I admit. I was fooled into getting a tablet because of all the hype I have heard and read about these devices that I couldn’t resist. Call that curiosity. After 5 months of heavy usage, I am disapointed. My 5 year old netbook is way much more usefull to me for getting things done than the tablet. And that goes for almost everything, from browsing to working passing by media consumption. Though for gaming, and reading magazines I must say the tablet is a good device.
I have tried all of those touch-friendly office apps, and even with an external keyboard and mousepad, getting office work done on a tablet is like trying to run a marathon with a 20 pound rock attached to your leg : you can almost get the same results in the end, but the basics of select/copy/paste text/images and switching between apps is so unproductive you’ll end up by giving up in the end and sticking to the most basic tasks. And that goes for word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations. For professional tasks (I am thinking of software editing, image and video editing, sound processing, etc…), don’t even think once this device will ever replace your day to day main tool no matter how great and cool using the touch apps may feel.
Browsing the web
This is the main reason I conviced myself that a tablet would have been usefull to me. I spend a lot of my time in the browser, so I thought the tablet could replace 75% of my use on a netbook. Wrong again. First of all, webpages in general are designed to be used with a keyboard, a mouse, and a large screen. So if you are using your fingers on a webpage not designed for it, the result is not so great. Also, I spent a lot of my time zooming in/out of a page to access some information or a link, this waste of time I was never used to on a netbook. A lot of webpages have hover menus (menus that appear once the mouse is moved over a link or an image). Hover menus on tablets get displayed only after you tap the link or image. Of course, some websites have special versions adapted for phones or touch-devices, but not all. So in the end, I did spend a lot of my time giving up browsing the site I was viewing on the tablet and picking up the netbook. And not just a few times.
To be perfectly honest, my phone already has all the features I need to listen to music or podcasts on the go, and even streaming content. So this feature is not really worth mentioning even though I don’t know why would anyone buy a tablet only for music.
Here again, my netbook surpisingly does a much better job at displaying videos and has all the necessary codecs I need to view any format at any bit-rate. But I enjoyed watching a movie on the tablet and I don’t have anything more to say about it. It does the job as you’d expect it to.
Books & Magazines
Compared to e-readers, the screen of a tablet is not at all confortable for heavy reading. My eyes really hurt after an hour of reading on the device. I have tried different display options for that (lower contrast, black background, etc…) but currently I can’t read books for a long period of time without hurting my eyes on a tablet. On e-readers, I have no problem with that. Reading magazines on the contrary is a great experience on a tablet and is really much better than on a netbook.
Gaming & Photos
The two things which I really enjoy doing on a tablet is playing games and browsing pictures. The amount of games available on iOS and Android is so huge, you’ll probably have a console-like device ready to play any game you wish. Viewing pictures on a tablet is also an enjoyable experience and is way more fun than on a netbook.
In the end…
I have really tried to make the tablet my primary device but finally gave up, and the users in your house which will probably use it the most are kids and teenagers. If tomorrow I had to take with me only one device somewhere, I think I’ll still stick to a netbook.