Tablets: A long-term test

As with most new things, tablets have become the shiny must-have technology but are they practical for day-to-day use and can you replace your aging laptop or PC with one? Could you use one whilst out of the office instead of dragging around that cumbersome laptop? Could you use one at home or in the office instead of a PC or laptop?

For the last few months I have been working with an ASUS Transformer 101 (android) with optional keyboard/battery pack and an Acer Iconia W500 windows 7 tablet in addition to setting up other Android models and iPads for home and business users and also asking for their feedback and impressions.

For the hard-core gamer then, as with laptops, they are not going to replace the big tin box and even bigger monitor(s) you currently have.

They have proved popular with home users who want to check their emails quickly, browse and even buy from the internet. With near instant on then they are better than waiting for the PC to fire up. Free and low priced Apps mean that other tasks have also been made easier.

For businesses, like with their smartphones, users can check their central calendars, address book and emails quickly. It is even possible to work on office documents, intranets, SAGE, etc from Win7, android and iPad platforms – without spending a fortune.

Having used both the windows 7 tablet and android tablets I would say that, at the moment, the android is a better buy. Windows 8, out later this year, may change things but unless you must run software that only runs on a windows platform then it will be cheaper with an Android device.

Both the iPad and Android touchscreen keyboards are easier to use than the windows version but I couldn’t use one all day if I had a report to write. The ASUS with the optional keyboard is slightly quicker to use but still slightly cramped like a NetBook.

So, good for short spells but not a replacement for the main laptop yet.