Monday, February 14, 2011

A ready reckoner - do you need a tablet? Or a netbook?

With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops, I've been wondering what I really need (Note : need is different from want, and operates in a world constrained by budget and common sense. It's unexciting but it does save money and frustration)

You NEED a tablet if
You travel/commute a lot and use the Net when you do
You are considering it as a netbook substitute
Your usage is more oriented towards browsing and less towards data input (you surf the net or check your mails, more than you type or do work). If you watch more movies/ videos, a tablet has a better screen than a netbook and will give you more viewing pleasure
You are prepared to spend on an additional 3G connection (in India, we cannot rely yet on the WiMax network and 3G connectivity rollout is likely to be faster. So it makes more sense to buy a 3G enabled tablet even if it's costlier)

You NEED a netbook if
You travel/commute a lot and use the Net when you do
Your usage comprises mainly browsing and also some data input. The physical keyboard definitely makes a difference if you type a lot
You are cost conscious about data. There is enough evidence that 3G/WCDMA connectivity through dongle will be cheaper than 3G on phone/ tethered device.
You already do most of your browsing on a premium smartphone and you are just looking for a bigger screen and keyboard for doing your mail/ attachments/ browsing.
You think it's a shame to cough up big bucks on a tablet when a netbook does the same function at half the price. Netbook prices have crashed in the recent months, starting as low as Rs.15,000. Apart from the Olive Pad, tablets are priced in the Rs.30,000 range.