Mobile Efficiency: Laptop Versus Tablet

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

We are an increasingly mobile society. Whether for work or personal, you’d be hard-pressed to find too many people without an Internet-connected device somewhere nearby. Smart phones are everywhere and basic Internet usage is at your fingertips.

When you need to work on the go or work while actually moving, there are device options that can help you really increase your productivity.

There are obviously many factors that can come into play when talking about meeting your mobile and professional needs.

What kind of tasks do you need to perform? What sort of software do you need access to? Are you going to be switching between applications and run multiple tasks at once? How frequently and how far are you moving?

I know, so many questions! So where can we even begin?

Just like any other job in the world, having the right tools can make things so much easier. If you work at a restaurant as a server for instance, using a laptop is very impractical. Carrying it around typing orders on a keyboard would prove to be difficult, just as writing a novel on a tablet touchscreen keyboard would be. These are some clear-cut scenarios, but most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

So let’s talk about some of those questions.

What kind of tasks do you need to run? If you are just replying to email, stick to your smart phone. That is where you’ll end up anyway.

For everyone else? What kind of programs and applications are you using? The first thing you should check, if you don’t already know, is if there are mobile versions of the programs you use. Some programs may not be user friendly on a touchscreen if you use the standard version.

Use your smartphone to see if these applications are user friendly in a new setting. The app may not perform as well as it would on a tablet, but maybe you can decide if it’s something you can work with. If the programs are available and you are comfortable using them with a touchscreen interface, you may be ready to use a tablet for work.

When it comes to laptops specifically, the first thing I would consider is how much you’ll be moving around. If you travel from place to place, but typically sit to work at different locations, a laptop is always going to be an option.

The difference is the limitations of the device. A laptop has more capability when compared to a tablet. After all, it is a computer.

If you are switching between many programs and applications frequently and use multiple programs at one time, then a laptop will have more capable processing power to allow you to work unbothered by slow system response time.

The best summary I can give is, if you move around while working, get a tablet. If you sit, just in different locations, you’ll be happier with a laptop.

If you can’t find yourself leaning one way or another, the third option would be a Surface type of machine. With the processing power and speed of a laptop but the mobility of a tablet, you will spend more money for the ultimate solution in mobile versatility and efficiency, but won’t feel the constraints of either other option.

It’s all about you and how you want to get your work done.

A Few Reasons Why Desktops Are Better

Michael Menor is Vice President of Support Services for Tech Experts.

With all this talk about mobile devices like tablets, smart phones, and ultra-portable laptops, you’d begin to think that traditional desktop PCs are going to seem archaic.

Depending on your needs, that can be the case, but desktops aren’t going away anytime soon – and for good reason.

More Powerful Hardware
This has been the case from the very beginning – desktop PCs are capable of more powerful hardware.

Desktops don’t need to worry about electricity consumption the same way portable devices do and components don’t need to be shrunk down into a tiny lap-sized chassis.

This also allows better heat dispersion. All three factors give desktops the flexibility to utilize the most complex, cutting edge components that aren’t designed for mobility (yet).

In other words, computer hardware manufacturers build new components, then work on shrinking those components into mobile sizes.

This reason alone will keep the desktop alive – PC gamers, graphic artists, and multimedia buffs will always want high-end desktops.

Cost Effectiveness
Of course, you don’t need the newest, cutting edge components to have a blazing-fast PC. You can easily get by with cheaper, previous generation components.

Remember a decade ago when a desktop PC could cost thousands of dollars? It’s still possible (and easy for some) to spec out a high-end PC with that kind of price tag, but each additional dollar spent isn’t worth it unless you have VERY specific needs.

Also, comparable hardware for a PC is significantly cheaper than similar laptop hardware. If you don’t need the mobility, you can save a pretty decent chunk of money just by sticking with a desktop.

Desktops are Easier to Fix and Maintain
Let’s share a real-world tech scenario. Replacing a part on a desktop is a pretty simple task for a technician. In fact, with a little hand-holding, almost anybody could figure it out. Replacing the motherboard on a laptop, however, is an extremely cumbersome process. Depending on the model, it can involve over two dozen screws and a lot of time.

Replacement parts aren’t as affordable as they are for desktops either. For smart phones and tablets, expect to ship those out to the manufacturer.

You Probably Won’t Leave your Desktop at the Airport/Coffee Shop/Hotel
It’s true! If you are lugging around a big PC case, a monitor or two, a keyboard, mouse, and power cables, it’s pretty likely you won’t accidentally forget it when you realize how light your luggage has become.

All joking aside, because your desktop lives a pretty uneventful life without much movement, it doesn’t endure the little bumps, drops, and spills that laptops, tablets and other mobile devices take.

It’s harder to steal too, so there is a little essence of security knowing your data is locked inside a great big aluminum box tethered to your desk with a web of cables.

Have you moved on from the desktop PC completely or are you still holding on? Do you even want to go strictly mobile? Let us know and let us answer any questions you have.

Tips For Your Next Tablet Purchase

Now that tablets have become ingrained in the techie lifestyle, it’s hard to believe the first Apple iPad arrived on the scene just four years ago. In the time that has passed since then, tablet sales and development have skyrocketed.

Consequently, there is a much larger variety to choose from today than just a single brand and its incarnations.

For those looking to upgrade their tablet or try one out for the first time, navigating the sea of tablet possibilities can be a daunting prospect. Here are a few tips to demystify your purchase choices:

Choose the right operating system for you: Apple’s iOS gets the most attention by far, likely due to its length of time on the market, general ease of use, and plethora of applications available for download.

Android’s OS is also competitive in the availability of apps, and it merges seamlessly with all of Google’s applications.c332562_m

Finally, the Windows OS is growing in popularity with users looking for a PC-like experience and aren’t as concerned about installing various applications.

Get enough storage and a screen size you can work with: Just as if you were PC shopping, a huge concern is having enough space to store your files and a screen that is easy to read.

After all, it’s no fun squinting to decypher text or choosing which applications to keep or ditch due to insufficient storage space.

Also, consider the screen resolution when choosing between models – it can be equivalent to the difference between a regular television screen and HD.

Decide if a WiFi only or cellular version fits your needs: There are two ways you can get online with a tablet – connecting via WiFi networks around you or using cellular service to gain entry.

WiFi only versions are typically cheaper, and you always have to option of turning your smartphone into a hotspot for on-the-fly connections. A cellular version is a tad pricier and requires additional service fees, but the advantaage is you will always be able to get online wherever you go.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

Is A Tablet The Right Choice? Pros And Cons

Scott Blake is a Senior Network Engineer with Tech Experts.

With so many gadget choices on the market these days, it can be very difficult for people to decide what they need and where to spend their money.

Tablets are currently the top of mobile technology. They are compact, very lightweight and extremely easy to carry. However, they do not possess the processing power of a laptop.

Their functionality as a computing device is very limited, although sufficient for some people’s uses. Tablets can be ideal for those who browse the Web casually, such as read the news or popular websites, and those who play “lightweight” games, or want to watch TV or films while traveling.

Despite advances in some niche professions, tablets are often not suitable for hardcore gamers, presentation arrangement and creation or heavy researching.

Pros of a Tablet Computer

Tablets are smaller in size compared to even the smallest types of laptops and this travel-sized gadget is definitely a plus to those who don’t want to lug a laptop around but still want to bring along a computer.

They are also lighter than laptops, putting less stress on the body and can be handled easily with one hand, unlike laptops.?

Longer Battery Life
The best models of tablets can hold power for up to eight hours or more of typical use, which is significantly longer than any laptop. They can even be on standby for days.

Touch Input
Some people actually enjoy using the touch input as opposed to a keyboard input. Touch input is especially useful for drawing digital images, playing certain games and manipulating certain programs.

c817296_mCons of a Tablet Computer

Lower Performance Ability
Tablets do not have the same processing power as laptops and can easily become overloaded if a lot is done on them. They are only suitable for simple computer usage that doesn’t involve heavy multitasking, like solataire.

Uncomfortable Usage
Most users still prefer the comfort of using a keyboard to type, as using a touch input is much more time consuming and can result in many errors if the user isn’t accustomed to that kind of input.

Using a tablet and its touch input can also be stressful to the wrists and arms of the user since there is no place for the user to rest his or her wrists and he or she has to use the arms to hold up and use the tablet as long as needed. However, some tablets do come with full keyboards as an add-on accessory.

Higher Fragility
The touch-sensitive display of tablets are also a weakness, as this renders them fragile and in need of proper care. Otherwise, the screen can easily be damaged and once the screen is damaged the tablet is unusable.

While tablets are the newer devices, they are slowly improving but they generally still have a lot to catch up with in terms of performance.

However, for the user who uses computers for simple things like checking email, playing games, going on social networks, and other tasks that don’t require the computer to process heavily, tablets have a convenince factor that makes them attractive.

If you have any questions whether a tablet is the right choice for you, give the Tech Experts team a call and we will help you make the right choice.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

Could There Be A Tablet PC In Your Future?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

So far, 2010 has been the year of the tablet.The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured tablet PCs from HP and Lenovo. The word among Apple-watchers is that the latest must-have product from Steve Jobs will be a National Geographic-sized computer called the ‘iSlate.’

Tablets aren’t new – Bill Gates introduced Microsoft’s first attempt way back in 2000. But could 2010 be the year that this technology finally takes off?

I’m not so sure. With e-readers, smart phones and netbooks already popular, will the tablet find a way onto people’s wish lists? What will it offer that isn’t already available?

After all, many devices on the market today – from the Amazon Kindle to the iPhone – offer portability and easy Internet access.

By replacing the keyboard and trackpad of standard laptops, the tablet is able to shed some bulk and weight – a nice feature for travelers and denizens of coffee shops.

But when it comes to actual typing – the basis of productive computer usage – most touch screens fall short. (Of course, I wouldn’t bet against Apple’s ability to once again revolutionize the touch screen and make entering text a breeze.)

I suspect that the tablet PC will find a niche in the consumer market while not quite breaking into the business world.

The tablet’s allure seems mostly limited to passive engagement – watching videos, scanning Facebook feeds reading e-books, etc. In other words, not exactly productive activities from a business standpoint.