My main laptop that I used for traveling and mobile computing is on its way out. I don’t really use it that often, but it’s really nice to have a laptop to take with me when I’m away from home. These days though, there’s not too much I need in a laptop that I can’t get in a tablet it seems.
Beyond that, modern handhelds are pretty cool. I love the form factor of my Kindle 3g and it definitely helped me to increase my reading volume considerably. I really like technology and tablets are pretty much the realization of Star Trek’s PADDs and Tricorders. As a geek, this makes me giddy. I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to buy one and my primary laptop biting the dust is as good an excuse as I’m going to get.
I have a laptop I use at work, it’s old, I’m typing this blog entry on it. I run Crunchbang Linux on it and it works beautifully for getting my daily work and study done. I have a desktop Mac Mini at home, on which I run Crunchbang Linux and it works beautifully for general desktop computing. The gap is in travel and such. I want a computer for D&D gaming, for taking on a weekend trip to look over my photos I take while I’m out, for connecting to hotel wireless and browsing the web, and for feeling like I am on the U.S.S. Enterprise whenever I use it.
So what do I need in a tablet for the above:
- Good Wireless
- Good PDF/Document viewing and browsing
- Good Photo Viewer/Resolution
- Great battery life
And the want list:
- Less than $400 USD
- SD card slots, USB slot
- GPS would be intriguing
- Probably Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Features I’m on the fence about:
- Built in camera(s)
- 7 inch vs 10 inch display
I’ve been recommended the iPad2, which I will most likely not be buying because I had a somewhat unpleasant experience last time I bought an apple product, and generally don’t like the Apple user interaction ideology and lack of personalization and customization options.
I’ve also been recommended a Kindle Fire, which is a bit more intriguing but it seems more focused on video watching and book reading than I’m really looking at, though I haven’t ruled it out, especially as it has a very attractive $200 price tag.
There are quite a few other very inexpensive tablets out there as well though which have also piqued my interest including the Zenithink C71, which has served as the base for the KDE Spark (another project I’m curious about).
I think it’s going to come down to making a choice when I come home and play with various devices and see what I like. Price is definitely a factor, but so is performance and form factor. So I can only reasonably assume I’m going to make a compromise somewhere that those factors intersect in the middle.