Both tablets and netbooks are compact, light, and great travel buddies. They’re quickly becoming staples in the business world as alternatives to industry standards like the laptop and desktop computer. Here’s a simple breakdown to help you decide whether a netbook or tablet is right for you and your business.
- Power and portability: Although they’ve been around for some time, the netbook is a great alternative to a laptop for those on the go. They’re not as powerful as a laptop or desktop computer, but netbooks are geared for the business professional who needs something light and compact with enough power to execute a number of everyday tasks and the ability to run programs like Microsoft Office applications.
- Connectivity: Like their namesake, netbooks are an excellent way — for those who are away from the office — to stay connected with clients or simply be in touch with others in the field. All netbooks offer Wi-Fi and some even offer fast 3G and 4G Internet speeds. These are important factors to consider when access to e-mail from anywhere is a must.
- Battery life: Many netbooks offer up to 10 hours on a single charge.
- Price: Netbooks are very affordable. Depending on the specifications, you can purchase a netbook starting in the price range of $300 to $400. You could outfit two to four employees with one of these for the same price as a single laptop.
- Size: For all of the benefits that come with lightweight and portability, a netbook’s small screen — usually around 8.9 inches — and keyboard can be hard on both the eyes and the user’s fingertips. Most netbooks don’t offer a full keyboard. And although netbooks can accomplish many of the normal typist tasks, they take some getting used to.
- Limited performance: Many netbooks on the market don’t have a large hard drive, so storage can be a problem. The lower price tag also means slower processors are used, they come with limited graphics capabilities, and have minimal RAM. Although they can be upgraded, many off-the-shelf netbooks aren’t all that powerful.
- Operating system: Some netbooks run Windows and some run Linux or other types of modified OSes. It may be time-consuming for employees to learn the ins and outs of a new OS.
- Popularity: It’s no secret that the advent of Apple’s iPad has created a frenzy amongst enthusiasts and business professionals alike, and it has garnered new segment interest to allow competitors such as Sony and Dell to create their own tablets with a number of bells and whistles. With the popularity of Apple’s App Store and its thousands of business apps already available, tablets will more than likely become a popular computer choice for business professionals on the go because of their turnkey readiness.
- Showoffs: Tablets are great for showing clients your latest PowerPoint, are perfect for note-taking, and offer versatile ergonomics when traveling or bouncing from meeting to meeting. Because many tablets have a full 180-degree rotating screen and touchscreen capabilities, interaction with clients is easy, personal, and makes for a much more engaging conversation. In general, tablets are great devices with which to consume and display information.
- Workhorse: Many tablets offer users the ability to work with either pen input, speech diction to text, handwritten notes to text, or create charts, diagrams, and more. Tablets also offer full OS capabilities that allow you to do everything you need to while on the go. Because tablets are built for high media consumption, they have powerful processors, high screen resolutions, and robust graphics cards.
- Battery life: Like netbooks, tablets also offer better life between charges than laptops. Tablets can achieve the same 10-hour run time between charges.
- Cost: Many tablets are more expensive than netbooks and some even approach laptop prices. When you get into the laptops that are also tablet hybrids, the price jumps even higher. Something else to consider is the price of connectivity. While access to your existing Wi-Fi isn’t a problem, paying for cell connectivity should be taken into account — the same applies to netbooks.
- Scratching: Many tablets, because of the pen and touch interface, get scratched and damaged throughout their lifetime. Adding a protective casing can help but will of course add bulk to the product.
- Tough for input: Tablets don’t have a keyboard and mouse. If your line of work requires a lot of data input or writing, you’ll probably want to either pass on a tablet or consider getting a docking station for the physical keyboard.