Productivity on the Move: Android Tablet vs Notebook

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Sep 26, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

As an experiment, I've been traveling for three weeks with an ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 Android tablet instead of a regular notebook. I really, really wanted to like the tablet as a travel companion. After all, schlepping around a heavy shoulder bag most of the day is tedious, to say the least. However, next time I hit the road, I'll most likely take my trusty HP dm1-4000 machine with me. Here is why.

  • A tablet is supposedly perfect for checking email, reading ebooks and RSS articles, posting updates to Google+, etc. Yet, I often found myself reaching for my Samsung Galaxy S III when I felt the urge to consume content.
  • Being an amateur photographer, I take a lot of photos, and I rely on digiKam for all my photo processing and organizing needs. So I dearly missed this application when I was traveling. I had to make do with the Eye-Fi app for previewing RAW files, but I wish I could process and organize my photos, too.
  • Typing on any tablet using the virtual keyboard is inefficient and frustrating at times -- and ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 is no exception. Even with the excellent Hacker's Keyboard app, typing on the tablet was often a "I want to stab myself in the eye" kind of experience. Yes, I could have bought a dock for the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300, but then I would have been wasting money on something any regular notebook has by default. Besides, the tablet/dock combo is only slightly lighter than a subnotebook.
  • AutoKey, KeePassX, and a handful of shell and Python scripts are indispensable for my daily computing. There are apps like KeePassDroid that fill some productivity gaps -- but only partially.
  • There are a lot of minor annoyances all add up to a somewhat frustrating experience.

So despite the fact that having a lightweight bag was a real relief, for me personally, the drawbacks of using a tablet outweigh the advantages. Of course, your mileage may vary.


  • coding on nexus 7

    I spent yesterday coding in c++ on my new Nexus 7 and found it to be great, I could compile and run it right from my tablet. No power cords, booting up or shutting down. The battery life was excellent, about 12 hours long on a single charge and was half charged still. Perhaps the 10 inch form factor you used was too large, I don't even think about my phone when I have the 7 inch Nexus 7. I plan to get a case with Bluetooth keyboard for extended coding and other productivity uses. Even though my netbook has a computer, booting up and shutting down, power cords, and having to sit by a power socket is lame. With my tablet I was able to move anywhere, sit, lay down, whatever. I love my tablet, and the apps are very handy.
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