Friday, April 22, 2011

Slate tablet or netbook?

For a while there, netbooks were extremely popular. Maybe you bought a netbook a few years ago. Every time I would attend a conference, I would see a number of people pulling out their ultra-light netbooks. Now, we’re seeing everyone with iPads.

If you’re looking for a light, low-cost alternative to a standard laptop, you may be thinking about a slate tablet or a netbook. The netbook began losing significant market share when the Apple iPad emerged on the scene a year ago, but there are still those who choose to purchase a netbook today. Are you considering a new gadget?

Here’s something to consider: a netbook may weigh 2 pounds whereas an ultra-light laptop may weigh 3 pounds. Is the difference of 1 pound that significant? If not, then go with an ultra-light laptop.

If you can’t afford high-end ultra-light laptops like the MacBook Air, then you may find yourself thinking about buying a slate tablet and using an external keyboard. Or, you may settle on a netbook. How should you make your purchasing decision?

I generally recommend netbooks for people who:
  1. Don’t mind working on a really small screen.
  2. Don’t mind typing on a smaller, cramped keyboard.
  3. Require access to USB ports, SD card slots, and VGA monitor ports.
  4. Need a Microsoft Windows operating system environment.
  5. Need a significant amount of storage space for large files, multimedia, etc.

Slate tablets like the iPad and Xoom are great for people who:
  1. Don’t need access to applications running on Microsoft Windows.
  2. Want a device that’s really light.
  3. Don’t plan to do much typing (unless you have an external keyboard)
  4. Want to play fun, innovative games.
  5. Need to use the device while standing.
If you're a clinician, you're probably going to find a slate tablet more useful if you plan to use the device while you're standing by the bedside. In general, netbooks and slate tablets are primarily for people who don’t plan to spend hours and hours working on the device. These devices are great for people who want to occasionally check email, read a few documents, and browse the web.

A netbook or slate tablet won’t replace your primary computer. I consider these supplementary gadgets that can be helpful for people who want something small and light when they travel.

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