Saturday, January 4, 2014

To take a tablet or not to take a tablet that is the question!

A tablet can be a very bitter pill to swallow if it's a bad device. Ages ago, I bought a tablet to display my photographs. It only kinda-sorta worked. It was a Nook Color and as at the time I was working at a store that sold them I was able to pick up the very last certified pre-owned model for about $90, the night before they were withdrawn.

While I had been at the store that sold Nooks, I had a lot of Nook returns but usually it was just because people didn't understand how to use them. Other than that, there were battery issues, charging issues and wifi issues though those were in the minority. I recall a customer coming in and complaining that it would start turning pages randomly after a while but it never did in the shop so I discounted that as a fault. Now the thing about the shop was that it was humidity controlled. When I got my Nook Color home is when I found out that it really misbehaved in humidity. I could not use it in my bedroom as I would likely be breathing on it and then it would go berserk, acting on phantom touches or going completely screen dead. Thus I resolved to using it for other things.

One day I took the thing to show photos to some people that didn't really matter much. It was a talking point and that was all. At the start of the meeting it was fine then as the room got more humid, it began to act up by which time people were asking to see it. Needless to say it embarrassed me considerably. A professional trying to show off things and his equipment malfunctioning. It just made me look incompetent and I was getting remarks like "shouldn't have wasted your money on that. Should have bought an iPad".

Aside from the fact that I could not comfortably have afforded an iPad, I did look at an iPad mini which I could have had for $260 but decided to spend $90 on the Nook instead. What a bad decision that was. Indeed, my friend told me that she didn't see why I bought a Nook when I was eventually going to have to buy the iPad she knew I wanted in the first place. It's true - I should have bought the iPad - even if it was the mini and not the full size model.

In the end I put the tablet up for sale on eBay and was rather disappointed to get $30 for it. The previous week they had all been selling used for $75 - $100. I had hardly any bidders. This is generally my experience of anything I put up for sale online - hardly anybody is interested. It cannot be the description because I simply copy the description like everybody else does.

At the moment I have a Nexus 4 phone which means I can display photos on the fly. Since I now no longer have a pressing need to display a portfolio since I now no longer try to operate a business, I can't say that I have any particular use for a tablet.
Indeed, I looked just now at tablets and it seems that they're pretty expensive for what they are. Take the latest iPad as an example. Honestly I don't really think any of the cheap tablets are worth the bother - they're cheap for a reason. They're made cheaply and they're made with cheap materials and put together cheaply. When you buy something cheap, it won't be good. If it's good, it won't be cheap. So, the iPad is about $500 (from memory). In addition to the iPad, if you don't have one you'll still need a laptop or a desktop. You will quickly tire of bashing your fingers on a hard, unforgiving screen so you'll want to buy a keyboard and those seem to start at about $80. Thus a $500 iPad is now a $580 iPad. Then you will need storage since iPads come with minimal storage. $500 gets you just 16gb while $800 gets you 128GB. So, if you want to do something useful then your iPad is going to end up at $880 and still won't have any way of printing documents as there aren't any printer drivers for most printers available. In my opinion, you're better off spending $1,000 and getting a Macbook Air rather than going the not-so-cheap tablet route. It really is all about the money! Tablets are cheap because they're crap. Once you have a tablet you want to buy a laptop/desktop. Once you're locked into Apple with one product you need to follow through - same with Android.

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