Finding the best fit: tablet or computer

Last week a friend asked me whether she should get a Mac or Windows computer. She is embracing the digital world for the first time.

As my dear readers know, I advocate “Power of One” devices, such as tablets and smartphones, over traditional computers when the person’s needs are basic. The intuitiveness of these devices can help take down the intimidation barrier that often accompanies traditional computers.

Power of One devices make it easier to enjoy consuming information and entertainment from the internet, communicate with others, and benefit from other digital-world offerings.

Although my friend came to me with her mind set on buying a traditional computer, I started by asking her what she expected to do with her computer. The things she wanted to do fell under the "basic needs" category; thus a tablet seemed more fitting than a traditional computer. As I explained to her the advantages brought forth by Power of One devices, she told me that she was really happy about the prospect of not having to struggle with the hand-eye coordination challenge that afflicts her when using a mouse or touchpad on a computer.

But as we continued to discuss the rest of her goals, it became obvious to me that a couple of those wishes were anything but basic. For example, her desire to publish children’s stories would be a cumbersome task on a tablet, even when a physical keyboard is attached.

My friend's budget, which included other necessities such as getting an internet connection at home, word processing software and a printer, did not allow for procuring both a traditional computer and a tablet.

She felt a tablet's utility would enable her to accomplish most of her wishes, however she was concerned that it wouldn't be the best tool for her wish of becoming an author.

In the end we found a 2-in-1 laptop, also called a convertible laptop, which is a traditional laptop equipped with a touchscreen that turns into a tablet when the keyboard is folded under the screen. There was some loss of intuitiveness and a small increase in the budget – both of which were compromises she could handle.

In an upcoming issue, we will explore device options in more detail in the annual back-to-school technology article.

Tak Sato

Technology and Business Strategist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As co-founder of geek with a heart with the service mark"Hand-holding You in the Digital World" and co-founder of Center for Aging in the Digital World, a nonprofit empowering seniors through technology, Tak helps people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:30 AM, 06.21.2016