I’m on a train and, rather than aimlessly stare out the window, I’m watching my fellow commuters. There’s a serious-looking man with a laptop sitting across from me, a girl with a tablet next to him, and someone glued to their cell phone a couple of seats down. A familiar scene, right?
Not that I have a problem with this. On the contrary. It’s plain to see how different our needs can be. I can understand why one person might require a laptop, another prefers a tablet, while yet another is entirely satisfied with a cell phone. Let us take a closer look, then, at how these devices differ from one another.
Laptops and netbooks are very practical choices for those traveling a lot—not just for businesspeople, but also for students constantly commuting between school and home. Modern laptops are extremely energy-efficient, allowing for several hours of work on a single charge, and also increasingly lighter. With mobile internet or wi-fi access, you can get your work done anywhere, watch a movie while on the road, and play a game when you need a break.
Just a few years back, tablets were not particularly popular. They were quite expensive and could not match the capabilities of laptop computers. These days, you can see tablet users just about anywhere: at a cafe, at school, in the subway. In terms of functionality, tablets are basically larger and more convenient smartphones, although most lack 3G connectivity and can’t be used to make phone calls. In a nutshell, the better the battery and the screen, the higher the price. Ease of use is a definite plus, as is the ability to choose from among hundreds of apps—everyone’s bound to find something to their liking.
Touchscreen operation is dead simple; so simple, even kids can do it. For basic web surfing, app using, and game playing, the simplest smartphone is perfectly sufficient. Just place your finger on the right icon and you’re good to go. The undeniable advantage a phone has over other portable electronics is that you always have it on you anyway. It comes to your rescue when you’re stuck at the airport or taking a bus. And, of course, all parents of small kids know exactly just how handy a smartphone can be when the offspring gets bored :).
In the end, then, it doesn’t matter if you go with a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone—just as long as you pick the right tool for your needs. You might even opt for all three, switching from one to another as the circumstances demand.