Can a tablet replace a computer?

I have been thinking about replacing my notebook with a tablet for some time, and finally decided to give it a try. Before I chose a tablet to replace my notebook, I thought about the things I do with my computer. I browse web, send and receive emails, manage my websites, watch movies and YouTube videos, and work on the Office Suite. I also spend a lot of time on Linux servers and remote Windows machines so an ability to connect via VNC and RDP is a must feature. All those things I've identified can be done on a tablet, so it may actually work. In order to use a tablet to manage remote computers, I must have a keyboard and a mouse.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with Apple Magic Mouse

Keyboard and Mouse

I initially thought of using iPad 3 as my tablet of choice, but lack of mouse support on iPads ruled out this option. Jailbreaking an iPad is an option, but I choose not to. The next option was Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. Since I'm already used to Galaxy Note 2 smartphone, and I like the S pen functionality a lot -- it was a natural second choice. I was able to easily connect a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse, and everything seemed handy and dandy. Upon getting all the apps and configuration done, I came to realize that Galaxy Note 10.1 had an inherent keyboard problem. It constantly repeats key strokes on certain applications such as Google Play and Chrome search, which makes the keyboard impossible to use on those applications. I've tried both Logitech and Motorola keyboards, and the problem was identical. The Apple Magic Mouse worked like a charm on a Galaxy Note 10.1, though.

Upon searching Google, there was a suggested solution to the Bluetooth keyboard problem on the Galaxy Note. I took the advise and installed an Android external keyboard app to workaround the problem only to find that it wasn't workable solution as the Galaxy Note is constantly asking to switch back to default Samsung keyboard in order to support external keyboard. I could abandon Galaxy Note 10.1 for another tablet, but learning two most popular tablets not playing well with external keyboard and mouse is hinting me that tablets may not be the replacements for computers yet. Besides, having to carry an external keyboard or attaching a case with keyboard increases the thickness of the tablet making it not very much advantageous to an ultrabook.

So, this is one compromise I have to make in order to replace my notebook with a tablet. I chose to use handy Swype keyboard supported by the virtual Samsung keyboard as a replacement for an external keyboard for time being.

Productivity Applications

Working with web browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome; and working with email clients like Android Email client and Gmail client fulfills my daily tasks. I also use Google Apps for my word processing, and spreadsheet applications so I don't lose much productivity in that respect. I may also use PolarisOffice or QuickOffice from Google for my productivity suite as they work with Microsoft Office document formats. I don't do much image editing, so I'm not losing much there but if you have a need for an image editing software you may opt to try out Photoshop Touch.

As a business owner and an application developer, I use Quickbooks and Eclipse on a daily basis. Those two applications are not available on tablets, and I do not intend to use them on a tablet. I could have replace the Quickbooks with an online version of Quickbooks, or use Freshbooks instead; but I don't envision developing application in a tablet.

On the other hand, tablets offers added benefits that aren't available on notebooks. It's a touch based device, so messaging and leisure reading are much easier. Also, Android and IOS apps such as Evernote, S Pen apps (for Samsung), Calendar integration, All Share/Remote control, NFC and location based services like GPS/Google Maps offer significant productivity boost.


In order to truly replace computers with tablets, you'll have to achieve same level of productivity in same or less time with tablets. No matter what tablet you choose, achieving same level of productivity isn't going to happen anytime soon. Accomplishing same amount work in much longer time (2x or even 3x) defeats the purpose. Laptops and Tablets have their own intended purpose, and making best use out of it's designed purpose will yield best results. If you truly require mobility, you may replace your computer with a tablet (with minor productivity loss for a benefit of mobility) if you carefully examine your needs and pick out an ideal tablet. For most users, a tablet will be a great supplement your computer with great deal of mobility, but it will not replace your computer.


Same keyboard issue with Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)

I've had an opportunity to try out Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) and the keyboard problem is still there. The repeated key problem doesn't seem to exist in Google Play, but exists in Google Chrome application. Also, keyboard inactivity automatically disconnects and reconnect upon key entry causing a few seconds of delay. (Conclusion) keyboard is not usable in Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 family.

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