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Pros and Cons of the Tablet PC

written by: Cindy Marcelle•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/13/2011

Choosing between a Tablet PC, laptop, or desktop? In this segment of The Tablet Review we will examine the pros and cons of a Tablet PC to determine if it is right for you.

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    What is a Tablet PC

    A Brief History of the Tablet PC

     The story of the Tablet PC starts way back in 1888 when a U.S. patent was granted to Elisha Gray for his electrical stylus device that captured handwriting and continued its development from 1888 to the 1960s. In the 1980s, the tablet technology was offered to PC users as an alternative to the mouse, and in 1989, Wang Laboratories introduced a program called Freestyle. Freestyle was a predecessor to today’s Tablet PC and ran in MS-DOS. It captured a screen shot and let users input audio and handwritten annotations. IBM introduced the first Tablet PC with the IBM ThinkPad 750P and 360P.


    What is a Tablet PC?

     A Tablet PC is a vertical or slate shaped personal computer with a touch screen. They use handwriting recognition to support the capturing of ink-based notes as image files and transfer them into notepad documents. While, for all intents and purposes, a Tablet PC does not have a keyboard, all Tablet PCs support keyboards and some even come with rotating/removable keyboards. Tablet PCs run on Windows operating systems.


    Is There a Difference between a Tablet PC and Pen Computing?

     All Tablet PCs are pen computers, but not all pen computers are Tablet PCs. A Tablet PC refers directly to the Microsoft brand Tablet PC, yet the term “tablet" has been popularized to signify any tablet-style personal computer. Pen computers are made by a number of manufacturers, including Dell, Sony, Fujutsu, and Gateway. 


    Who Uses Tablet PCs?

    From business professionals to academics, Tablet PCs are a great choice for anyone who uses a laptop computer for annotations. The popularity of Tablet PCs for the medical and judicial field has been featured on shows like CBS’s CSI: New York and the NBC hit ER.

    Tablet PC users enjoy the freedom of computing anywhere and anytime. Frequent airplane and subway riders don’t have to sacrifice the use of a full PC and can enjoy the liberty of multi-tasking during their commute without being dragged mono-positioning on a full keyboard.

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    Tablet vs. Laptop

    Shopping for a new computer can be overwhelming and difficult. With so many awesome choices on the market you may find yourself wondering: Should I choose a laptop or desktop? Apple or PC? Should I go for a Tablet or not? Each have its own benefits and shortcomings, and it is important to weigh each of these carefully before making your investment.

    The Tablet PC vs. the Laptop

    The biggest difference between a Tablet PC and a Laptop can be found in the namesake of the latter. While a laptop computer is designed to sit on your lap, a Tablet PC is designed to be held vertically, like a clipboard.

    The Tablet

    Pros - With their lightweight and minimal design, slate model Tablet PCs are made for constant mobility. There are less parts to break and the parts that are there are designed to be especially durable. A Tablet PC is an excellent choice if you are someone who writes faster than you type or if you “think better" with a pen in your hand. Tablet PCs are great for professionals who need to jot down quick notes such as doctors, lawyers, and professors.

    Cons – It is as easy to scratch the screen of a slate model Tablet PC as it is to scratch the screen of your IPod. Convertible and hybrid models have moving parts that can break. Tablet PCs are twice the price of an average laptop computer, and they are a product that rarely is on sale.

    The Laptop

    Pros – I don’t think anything will take the place of the laptop. While they might be a little heavier and not as mobile as the Tablet PC, a laptop is a great choice for someone who brings their work with them vs. someone who works while they go. Laptop computers have been on the market longer so there are more discount brands offered.

    Cons – Laptops do not come with handwriting recognition. Because their design dictates a lap or table be used, you must sit while using a laptop.

    Please continue to the next section of The Tablet Review to learn more about the cost and features of specific Tablet PCs .


The Tablet Review

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Pen Computing and a Tablet PC? Or why a Tablet PC is better than a laptop or desktop computer? In The Tablet Review we will look at today’s hottest Tablet PCs, break down their prices, and compare their top features.
  1. Pros and Cons of the Tablet PC
  2. The Cost of a Tablet PC
  3. The Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC
  4. The Fujitsu LifeBook U810 Tablet PC
  5. The Gateway C-143X Tablet PC
  6. The HP Compaq 2710p Tablet PC

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