Tablets: Tool or toy? (2011 Tablet Countdown)
- — 20 June, 2011 22:00
A cheap tablet in stores or online may appear to be a thing of beauty, but not all tablets are created equal. Tablets vary from terrible to tremendous, and it’s not always easy to pick out which ones are good. Fortunately, we’ve done the groundwork and tested eight tablet devices for you, so you can make an informed choice – whether you’re looking for a tool or a toy.
The question we’re most commonly asked about tablets is, “What does it do that my smartphone doesn’t?” A reasonable question: tablets are, in many ways, overgrown phones. They won’t replace a phone or a laptop, but as an in-between device, they’re useful for those people who want something more portable than a laptop, or who travel a lot and want to read, write and play comfortably.
Are tablets just a toy? We think so, unless you’re really determined to use it for productivity. Most people buying tablets plan to use it for six, seven, or even fifteen different tasks, and in reality end up using it for one or two – usually web browsing and casual gaming. Read our account of two weeks with a tablet online, written by a new user (and gadget lover), to see how the reality matches the expectations.
But let’s be honest – if you want a tablet, hearing that you don’t need one isn’t going to be a deterrent. You’re never too grown up for exciting, if expensive, toys, and if you can use it as a tool as well, so much the better.
We'll be posting our eight tablet reviews over the next four weeks, one each Tuesday and Thursday. Keep an eye on this article, or the carousel on the PC World front page.