to look up books, actors, whatever that we start talking about but can’t quite remember or check on how the market is doing.

What I would use the Tablet For

I’m not too fond of all-purpose tech toys. The phone is great for making/receiving phone calls and I really rely on my synced Gmail contacts. For generalized surfing, it’s not too great–zooming in and out is a pain to read on non mobile-customized web pages.

The two laptops are fairly good at doing what I’ve always done on computers. I still prefer a mouse and a keyboard as input devices. The laptops aren’t all that portable and weigh in at about 3 to 4lbs. Besides, I really rely upon a big monitor when I’ve got four or five apps going at the same time.

The netbook fits in a moderately sized shoulder bag and is reasonably portable to schlep around; but the 1000×600 pixel screen doesn’t cut it for serious work. In addition, the trade-off of battery to computing speed makes it really, really slow with multiple apps open.

So, what am I missing? I’m missing the ability to read books and magazines on a digital device. I could get a Kindle reader (and they have become really cheap because of the competition from the iPad) but that wouldn’t give me the ability to read magazines. I have downloaded Kindle for both the phone and PC but don’t like the form factor for the PC–landscape layout, wrong angle, and too heavy. Reading via the phone is like looking through a telescope and I can’t quickly scan pages. Everytime I see the add for the iPad app in my hardcopy version of Sports Illustrated, I think that I need that tablet. I also hope that my tablet will be big enough to use layouts which have full page-view sidebars.

BTW, my android phone can be tethered and work as my own personal hot spot so I don’t need 3G or 4G technology and my Verizon data package is unlimited.

Here’s what is keeping me tablet-less.

  1. I am a big of my public library which only lends audiobooks and real books. But every time I find myself 20th out of waiting list of 24 borrowers for a new book I want to read, I go out to Amazon to see what it would cost to buy the book and the Kindle version is always a lot cheaper.
  2. The Kindle ink technology is great but I wonder if the tablet could match it in readability.
  3. The iPad is expensive and the current crop of competitors don’t match it in form–I love that really slim design. I’m hoping that the Motorola version will be coming out soon and the price of all the tablets will drop.

So, I’m waiting.


About ViAnn

Progressive retired geek who loves to play golf
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