Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Don't I Love My Tablet?

As I explained a few weeks ago, I bought a Toshiba Thrive mainly because of its SD card slot and USB port. Most tablets don't have those features. I especially wanted the SD card slot in order to view and backup photos on vacations. These extra features make the Thrive thicker than other tablets but I decided that the extra features were worth the trade-off.

While on a cruise last month, I was unhappy with the way my pictures looked on the Thrive. I finally figured out that the screen brightness was set on "auto" which probably makes the battery last longer but it sure doesn't make pictures look very good. Turning the brightness all the way up improves the look of pictures although I still think it could be a little sharper, especially when you zoom.

Last week I took the Thrive on a research road trip and to the Georgia Family History Expo. Again, I'm just not feeling the love for the tablet. The main purpose for a tablet, at least as I see it, is the portability. Tablets are much smaller and lighter weight than laptops but have a much bigger screen and virtual keyboard than a smart phone.

Here's the thing. I already had a netbook.

The netbook and tablet are pretty much the same length and width.

With the case, the tablet becomes a little bigger than the netbook.

If the netbook didn't have the extended-life battery, 
the thickness would be about the same with the case.
That battery makes the netbook a little heavier than the tablet
but it also makes them pretty much even in battery life.

See why I'm wavering about loving the tablet? I haven't really gained anything from what I already had. There was not one thing I did with the tablet last week that I couldn't have done with the netbook. Except for typing my notes, I could have done it all with the phone. (Technically, the notes could be typed on the phone too but that much typing on a tiny virtual keyboard is not for me.) 

I fought the urge for a tablet from the time the iPad was released almost two years ago because I already had the netbook. Finally, the feeling that I was missing out on the latest tech toy (and I do love tech toys) got the best of me and I bought the tablet. 

I need to start using the tablet more around the house and find a niche where it beats the laptop, netbook and phone. Maybe if I keep it on my nightstand instead of in the office I'll start using it for reading at bedtime. I want to love it and there is still hope that can happen. Any suggestions?

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Toshiba. All opinions given here are mine alone.


  1. I just bought an ipad2 several weeks ago, and tomorrow will be my first research trip to the archives with it. I'm a little nervous but think that it might do the trick for me. Honestly, my first love - because I haven't taken it researching yet - is for ebooks, bedtime reading, and social media. Thanks to Jenna/SeekingSurnames I have fallen in love with the app called Flipboard. I can scan my blogs, websites, twitter, etc all in one place as a virtual magazine of sorts. I'm looking at different stylus options to use with an app called Penultimate as well. I think that this will be a great addition for note taking, mind mapping (I'm a visual person so it helps work through walls), and the like. For me, it's a great option to dragging my heavy laptop around or going old-school with binders because I didn't get into the netbook thing a few years ago. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Maybe I'll blog on it. :)

  2. Thanks for this great comparison! I don't have either but it will sure help me in my decision making if I get one.

  3. Thanks for this post. I don't have a tablet, but have a netbook. I, like you, feel like I'm missing something by not having the latest gadgets. Now I know I need to think long and hard before jumping on the bandwagon. :-)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Linda, I have a seven inch tablet and just bought the Kindle Fire. I like the size of both, smaller than my netbook, and easy to throw in my purse for on the go reading if WiFi is available. I use it primarily waiting for my kids, in the kitchen while I am waiting on my kids and in bed. I leave the power cord next to the bed. I don't think I would bring it to do any major typing. Jen

  6. This post pretty much sums up why I've never really understood the appeal of tablets - they're pretty much netbooks without a physical keyboard, ports and disc drive and often cost more money. I know some people love them, but I don't think they're for me, at least not these early products.

  7. Hi Linda,

    I wanted an iPad real bad. At a symposium I attended, dozens of folks had them including the A/V crew. Then, I wanted to get the HP Touchpad (it was in my budget range where the iPad wasn't) but I couldn't score one.

    Now, I've had the Acer netbook (sale priced at Target) going on two weeks and couldn't be happier - for the reasons you mentioned and more!

  8. I know this is a big surprise, but I SO love tech gadgets. And? I SO want an iPad2. [So much that I could taste it.] However, because I needed to replace my desktop and laptop with my next tech purchase, I had to really evaluate and make my purchase based on my needs and not wants. [Sucks.]

    Already having an iPhone 4, a Nook, a Netbook, an old laptop, and an even older desktop, I did the opposite of everyone and went BIG.

    I purchased this huge laptop with a 17" wide screen and I'm such a happy camper. I'm a huge reader, but I'm finding it hard to find any reading time right now. And now that I've started vlogging, I'm hooked on it. I've decided I want/need a handheld digital camcorder too. I'm getting further and further away from having an iPad2. =(

    Basically, you just have to make a list of what you have & what you use it for, and then make a list of what you want to do in the future. Then take all that and find what you need.

    Unless, of course, it falls out of the sky into your lap, like from Klout, or something. ;)

    Thanks Linda!


  9. I thought long and hard about tablet vs.laptop/netbook before my 6 week research trip last summer. As much as I wanted a tablet I couldn't see how it would would be better than a laptop for research notes, editing images, and working in my database. The laptop is small, no where near as light weight as a tablet and not as much fun to carry about, but it does the trick. I hooked it up to the scanners,cameras, printers this summer and was able to record and produce information in any format I needed. And given that I often had no internet access, having the data with me rather than cloud based was essential.

    That said, I still want (though don't need) a tablet for media delivery. It's far more fun for reading, tv viewing, etc. Santa is giving Nooks to several family members this year. Maybe something fun will be under the tree for me...

  10. I've been leaning toward getting a tablet, but now I think I need to consider a netbook. Thanks for starting this discussion.

  11. It seems that your need for a portable device was filled by your netbook. And I guess you're just not a gadget lover, or you'd also love the tablet too, if just for the coolness factor.

    I hope that you find a good use for the tablet. For one thing, the netbook really needs to be put down somewhere and the tablet you can hold in one hand (for a little while; the 10" ones get a little heavy).

    For the record, I've loved every Android I've had, though I'm only left with the 5" now, but will likely buy bigger again when the price is right. I still haven't owned a netbook. If I had one, maybe I wouldn't have bought the tablets. For one thing, netbooks can run Windows, so all my regular programs will run on it (assuming it has enough processing power). For another, you need a non-Android to program for the Android, which I am just starting to learn. So I may still end up with a netbook too.

  12. I've had my iPad for over a year now and have not been shy in voicing how unimpressed I am with it. If a person thinks they can replace a netbook or laptop with a tablet, they may be in for a surprise. An iPad is great for "consuming" information but I find it seriously lacking when it comes to "manipulating" information. My iPad is my $500 ereader :) and I rarely use it for anything else. I'm out of town this week on business travel...what am I making this post from? My 17 inch, 500 pound (slight exaggeration) laptop. I didn't even bring the iPad with me! If you only want a tablet because they are cool, then by all means get one. But if you have specific needs you need to really investigate and ask questions before you purchase one.

  13. If I had a choice between my netbook and my tablet I would probably choose the netbook BUT I absolutely love my 7" tablet - it goes everywhere with me in my handbag. I have a silicon case that doesn't add much to the weight or size.

    When I'm in the doctor's waiting room, waiting for and on the train I use it to read email, blogs, twitter, Google+ and FB and write responses to posts at those spots.

    I find it better for taking notes at talks than the netbook as it doesn't slip off my lap - I hold it in one hand and one finger type.

    I multitask with it when I am in bed watching the TV at night - it is not as cumbersome as my small netbook. First thing in the morning I grab it to keep in touch.

    It is so easy to take a quick photo on the netbook and upload it immediately to a social or other website.

    I know I can do these things with my phone but I prefer using the 7" screen.

    I still like to have the netbook with me at repositories as I can put information directly into my TMG program that runs well on it. I cannot so this with the tablet.

  14. What a great post! I have been recently trying to decide about getting a netbook, or a tablet. I was thinking about the Nook-Color but that debate ended when my husband brought a regular Kindle home. Later that week--Amazon released Kindle Fire! (a few days too late!)

    Actually I love my Kindle and have been having a great time downloading tons of classics for free onto it, so no regrets there.

    BUT---back to the tablet vs. netbook issue. The only reason I am having the issue at all is that I travel a lot and frankly my laptop is heavy. However---I am a keypad and mouse kind of person, and I like a full sized keyboard.

    Recently a friend was trying to work and use her netbook for a presentations and the netbook had problems. Being small, it has less memory and less power, and just did not hold up that well.

    So---I realized that as much as I dread carrying my laptop, I have several blogs to maintain, a podcast to tape and upload and an occasional webinar, powerpoints to develop and frankly, I need the power that my laptop provides.

    My interest in a netbook or tablet is simply for the convenience and it being light weight. With a laptop, I have to have help lifting it into the overhead compartment on a plane, and rolling into each room at a convention center can be a pain---but---when back in the hotel, I need to have the comfort of a good sized screen, a good solid keyboard and I need be able to do a number of things.

    My Kindle is great for the joy of reading so I don't need a tablet for that purpose at all.

    So for working on projects---looks like the standard laptop is winning.

    When at home--I am on either my laptop or desk top which I keep near each other. And both screens are good sizes so I am not squinting to read.

    Thanks for a good post! I don't feel so bad about not having the Ipad, now. (I wonder if having a Kindle and a Kindle Fire is a bit redundant..........)

  15. I never went down the netbook path because I had always gone down the Sony Vaio portable path Z series -full laptop but very small (not the cheapest option at $3599!!!!) but because I needed it for work, as well as family history etc it was the best option. I have small fingers so typing on the original Z series keyboard wasn't an issue.
    Sony stopped making my beautiful little Z series so I bought the P series. It goes everywhere with me. I was given an ASUS tablet which is nice for the techiness but hard to justify carrying when I already take the laptop. I also own a Kindle which is great for my books, PDFs, technical manuals and does save me heaps of weight as previously I carried at least four books when I traveled.

  16. We have an ipad and the biggest user in our house is four years old. She's addicted to it! She loves Angry Birds and about ten other games. She also likes to watch Netflix movies on it. The adults in the household rarely use it. The one advantage that it has over everything else we own is battery life. It can play movies for about 10 hours without charging. It's quite amazing!

  17. My first priority was to get my MacBook Pro (last Christmas) and this year I am getting the iPad. However, you have to remember that I still use my Dumb Phone. I really do need something small and light. Admittedly its first function will be as a reader (don't want to buy a separate reader), plus there are some other apps I want to get for it. I love my MacBook Pro to death, but there are going to be times I don't want to haul it around when I visit repositories, etc.

  18. Thanks so much for all of the great comments.

    In hindsight, I think a 7" tablet may have been a better choice for me. Something with a bigger screen than a smart phone but that would still fit in my purse. I probably have a purse or two that the Thrive would fit in but I don't usually carry one that big these days. I could have continued using the netbook when I needed the SD card slot but taking a laptop wasn't a good option.

    I am starting to use the Thrive more for social media and blog reading and I'm still leaning toward only taking it and my smart phone to SLC for Rootstech and a few days of research. I have several more things to test with it before that's a definite.