Should I Buy a Tablet?

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Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by knswamy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:40 am

I've tortured over this for years now. The quick facts: I do almost everything electronically. Meeting notes in OneNote. Todos in Trello. Bills paid online. Facebook, Twitter. Budgets in YNAB. I have a pretty giant work laptop I love, but when I go to meetings, it's annoying to lug the beast. Plus I review a lot of reports and I tell myself it sure would be easier to annotate a PDF with a stylus than a mouse. And sometimes (few times a year) I go to breakfast meetings where there isn't much room for a laptop (awkward).

Financially, it's not really a burden, but I've been fairly frugal all my life, so it's hard to feel comfortable about spending hundreds of dollars on something I'm not convinced yet is a need rather than a (big) want. So, I'm looking for some independent perspective.

Another factor is I've been burnt buying cheap electronics so if I do this, I want to get something that's actually going to last a few years.

I'm looking at the higher-end model of the Surface Go or the Surface Pro.


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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:02 am

Are you up for a new laptop anytime soon?

Maybe lobby for a Surface Book 2 as your new laptop. :wink: Just pop off the screen and take it in tablet mode.

If you store all files on your OneDrive you could have a Surface Go/Pro essentially set up identically to your laptop. Email, apps, files in the cloud.

Is there a reason you have a "pretty giant laptop"? Ruggedness, power, speed? Or that is just what you were issued?

I think you can certainly make a case where a Go/Pro would fit.
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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by bob60014 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:06 am

I only use a laptop or desktop computers for photo/video editing where the extra horsepower is needed sometimes. Anything else I easily do on my tablet, currently a Samsung Tab S 3 with keyboard cover. Works perfectly for me as I haven't found any app/program issue that couldn't be resolved.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by bampf » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:06 am


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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by JimInIllinois » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:24 am

Buy a Fire HD 8 for $60 ( ... ab_ds?th=1) and see what you like/hate about it.
Personally I like having a tablet just for books/video that doesn't have my email etc. on it for security reasons.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by mrb09 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:39 am

I used to have two laptops, my work laptop and my personal laptop. Now all my personal stuff is in cloud apps with web interfaces/small apps for my work laptop, and apps for my ipad: google drive, 1password, evernote, etc. I ended up giving my current personal laptop to a family member, and I just use the work laptop and ipad now.

I have basic work connectivity on my ipad as well: mail, slack, calendar, etc.

I'm in Apple eco-system so macbook and ipad for me, if I had a windows laptop I think I'd go with a surface pro. If you review PDF's, I'd go with a larger tablet, the sub-10" tablets are a little dicey for that, depending on your close-up vision. I can read PDFs in a pinch on my 9.7" screen, but it isn't enjoyable (for me).

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by megabad » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:46 am

mrb09 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:39 am
If you review PDF's, I'd go with a larger tablet, the sub-10" tablets are a little dicey for that, depending on your close-up vision. I can read PDFs in a pinch on my 9.7" screen, but it isn't enjoyable (for me).
+1. I had a 9.7 inch tablet before and now am using the 12 inch ipad pro. Makes a world of difference in usability. My work does not allow Microsoft OneNote Cloud crap, so onenote is basically useless for me at work. But I love OneNote at home. I had an early generation Surface because I needed a tablet that could do full Excel, but the battery life was so poor, I couldn't really rely on it. I am sure battery life has drastically improved though. My Ipad Pro lasts for about 8 hours straight of continuous use. Every tablet I have ever used overheats when used outside so be ready for that if you use outside.

I think it is a good purchase if we are talking the lower or mid priced models. Once we are talking over $1000 then I would hesitate a little myself, but if you need the horsepower than I guess it could be worth it. I use mine for notes, youtube, email, work photos (photos of dry erase board sketches), etc. Probably use it a couple hours every other day or so. It is much easier to grab my tablet to look something up than my laptop. Laptop takes 2 mins+ to bootup to Windows. My Ipad takes about 3 second to unlock. I use it for just about anything that is not confidential or within a Windows software program.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by Ice-9 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:09 am

I had similar requirements as the OP and also pondered for a long time whether to buy a tablet. I even had a cheap "Transformer" Android tablet with detachable keyboard for a few years that came in handy for note taking a number of times but otherwise was mostly a waste of money.

Then after some recent Boglehead posts about Chromebooks, I bought a a flip-style 11 inch Chromebook last month. It cost me $232 at Best Buy, is comfortable for taking notes just like I would on a laptop, and flips around 360 degrees into a tablet mode. I've even found I enjoy flipping it around not quite 360 degrees so it's in "tent mode" when I'm reading an online newspaper or magazine in bed.

Other Boglehead threads give great advice to create a separate Google account for financial stuff and log in with that only for logging into financial websites on your Chromebook. It hasn't been a month yet, but so far I'm WAY happier with this thing than I ever was with the previous tablet, yet it's light and easy and inexpensive. Highly recommended. I've seen models by a few companies similarly priced, but the particular one I bought was the Acer R11.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by mega317 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:18 pm

knswamy wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:40 am
Plus I review a lot of reports and I tell myself it sure would be easier to annotate a PDF with a stylus than a mouse.
To me it depends on what type of annotation. Highlighting and circling would be great with a stylus. I have found that writing words in the margins is awful because the point is just not fine enough. I can fit like 2 letters in the margin or else it's not readable. I don't own one but have played with the big iPad and I think it's too heavy to be a pleasant tablet experience.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by bhsince87 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 pm

I also suggest you look into a chrome book. I'm on my second, a Samsung, which I truly love. It's got a stylus so I can flip it and write on it. Also works great in "tablet" touch screen mode.

I had a couple tablets, but was never entirely satisfied. I could never get used to the on-screen keyboard. So I used a blue tooth keyboard with them. But that was another thing to carry around (and forget..)

My Samsung is arounf $400, but I got a deal on a refurb for around $300.
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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:24 pm

iPad is my mst used device. Email, browser, taxcaster, weather.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by wabbajack » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:27 pm

A Surface Pro would fit your needs. Don't sweat the price tag for a higher end model with detachable keyboard. If you amortize the cost over the amount of use you'd get out of it (assuming this replaces the laptop), then it's a no brainer.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by GAAP » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:51 pm

I use tablets with detachable keyboards at home and at work. I don't need the maximum power that a laptop would have, let alone a desktop. I do need the potentially lighter. less-bulky form factor. Universal USB docking stations for both give me access to all of the peripherals I could possibly want. When I work from home, a USB-based KVM switch lets me use both docking stations with the same keyboard and mouse.

It works for me.

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by tennisplyr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:57 pm

Love my iPad2. Virtually no use of a desktop or laptop anymore. Retired 7 years and basically start my day on my iPad.
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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by prncrakim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:37 pm

I received an iPad2 as a gift for my 30th birthday seven years ago. At this point it is a Netflix/Internet device but I've never had an issue with it and will happily spring for another one when it finally goes. It sounds like you can afford it and would get use out of it, so why not?

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by darrvao777 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:53 pm

Another vote for a convertible Chromebook

Love how handy they are

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Re: Should I Buy a Tablet?

Post by kjvmartin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:00 pm

I'm much faster at web browsing and typing on a laptop.

I have tried to buy iPads a couple different generations and end up never using it. My 13" MacBook Pro is in no way cumbersome.

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