Now that the holidays have passed along with your desire to keep the multitude of resolutions you made New Year’s Day, you may be wondering what you can do to fill the void left by Old Saint Nick and the football season. How about upgrading your computers? If your only remaining New Year’s resolution is to upgrade, there may be some things you need to consider before running out to Sam’s Club and getting one off the shelf.
If you are planning to have a computer permanently anchored to your desk in your office then a desktop may be a logical way to go, but what about the times you are away from your computer and you need that grocery list or the kid’s soccer schedule? How do you access it without having to drive all the way back to your home or office? Even if you knew how to use your smartphone to get on the Internet, and you had a program like GoToMyPC, it would be a daunting task, right? You could fire up your trusty laptop that you always carry with you, right? Oh, you don’t take your laptop with you all the time?
Tablets are replacing the bulky laptop and in many cases, the desktop, as the preferred way to stay in touch no matter where you are. They are small enough to carry around in your briefcase or purse and if you have a data plan, you are never without Internet connectivity. Imagine sitting on your sofa watching “Downton Abbey” and surfing the web in-between commercials. Maybe you are at the kid’s soccer game and you want to check prices for soccer shoes at Sports Authority. Again, not a good task for your smartphone or laptop, but ideal for a tablet.
“But Mike, the screen is so small I would not be able to see it.” I hear this all the time from people who have never tried to use a tablet. My response to that is, “Try one for a few minutes and then tell me the screen is not big enough.” After just a few minutes I cannot pry the thing out of their hands and they are asking where they can get one. Remarkably, the display on most tablets is clear and easy to read. A keyboard is hidden until you touch on a place to enter data. Once you have completed typing, the keyboard disappears leaving a full screen to view. Tablets are the epitome of convenience and are reasonably priced.
The iPad, with its 9.7-inch screen, was the first real tablet and many consider it the best. That is totally a personal preference. They cost about $500. You may consider the Samsung Galaxy Note with its larger 10.1-inch screen, eye-popping display, longer estimated battery life than iPad, and it can be programmed to be a universal remote to operate your home entertainment system. About the only thing this tablet will not do is refresh your beverage when needed, but I am certain they are working on that. The price is equivalent to the iPad at about $500.
Other tablets of note are the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity with its 10.1-inch screen at $479, Kindle Fire HD at $299 for an 8.1-inch screen, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT and a 10.6-inch screen at a jaw-dropping $699.
Tablets are replacing the laptop as the preferred, take everywhere, computer and if you are considering replacing an aging laptop or want more convenience and connectivity anywhere you go, you want to consider checking one of these.
• Resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services, based in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (480) 753-7667.