The Pros and Cons of Tablet Computers

woman with tablet on beachby Charles Jackson

Tablet computers really only started to take off a couple of years ago, but their popularity has increased considerably in a very short time. By the end of 2012, about a third of Web users in the U.S. accessed the Internet from tablet computers. Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, is designed with the touchscreens and portability of tablet computers in mind. If you’re thinking of getting a tablet, you may want to consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

Portability

By far the most significant advantage of a tablet is portability. They’re far lighter, thinner and smaller than most laptop computers while still offering a similar level of functionality in many ways. In terms of portability, a tablet is somewhere between a high-end smartphone and a laptop. Tablets are designed entirely with portability and versatility in mind. Unlike laptop computers, they are stored in sleeves rather than bulky cases, making them much more suitable for carrying around with you.

Performance

Tablets offer more than adequate performance considering the tasks they’re designed for. They start up and shut down very quickly and tend to be extremely well optimized for their operating systems and the apps designed for them. However, tablets are, in terms of hardware, less powerful than mid- to high-end laptops or desktop computers. They provide lower processing power, memory and storage space than a laptop and aren’t meant to replace a traditional computer when it comes to things like high-end productivity or gaming.

Productivity

In terms of hardware and available software, there’s nothing stopping you from using productivity applications such as word processors or spreadsheet programs on a tablet. However, all tablets use touchscreens with on-screen virtual keyboards, so they’re better suited to typing short amounts of text such as instant messages and emails than longer writing work.

Tablets are designed to fulfill most everyday computing needs, such as social media, Web surfing, instant messaging and multimedia. It isn’t your best option, however, when it comes to high-end productivity applications such as movie editing or computer aided design.

Battery Life

Another major advantage of tablet computers is that they tend to offer exceptionally long battery life. The average laptop battery lasts around two and a half hours. Tablet batteries typically last 10 or more hours, another reason they’re so useful when you’re on the move.

 

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