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Can a tablet replace a laptop?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jun 09,2016 - Last updated at Jun 09,2016

You’re in love with your tablet, have become addicted to it, and plan to do a million things with it, but everyone around tells you that you shouldn’t really, for it just doesn’t have enough resources and power to compete with a laptop, not to mention to replace it. Well, is it true?

It is not, and some tablet models truly can serve as well as a laptop, in countless situations. In others they would even outdo laptops. Tablets provide at least twice and in some cases up to four times the useful battery charge of laptops. Tablets are instantly up and working when you switch them on, with no wait time at all for the operating system to load. Last but not least tablets are lighter to carry around than laptops and can withstand harsher physical conditions like shocks and high temperatures.

Web columnist John McCann put it very nicely: “The tablet is now a thing”.

Which tablet to use? As a start we can eliminate all those that feature a screen smaller than 12 inches, for indeed the smaller sizes just would not be enough to provide a comfortable viewing for many tasks, from web browsing to photo editing, e-mailing, playing computer games, practising social networking, writing an essay or even programming. This still leaves us with a certain number of machines that are fit and qualify for the job. As good examples: Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, Apple iPad Pro, HP Pro Slate 12 and Asus EEE Slate 12.1. 

A tablet’s real power is actually only limited by the speed of your Internet connection. Since most everything these days is done “up there” in the Cloud, the performance of computers of all kinds, regardless of the physical format, is essentially dependant on the quality and the speed of the network.

Besides, only a few years ago a laptop’s processing power, graphics capability and memory size were the same as what any tablet — or smartphone for that matter — features today. As for the accessories and the options, the list is long thanks to the USB connectivity. With a simple OTG (On The Go) USB short cable you can instantly connect a keyboard, a mouse, a large capacity hard disk to the tablet, or any USB accessory, transforming it this way into a device that is very versatile, flexible and that never overheats or annoys you with the noise of its cooling fans like a laptop would when you take it to the limit. Don’t have an OTG cable? No problem, you can perform practically all the same connections wirelessly, thanks to Bluetooth. 

Tablets are used by the Jordanian traffic police to register and report road accidents. Computer professionals also use them to access distant computers for remote maintenance, with popular applications like TeamViewer and that can be found in Android, Mac or Windows versions, therefore covering all configurations and all variations of tablets. The possibilities and the actual applications are virtually endless.

Some will argue that there are still limitations. Of course there are, but they remain exceptions and only affect a minority of users. Heavy Photoshopping for example or designing a complex project with Adobe Illustrator are out of the question. So is advanced database programming. Don’t think MS-Access or Oracle with a tablet, that’s really not what it is designed for.

Others find it frustrating that they cannot charge the tablet while at the same time they would be using the USB port to connect a keyboard or a mouse. This is true on some models that come with only one port, but then again with 8 to 12 hours of battery autonomy, this is not necessarily a limitation. Here too, Bluetooth can come to the rescue, freeing the only available USB port.


Large screen tablets have definitely made the grade and may well be the most practical of all formats of computer-like machines found on the market today.

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