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Going “all tablet”

By Ryan Moore

I’ve gone all tablet.

Okay, maybe that statement is a stretch but lets fast forward to a month and a ½ ago to where I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t using that gorgeous $1,700 MacBook Pro that I had purchased a mere 6 months before. I used to live on a laptop for work, but a few months after I purchased the upgrade, I switched jobs to one that provided a desktop at work for me. Because of the switch I found myself only occasionally pulling out the 15” laptop to merely answer an email or check Facebook. Those are minimal tasks that could probably be performed while the powerful device was still sleeping. With this noticed lack of use and student loan repayments knocking at the door, my wife and I decided it was time to sell the laptop and figure out a new system. Now, don’t you worry. A gadget crazed person like me wasn’t left without shiny objects. Quite the contrary. I still had an iMac, my iPhone and an iPad to juggle, so the idea of dropping one device from the mix was oddly tempting. A few weeks later I found a buyer and entered the uncharted world of being laptop free.

The Good:

Since I wouldn’t be taking home much work, the main computing that would take place would be email management and simple browsing. The iPad is perfect for these tasks and is probably what most users use their computing devices for these days. However one thing was missing that many tablet naysayers would love to point out: I need a physical, tactile, tangible keyboard. Sure the onscreen keyboard is great for typing out quick email responses or typing the name of the person you wanted to Facebook stalk, but if you want to write a decent journal entry or the next great American novel, digital input probably isn’t your thing. Enter my iPad’s new best friend: a Bluetooth keyboard.

I went with the ZAGGkeys SOLO keyboard (more in depth review of the keyboard coming) as I didn’t want to carry the keyboard with me all the time. This has proved to be a surprisingly effective decision. When the emails are piling up, I can slot my iPad into the ZAGGkeys SOLO dock and get some work done just like I did with my laptop; focusing on getting tasks out of the way. When it is just the iPad, I’m better able to “cuddle up” with the internet and enjoy the casual browsing more. You might say that it better helps me separate ‘business’ from ‘pleasure.’

The Bad:

Society should give itself a pretty good pat on the back for progressing mobile browsing as fast as it has. You figure that the iPad hasn’t even been out for two years and already Adobe Flash is on the decline and optimized sites for mobile access are cropping up each day. That being said though, there are still tasks that can be done on a tablet, but it doesn’t mean it is pleasant. I often times find myself segmenting my computing tasks between what I want to do on the iPad and what will just be easier to do on the desktop. Dedicated apps help the situation, but I find multi-tasking between various sites a more fulfilling experience on the PC.

It’s Just The Beginning:

To be honest though, I wonder if this experience would be easier if I didn’t have a myriad of gadget choices. Without falling back onto my ‘old’ ways with a desktop, I would be forced to use the iPad more and it would become just as intuitive. With time, many things have already become easier, especially with Apple’s newly introduced multi-tasking gestures in iOS 5 and I find myself gravitating to the iPad more and more for its portability, ease and battery life. The day that I could declare myself ‘desktop free’ though I don’t foresee in the near future.

That is just my personal experience, but I know many people do use their tablets as their main computers, so I pose this question to you: if you own a tablet, how do you use it? Is it your main computing device or more of a casual island of consumption bliss? What tasks do you prefer to do where? Sound off in the comments.

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