Netbooks Vs Computer Tablets

Update Dec 2012

ultrabook-netbook-tablet

 

I am still enjoying my new iPad2 and I do not regret waiting for the new ipad ( Third generation).  Was up in the big smoke of Dublin City the weekend and got a chance to get my hands on the new iPad to play errrrr I mean test it. Yes the display is lovely and bright and clear ( maybe too bright!!) but it only shows up Ireland’s slow internet speeds and quite a lot of the apps did not suit the new display.  There is little external difference between the new iPad and prior models; most people would be hard-pressed to tell them apart in a lineup. Sure, the most recent iPad is slightly thicker and heavier, but its still beats dragging around a huge laptop. The high resolute camera is pretty clear but also felt kinda silly holding up a 10 inch tablet to use as a video recorder or camera no matter how clear it is.  All in all a nice bit of kit but is it worth paying out extra to upgrade from only a recently developed Ipad2 tablet!!  It still does not have a mini or full USB connection or a memory card slot and with more affordable android tablets arriving on the market with capacitive 5 point touch screens, USB connections etc,  it will have its work cut out for it to stay on top of the tablet market.

While there I also had a chance to check out the new Ipad mini.  I was expecting it to be smaller but it is a  good size screen to work with.  Not that it would be my choice, the larger screen would still be my preference.  The Ipad mini is still very expensive compare ( prices from €330 from Apple website) to the Ipad2 ( from €399 new) which is a tried and tested and reliable computer tablet.  Great bargains to be got buying refurbished iPad tablets with full 12 months warranty from the Apples refurbished online store.   To keep an eye on any new refurbished Apple items available you can leave your email address with a description of  the Apple products you are looking for with this website.

The Netbook

The idea of an incredibly lightweight, portable Netbook was very appealing two years ago, working on one didn’t really deliver. I figured I would be able to use the netbook for everything I had to do in a standard workday, especially since I was still in college at the time. I wanted to update my website, upload video and photos, and so on, and especially word processing for assignments and of course my thesis. It wasn’t easy, though. My first Netbook was a cute little 8 inch screen running windows XP. I have to admit it did run fairly well operating office 2003. But, and it was a big but..first I found it very difficult to view all the screen even with the task bar hidden. Then Office 2003 ran into compatibility issues with the new office 2010 which had become standard now in the majority of places. So that Netbook went the way of eBay and a new Netbook was purchased. The New Netbook was the sexy looking Acer One running Windows 7 Starter. Lovely looking machine,I installed Office 2010, and an anti-virus, Avast, thinking the least amount of stuff on it, the better it should run.

Now the problem was,just because a Windows 7 Netbook is supposed to do everything doesn’t mean it’s actually good at doing anything. Since it’s a Windows PC, you don’t have to worry about not being able to use the applications or Web services you need to get your work done–but you’ll have a hard time getting accustomed to using them on a Netbook.

For example, I rely on Web apps for most of my tasks, which works fine on my desktop PC . But it’s a lot harder to edit a document when I can see only a paragraph or two at a time. Even simple stuff, like reading a Web page or a spreadsheet, was downright frustrating on the Acer One 10.1-inch display. And talk about slow!! So hoping to improve performance I upgraded the Ram to 2GB and upgraded the windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate. But still found the slowness frustrating especially when I needed to perform a PowerPoint presentation for a college assignment it just kept lagging and when I got frustrated, I got less work done. Yes the Acer One Netbook had all the bells and whistles such as 3 USB ports, 2 in 1 media card reader and 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 0.3 MP build in webcam and a decent 10 hour battery. Nice! Pity the performance left it down.

Computer Tablet-IPad2

So finally this year I decided to invest in a computer tablet. I was reluctant to purchase the Apple iPad2 at first as I use an Android HTC mobile phone and I love it. I love the freedom to choose any application I want without restrictions and the fact that the Apple Ipad2 did not have a USB port was a big downside. I did investigate some android tablets and at the time a lot still came from China or Hong Kong and were not really tested. Got my hands on the Eldest Lads iPad2 and found I was pleasantly pleased with its performance and how fast it responded. The ease of use and the ability to carry it around were all selling factors. So after selling off my Acer One I invested in a refurbished Apple iPad2 from the Apple Store with full Apple warranty,( I did have to keep checking back to catch one as soon as its available as they go fast).  Recently realised that you can have your email addressed submitter to keep an eye on any refurbished Apple product from this Link for Irish customers.

The iPad2 arrived within a day or two and within ten minutes I had it up and running and receiving my emails from two different accounts makes it easy to keep business and pleasure apart.  The Tablet is very thin and you will find it easy to hold in your hands comfortably. It has an excellent battery life on continuous playback of videos, music and web browsing. The other advantage of iPad2 is Books. Reading books on iPad2 is a pleasure. With the Books feature, you can have access to iBook, Nook, Kindle and Google Books. I knew about the onscreen typing which made touch typing impossible, so I had ordered a Bluetooth case with a build in keyboard from eBay for 20 euro including P & P. I also wanted a basic case to protect it without the keyboard which I also got from eBay from an Irish Seller for 8 euro, very neat with a fold-able back that can be used as a stand for the iPad while watching a film etc. All of which arrived within the next day or two after receiving the iPad2. The keyboard case worked like a charm, very easy to connect using the Bluetooth and folded up no bigger than my last Netbook and much lighter. Battery is great on the Ipad2, over 8 hours working online and typing up my Blog. Nice One!  The Ipad2 also came with the WordPress Application pre-installed so I can get into to my Blog with one touch.

Using the Ipad to do a PowerPoint Presentation on a TV or Using a Projector:

Now the big question is, can it do a PowerPoint presentation? The answer is..Yes, as long as you use the appropriate adapter and the correct application to run the PowerPoint.  I have recently installed a new application called SlideShark which is FREE and it allows you to view and show presentations for free using either a VGA adapter or a digital AV HDMI adapter, again depends on the type of projector you are using.   Using SlideShark the PowerPoint’s are stored online ( Free 100 MB) available at anytime to use from the Ipad application or the PowerPoint can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Email, and play exactly as created.  The PowerPoint can be saved onto the Ipad before the presentation from the SlideShark website when you have WiFi available and then can be played on a projector or LCD television without the need of an internet connection, very useful.   To actually create a PowerPoint the very good and reasonable Application Docs to Go( 7.99 euro) which is also available for your desktop or mac makes a reasonable PowerPoint.   Another options is keynote ( 7.99 euro) which allows you to create and store your PowerPoint on icloud online ( free 5.0 GB of cloud storage) which comes with all Apple Ipads.   To put your PowerPoint into the Ipad is very easy, all you have to do is to either drop it into your DropboxBoxicloud to name a few, or even just email it to your own email address and pick it up on the Ipad. For more information on cloud storage go to my blog on Cloud Storage.

The disadvantages of the IPad 2 are, it still lacks USB support, Flash support and HDMI Output (thought output is possible via Apple Digital AV adapter).  So to present your PowerPoint you will need to get an adapter, either a VGA adapter for older projectors ( around 20 euro ) or a Digital AV HDMI Adapter ( about 30 euro ) with charging options including on it, which could be handy if your battery is low before a presentation.   The iPad’s lack of USB support is not as essential as it would have been lets say 5 years ago, the companies providing good and often free cloud storage are increasing everyday.  To get more tips and tricks for the iPad go to“The Best iPad Tips and Tricks”“at GIZMO’S FREEWARE website.

UPDATE: Just received the Digital AV HDMI adapter and I am very impressed. I plugged in my HDMI lead from my HD LCD television to the ipad2 using the HDMI adapter and the graphics for the games were as good as the playstation 3, for a fraction of the cost. E.G . mortal combat 3 is €5.49 for the ipad2, while the same game for the PlayStation 3 is nearly €50. The browser also worked perfect and the films on Netflix played on the television from the adapter on the ipad2 were crystal clear. It goes without saying PowerPoint worked perfect from the ipad2 to the LCD television. It is really a pity that the iPad does not come with those connections first day.

One of the biggest draw backs for the Ipad is its lack of Flash support. So, before buying the iPad, just consider whether the web sites you frequently needs flash support. For example: the SlideShare Presentations playing YouTube videos on LinkedIn cannot be viewed via the Ipad. So if you view web sites which requires flash a lot, then it would be a better choice to go for any Android Powered Tablet than the Ipad.  Another option for the Ipad is to download the iSwifter browser onto your iPad from the App Store, this is a flash browser. It works, but I have found it a bit jerky.

The 7 inch Teclast Android Pad

My middle lad in the mean-while had picked up a Teclast 7 inch Android pad with Capacitive 5-Point Touch Screen from Ebay for less than a 100 euro from a seller in the UK ( i.e. no import tax). Now well may you ask what do you mean by a Capacitive Screen!!! Well for example the Ipad has a capacitive screen along with the majority of mobile smart phones. In other words it’s a screen that can be easily navigated using ones fingers and can pinch and zoom images to any size for easy viewing. The alternative is the Resistive touch screen, ( need a stylus/pen or nail to operate the screen) for a good comparison with the pros and cons go to Yamp’s Blog. So I had a chance to examine the Teclast 7 Inch Android 2.3 pad and to my surprise it worked very well indeed. It has full video Skype using the build in camera, over 8Gb storage with the option of adding more using a memory card which the Ipad does not have. Has all the bells and whistles the Ipad has for one-third of the price and it even has a HDMI output which allows viewing of movies or photos on any LCD television using a HDMI lead. Middle lad is very happy with the 7 inch Android pad because he says it makes it very easy to type or text on by holding it in both hands and it fits into his pocket. Again its easy to pick up a case with a keyboard for the 7inch pad on Ebay but this time using a mini USB connection as the smaller pad does not have Bluetooth, pity really as it’s about the only thing that is missing. Have to mention it also plays Angry Birds very well!!. So would I get a 7 inch android pad, the answer is NO, size matters, especially when I want to see the screen I am typing into, but would I get a 9.7 inch or a 10 inch Android pad, the answer would be Yes indeed, Especially after seeing the performance of the Teclast 7 inch pad. Very impressed and very easy to do a PowerPoint presentation using the HDMI output to a Projector. Again Docs to Go or Slideshark will make sure the PowerPoint runs smoothly.

There are many more Computer Tablets out there, so do the research and find the one that will suit you. Has the Computer Tablet made the Netbook obsolete!! It is seriously beginning to look that way. At the end of the day I would seriously consider paying out big money for something that could very easily be dropped and damaged beyond repair. As with all mobile equipment, accidents can and will happen, and not to mention 6 months down the road whatever you have purchased, especially when it comes to technology, it could well be out dated pretty quick. So take performance, price and usability into question before you purchase your computer tablet and above all ask yourself: how much fun is it to use!!.

NOTE: There are a lot of cheap 10 inch Android Computer Tablets for sale on eBay at the moment ( avoid the China and Hong Kong ones or you will be caught for the 21% import duty ) but the majority of them have the Resistive touch screen which is not that much fun and can be quite frustrating to use. Make sure the screen is the Capacitive 5-Point Touch Screen if it’s not mentioned on the description then it means it has the Resistive screen which is much cheaper and does not work as good as the capacitive screen.

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