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Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device? 417

cashman73 writes "My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to an electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got a new tablet, and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with it. Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using a tablet as her sole 'computer' might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences using tablets without a separate desktop computer?"
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Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device?

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  • Chromebook (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:49PM (#42489845) Homepage

    Buy her a Chromebook. You won't be sorry.

  • Chromebook. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:50PM (#42489867)
    For the cheaper price and the desktop functionality, if all you need it for is web browsing and email, I'd go with a Chromebook. If you want to go 100% tablet, you are almost certainly going to have to buy a keyboard, so it would be very hard to get a decent combo for less than the $249 Samsung or the $199 Acer Chromebooks.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:58PM (#42489921)

    Do people really print? I haven't owned a printer in 10 years, and I used to write firmware for them.

    The real problem will be typing. Whether its inputting in a form or sending an email, eventually you want a physical keyboard and not an onscreen one. My limit before I get annoyed with onscreens is about 200 characters- anything longer I wait until I'm at home.

  • by zandeez ( 1917156 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:09PM (#42489997) Homepage
    We still print quite regularly. Things like e-vouchers and booking references. Sure there are ways around that, but a printed piece of paper can't crash on you or run out of battery.
  • by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:37PM (#42490179) Homepage

    Or serious processing.

    But if the stuff you do at home consists of watching youtube or playing games - I couldn't for the life of me imagine an existance so boring - go for it!

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:48PM (#42490269) Homepage Journal

    But you can't do everything on a tablet...

    I'm not so sure. As a developer its simply not possible to do what I need to do with a tablet, but my wife recently purchased a Nexus 7 after doing most of her computing on a Nook for a couple of years. She has a tower pc but rarely uses it.

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:56PM (#42490325)

    Those who recommend a Chromebook - they don't consider that there will be times when you have no internet connectivity.

    You should read the reviews on Amazon where the Chromebook is the best selling computer. In short it does not require a permanent internet connection :).

  • by Above ( 100351 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:56PM (#42490331)

    I have a desktop, laptop, and iPad, and would consider myself a power user. In an effort to travel lighter I've tried taking the iPad only on some trips to see if it can fit the bill. The answer to me is a resounding maybe, and depends entirely on what you want to do.

    Tablets are terrible content creation devices. Writing an e-mail, editing a picture, cutting a movie, or even filling in a web form to buy something are all much more difficult. The lack of a keyboard is a big part of it, and can be mitigated with a keyboard for the tablet, but that's not the whole story. The lack of screen space, and the touch interfaces also make things less efficient.

    However, they are excellent content consumption devices. I prefer reading e-mail and browsing the web casually on my iPad. I grab it for simple apps like checking the weather, or my portfolio. On trips it offers a vastly better interface for things like Yelp or UrbanSpoon. For older relatives, things like PhotoStream can be huge if you have other family members with the small children willing to use it.

    As a geek, if I'm going away for a day or two and just want to casually stay in touch it's a winner. Smaller, lighter, better battery life. However if I need to do any work, it's right out as an option, more of a nuisance than a help.

    So at the end of the day, it really depends on what your mother does online. Does she just want to read some e-mail and get pictures of the grandkids? A tablet may be an excellent choice. Does she make her own electronic scrapbooks? A tablet would probably be a horrible choice.

  • Re:Ipad and Keyboard (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:57PM (#42490335)

    E-mails can be pretty long. Sometimes they include attachments.
    Web browsing often means entering passwords and other intformation. And print receipts for filing.
    And what when she wants to do her taxes? That's a simple task that is beyond most tablets.

    By all means, get her a tablet - after you replace her PC.


    With any random bluetooth keyboard even book length emails are not a problem.
    Browsers remember passwords, enter it once, and done.
    Printing receipts (or anything else) is simply NOT a problem. My tablet prints over wifi. Hell it will print from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection. Even cheap printers these days support CloudPrint [].
    Emails? Attachments? Seriously, you must be joking, either that or you've never actually used a tablet.
    Taxes. No problem. Intuit/Turbo tax have BOTH web based tax programs and install-able APPS that will work just fine, or you could use H&R Block's apps for Android or ipad. Many seniors have their taxes done professionally anyway.

    Obviously you've never used a modern tablet. so I respectfully suggest you weight in on the subject.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @06:02PM (#42490395)

    The Asus Transformer line of tablets are great "mini-notebooks".

    One of the big advantages is that you can buy the tablet, and if you don't need the keyboard, you don't pay for it. If you do, you can get the Asus dock version, or any bluetooth keyboard. With the dock, though, you get a full-size SD card slot and full-sized USB connectors, so you can easily move data (like photos mentioned in the summary) to/from other devices. The only real negative I have seen on the latest versions (which fix the poor GPS reception of earlier versions) is that they don't support 5GHz for 802.1n.

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