Friday, January 10, 2014

What's So Good About A Tablet?

Aka: I Got A Nexus 10

At the beginning of this year, I bought myself a Nexus 10, specifically the 32 GB model. I have long been an advocate of the tablet, but had yet to get one. Why? It wasn't that I didn't want one, but rather that I was waiting on the wrong company. I kept waiting for Asus to get their act together in terms of quality assurance, but with the botched release of the Transformer TF701, I finally realized they weren't going to. As such, after the holiday season, I went out and got the Nexus 10, and have been quite happy with it since then.

Tablets Are Better Than Laptops

This has basically been the foundation of my argument since tablets first started getting popular. For the vast majority of tasks, tablets outperform laptops by a significant margin. Tablets, generally speaking, have a better battery life. They also are lighter, more portable, and for your standard daily tasks, I'd even argue that they are faster than your average laptop. The Nexus 10 has a unique feature of having front-facing speakers, meaning that sound clarity and quality on it outshine, not only most other tablets, but even most laptops too.

The Internet Has Made Everything Equal

XKCD covered this a little over 2 years ago. It's pretty true, especially for most of us most of the time. Email, communication, even productivity and office suites all exist in our web browsers these days. Needing a specific application from a specific platform is getting rarer and rarer for most people. Obviously this isn't the case for everyone, but it is for many people. Also, I think for many of us technology people, we have another option: remote desktop and administration.

It's actually because of remote access that I think I am able to enjoy my Nexus 10 as much as I do. Just this last October, Microsoft released an official RDP app for both Android and iOS. There have been many RDP apps before it (I personally have used Jump Desktop, which I still like and offers some advantages over the official one by Microsoft), but what makes this official app unique is that it supports RD Gateways and RD Web Access. On the Linux front, NoMachine is readying for a release of NX for Android and iOS. Currently there is an alpha build for Android users available for download. I personally am looking forward to trying this out soon. Of course there is the standard fare remote desktop apps, but I'm a DIYer and generally untrusting of the cloud. Through any of these, you can access, not only the programs of your desktop, but also the raw power of it, from wherever you need it.

10 Inches is Big Enough

OK, bigger is better, but not when it comes to portability. This is actually why I don't think I could ever use a laptop as my main computing device: 15'' or 17'' isn't comfortable to me. However, for Android, combined with the full screen only style of tablets and the App switcher, it works. On the go it works quite well, in fact. I have relatively small hands. Combined with the auto-correct, I have been pretty comfortably typing out this entire blog post on my tablet. I plan on getting a Bluetooth keyboard in the long-run, mainly to help with sshing a bit more comfortably, but this works quite well once I enable the PC-style keyboard layout. I do my heavy lifting on my desktop still, but when I want to be lazy, I can just use my tablet and read or surf the web without getting up.

Obviously this isn't for everyone. The hardcore on-the-go gamer won't be able to do it, but most others can. A designer type can remote in and access much more powerful equipment to do multimedia editing when on the go, and those in need of Windows software even when on the go can get the Surface Pro. For these reasons I feel that tablets are better than laptops, and I am quite enjoying mine, and that's what's so good about tablets: they're better than laptops for most people's needs. If you have been on the fence about a tablet, or are lugging around a laptop everywhere you go still, I say give a tablet a shot as your go-to mobile device and set up some sort of remote access to your desktop.


  1. This was an interesting read Kevin. I was surprised at first that you would go for a tablet because I didn't think it would have enough processing power for you. That is cool that it works out. You forgot to mention one of the best parts though. It is less expensive than a laptop. :p Ty