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Is a tablet worth buying?


I remember not too long ago when the iPad first came out and no one knew what to make of it. Portable computing was either your laptop, more recently your netbook, or your smartphone. So where did a tablet fit?

Many thoughts, rants, and commentaries at first concerned what the iPad could be used for, it seemed essentially a large iPhone, running a similar operating system and similar apps. It was too ‘dumbed down’ to be a true replacement for a netbook or laptop. Yet people put their faith in it, and realised it seemed to be the perfect thing for light internet browsing, watching a film, playing games. In those ways, it surpassed using your smartphone, and made it easier and simpler than using a proper computer. Even then I ignored it, buying a netbook instead for my university work.

But the iPad sold well, probably due to it being an Apple product and benefiting from Apple’s marketing (they admittedly do their do their job well). Now tablets seem to have become the new ‘thing’ to have.

And though I bought a netbook, and harbour a slight prejudice against Apple products - no doubt because of my bad experiences with a Mac, and the plentiful amounts of Apple fan boys that attend my university - I find myself wanting a tablet. An iPad? Nope, you see I own an Android phone, and Android 3.x, the tablet specific version, is finding its way among new tablets that are thankfully not of the Apple variety.

But why do I want a tablet I hear you ask (or rather not), I don’t quite know, perhaps because my netbook is painfully slow. Games-wise it can’t do anything, and as for films, it can’t playback 720p never mind 1080p video. Although my phone can, my 4.0” phone screen is simply too small to truly enjoy films. Internet browsing is again, only average on my netbook, and fiddly to browse lengths of time on my phone.

But if I purchase a tablet, I’d probably have to sacrifice my netbook. It would be ridiculous to carry both, and I might even need money from selling my netbook to fund the tablet. The point is, can I give up a real portable computer at University for a tablet, which, though excellent at what it is designed for, doesn’t really provide a full computing experience?

I think one of the deciding factors is the price. My netbook was relatively cheap at £279, I recently purchased an expensive computer at £1,010. And regardless of the price of the tablet, if it is more expensive than a capable laptop, surely that is a better investment?

I am keeping an eye on the tablets being announced, particularly the Sony S1 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which if I’m not mistaken is now available to buy. Something tells me however, unless I become rich, I’ll probably not see myself owning one in the near future.