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Tablet: Productivity Tool


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It seems I am now considering a tablet. My primary intention is to utilise it as a productivity tool. I know the new Surfaces & iPads will likely be out in September. So, any Gecklings have time to helpt he Big green learn from you experiences?

The universe is change;
your life is what our thoughts make it
- Marcus Aurelius (161)

:dragon:

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The original iPad was my first Apple product. Up until that time I was a strict IBM Compatible PC monogamous.

 

I hated laptops. Viciously saw them as the ultimate compromise.

 

The iPad changed everything. It's not a compromise at all. Completely portable and I can carry it anywhere I want to around or out of the house. Perfectly complements my desktop PC; I have separate uses for both and none of the lunky ness of a laptop.

 

I do 90% of my home web browsing and email on my iPad. Watch movies, read "books," anywhere I want.

 

Can't speak much for it as a productivity tool though. Terrible word processor, but good gaming device (even for hardcore games)

 

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X-Com

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"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

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Thanks Leferd. Your experience echoes what others have shared. It currently seems like one of the detemring factors - for me - will depend if the MS Surface can learn from the 1st gen. @ the moment, the iPad mini's next release may be the route I choose. Is anyone out there using the Surface? Thoughts or experiences?

The universe is change;
your life is what our thoughts make it
- Marcus Aurelius (161)

:dragon:

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Never owned a tablet, but during my tentative research in the past I probably would have taken the conservative route and gotten one with a dock, such as the Asus Transformer series. Ultimately decided against a conventional tablet since I decided I wanted a Windows fallback (I'm an MS slave, I know), though I may still opt for a convertible ultraportable such as the presumably upcoming Lenovo X240t (current model is X230t).

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How is any tablet a productivity tool? There isn't a single thing that can't be done faster on a desktop/laptop. Hell even a 200$ netbook is a better productivity tool. My poor Intel Atom N450 (at less than half the price of MS Surface) can run Chrome, MS Office, Photoshop CS6 etc. on a proper operating system at reasonable speeds and has a full complement of input options, plus a 320 gig hard drive. Its not going to win awards for speed but for all intents and purposes, its a fully functioning computer.

 

For the price of MS Surface, or god forbid, the iPad you could buy a solid laptop on which you could actually do everything a pc is made for.

 

A tablet is like a smartphone - a toy. There's nothing bad about wanting to have a new toy but since you list productivity as a reason, I can't follow the logic of buying a tablet, the most useless device in existence at those price points if you're hoping to get any actual work done.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor

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Only two tablets that can be used for productivity:
- Any tablet that runs Windows 8 (RT is good, but x86 Windows 8 is the best)
- Galaxy Note series

...because they have... PENS. *cue hallelujah

There is a cheap Windows 8 tablet like advertised here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86JMcy5OqZA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgu9uo2UpPg
This tablets can run x86 apps and can be used with stylus, mouse and keyboard. Pretty productive, and pretty good alternative to high-budget MS Surface Pro.

...but sadly it's not available in my country yet, so I have to go with Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, quite cheap and very useful in taking notes and sketching. Samsung provides good note-taking software.

other than those, tablets are just media consumption device, so don't bother.

Edited by exodiark
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I have a Nexus 7 and it's great for simple games, reading, media consumption but as other have said it's not that great for productivity.

 

My wife has an Asus something or other with a keyboard docking station that basically turns it into a netbook and she manages to do a fair bit of work on it but her work is mostly line sheets and replying to emails.

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I think productivity becomes relative really. If you need to heavily use things like excel style sheets or word docs etc, your better off with either a netbook (if you need ultra portability) or one of the tablets running a more 'common' OS style that has a keyboard, or keyboard dock as others have mentioned.

 

If you really only need something more like emails, and basic basic basic word processing, a real tablet could work fine, then its just a matter of finding one you like best and can utilize the fastest with an OSKB. Really the best option in that case is to, if possible, get to something like a best buy and just try some out for a while. Hands on experience is pretty key with these I have found. 

 

Some tablets that I read of that sounded awesome I hated when I got to a store. Turns out one I really really like is the sony tablet, they do a horrendous job of marketing it though: http://discover.store.sony.com/tablet/#intro

 

Its really cool, and with stuff like one-note for not intensive things it works really well. I use it more as a general tool (control the tv/receiver/takes notes/write important stuff down/light surfing/watch stuff) things like that. In my job it wouldnt be that great productivity wise, but generally good.

 

So, with the meandering, really it can come down to personal preference, and if you use/need to use certain applications or software (eg MS branded stuff, or Apple, etc).

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I have heard the same thing about the Sony product - I was waiting to see if they were coming out with a mini version. In respect to producitivity, it's more about basic notetaking, web access and document reading. Basiclaly to rpelace a notebook and the need to print everything is where I am @ ...

The universe is change;
your life is what our thoughts make it
- Marcus Aurelius (161)

:dragon:

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...X-Com

How does this compare to the PC release?

PC is better. Graphics aren't as crisp on the iPad. But that being said, it's a really good port. Because of the turn based nature, controls and practical UI aren't a major concern. It's the same game, just optimized for the iPad touch controls.

"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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PC xcom looks better and has more armor selection, but I really like iPad versions' touch controls and portability. Gameplay and missions are identical.

 

As for productivity, 90% of what you can do on a PC (excluding resource heavy tasks) you can do on a tablet. There is an app for everything these days like office suites, and there are blue tooth keyboards if you need something physical to push. That being said, I do not believe in replacing a PC with a tablet yet, but rather the two can compliment each other


 

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The original iPad was my first Apple product. Up until that time I was a strict IBM Compatible PC monogamous.

 

I hated laptops. Viciously saw them as the ultimate compromise.

 

The iPad changed everything. It's not a compromise at all. Completely portable and I can carry it anywhere I want to around or out of the house. Perfectly complements my desktop PC; I have separate uses for both and none of the lunky ness of a laptop.

 

I do 90% of my home web browsing and email on my iPad. Watch movies, read "books," anywhere I want.

 

Can't speak much for it as a productivity tool though. Terrible word processor, but good gaming device (even for hardcore games)

 

King of Dragon Pass

X-Com

KotOR

Battle of the Bulge

 

This reflects my experiences as well, it's an awesome tool. Back in my old job when I had to fly around a lot and carry a computer that I had no access to the internal workings of, it was a real lifesaver. But it's very useful even when one doesn't travel. I do most of my reading on it, as well, especially the magazines are very competetively priced in comparison to what I'd have to pay around here (usually 1/3 or less for european mags).

 

My dad uses his for fairly serious word processing as well - the cloud storage works well for him as he's a mac user and the ipad supports bluetooth keyboards. So he just turns the keyboard on when he has to write something longer. Has worked for him, but definitely in the YMMV category.

 

You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

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  • 1 month later...

Huh, I decided to explore some of the other subforums today and came across this thread. Well. OP may have already gotten something, but I thought I'd post my experiences anyway. :)

 

First a bit of tech user background: I have two ultramobile laptops that were cutting edge in their day. Several tower rigs, though my current desktop is really a mini-chassis. In terms of tablets, I've had Windows 7 tablets, iPad2, and have had the Surface RT since early this year (not at release). I have a Sony e-reader too, though I really haven't used it in a long while.

 

I hated the iPad. I wanted to use it for school and play, but except for basic email, it's impossible to use for any real productivity--at least for me, which meant MS Office and running at least two things at the same time (like listening to music while browsing/writing). Excel spreadsheets and graphs, Powerpoint presentations, and advanced Word features because my schoolwork involved writing and editing other student papers between 20-40 pages long; track changes, spellcheck, footnoting, complex outlines/lists and tables, style templates. So on. Unfortunately, OneNote RT doesn't include synched voice recording, but I got around that using a free recorder app to record on the side while I typed my notes in OneNote or Word. 

 

And I required an external keyboard for iPad or any other tablet in order to be productive (including email), really, so that sort of setup would get awkward. The iPad was fine for reading books, but my Sony e-reader was better because e-ink didn't tire my eyes out after hours of staring. The web browser never worked as well as I wanted because of its mobile limitations. So I ended up only using the iPad for little app games and watching the occasional video. Good thing I received it as a gift, otherwise I'd have been much more pissed off paying so much for something that can't do a fraction of what I wanted.

 

(To clarify: I'm not saying the iPad is a POS, but if you're only after light "productivity" and 90% light fun-times, then the iPad is where it's at. My company has attempted to deploy iPads as "productivity" devices, but the most they can manage is email, and there are problems with the corporate archiving rules. You'd really pay mid-$$$ for just email?)

 

Now, my sort of productivity works perfectly fine with the Surface RT, though I don't know when the new version is supposed to come out (this year?), because you'll have whatever app games and then the meaty MS Office 2013 RT student/home version and two installations of a full web browser that's not a stripped-down mobile version (only IE10/11, though). I get a minimum of 8 hours of battery life on my RT doing "real" things, and though I'm not a fan of the IE browser, I figured out I didn't need a special Facebook app or anything because the browser supports the full website anyway. A great plus for me was the matching, super-light keyboard with non-chiclet keys, so I can type normally without the awkward wireless-travel-keyboard-requires-battery thing going on with other tablets. Altogether, my package of Surface RT with the nicer matching keyboard comes in at 2 lbs total for a day of productivity. Not bad.

 

There were lots of complaints about the app store when the Surface RT first came out, where some critics said the barren app store was the WORST THING EVER. To that, I can only say this. If downloading and installing 236 apps is one's highest priority, then a Windows machine isn't it.

 

The Surface Pro is another beast entirely, outside of form factor. It's a full Win8 machine, and there are plenty of demos on Youtube showing people playing real desktop games, working with Photoshop using the inking pen, and so on. The first generation of Pro actually does have decent battery life--as a tiny ultrabook. But MS is releasing keyboard-battery accessories this year as well, so with the price cut, that may be an option for some people if they don't want to spring for a new Pro 2.

 

Having owned the mobile devices I have, I think what's different about the Surface even compared to other Win8 hybrids--and some are really neat--is that the form factor is a true ultralight tablet hybrid. The keyboard is the cover can literally just rip off and toss aside, so no wasted space there, and the tablet functionality works perfectly fine. The problem in the media was, quite simply, too many reviewers tried to compare either Surface to the wrong things. Surface RT isn't anything like the iPad. Surface Pro has ultrabook internals with a tablet and pen interface, but it's still not merely a combination of both. I think going to an MS store is best to look at the various Windows 8 hybrids on the market right now and to actually play with the options in your hands (Surface kickstand is not for everyone). If someone would rather get an Apple product, obviously the Apple physical stores are the same idea.

 

The Surface Pro 2 "news" (really just a whole bunch of rumors) point to an autumn release of the new version to coincide with Windows 8.1. It's supposed to have at least 2 more hours of battery life simply from a Haswell CPU. I personally have no interest in a full-OS tablet because I do all my other heavy-duty things like Photoshop and gaming on my desktop rig with big LCD monitor. Although I did end up "remoting" from my Surface RT into my desktop to use Photoshop at one point. When looking at my options, the biggest draw for me to the Surface Pro was actually the pen input (drawing and handwritten notes), but I knew I wouldn't use it that much just for that.

 

If anyone has specific questions, feel free to pm. ;) Exciting things are on market or coming to market since Win8 was released late last year (though I agree Win8 sucks in a pure desktop experience).

Edited by Ieo
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The Surface Pro 2 "news" (really just a whole bunch of rumors) point to an autumn release of the new version to coincide with Windows 8.1.

 

I just found this:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2293656/microsoft-to-unveil-surface-rt-2-and-surface-pro-2-tablets-on-23-september

So guess we'll wait two weeks and find out more.

Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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My current experience with the new Nexus 7:

 

(1) I wanted a 10" but it was out of my budget. I'd recommend 10" as bigger screens are important to focus and do serious work; but this thing is useful in the sense that it even fits in some pockets and I can always have it on my hand when I walk around, etc. 

 

(2) Android system is just fine for just about everything except (a) music-related apps / functions and (b) word-processing, where there is a medley of equally meh third-party apps. I don't know if Apple does this any better, however. 

 

(3) Quest for Glory, Full Throttle, Fire Emblem, etc. on the tablet for flights, etc. Not bad at all.

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  • 4 weeks later...
running at least two things at the same time (like listening to music while browsing/writing)

 

Late, but... what? I've been listening to music while browsing/writing on my ipad since purchase. Nobody told me it was impossible! (ie. not entirely up to date on the ios updates, are we!) ;)

 

That said, if you need something to do spreadsheets and word processing on, probably better alternatives. Mine servers as a sanity maintenance tool between the required periods of productivity.

You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

ahyes.gifReapercussionsahyes.gif

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