Decisions, decisions… what will it be – Netbook or Tablet? Daryll Rowe, Community Manager at O2 and all round techie geek shares his knowledge to help you decide.
One of the benefits of using a Netbook is the hardware included on the product. Netbooks come with full (ish) keyboards, a screen as large as a tablet and much higher screen resolution than you would find on any tablet. A physical keyboard is a desired feature for many individuals who do not like to type on a touchscreen, personally I cannot get used to typing on an iPad, I have the iPhone down but when it comes to an iPad I feel like I am using a fisher price toy and my words per minute are about 90% less than what they usually are. However, bigger may not always be better. Originally, netbooks were designed for portability. These devices accomplish work on the go but they can be a burden to carry with you when you add in the power cable. Most netbooks only weigh a couple of pounds, the Macbook Air is 2.38 lbs which isn’t very different when compared to the 1.33lbs an iPad 2 weighs.
The other benefit to netbooks is the fact that in a majority of cases they run a full OS that you would find on a desktop or laptop. Yes, tablets offer access to lots of apps, but netbooks pull ahead with the wealth of available productivity programs. Microsoft Office Starter Edition comes pre-loaded on many notebooks. Then there are free apps such as OpenOffice.org (which goes deeper than Office Starter) and Paint.NET for editing photos. And let’s not forget the desktop apps, such as Photoshop, that offer more precision and power than anything you’ll find on a tablet. Stand out performers in this space are the Macbook Air I mentioned above, expensive at €999 and the Asus Zenbook (2 weeks standby!).
Led by Apple’s iPad 2, tablets are ideal for consuming content. They’re great tools for surfing the web, checking e-mail and Facebook, playing games, reading digital magazines and books, and enjoying movies and music. But that’s not all tablets have going for them.
These devices turn on instantly and tend to last longer on a charge than your typical netbook. The best models offer 8 or more hours of active use. That battery life advantage also extends to standby time. With tablets’ phone-like operating systems, you can set them aside for days and they will likely still have plenty of juice left.
The most popular tablet size is 9 to 10 inches, which is similar in dimensions to a magazine, but you’ll also find plenty of devices with 7- or 8-inch screens. These models are more portable, and can more easily fit inside a purse or jacket pocket. Regardless of the size, tablets are lighter and easier to carry than laptops.
The iPad 2 starts at €487, and there are several tablets that start as low as €199. I haven’t seen many quality devices at that lower price, but it looks like the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire changes that with a great screen, a turbo-charged browser, and easy access to Amazon content. Now I know there have been various issues with this device but I am sure these will be ironed out making it as popular as the Kindle.
As far as productivity goes, tablets are becoming increasingly versatile as more business-friendly apps proliferate. There’s the versatile iWork suite for the iPad, as well as robust third-party options such as Documents to Go and Quickoffice. Similar options are available for Android-based tablets. Thanks to such cloud-based services as Dropbox and iCloud, the limited storage capacity of tablets is less of an issue than you might think, though tablets are not very useful without Internet connectivity.
A netbook is a great second computer to compliment your existing main computer. Netbooks are very portable but not as capable or powerful as laptops. Netbooks are ideal for surfing the web, lightweight gaming, and word processing. Tablets are just as or even more portable than netbooks. Tablets computers are perfect for media consumption. They’re ideal for music, watching videos, playing interactive games, e-book reading and browsing the web. They are not ideal for work related processes such as word processing or photo editing.
Recently I was in the market for something more portable, I decided to get a netbook over a tablet. Why? For my needs right now, that’s what I would buy, I wanted a secondary work device that I could just slip into a sleeve like and iPad but have the power of a laptop. Your needs may be different. I hope this has helped you make a decision on your next device be it a tablet or netbook
Author: Daryll Rowe, Community Manager at O2. Contact Daryll on the O2 Forum.