If you have school-age children you are probably coming under pressure to buy them their own laptop or tablet computer. How do you decide between the two types of computer?
Laptop computers offer more options than tablets. The technology is cheaper, so they cost less for smaller or more basic models. Screens are larger and they have a proper keyboard.
Laptops are more awkward to use and a lot heavier than a tablet (Around 5lbs as opposed to 1.5lbs). Children also often carry them by the screen and abuse them in other ways, especially if they wanted a tablet instead of a laptop in the first place.
Large tablets are expensive, though you can get a 7in tablet for much less than you would think. Against their cost you have to weigh up the benefits of lighter weight and increased ease of use.
They have no proper keyboard, which makes lots of typing next to impossible, but they are very easy to carry around and switch on instantly.
Either One or Both?
Technology seems to make life more complicates rather than less. Teenagers want their own laptop so they can type up school work and access your Internet from their bedrooms. Now they “need” a tablet to take to school.
Tablet computers were never intended as laptop replacements. The marketing is aimed at people who already have laptops and need more portability. The lighter, one piece laptop offers increased speed and ease of use, but it is primarily an Internet browsing device and data-input from the “keyboard” on a tablet is totally unsatisfactory.
As the education system catches up with technology schools and colleges will make more text books and worksheets available online. This means that the days of those enormous backpacks and trolley bags that we see on the school run are numbered. Soon every child will just have a document pouch with a tablet computer inside it.
So yes, if finances will stretch your teen really does need a tablet and a bedroom computer. Now, the bedroom computer does not need to be a laptop and a desktop computer will do the job, just as well for a lower outlay. The pressure for a laptop will ease, because your teen will have all the street cred he or she needs from having a tablet at school.
Choosing a Tablet for a Teen
There are several factors that will influence the decision:
- Apple or PC?
If you are an Apple Family then only an iPad will do. If your other computers are PCs, whether Linux or Windows, then the decision is more logical. The iPad has the best graphics of any tablet, but it has no slot for a HD card, it is very expensive and a target for thieves in a school situation.
- Wi-Fi or 3G/4G
If your teen’s school has a secure wi-fi network that students’ tablets can log onto and use then there is no need to pay an extra$200 plus $20 a month for a 3/4G tablet. A wi-fi enabled tablet can access the school wi-fi network and your home wireless network. The only difference is that your son or daughter will not be able to browse the Internet walking down the street or on the school bus.
You may need to upgrade your home Internet package with the extra use that an extra computer will put on it. Be sure to check what broadband and phone deals are available to you from different ISPs before signing up to a new contract.
If you have been persuaded to buy a 3G/4G tablet then check mobile phone data packages at a phone comparison site. You will need a sim card for any 3G tablet that you buy, so you can then choose a data package and sim card deal that is going to keep your teen happy, your bills down and give you a quiet life.