Tablet PC vs the Rest

Pro's and Con's of Tablet PCs

Pro's of using a Pen to write on a TabletPC Screen

1. You can write when you are literally anywhere! Compare this to the many situations when it is simply impossible to find the space to put down the computer to type on a regular keyboard. Picture walking around at work, picture being in a cramped lecture theatre (where often keyboard use due to it's noise generation is now banned), picture being on any mode of transport be it car, train, bus or plane.

2. In a lecture also you are interested in being able to switch quickly between drawing and diagrams and entering text. The movement between using a mouse to draw and a keyboard to type slows entry of information in this scenario. Remember that visually stimulating notes are not created through text alone and neither are good memories. Text on its own is very forgettable.

3. Taking notes from a book - if you are working with a textbook, and taking notes about the things that you know you are going to forget from it, then usually when one makes paper notes, you have the advantage where one hand holds the book and the other writes the notes.
Taking notes from a book and typing with a keyboard is extremely difficult. You would hold the book open, then somehow fix it open at the page you are reading, and then move to put both hands on to the keyboard again, type what you want etc.
Freely flipping back and forth with your free hand is not an option.
Using a pen on a Tablet is like using paper.

4. Creating diagrams is a known premier way to improve learning and study efficiency - see Mindmaps and Concept maps - like in lecture theatres, the switching between adding graphical elements and adding text is very messy with movement of the hand between a mouse and a keyboard. There is none of this when using a tablet.

5. Drawing with a mouse is literally impossible. Drawing with a pen is both more accurate and how we are used to doing it. Case closed.

Con's of using a Tablet PC screen to write on

The major problem scenario this author has found when using a Pen with a Tablet PC, is that authoring a document such as this webpage ... i.e. larger documents, is faster and more accurate using a keyboard, assuming you can type, than if you were going to try to write the equivalent with ink and especially if you are trying add a handwriting recognition step in addition to the simple entry.
Good typists can type at >60words per minute... with good ones typing at 90wpm... which is not, in my opinion possible if writing with reasonably neat cursive.

Pure Tablet PC's overcome this by allowing the attachment of a keyboard and mouse to the slate, so that it becomes effectively a hybrid computer.

Screen brightness is an issue with TabletPC's not only because you might be trying to save power but also, even if you are not, the extra thickness due to the protective layers added and the sensing apparatus, make the brightness, viewability somewhat less than a simple view only screen. Make sure if you purchase one, that you make sure that in your typical use environment, that this is not an issue.

Is the hybrid the perfect alternative to one or the other?

Generally a hybrid will allow you the advantages of a keyboard for typing larger items AND the notetaking practicality of using a pen.

You can either purchase a hybrid at the outset OR you can purchase a pure TabletPC design without the keyboard, and add a keyboard,mouse and a stand to hold the Tablet upright later.
The downsides of a hybrid scenario are:
1. The ideal screen size may be considered somewhat larger for a keyboard based laptop than a tablet... i.e. a tablet ideal size is considered to be about the size of piece of paper... specifically large enough to be creative on, but small enough to carry easily.

2. The keyboard similarly if it is a 12 inch screen that it attaches to, is more limited in size, and not quite as easy to use as a dedicated standard laptop keyboard.
This may be overcome by attaching an external keyboard whether you purchase a hybrid to start with or create one.

Laptop OR Tablet PC or Hybrid Vs Desktop

These 3 computer types are designed for portability - especially the Tablets are specifically focussing on that customer requirement.
With the limitations in battery technology in 2005, long life is dependant on lower operating power use, which means that the Tablets are often somewhat slower than an equivalently priced keyboard only laptop. Also, since the other major consumer of battery power is screen brightness, the Tablet may often be set by default to a lower brightness to conserve battery life. These 2 issues are being overcome through the provision of multiple power schemes on the latest tablets and hybrids...
You can choose from different power settings depending on how long you wish to use the Tablet away from a power source, vs how fast you want it to run.

Value for money... some will argue that due to mass production and so forth, desktops, which have previously been more in demand are better value. The counter arguements to this are that recently for the first time in history, portable sales have been outstripping desktops and so prices are dropping sharply and secondly, it is no use buying something, no matter how cheap, if it does not meet your needs... so... where will you be using the computer, and for what?

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