Why Tablet PCs are not tops

Jade Ohlhauser, the Jaded Developer, revealed why he wouldn’t be buying a Tablet PC.  I have been pretty keen on a Tablet PC for myself in some future life although, having read Jade’s post, I am reconsidering.  Jade mentions factors such as price and performance as reasons why he ultimately bought himself a laptop rather than a Tablet PC.

Fujitsu_stylistic_tablet_pc_st5000dThere is no doubt in my mind that a Tablet PC is more flexible and would be tremendously useful to me in my work.  I like working off a digital device (although there are times when I want nothing more than my Moleskine notebooks) and when it comes to working with documents, being able to work with my documents in portrait orientation is an absolute win.  I have scanned a number of my files at work and regularly search them and work off them on my office laptop (never buy a laptop with a conventional Pentium 4 processor – it sucks the battery dry in under 2 hours).  The problem is that when your screen is still landscape and your documents are best viewed in portrait it can be really frustrating.  Of course, having a pen interface is also really cool.

Kathy Sierra discovered the potential of Tablet PCs in the context of mind maps and there is really little doubt that you can do things on a Tablet PC you just can’t do on a laptop.  If only the silly things weren’t so expensive and underpowered compared to their more fixed cousins.  Of course, this whole discussion is a little pointless because I don’t have the money for a new computer, whether it be a laptop or Tablet PC and if I did have cash to burn, I’d probably go for a Powerbook anyway!

Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

  1. Expensive yes – underpowered arguable.

    It is true that Tablets (and also many notebooks) have lower speced processors. However the processor is only part of the picture, and in Windows XP is often not the bottleneck that results in poor performance.

    The other factors to consider are the amount of RAM and the speed of the hard drive in RPMs. These other two often make a bigger difference to overall performance then getting the next fastest processor. Many tablets are available with optional RAM and disk upgrades for a marginal cost.

    Also if you identify a Laptop and a tablet that both meet your technical requirements and then divide the difference by how long you expect it to last. I did a hypothetical example on my blog (http://www.pringle.net.nz/blog/PermaLink,guid,b5ebc770-748e-418d-b8f2-7afa2f0cbfab.aspx) and found that the difference was $6.80/wk.

    Once you have that number you can work out if the extra flexibility will provide at leaast that much benefit. If it does – buy the tablet.

  2. Expensive yes – underpowered arguable.

    It is true that Tablets (and also many notebooks) have lower speced processors. However the processor is only part of the picture, and in Windows XP is often not the bottleneck that results in poor performance.

    The other factors to consider are the amount of RAM and the speed of the hard drive in RPMs. These other two often make a bigger difference to overall performance then getting the next fastest processor. Many tablets are available with optional RAM and disk upgrades for a marginal cost.

    Also if you identify a Laptop and a tablet that both meet your technical requirements and then divide the difference by how long you expect it to last. I did a hypothetical example on my blog (http://www.pringle.net.nz/blog/PermaLink,guid,b5ebc770-748e-418d-b8f2-7afa2f0cbfab.aspx) and found that the difference was $6.80/wk.

    Once you have that number you can work out if the extra flexibility will provide at leaast that much benefit. If it does – buy the tablet.

  3. Expensive yes – underpowered arguable.

    It is true that Tablets (and also many notebooks) have lower speced processors. However the processor is only part of the picture, and in Windows XP is often not the bottleneck that results in poor performance.

    The other factors to consider are the amount of RAM and the speed of the hard drive in RPMs. These other two often make a bigger difference to overall performance then getting the next fastest processor. Many tablets are available with optional RAM and disk upgrades for a marginal cost.

    Also if you identify a Laptop and a tablet that both meet your technical requirements and then divide the difference by how long you expect it to last. I did a hypothetical example on my blog (http://www.pringle.net.nz/blog/PermaLink,guid,b5ebc770-748e-418d-b8f2-7afa2f0cbfab.aspx) and found that the difference was $6.80/wk.

    Once you have that number you can work out if the extra flexibility will provide at leaast that much benefit. If it does – buy the tablet.

  4. Expensive yes – underpowered arguable.

    It is true that Tablets (and also many notebooks) have lower speced processors. However the processor is only part of the picture, and in Windows XP is often not the bottleneck that results in poor performance.

    The other factors to consider are the amount of RAM and the speed of the hard drive in RPMs. These other two often make a bigger difference to overall performance then getting the next fastest processor. Many tablets are available with optional RAM and disk upgrades for a marginal cost.

    Also if you identify a Laptop and a tablet that both meet your technical requirements and then divide the difference by how long you expect it to last. I did a hypothetical example on my blog (http://www.pringle.net.nz/blog/PermaLink,guid,b5ebc770-748e-418d-b8f2-7afa2f0cbfab.aspx) and found that the difference was $6.80/wk.

    Once you have that number you can work out if the extra flexibility will provide at leaast that much benefit. If it does – buy the tablet.

What do you think?

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