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A Real Tablet PC Without the Keyboard

written by: •edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 2/7/2011

The pros and cons of not having a standard keyboard on a tablet PC.

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    Tablet Computers

    Since the debut of the iPad and its astounding success, PC manufacturers have been scrambling to make something to compete with it. As a result, you’re going to see a lot of slate style tablet PC’s on the market that look similar to the iPad. The main difference between these models and previous computers labeled as a tablet PC is that slate style ones do not include a keyboard and instead just resemble a big screen with a couple of buttons. In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of using a tablet PC without the keyboard.

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    A Brief Tablet PC History

    Old Style Tablet PC The term ‘tablet PC’ has actually been around for quite a while. Several years, in fact. It wasn’t until the debut of the iPad that the definition of the term changed, because previous tablet computers looked just like regular laptop computers, but had swivel screens. If you go online looking for tablet PC offerings from various PC manufacturers, the results you get might include some models that look like regular laptops. For example, check out the current Lenovo tablet PC lineup. For all practical purposes they still are PC laptops, but they also offer the option to turn the screen around and fold back over the keyboard so that you can use a stylus or the touchscreen to control it like a very bulky iPad.

    (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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    No Keyboard? No Problem!

    Nowadays, when people think ‘tablet PC’ they think about sleek devices that resemble the iPad design with a touch screen that only has a few buttons around the edge. All that mess about turning the screen around and folding it back is silly when you think about it, and it’s no wonder tablet computers never really got to be all that popular until now. The big thing now with slate style tablet computers is the fact that they have no mouse or keyboard. The way you interface with the device is something completely new, especially for Windows users.

    Apple iPad The main downside to using a tablet PC without the keyboard is that it limits your typing. If you are the kind of user that doesn’t do a lot of typing like with emails or writing, then this may not be such a big deal. You can still type using an on-screen keyboard and the touchscreen, but it doesn’t quite feel the same as a regular keyboard and most people I’ve talked to had a hard time adjusting, especially if you type really fast. You can always get a wireless keyboard to use along with the device, but if you start accessorizing too much you sort of defeat the purpose of going with a tablet.

    One main benefit of having no keyboard is that it makes for a completely self-contained device where all you need is right there on screen. This makes for maximum portability plus it helps to cut down on battery usage because you aren’t powering a bunch of peripheral devices. If you interact with the computer using the mouse more than the keyboard, then it’s just a matter of getting used to the touchscreen, and that adjustment is surprisingly quick for most users.

    If you are still interested in making the switch to a tablet PC or adding one to your gear, check out our article on how tablet PC's work.

    (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)