Should You Buy an iPad or New Laptop

Your Next Decision: Laptop vs. Tablet

As recently as one or two years ago your next portable computing decision would have been between 2 different sized laptops, 17” laptop vs. 15”, 15” laptop vs. Mini or laptop vs. netbook. With the advent of the amazingly popular iPad and iPad 2 and the plethora of different smaller tablets running Android now on the market, that decision has changed.

Several key pieces of my own home office and road warrior computing technology have started to show signs of age. That’s motivated several technology buying decisions that have just cascaded, one after the other. You may already know that I selected my tablet of choice, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7”, running the Android operating system, from this article; Why I Chose the T-Mobile Galaxy Tab. 90 days after I first discovered the Galaxy Tab will fit in my back pocket, the HP dv9000 that I use for my main computer announced its impending demise by flickering it’s monitor at me 4 or 5 times an hour. With no functioning “n” key, spontaneous reboots and various other issues, I realized I would need a new machine. The decision was fairly clear for me because I already had by tablet, but from experience, here’s how I recommend you decide:

Do you need to WORK on your portable device? Not answer e-mails in the slightly more wordy version of text messaging that passes for business correspondence these days. Not check your Facebook Page. Not reorganize the 1500 photos you’ve taken of yourself and your best friend. Actually work. If you need to accomplish anything more serious than commenting on a YouTube video, you probably want a laptop. Storage space, file management tools, stored e-mails and using actual Microsoft Office programs run beautifully on a laptop. If there answer is YES, buy a laptop, if NO buy a tablet.

Can you type? I mean touch type. Or are you a hunt and peck, index fingers only writer? If you can type, as I do, then authoring a document more than 25 words is torture on a tablet of any size. Okay, you can buy a keyboard for your tablet. Even my 7” Galaxy Tab has an optional keyboard you can plug into. But if you have to carry a 10” tablet and a keyboard, then you’re just buying a laptop one piece at a time. So, if you cannot type and don’t need to write a lot, get a tablet. If you can and must type, get a laptop.

Do you need to be cool? There is no way I will be confused as cool, just ask either of my daughters. But even I got some attention while waiting in line at the post office playing on my Tab, and on an airplane watching a movie on that stunning 7” screen. However, if you work for a graphics company, app developer, clothing designer, or anywhere facial piercings or pony tails are the office norm, you have to have an iPad. If you do not need to be cool, need to actually work on your device and can type, get a laptop.