Tablet vs PC

2014-02-02 14:00

At first glance, tablets of all makes and models don’t appear able to compete ?with a laptop or desktop PC.

A physical keyboard is an extra, the hardware (usually) isn’t anywhere near what can be found on a dedicated office machine and the display isn’t large enough to get anything but the most urgent work done.

So why is the tablet challenging the traditional PC in just about every market on the planet? A tablet may not replace a PC for creating content, but it certainly beats it for lightness and portability, and for consuming media, surfing, social networking and messaging.

Several market research firms have charted the trajectory of the tablet’s rise and the corresponding decline of the PC market. Although the tablet is overtaking the world far faster than the PC is falling out of favour, there is a swap happening in the world’s perception of which computing machines are best for everyday life.

There are simple reasons the tablet is the rising star of the technology world and they can be explained in a series of single words: portability, apps and perception.

Portability almost speaks for itself – a 17.7cm or even 25.6cm computing device can be carried almost anywhere, usually weighs less than 1kg and often there are Bluetooth keyboards available that are just as easy to transport, which gives you an entire laptop replacement in the fraction of the space.

But portable isn’t enough. Tablets, no matter your operating system preference, feature apps and it is usually the number of available and useful apps that determines success or failure for a tablet.

Apple’s iPad is the prime example because the company has the highest quantity of quality apps available for tablets.

Android has a greater number of available apps, but sorting through them is about as hard as deciding which Android tablet to buy.

The third place is held by Microsoft, a recent entrant into the tablet hardware world, which has far fewer apps available than competitors (but that number

is rising).

Lastly, there is the perception of the tablet as a computer for the masses. Desktop computers were once limited to those with the know-how (or willingness to acquire it) to use them effectively.

Tablets don’t face that expectation. Tablets have been seen as a mature, everyday technology almost from the start of their rise to power, and the thing about a device made for everyone is that everyone will be willing to use it. »?Shapshak is editor and publisher of Stuff magazine (stuff.co.za). Follow him on Twitter @shapshak The best in the market »?Apple iPad Air

»?From R6?000 | zastore.co.za

Apple makes some of the easiest-to-use devices on the planet and the iPad Air, a 24.6cm ?tablet, is one of the most advanced in terms of hardware. The biggest new feature is the processor setup, which features the A7 64-bit processor found in the iPhone 5 S as well as an M7 motion coprocessor.

The display? An eye-caressing 2?048 x 1?536 resolution with a pixels per inch (ppi) measurement of 264. Apple has added speedier Wi-Fi across the board, an overall thinner profile – which gives the Air its name – and iOS7, an operating system that hasn’t blown users away, but which is still a solid improvement over iOS6.

The most important upgrade is the weight reduction.

»?Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)

»?From R10?000 | samsung.com/za

Maybe Apple’s iOS is a bit too easy for you and you’d like an Android 4.3 operating system to toy with. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 25.6cm tablet is the largest tablet on this list, edging out the iPad Air by a few millimetres, but it compares favourably to both Apple devices.

The display is a 2?560 x 1?600 wonder, with a pixel density of 299ppi (better than Apple’s Retina display) and the LTE version of the tablet features the darling of the tech world, the Snapdragon 800 processor. Non-LTE, you’re looking at the Exynos 5 Octa processor setup. Samsung has opted for 3GB of system memory for the 2014 Note 10.1 and there is a spectacular battery included, so you’re looking at a lengthy powered-on time. »?Apple iPad mini with Retina display

 »?From R5?000 | zastore.co.za

The iPad mini with Retina display might be an even more impressive device than the Air, given how long users have been clamouring for a Retina screen on one of Apple’s smaller tablets. The mini features the same processor configuration as the Air, so you know 64-bit apps are on the way. It also has the same display, albeit with a higher ppi count (326) and, of course, iOS7.

If size doesn’t matter, or you’ve been waiting not so patiently for a 20cm iPad to get Retina, this is the tablet to have. Otherwise, a 10-hour-plus battery and all those delicious apps might just sway you.

The mini’s size and weight add to the argument that it is more suited to female users because it fits into handbags. This is not entirely true. Men also like smaller, lighter gadgets.

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