General Question

flutherother's avatar

Why buy a tablet PC?

Asked by flutherother (30158points) July 13th, 2012

At home I have a desktop PC and when out and about a mobile phone. I just don’t get why anyone would want a tablet. I am sure I am missing something as they are popular. Can you enlighten me. What is the attraction?

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15 Answers

_Whitetigress's avatar

Kind of like having an agenda & on the go magazine/book all in one. More organizer friendly than pushing little LCD screen on phones.

I’m not saying you’re not a busy person by any means. However, I’ve noticed people who are making the most of them are those constantly taking notes, constantly in their planners and are on the go.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t have a tablet because I cannot find sufficient value in purchasing one. They are still quite expensive I think for what they offer me. Things I can see they would be useful for include subscribing to magazines and newspapers rather than paper versions. You can then electronically clip and keep any content you want to access again.

The ability to electronically annotate textbooks and pdfs could be helpful as long as I could print off my notes. At the moment I still prefer to have books around me with tabs at points I want to revisit. Those who use a tablet extensively would probably get used to working electronically but I find moving from one document back to another (even on my laptop) can be more frustrating than having three or four books/journal articles spread out in front of me.

I see a lot of people taking notes on them as @_Whitetigress suggested but I would prefer to use my netbook which is also very small and light but has a real keyboard. I think it has more flexibility.

Also, having a tablet such as an iPad or Android equivalent beats say a Nook or a Kindle because it isn’t attached to anyone book retailer. So for buying/hiring books I think there is more versatility. I think you can access ebooks from libraries and different publishers where the Nook and Kindle may have limitations. Open to correction on this if someone has more info.

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Silence04's avatar

I bought mine merely for a better internet experience, but it has turned into so much more. Books for leisure, books for school, professional music recording/performance, serious gaming device, kitchen companion for your recipies, vnc onto networked computers, watch tv/show in bed… The list goes on. And it does these things better than a desktop/laptop counterpart.

It’s Definitly the apps that make it better, and there are thousands of useful ones that can fit into ones lifestyle or hobbies (at least on the iPad).

Buttonstc's avatar

Personally, I decided to buy an Android tablet because I was fed up with the limitations of the iPhone both. sizewise and Apples refusal to enable Flash. I found myself using it so much for accessing the net and that tiny screen size was just getting to me.

I figured getting an iPad was needless duplication since its basically a giant iPhone and mucho expensive. Plus I had tried out a 10 inch tablet that a friend of mine had and realized that was just too unwieldy for me.

So I started researching whichever 7 inch tablets were around and found one on Black FridAy special for below $200. I originally paid 200 for my iPhone so that seems pretty reasonable to me. This way I can use Android without having to give up my beloved iPhone. I did consider the Galaxy Note since I’m with ATT anyhow but then I would have my phone service dependent upon the vagaries of the Android OS and I just couldn’t see myself taking that step.

I do have an aging Mac laptop but I was getting tired of the back and shoulder pain from having to sit all hunched up over it. I frequently multitask at night while on my bed watching TV and netsurfing. I don’t really want to have to sit at a desk just to use my laptop.

So my tablet is the perfect size at 7 inches and I just put. off upgrading my phone (200) and got the tablet instead.

I like having the best of both worlds with both Android and IOS.

PLUS, I didn’t know this when I bought it, but there are numerous Android apps which provide significant savings on prescription prices simply by presenting the app screen containing the card number. In just four months more, I will have saved enough from the reduced prices on my regular monthly prescriptions so the tablet has paid for itself. TOTALLY That was a bonus I didn’t expect but delighted to find.

But if you don’t feel you would have any use for it, don’t get one. Everybody is different. And for some people the extra expense is worth it. A tablet really is very versatile , especially one you can hold in one hand or on your lap if necessary.

But tablets are getting much more affordable these days, especially the seven inch ones. The Kindle Fire certainly helped in that regard as many other companies are now producing. more affordable tablets. Even Google is getting in on it by pairing with Asus to bring out the Google Nexus, a $200 seven inches tab. Right now its available for preorder and expected to be widely available in a few months.

jerv's avatar

My main reason for originally getting a laptop was as a portable PDF viewer. Then e-readers came out, but were all black-and-white, and therefore unsuitable. Now, there are times where I need a full-on portable computer, so I don’t regret having a laptop, but it’s too big to fit in my pocket, and a bit overkill for what I would be doing when portability matters.

I used to use my phone for viewing those PDFs when I didn’t feel like lugging the laptop, but 4.3” isn’t great to view a page that was originally 8–½“x11”; a 7” tablet is far better.

@Bellatrix You’re not always locked in. My tablet is a rooted Nook Color flashed with CyanogenMod7; it is now a full Android tablet with access to the Google market and all.

Bellatrix's avatar

Good to know @jerv (although I don’t even know what that means and would the person with fairly basic computer literacy be able to set that up?) How would I access the software/learn to modify my Kindle/Nook to make it more versatile?

jerv's avatar

@Bellatrix Google is your friend; it’s easy to find step-by-step instructions like this. It may look daunting, bu thte truth is that it’s not really any harder than downloading and installing programs to your computer; the installer program is pretty simple.
That said, some e-readers are easier than others to crack. Part of the reason I chose the Nook Color over the newer Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire was it’s easier since it’s actually on the list of devices officially supported by CyanogenMod and I like to make things easy on myself.

Buttonstc's avatar


There are a few things you should know before you decide whether to root.

Firstly, on most devices, rooting voids your warranty.

Secondly, rooting is similar to making changes to the registry in Windows OS.

If you don’t feel comfortable changing the registry on your regular PC, then you should be very hesitant about rooting your tablet.

Both of these actions can leave you with an unusable device which could cost major bucks to be restored by a computer pro and for a tablet there’s no guarantee it can be done at all.

They don’t use the term “bricking” your device lightly. It means that you are now the proud owner of a brick. You’ve got a $200 paperweight on your hands.

@jerv is being truthful by stating that it’s easy to do. But keep in mind that it’s easy FOR HIM (since he’s one of the most knowledgeable computer tech gurus in the whole Flutherverse)

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that easy for the rest of us. Far from it. Only you can determine your comfort and experience level for handling tech stuff, but I wouldn’t touch rooting with a ten foot pole. I really can’t afford to splurge on a $200 paperweight.


You and I have had this conversation before.

I honestly think that, because of your superior level of experience and understanding of comp. tech and OS tweaks, that it’s way too easy for you to forget that most of the rest of us just can’t handle things which are like baby steps for you.

Obviously you won’t be volunteering to replace her bricked tab when something goes wrong. But neither will the company that made it or the members of the Cyanogen
Mod team.

They make it very clear in numerous disclaimers that using their code is AT YOUR OWN RISK.


Dont take my word on this (nor @jerv either). Do your own research further and make your decision on how comfortable you are in your abilities with this.

If you can’t live with the possibility of bricking your device or voiding it’s warranty then don’t root it (regardless of how “easy” it’s supposed to be.

The word easy is highly subjective and varies greatly from one person to the next.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Buttonstc if you know what ‘root’ means in Australia, you will understand why my initial reaction was one of laughter. I will keep all of the things you mentioned in mind next time I consider rooting – don’t want to void my rooting warranty ;-)

However, back to serious business, yes I think your warning is very appropriate. I doubt I would risk this myself. I am not a computer numbskull but I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to take on such a task. It is interesting to know it can be done though. Thank you for your sensible words of caution @Buttonstc.

Buttonstc's avatar

OK, I’ll bite. What does root mean in Australia?

Bellatrix's avatar

A root is a bonk – sexual intercourse :-)

D’ya fancy a root?

We are going to get modded. :D

Buttonstc's avatar

Well it is on the topic of rooting. Just a different type of rooting. But still rooting nonetheless :)

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc That is another reason I went with the Nook Color. While I could probably do the same thing to a Kindle Fire, the procedure is more complicated than for a Nook Color, and there is a much higher chance of bricking it. I may be technically adept, but even I have my limits, both to what I consider “easy” and to the amount of risk I am willing to take. The instructions for the NC were better written and clearer, but I couldn’t link them here to show you.
You are correct that easy is relative. Personally, I considered it easy since I was merely following concise written directions to download three files and a program, run the program on one of those files to write it to an SD card, copy the other two files straight over to the card, put the card into the tablet, hit a couple of buttons, and wait. Compared to some of the things that I do at work, things like program a CNC mill to put an 8.834” (+/- 0.002”) hole through a 3.7” aluminum block without milling into the vise, rooting is relatively simple enough to do in my sleep, but that doesn’t make it absolutely simple.

@Bellatrix I think it’s still apropos. Figure, you are taking the tablet, bending it over the desk, and having your way with it.

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