Buying a laptop verses a notebook or tablet

Soon I will need to replace my aging laptop. Now that beggars the question: Is today’s tablet a worthy consideration? What about a notebook then? In spite of the huge popularity of the iPad, it cannot do everything. Anyway the iPad is just one of the many tablet devices which are now on the market and usually at more reasonable prices. It seems that most people with an iPad or android tablet also own and use a laptop.
How do we swim through all the hype and find what's best for you on the road? What it boils down to is, will it make much difference to how we use the internet and computer on the road?

Are laptops a thing of the past?

 No I think Laptops are going to be around for a long time as they have many advantages, such as a full keyboard for typing, a high resolution screen, a CD and/or DVD player, camera and so much more. They are much more stronger and durable and still can be taken everywhere with you. I like that I can have full word processing for writing and editing of documents as well as software  am familiat with such as Excel, Publisher etc, though the gap is closing with the smarter tablets and notebooks.
As always there is a downside. The main disadvantage is there are the heaviest of all mobile computing options. That little weight sure gets heavy by the end of a few hours let alone a day lugging it around. Software and upgrades are required frequently and cost quite a lot of money for professional-grade software.

So just what is a Tablet?

A tablet is generally the cheapest option. They are the most portable wireless computer usually operated via a virtual keyboard integrated into the touch-screen, rather than an actual physical one built-in. (You sometimes can connect a keyboard via a wireless link or USB). They are compact and lightweight, easy to transport almost anywhere even used in your hand rather than needing a table or lap to use. Throw in Wi-Fi or, 3G technology which is run on a sim card and you can text, access emails and blog surf literally on the run!
I am very attracted to the light weight and thus the ease of portability of a tablet. I also love the idea that the battery life on a tablet is so much greater, anything from 6-10 hours before you need to recharge compared to the average of 90 -120 minutes on a laptop unless you have the really expensive ones which might take you to 4 hours! Also most Android and iOS applications cost between AU$1 and AU$20, making it cheap to deck out your tablet with various programmes to specifically suit you at a quite reasonable price!
As with everything, there are some negatives to consider. While cheaper, tablets also offer less durability, ie they break easier especially the touch screen. Storage is more expensive and generally quite limited. Most I found were only upto 16 GB though I reckon that will change soon enough. I also lament the lack of USB ports for adaptability and flexibility. One thing I found is a great negative is you can't split the screen with more than one application. I frequently work with more than 1 window or application going at once!

What about a notebook?

Notebooks are slim, ultra-portable laptops that offer the best features of the laptop (processing and speed) and the portability and convenience of a tablet. They are more expensive at the moment. They are light and portabile compared to laptops and offer fast connectivity and long lasting battery backup together with serious processing power. Software are similar to a laptop, thus expensive too. And appear not to be suitable to Apps at this stage or limited at best.

What is an App?

Apps is short for applications and is just like the software programs that run on your computer. The availability of numerous (no thousands) of Apps also seem attractive, not that I know much about them from personal use at this stage. You can get an app for just about any use you want. For example to write your your travel journal you''d need a note taking app. To read a book, you need a e-reader app. Maybe you like to record and keep up to date record of your travel expenses or watch a movie. In short there is bound to be an app for anything you want to use your tablet for on the road. Many apps are free and some you pay for but rarely more than $10.

What is an Operating System?

(Also known as an "OS") is the program that runs your computer's software and hardware.
There are three main operating systems:
Android  was created by Google
Windows Runtime  was created by Microsoft. Windows 8 has just been released.There is a lot of kaffaffle about it but in my inexperienced book, it is just usually people are used to the old way of doing things and are uncomfortable with anything new! (But don't shoot me if I am wrong!)
Apple iOS is the operating system used in the iPad, as well as iPhone and iPod Touch. The biggest advantages of iOS are: its user-friendliness; smooth integration with other Apple products; and over 500,000 apps available through App Store. iOS looks good and works well, but you can't customize it a great deal — changing background colours and the order of your apps is about the limit — plus it won't play Adobe Flash content if that is important to you! My son's screen is a multi-touch screen which means it can detect more than one finger at a time for two-fingered scrolling, pinch zooming, two-finger tapping and swipe-style gestures. He LOVES the flexibility this brings to how he operates it.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is where data is stored that's being accessed by the Central Processing Unit (CPU) ie the guts of the computer. More RAM usually means a faster computer. 1GB of RAM is enough for very basic operations like web browsing—although don't expect to run a browser with dozens of tabs open—email, some word processing, and photo editing. The less RAM you have, the more likely Windows will have to start swapping out pages of memory to your hard drive, drastically cutting your system's performance thus slowing you down.

What about how much storage space?

How much storage you need depends on what you use the tablet for. If you intend to just surf the web, collate photos and music, and other basic tasks, a 16GB hard drive should be sufficient.

However, if you'll be storing lots of large applications, video and other media, more memory will be required. Here's something handy I found whilst researching: a 2 hour High Definition video/film uses about 3.5GB, and 12 music albums use about 1.5GB. Don't forget you can always store stuff on USBs, a memory card, a hard drive or even offline in cyber space.


So in trying to decide which it is that one want, first you need to know just what do you want from your computer.

For myself, I don’t play games at all on a computer. Watching DVDs and playing music are very low on my list! So I don’t need a great graphics capability. I do need to be able to access my emails, write blogs, download and upload photos especially after editing the photos. Slightly lower on my desires list is that I also like to blog hop and store lots of information in various files. I will need to be able to transfer information easily from one computer to another, so a USB port or such is necessary for me. I will want to be able to print some of my files from time to time, so I need to be able to connect my computer to a printer of my choice, so again I prefer a USB port.

Now just recently, Aldi’s (a grocery supermarket) had a 16GB tablet for a good price, but it has only 1GB RAM (operating speed).  Aldi’s will also had a tablet case with Blue tooth keyboard available this weekend, which in my book is a must for ease of frequent typing. I have decided against the Aldi's tablet mainly because of it being only 1GB RAM otherwise it seems excellent value.

So in a nutshell, I am trying to sort out in my head whether I can get a tablet to replace my laptop or is it just a terrific complement to a laptop?

In the course of researching, I have decided to
1. to backup my computer more regularly (I am pretty slack in this area!) and
2. delete as many unused programs and files as possible 
3. upgrade the RAM on this laptop in the meantime
4. keep on researching... there's just so much to take in.

If you want to know how to upgrade the RAM on your laptop, this is the Youtube guide by Ryan Bahm I used. He made me believe I could do it myself! Though I am scared I will stuff it up. I think I might just ask my daughter's computer savvy boyfriend over for a nice home cooked meal and ....

“If you had to choose to own just one device and only one for traveling in your RV, 
would you choose a desktop, laptop or iPad /tablet?


  1. Thanks for your analysis on the dilemma many of us have faced. We currently have a PC, Laptop and a netbook and appreciate them all in their own way. The netbook is fantastic when trekking as I can, and have, carried this for days on end with no concerns of damage however this is getting slow so the new laptop with windows 8 is a pleasure to use for speed however is taking some getting used to the new change of appearance and learning how to maneuver our way around. And the PC of course I think I will always have one for the best value for money when at home. So I guess it remains each to their own and of course the Samsung smart phone I use has its convenience also. Am enjoying your blog thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes as you say each type has its own advantages. Thank you for your input, Ann


Thank you so much for popping by, I appreciate your comments!