What are pads, tablets and so on for?

  johnincrete 08:33 22 Oct 13

I am puzzled about all the new(ish) devices that are on offer. What can these devices do that a laptop can't? OK, they are smaller but, apart from people who cannot survive without continuous internet access (get a life!), what are they used for? Laptop speakers don't give very good music reproduction (I've added external speakers to mine) but what about the even smaller devices? Do you have to have earphones - a definite no-no for me except the great big ones that cover the ear? I have seen devices that look like miniture laptops, complete with lid: what are these called and what are they for? You see, I am suspicious about computer hardware (& software) developement: they seem to be back-to-front i.e. some geek invents soemthing and then they create a market - which is opposite to the old advice to find a need and then fill it.

  spuds 09:45 22 Oct 13

They all have there own use or purpose, some might have a combination of similar use, so it all depends on what your actual needs are.

Perhaps the best and easiest way to find out, is to do a few searches and review checks on some of the latest devices available on the market nowadays, taking in consideration that in twelve months time, the item you are reviewing might be obsolete?.

I am also confused as to what is available, and for what purpose is best, but one thing that I would suggest is looking for good battery power on any device. I purchased one of those cheap tablets, more for an experiment, and found the battery power was very poor, which produced poor results in trying to work the device.

  Woolwell 10:49 22 Oct 13

A tablet (there are many varieties and some are better than others) gives instant access to the internet, emails, etc. It is light and portable, usually has a long battery life and can be taken just about everywhere. It is a great device to show photos on either by passing it or by linking it to a TV. Of course you can also play games eg SpellTower, Angry Birds, etc., watch videos, read books (although a dedicated ebook reader is much better at that) and read word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. You can play music on it but it is better with ear phones. The speakers vary in quality, are definitely not hifi, but ok.

A laptop and ultrabooks have their uses too. A laptop can be a desktop replacement and used around the house or a smaller lighter version can be quite portable. The major differences are screen size and productivity. I would not want to work on desktop publishing, a large spreadsheet, edit photos, etc on a tablet but could on a laptop depending on its specs. I have a desktop, laptop (quite small and light) and an iPad. All 3 have their uses. The desktop comes into its own for video and photo editing and desktop publishing. The laptop allows better multi-tasking, working with documents, etc and some photo work. The tablet is great for instant email and so is my smartphone.

The ones with lids tend to be called convertibles and try to achieve the best of both worlds and imo frequently fail to do so.

Hope that helps. Suggest that you find a store and play with some.

  iscanut 11:55 22 Oct 13

Like Woolwell, I have a windows desktop, a windows laptop and an I Pad. I also have a Kindle for reading books ! The I Pad is brilliant if you want portability, such as taking away on holiday, taking to friends and family to show photos ( beautiful quality on an I Pad ). It is also useful( the I Pad ) if you want to check something on the net or Google or to see if you have emails as you just pick it up and it is on straight away, no waiting for boot up etc. The I Pad is not a replacement for creating Word docs, spreadsheets , printing, photo editing, game playing etc. Go into PC world and have a play and see what you think. I was not an Apple fan a year ago, but I am hooked now on the I Pad.

  Ian in Northampton 12:40 22 Oct 13

For me, the big issue is about keyboard use. If you see yourself needing portability but typing long emails or documents, then it has to be a laptop or netbook. For just about all other purposes, a tablet does the same - in a much more portable form factor.

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