I am done with laptops

2012 was the year I lost interest in laptops. It happened in February, when I was in Seattle and purchased a Samsung Windows 7 Slate for the purpose of testing Windows 8.

This Slate has an Intel Core i5 CPU and is a flawed device. With Windows 7 it was particularly bad, since Windows 7 is not much fun for touch control. Windows 8 is much better, though now and again the screen will not respond to touch after being woken from sleep, and a cold reboot is needed.

That said, performance is fine, and the Slate has a couple of characteristics which I like. One is small size. It fits easily in almost any bag. In fact, I can put this Slate, an iPad and a Surface RT in a bag and they take up no more room that with a typical 15.6” laptop.

The second is convenience. If you are travelling, a laptop is an awkward and unsocial thing. I have come to dislike the clamshell design, which has to be unfolded before it will work, and positioned so that you can type on the keyboard and see the screen.

I do not pretend that desktop Windows has a great user interface for touch control, but I have become more adept at hitting small targets in the likes of Outlook. In addition, many tasks like browsing the web or viewing photos work fine in the touch-friendly “Metro” personality of Windows 8.

What about when you need to sit down and do some serious typing, coding, or intricate image manipulation? This is when I pull out a keyboard and mouse and get something similar to a laptop experience.

image

The above shows my instant coffee-shop office, with wireless keyboard and mouse, and internet connection through mobile phone. Though I have abandoned the keyboard and mouse shown, preferring a Bluetooth set I picked up late last year which leaves does not require a free USB port.

I am not sure why I would ever want another laptop. When in the office, I prefer a PC under the desk to a laptop on the desk. A tablet, whether Windows, Android or iOS, works better for mobility, even if mobility means watching iPlayer in the living room rather than travelling around the world.

Nor do I like hybrid tablets with twisty screens and keyboards, which lose the simplicity and instant usability of the tablet concept. I make an exception for Microsoft’s Surface RT, particularly with the touch keyboard cover, which does not get in the way or take up significant space, but does form a usable keyboard and trackpad when needed. There will always be an advantage to using a physical keyboard, since even if you get on fine with a soft keyboard there is no escaping the large slice of screen it occupies. Well, until we can type with detected thought processes I guess.

I am told that an iPad with a Logitech Ultrathin keyboard is also a nice combination, though I have not tried this yet.

Related posts:

  1. Tablets, laptops, smartphones: which form factors will win?
  2. The one thing missing from Windows 8 tablets announced so far: simplicity
  3. Will you buy a Surface Pro? Here is why and why not
  4. Building a cheap PC, and why it still beats tablets and laptops for value
  5. Windows 8 FAQ: the real Frequently Asked Questions

3 thoughts on “I am done with laptops

  1. Andy

    A great read as ever Tim however I can’t help thinking these tablets are just a stop gap before we get to the ultimate one device fits all mobile solution as I am increasingly using my Samsung Galaxy S3 over my Android based tablet or Windows laptop for light work when out and about.

    Once Ubuntu for phones is fully released and matures I think that coupled with a bluetooth keyboard & mouse could be the ultimate productivity / mobility tool for many. I can imagine a time in the near future docking my S3 at my main desk which then automatically connects to my large monitors and would allow me to have the essentials with me at all times whilst allowing me to get the rest from the cloud (or my own servers) when I need.

    Hopefully there will also be a Windows 8 (or 9) alternative to this in the near future too once we get passed the confused Windows 8 launch and maybe even a Android version?

    1. Andy Symonds

      I think you need to go and read up on what Ubuntu for phones is actually capable of doing / running Davis before comparing this to Windows Mobile based PDAs!

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