For my school needs, should I go with a tablet or netbook?

Vipul J September 24, 2014
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I need some buying advice.
I’ve started my MBA, and am getting loads of material which I can either take in soft copy or get it printed.
Recently the volume has increased marginally, and printing isn’t an option anymore.
I currently own an ASUS machine, but it weighs 2.5-2.8kg and carrying it all day everywhere is very tiring. Moreover I must carry the charger because what was once a selling point is now a problem, the 2GB NVIDIA 630M card. Thanks to it, the battery backup is at max 2-2.5 hours.

So now I’ve decided to go for a new device. I’m confused between a tablet & a netbook.
My primary requirements are
1) Should be cheap, because I have little use for it.
2) Should have at least 5-6 hours battery backup.
3) Should be able to handle MS Office (ppt, docx & xls) & pdfs
4) Should be able to handle minimum 7-8 tabs in chrome without crashing.

Among the tabs I found Dell Venue 7 to be a good option, and among netbooks, since I’ve had a good experience with ASUS & also they provide great products at nominal rates, I’m looking for an ASUS again. Though I have no model in mind, I’ll look in the market.

So I just want an opinion in case someone has used or has had a good amount of hands-on on both the devices, whether for my purpose a tablet would be better or a netbook? And if possible, which one exactly.

TL;DR – Tablet or Netbook, according to the 4 requirements mentioned?

  1. Dalsan M
    September 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    A netbook, although powerful enough and allows for greater storage than you would need, is much larger and heavier than you might like, and battery life might not be quite as high as you'd like. I have tweaked my netbook to get close to 12 hours battery life, but after 3+ years, the life span is just over 4 hours. These results are not typical, and the processor it's an AMD C60 APU; other processors and setup will cause a difference in how much battery life you can get out of the netbook, and usually results in closer to 8 hours at best. If you mostly require the device for reading e-books, taking notes, maybe record lectures, view aebd possibly edit Microsoft Office documents, a tablet may be better. The light weight and small size would make it the most portable option, and may be the cheapest option of the other suggestions. If you needed the device for more than what you suggest, than a netbook or Chromebook may be better off for you. I'm sure that for the majority of the work you would actually do would be on your laptop that you already own, so I would honestly say that a tablet would be fine.

  2. Oron J
    September 24, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I would suggest you consider a Chromebook! Netbooks are generally underpowered and the slowness will eventually get to you. Most of them also don't offer a long battery life (albeit better than your laptop). Tablets are great portability-wise, generally have a long battery life and are fast enough, but they're not great to type on (yes, you can get a keyboard for the purpose, but that's not really going to work for you "on the go", is it...).

    The two options left are Ultrabooks (thin, light weight and powerful laptops with long battery life) and Chromebooks. Ultrabooks (or the MacBook Air) are obviously great, but expensive.

    Chromebooks, while not perfect, offer you the most important things you need and cost about the same as a tablet or netbook. Good battery life, decent screen and an attached keyboard. PDFs will display just fine on them. Although Chromebooks are designed to be used online, the main packages (PDF viewer, Office suite and GMail) can be used offline as well.

    The one fly in the ointment is compatibility with MS Office, which is not 100%. You will need to convert your documents to GoogleDocs format on the cloud and that will probably be good enough for reading. If you need to do active editing, better do some testing first! While GoogleDocs is a decent office suite, not all MS-Office features are supported, so it's really a question of whether the features *you* need are supported. If it's good enough, then I believe the Chromebook is the hands-down winner.

  3. Jeff F
    September 24, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Personally, I would stick with ASUS - excellent reliable machines and I would go for a notebook. I cannot see how a tablet would be of much use to you. A notebook will offer you plenty of room for storage and easily allow external backup. If you go for the most memory you can afford, Chrome tabs should not be a problem. Possibly, perhaps change Microsoft Office to a "Microsoft Office" compatible such as Open Office, which runs in far less memory. Good luck.