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4 Reasons I’m Glad I Own A Netbook And Not A Tablet [Opinion]

Justin Pot 17-03-2012

4 Reasons I'm Glad I Own A Netbook And Not A Tablet [Opinion] netbook iconLenovo recently stopped selling netbooks, prompting netbook haters around the web to loudly proclaim the “death of the netbook.”


This is, of course, absurd. The netbook was never a well-defined product: essentially, it was a word describing small laptops. I’m not sure what makes a MacBook Air different from a netbook: it’s a small computer too. So the “death of the netbook” is essentially the death of a word: netbook. Computer manufacturers will keep making small computers; they’ll just call them something else. This year they’ll call them Ultrabooks; next year they’ll call them Miniputers or some other made-for-marketing buzzword.

Of course, a key argument here is that tablets are killing the “netbook” market. I can see that: if you want a small device with great battery life for browsing the web it’s hard to beat a tablet.

I, however, am thrilled to own a netbook instead of a tablet. Am I crazy? Probably, but that’s unrelated. Here’s why I’ve no regrets with my netbook purchase.

1. Affordable and Useful Long-Term

Two and a half years ago I bought my EEE PC for $200. It’s still the computer I do most of my writing on.

It’s not a tablet, but because it comes with a keyboard I (a writer) can use it to get actual work done. Ever better: I can still put up-to-date software on it. Would I be better off having spent in excess of $600 on a keyboardless tablet two years ago, only to find out that upcoming versions of iOS or Android won’t work on it? To watch as the device becomes useless for lack of software updates?


Here’s my point: people who bought an iPhone 3G when I bought my netbook today have a device they can’t install most new apps on. Is there any compelling reason to believe Apple won’t do the same thing to the first generation iPad?

My netbook is up to date and speedy, thanks to Ubuntu, and as of this month I can even install Android on it How to Install Android on Your Netbook or Laptop Now you can install Android on your netbook or laptop with this simple and easy guide. Read More . All this for a fraction of the cost of a tablet.

So, no regrets.

2. Tablets Are For Consumption, Not Creativity

4 Reasons I'm Glad I Own A Netbook And Not A Tablet [Opinion] ipad apps


If you want to mindlessly scroll through your Twitter feed, watch the occasional movie or fling imaginary birds into towers of pigs, a tablet is what you’re looking for.

If you want to actually create something, you need a computer. In my case, that computer happens to be a netbook.

Tablets are, by design, a consumption device. They are great for playing around, but impractical for creating anything meaningful. Don’t get me wrong: tablets work for a few limited acts of creativity. For the most part, though, tablets are tailored towards mindless consumption; a quick look at the most popular apps in the Android or iOS market will show you that: the vast majority of popular apps are games or other things for consuming instead of creation.

4 Reasons I'm Glad I Own A Netbook And Not A Tablet [Opinion] ipad keyboard


A touchscreen keyboard is terrible if you’re a writer: touch-typing is impossible. And sure, you can purchase a keyboard for your tablet, but if that’s what you want why didn’t you just buy a netbook in the first place?

3. No Glass to Shatter

4 Reasons I'm Glad I Own A Netbook And Not A Tablet [Opinion] ipad broken

Enough said.

4. Glowing Screens Suck For Reading

The one reason I might want a tablet is for reading: books and news articles are among my favorite things.


The problem: I stare at a glowing screen most of my day, and don’t want to when my work day is over. So I prefer reading books on an e-ink screen or, even better, actual pieces of paper. It’s easier on my eyes, and it’s a lot easier to fall asleep if you’ve not staring at a screen right before bed.

Even better: books and tablets don’t constantly remind me about unread emails and Twitter messages. I can’t concentrate on a book if I’m constantly being reminded of other, less meaningful information streams. Maybe other people have more discipline than me, but I find it easier to focus without quick access to distractions.

Even better: because my netbook only cost me $200 I can easily afford an e-ink reader. Combined, the cost of my netbook and my e-reader don’t come close to the cost of a tablet.


I love my netbook, and refuse to apologize for that. It’s not expensive and disposable, it’s good for production instead of just consumption and it’s not another glowing screen for me to stare at.

Disagree? You’re entitled to. Leave your rants in the comments below, because I certainly left mine above.

Related topics: Netbook, Ultrabook.

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  1. Christian Pace
    June 4, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Stumbled upon this when trying to find a solution to a technical issue since the most recent windows 10 update. Totally agree. I bought my EeePC 1215P some 7 years ago. I have bought several other deicves since (a windows tablet, an android tablet, an acer windows convertible, a windows phone, and and android phone) and though i use them too i still use the EEEPC for most of my computing needs at home and i have no reason to buy an new one. The technical support i get from locval retailer is no good. Their adice is always "can't fix it, sorry. but we have many newer models that will work off the shelf". My reply's always been "no thank you" (read FU). I always go home, look up the online forums and sure enough if you dig deep enough there is a fix to the issues that come after every windows update. The same issues even newer pc users have to deal with might i add. This one has seen me through a thesis, two years of studies, many work projects, lecturing, and daily use to stream video, music and written many articles for my public education campaigns. It is still better than anything else i have used. I don't see why i should change to a newer version if it is goign to do exactly the same job.

  2. Greg Hall AKA "The TechEditor"
    June 3, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    I have had a Toshiba NB505 since they came out. I do 90% of my writing on it. Love the size. Love the 8 hrs of battery. Tried tablets when they came out. Hated them. You can't really work on them. They gave us tablets at work. Hated them there too. No one liked them. They got shelved.
    Picked up a spare NB505 that sat in a drawer and never got used, so it is almost new.
    The things I did to make my Netbook more useful to me was to remove all the "Bloatware" that Toshiba placed on it. With 1gb of ram the thing idled at 900mb with nothing open. No wonder people hated Netbooks for being slow! Then found a website that explained just what you could turn off on W7 Starter to speed it up and the switch to turn on the "Home" version of W7.
    Then I installed "Classic Shell" to give it a simple XP interface, because I don't want whiz bang, just a simple interface to get things done. Then a 2gb stick of memory. And finally with this essentially a 2004 laptop in specs, I loaded 2004 programs on it, Office 2003, Photoshop 7, and I had my "working" laptop, er, Netbook. I write, edit images for the stories, use Firefox (pre-v57) for blogs.
    Only thing I wish for is a 32 bit version of Waterfox so I can get an up to date browser because I refuse to update beyond v56.02 of Firefox. (Hate, Hate, Hate the new interface!

  3. Josep Gonzalez
    May 11, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    I write this reply today: May 11, 2018.
    I've just landed here googleling: "Using netbooks today".

    I totally agree with you. I'm also crazy because I spent many computing time at home, and travelling, dealing with netbooks.
    I have 15 netbooks. Yes, 15!
    All are Asus eee pc. Several 701, 900, 901, 900HD, 900HA and one 900XA.
    I've bought several new keyboards, batteries and I've changed the 5400rpm Hd from my trusty 900HA by one SSD. Major part of them are cheap second hand units.
    Because I use computers for productivity, webscraping, and other serial uses (e-learning, etc), and I want to keep them in working order for as long time as possible.
    And, of course, I really love small devices, small keyboards, and small screens, as well as tiny sized and light weight devices.
    So, for me, netbooks are ideal.
    I must confess that my main computer is a Lenovo Thinkpad X201, with a "giant" secreen of 12,5". I use it for final composing my webscraping's books (manuals) , professional matters (I'm financial controller) and other serious uses, though from time to time I also watch some films.
    Netbooks are, from my very particular point of view, a great step towards the democratizacion of computing for, almost everybody. The low cost of this very capable small machines did allow many studens of poor countries afford a computer, with all the great benefits that they could offer to them.
    I also have one tablet. But I don't use it. I don't like Android for the same stated reason: they are not conceived for productivity.
    Thanks to the netbooks' obsolescence I've learned something about linux.
    In order to be able and use my netbooks today I've tryed several linux distros. And I decided to use Puppy linux in their several flavours, and Linux mint (mate or Xfce desktops)
    Take one original Asus eee pc with it's 512 MB of memory, burn a pen drive with Slacko Puppy 6.3 (quite recent) and you'll have a really quick machine capable of running Libreoffice, VLC, Thunderbird, Firefox, etc, even better than it's very first day with Windows XP.
    I could extend this reply to the infinite, but I stop here.
    Please, do the best in order to buy and use what you really need, and try to extend the life of your electronic devices as long as possible. This will be good for you as well as for our planet.

  4. Jack
    November 18, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style and design. “The price one pays for pursuing a profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” by James Arthur Baldwin.


  5. Jack
    November 13, 2017 at 7:28 am


  6. Jack
    October 30, 2017 at 10:47 am


  7. Jack
    October 27, 2017 at 4:37 am


  8. dani
    July 31, 2017 at 5:25 am


  9. mulk
    February 15, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I loved the part,

    "Am I crazy? Probably, but that’s unrelated. Here’s why I’ve no regrets with my netbook purchase."

    Thank you.

    • Justin Pot
      February 16, 2016 at 1:20 am

      Glad you enjoy it! Thanks for reading.

  10. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Brilliant article :)
    I myself used both an Eee PC and a Samsung Galaxy tab back then, and sure enough, the tablet was useful only for consumption. (Though in fairness to it, there are some things that are funner on the tablet than on a netbook)

    By far, the netbook was far more useful in schoolwork, but that's only to be expected.

    I do have a question, though, things are moving fast, and Asus introduced the Eee Pad Transformer some time ago, kind of a cross between a netbook and a tablet. I was so tempted to get it but I opted against it in favour of waiting a while, to see where this leads.

    Now there are more such 'hybrids', many of them running Windows, too. Do you think that's where this whole netbook vs tablet debate should eventually go? Best of both worlds as it is... lol

    • Justin Pot
      September 11, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      I wrote this article a long time ago, and have had a tablet since then that I mostly don't use now. I think as phones get bigger and tablets get smaller and bigger, all while laptops change shapes multiple times, the distinction between phone/tablet/laptop will blur together completely. They'll just be devices.

  11. Jack
    March 10, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    My hudl 2 saays hi!

  12. Walter
    December 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I'm sure it does awhile about this post, but, Alienware M11X R1 here says hi and outshining for gaming! I recently got myself this little (Heavy, not little XD) gadget after selling my Android tablet that was a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 on Craiglist. Gosh do I feel much more comfortable with an actual PC. Not only can I create stuff, but, you know, for people that don't want to spend time on small applications and entertainement programs, this laptop that's from 2011 does MORE than most tablets and phones does today. My father once told me that I should get a phone or get back a tablet, but I told him that I wasn't the sort of person going to buy one of these things any time soon. This M11X R1 is to stay for a good moment, with a nice option to swith to battery saving mode or full gaming mode!

  13. Jamie
    August 5, 2012 at 12:14 am

    People should just keep to what netbooks are designed for and stop complaining that they can't watch HD videos or play games !!! I much prefer an actual keyboard and also netbooks offer much more storage space than tablets. I'd like to think of Netbooks as a mobile device from your home computer if you are traveling and don't want to bring a bulkier 15 or 17 inch laptop at home.

  14. Milly
    July 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Dear Justin,
    I completely agree with you (typing easily on my netbook).
    My sisters have tablets and I don't find them user friendly at all. Like you said, they are very annoying to type on and they don't even have flash.
    I just don't see the point of them at all especially seeing as my netbook is happy to sleep for hours and I'm online as soon as I open the lid.

  15. Joanie
    June 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Great article, thank you so much - exactly what I was looking for (after web surfing for 2 hours!). My instincts told me netbook, but I think I must have needed simple-concise validation like your article. I really liked your point about being able to afford a separate E-reader device; as that has been part of my dilemma about purchasing a tablet vs netbook. I like a good ole fashion paper book myself also; & you gave me points to ponder when referencing the whole Ebook/Ereader topic. I'm an "older" stay-at-home mom of a teenager,- While I'm very "user" savvy, (web surfing, facebooking, etc.) I'm only slightly "tech" savvy and have been trying to decide for several months if I want/need a tablet or a netbook. Thank you so much for a simple down to earth article without getting technical on a subject where it's not needed anyway. You seem like a cool down to earth kid Justin Pot; this old mom just may have to start following your post. ;-) MANY THANKS

  16. Ricardo
    June 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I totally agree! My beloved netbook :))) I use it all the time!

  17. d niffenegger
    May 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I recently bought myself an Asus EB 121 (the business version of the EP121). This is an example of a case where a tablet can be designed and built specifically for business / creativity generation because it runs Win7 pro. However, it is very expensive (well over $1,000).

    For me, I needed a screen bigger than what a netbook could give me.

  18. Linds
    May 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I have two Laptops and an Ipad. I purchased my ipad because i am a college student. I use it for everything! My Books, my syllabus, my notes, my loose paper, and access to my college web page. I use OneNote and sync my notes with my ipad, iphone, and Laptop. I do the same with my books. Although, I agree that there is more power in laptops I wouldn't give my Ipad up. And for all of you that call people who own an Ipad an idiot or stupid or retarded or indicating that I am computer illiterate because I purchased one, let me tell you, I am a computer programmer. Since IOS programming is huge, I need to know how to design and implement Iphone and Ipad apps.

    • Justin Pot
      May 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Great points. I certainly don't agree with anyone who would call another person stupid because of a consumer choice. All I wanted to do was point out that people have options.

      Best of luck with your studies.

  19. Attila
    May 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I've got an Acer Aspire One Ao751h, it still works 1000 times better then almost any android tablet on which I could get my hands on, and though I got "infected" with the virus of owning a tablet, after having purchased a similar 7" tablet to what you have described, I am actually disappointed by the almost total uselessness of it.
    Noone could have said it better: it's EXCLUSIVELY for mindless consumption.

    I'm glad to see that someone else agrees :)

  20. Kv19971
    April 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Thank you. I always knew my 150$ asus was 10x better than my friends 499$ ipad. I just didn't know what made my netbook so superior. Now I can show 'em.

  21. kyle
    April 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    My biggest turn-off with the "pads" is the storage size. 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB, for the $500 to $800 I would spend on one of these, what on earth can I do with that kind of storage space? Certainly not save all my music on it!!

    • Justin Pot
      April 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Simply put: storage space isn't the key selling point of these devices.

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    April 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

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  24. iker adil
    April 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Great article :-) I loved reading it :-) and I agree with you totally

  25. Paul Gesh
    April 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Excellent article and I agree with you 100%

  26. Lori
    March 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Justin, you're a classy guy. Surely you knew that you would be taking on lots of negative comments such as many you've gotten here, and your responses are always respectful and kind.

    You've repeatedly made it clear that this is YOUR opinion. Why people take this stuff so personally is beyond me. Kudos!

    • Justin Pot
      April 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      It's the Internet. People take things personally. But look beyond that and you can learn a lot from this comment section; I know I have .Thanks for reading the article and taking the time to comment.

  27. Adam
    March 31, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Only valid point was the first.
    2. My tablet has a KB (Asus Transformer), but most can use a bluetooth KB for the times you want to create instead of consume.
    3. Netbooks have a glass screen.
    4. I use Google Play Books, and set it to night mode, which has white text and a black background. Much easier on the eyes.

    • Justin Pot
      April 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      2. If I were to get a tablet, it would be an ASUS Transformer. I love physical keyboards way more than I love touchscreens, though, so I currently would rather pay less and just get a netbook. But my mind might change later, particularly if the transformer comes down in price.

      3. My netbook doesn't have a glass screen.

      4. Yeah, I used to read books using an approach like this. I simply prefer e-ink or paper, though.

      I really appreciate the time you took to write this comment; thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  28. Nancy
    March 31, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I love my little netbook too. Althought I mainly only use it when traveling I bought one fo the first ASUS eee PC ones that was even in LINUX...I had to learn a new way to do things.Thanks to my sons I learned the basics and can cruise thru it now.
    Only issues I had was small memory and Ram that when I bought a DVD player writer to connect to it it didn't have the power to run it...oh well just rent a hotel movie I guess!
    I put extra demos and such on a key and it runs them fine for product demos I do. The clients appreciate seeing things on the screen over reading the paperwork and remember it better.

    I never thought of even buying an Ipad or similar as the first thing I thought of is where is the keyboard? and I'll break that in about 5 minutes! (definite klutz!)

    I have a basic cell phone with a qwerty text board and never even come close to using all my allowed minutes. I hate texting! Have to pull over, find my reading glasses, read the message then wait for them to reply with "OK" or I have to start all over again!
    So I don't need the new cell phones with all the bells and whistles on it.

    I prefer reading a book over online/on screen, as it's kind of hard to cuddle up in bed with a netbook, ipad etc....tried it didn't work well.

    I still use a PC for everyday use but the netbook is perfect for my needs...just should have waited a year longer for more RAM and speed on it and perhaps Windows!

    I'll have to ask my son if we can upgrade it to Ubuntu I'm not even sure what that is? LOL I'm assuming and OS.

    • Justin Pot
      April 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Ubuntu is a free OS, and it runs really well on most netbooks; even the older ones. I highly recommend you try it out.

      Thanks for your comments. People really have a range of different user cases when it comes to laptops, netbooks and tablets. Your story is one seldom represented in the technology press, which seems to believe everyone either has or wants the latest gadgets.

      • Ib Nancy
        April 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

        While I thought the Ipad etc. looked cool, as I watched a guy on a plane use one when it first came out, I could see from my seat across the aisle the finger prints (I'm thinking now aren't you going to have to clean that alot?) and when I found out the screen was actually glass, no way was that for me!

        Then since it's come out it's already upgraded to newer, better models what 3 or 4 times and an older one can't use some of the apps etc. the new ones have..

        ...nope pass. I have no need to keep up with the tech-Jones! I stick with what I know and works for me.

        Thanks for the info on Ubuntu, when I go down to my son's in May I'll see if I should change the netbook's OS from Linux to that, for me which ever is easier I'm all for!

  29. Franco
    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I've bought an iPad2 to my mother last year. She's 72 and she never use a computer. When i give her the new advice she took half a day to learn how to use it. I live 10.000 miles far from her and thanks to the iPad noe she can make videochat, send emails, share photos and read newspaper. I undestand your point but you are not alone in this planet. Thanks Apple, you have solved my situation.

    • Justin Pot
      April 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      That's great. I didn't mean to imply that iPads aren't useful for any situation; the article is about my particular use case. Read all the comments below and you'll discover many more user cases.

      Thanks for sharing your mother's. The iPad being easy enough for anyone to use is a clear selling point.

  30. Intrigued
    March 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm


    My compliments to you for starting a passionate discussion in a very short period of time. I have had this same debate with myself since the first iPad was announced. What would I use it for, how would I feel about a visual keyboard, what software will be available and included.
    So many questions were answered when I used one. I hated it!
    I know that is strong language. Oh it was cool alright and all of the tablet manufacturers made me feel like I could not live without one.
    The included software was limited, but effective for basic functions. And I could always buy more apps. Right from the beginning it was clear that I would have to spend more money to have the software and accessories for my tablet configured the way I needed it. But this is just the way it is and this is the future. - Do it!

    At the introduction of tablets the alternative for a small portable device was the "netbook" or "ultra-portable laptop" (under 3lbs). The original price of the netbooks equaled or exceed that of the original tablets.
    I never thought a netbook or a tablet would be sufficient with such limited processors, storage space, and limited display resolution.
    And unlike many of your readers, I do not want to spend over $300 for a device that could be lost, stolen, or die from a fall. I want my money to do more and be available to replace the lost, stolen or damaged device.
    Then I found the Dell Mini1012 with a 1366x768 display, built-in digital TV tuner, solid state storage and under 3lbs for $225. And if it disappears (lost, stolen, or damaged) I can buy 2 for the price of most tablets.
    The keyboard on the netbook (for $225 complete) is built-in and LARGER than the tablet visual keyboard. Everyone missed your point about TOUCH TYPING. You can not truly TOUCH TYPE on a visually displayed keyboard. You can type, but you can not TOUCH type.
    If the netbook was only 1024x600, smaller than normal keyboard and had a standard HDD, I would not find it useful no matter the cost.
    Today, I get my work done on a 2-year old netbook (that was ony $225) - I interact socially in person - I play games on a tablet.
    Thanks Justin - you've increased your readers by at least one - please give us more to discuss. - Yranswer

    • Justin Pot
      March 28, 2012 at 2:47 am

      Thank you for this well thought out comment. I keep saying this, but I'm learning a lot from all of this feedback. I'm going to need to do a follow-up piece highlighting the best things all of you said.

      I'll also strive to think of other things for you all to discuss.

  31. Scott
    March 22, 2012 at 5:46 am

    I guess the idea is to not spend more than you need to and buy the item which is most applicable to your needs. In some cases a tablet would be the ideal tool. However, people often buy stufff just for the "glam" when a different, less fancy device would have been more practical.

  32. Landscaping 47405
    March 22, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Hi there, i just wanted to drop you a line to say that i thoroughly enjoyed this particular post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the appreciation Take care and keep blogging.

  33. Nicole
    March 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    One of MY main arguments of netbook vs tablet was: what do I want to use it for? I wouldn't say tablets are JUST for consumption, there are quite a few good apps out there for them that are actually useful. But the thing is, the same apps are available for smartphones - I own an Android one so what is the point of having a tablet in addition? The bigger screen?

    My mother got a netbook from me for her birthday. First thing I did was remove XP and load Ubuntu on it. Except for the occasional update hiccup, she is very happy with it. But she mainly uses it for Skype and web browsing.

    I knew my mobile solution had to be a bit more "substantial", so I eventually caved and bought an "Apple product for grown-ups" (Air). It may not exactly have been the cheapest choice but I would rather spend more on something I use than settle for a relatively cheap shiny that starts collecting dust as soon as the novelty wears off.

    • Justin Pot
      March 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Again: I'm really enjoying hearing people's thought processes. I think a MacBook Air is far superior to a tablet for getting work done, but I understand that's because I'm a writer and "getting work done" means "typing." I also think an affordable netbook can be very useful, depending on what you need from it. Thanks for your comment.

  34. shyam
    March 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I have an Asus Transformer, which can be used as a netbook or a tablet, and I have been using it as netbook about 90% of the time.This device is has a battery life of 16 hours,an ips display with a 1280x800 resolution and gorilla glass, a physical keyboard and touch screen,GPS and costs 500$. I would have bought it even if i couldn't detach the screen and use it as a tablet.
    What i am meaning to say is that the advantages of tablets aren't really because they are tablets, but because the manufacturers are doing a lot of R&D in them while totally neglecting netbooks.

    • Justin Pot
      March 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      The transformers seem like a great compromise between netbook and tablet, and if I get a tablet it will be one of those. Great point about R&D: everyone wants into the tablet market so that's where the innovation is going to be. Microsoft's certainly making big investments there.

  35. smayonak
    March 21, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Thought provoking article, Justin!

    This is more a continuation of the arguments you've made in the Technophilia podcast - but netbooks appear to be defined as nothing more than a form factor combined with a low price. Their size is approximately 9 to 12 inches in diameter. So the real question is, will people ever stop wanting tiny notebooks? Probably not. If anything, netbooks have been fairing poorly because of other factors - particularly poor design.

    That said, according to Squaretrade, "netbooks" fail at a rate 20% higher than full-sized notebooks. That's really bad. It appears that the Intel Atom boards use inferior quality components, which are prone to failure.

    • Justin Pot
      March 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Wait...there are people who listen to Technophilia? Wow!

      Jokes aside, I think you're right: people will keep wanting tiny notebooks. Tablets built into laptops could be one compromise, but it will be interesting to see what other devices show up on the market.

      That failure rate isn't acceptable, and Intel needs to do better than that if they're going to stay a market leader.

  36. Joanne Pearlman
    March 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I completely agree and I'm running windows xp, also on a EEE PC. I wish they'd keep making/supporting them, but I guess those days are over. Best $200 I ever spent.

    • Justin Pot
      March 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Well, hopefully that will still be possible for the foreseeable future. Don't abandon us, PC manufacturers!

  37. cortman
    March 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    +1 for running ubuntu. That's what really gives you an edge- You have a huge host of free apps that are tailored to your machine's specs (if you're running a lightweight Ubuntu derivative).
    This was very interesting and refreshed my perspective on tablets vs. computers. Thanks!

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      I love using Ubuntu on my netbook. Glad to hear from someone else, and thanks for reading my humble rant.

    • Patricia
      March 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      A question for you both, cortman and Justin. I have a 2 yr old Asus 2 gig ram with atom n270 processor - wondering which version of ubuntu I should replace my wondows7 starter with (it is a dog and barely plays youtube) - appreciate your help.

      Great article Justin, I work most of the time on a 15.6 laptop which stays put, when i travel i take "nettie"

      • Justin Pot
        April 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        Just head over to Ubuntu.com and download the latest version: it works great on my EEE 900a. You can replace Windows or dual boot: both options are simple. Enjoy!

  38. darkfast
    March 19, 2012 at 2:50 am

    i fail to see the relevance of this article. tablets, netbooks, notebooks, desktops, servers... all tools for similar but different jobs. get and use the tool that meets your needs. many published, well-paid writers still use a yellow legal pad and a pencil to write. i'm sure you can write a pithy article about how you are glad you have a netbook instead..

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      The article is my personal opinion and nothing else. I realized that tablet sales are crazy, and that I've no personal desire to get one. So I explored it, thinking a couple of people might read it. I'm surprised by the number of comments it attracted.

      You're right: different tools have different uses. I'm glad people are finding the tools right for them.

  39. Scoop
    March 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    BTW, Justin, I'd love to know what version of Ubuntu you are running on your EEE PC. I really would like to find an alternative OS for it that will beckon me (or at least one of my family members) to make use of it. Thanks.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      I dual boot Ubuntu 11.10 and Android ICS on my EEE PC. I use Ubuntu for getting things done and Android for casual browsing and playing around with apps.

      A new version of Ubuntu is coming out next month: 12.04. It's going to be amazing, so that might be a good excuse to get your netbook out and play with it.

      Oh, and here's my guide for installing Android, if you're curious: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/install-android-netbook/

      • Scoop
        March 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        I'll definitely give that a try, Justin. Thanks for the additional input. BTW, do Android apps run w/o issue when you boot into Android, or is it a bit buggy?

  40. Scoop
    March 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Either my netbook (a 2-year-old Asus eePC) is super old, or I am missing out on some sweet upgrades. I loved my netbook when I first got (prior to a long international flight), and from then on I wanted to love it, but the love wasn't flowing. I ran into all kinds of issues trying to play video content on it for presentations (nothing terribly demanding, mind you). And while it was touted as having one of the best keyboards at the time, I always found it hard to get used to. And the screen never really seemed quite bright enough. I did appreciate that it had decent storage space, but when I finally got an iPad 2 (wi-fi only) with a paltry 16gb, I've never found a reason to go back to a netbook again. It is exceptionally fast - no boot up times, so I have access to my email (or anything else I want to do) within a few seconds & taps. It puts out GORGEOUS video. It has fantastic educational apps for my kids (plus a few that are just plain fun when we're on a particularly long road trip). It is smaller & lighter than a netbook, making it a whole lot more convenient, and while 9-hour battery life claims from Asus disappoint, I actually do get 10+ hours with my iPad. And now that I've got QuickOffice Pro and a cheap but very effective bluetooth keyboard, tackling real work like Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and presentations is a breeze. Oh, and the speakers on my iPad are both loud and clear (sorry, Asus).

    In summary, video abilities, boot time, performance, screen brightness & resolution, battery life, portability, and productivity apps have won me over.

    But I still have my netbook. Someone please convince me that it is worth giving it a second chance.

  41. Sleepy
    March 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    This article makes me laugh. I'm glad you like your netbook, but seriously how can you argue with the success of the ifad and the various android tablets? Ultrabooks mac air and the like are far more expensive than the loss leader netbooks. Not all tablets are expensive, I have a hp Touchpad that cost $99 my wife has a kindle fire $199, we have a netbook as wwith a 9 hr battery and it only gets use when my wife goes scrapbooking. Otherwise the convenience of the tablet form is so much more suitable for almost everything. For writing, I would prefer to dictate as I've done here, since it is included in the os, similar to dragon on a pc. For those times I do need pc access I simply use remote access which works well either over 4g or Wifi. When I think back over all of the computers I've owned I can only say that right now is about as magical as the time around dos to wfw3. 11 what a wonderful time to be alive and to be able to find what you want. Glad you like your netbook and I will enjoy my tablet.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      I'm not arguing. The article is all about why I, myself, am glad I don't have a netbook. I'm glad you like your tablet, and perhaps someday I'll see the light. For now I simply see no point.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        "glad I don't have a netbook"

        Well that's embarrassing. Obviously I meant tablet. Anyway, thanks for your comment and for reading my article.

  42. Mike Degatano
    March 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I feel the same way which is exactly why I was so excited to see lenovo's yoga at CES. The idea of a convertible netbook sounds like it could be perfect if done well. I'm not in love with their particular form factor, a bit too boxy and hopefully someone makes the keyboard rotate in so it doesn't stick on the back in tablet mode, but excellent idea. Now I just have to hope a manufacturer takes the concept seriously and doesn't just consider it CES demoware.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      The idea of a hybrid netbook-tablet intrigues me too. One of my co-worker has one and loves it. I can't wait to see what devices are on the horizon, but for now I'm more than happy with what I have.

  43. Patricia Ann
    March 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    One of the tasks that I use my netbook for is reading ebooks. I use MsReader and use the TTS to read the book in the voices that I want to hear. I download books and use Calibre to convert to lit format. Reads and highlights the words as it goes along and even turns the pages for you. You could download as many books as you want.
    Color images display without problems.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      I love my e-ink reader, but understand the appeal of reading with a color display. I'm glad you enjoy reading that way.

  44. Bonnie
    March 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    When laptops first came out they were netbook sized. By the time I could afford a laptop, they had grown much larger than I wanted, so the netbook was the answer to my dreams.

    I'm also a writer and do lots of interviews for my writing, taking notes on my netbook. I also travel a lot and write about my travels. It's easy to throw the netbook in my backpack or carry-on bag. At home, I plug in a second, 20-inch monitor to publish my newspaper.

    Sadly, when it recently came time to replace my netbook, there weren't may to choose from. My new laptop is a trim Acer Aspire One 722--larger than a netbook, but still small enough to fit in my backpack.

    The one disadvantage of netbooks is that they tend to be low on memory, hard drive and processor speed. My new Acer solves that problem.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Sounds like you found yourself a nice laptop. Thanks for taking the time to comment: it's fun hearing different' takes on this.

  45. Ed
    March 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    In my opinion, iPad is only good for ebook reading. I both have a netbook and an iPad and I rarely use my iPad.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      To each their own, I say. You could probably sell your iPad for a decent amount, if you're never using it much. No point letting it sit there as its value goes down...

  46. P Riehl
    March 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I appreciate this post. I find it incredibly annoying to get anything done on the ePos (sorry, iPad), but it's great for reading illustrated books and magazine articles. For regular books (text), I prefer the Kindle, because of its size and more rugged construction.

    Alas, my 'netbook' - a MacBook Air 11" - is neither cheap nor disposable.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      If there's any lesson to this comment thread, it's this: different tools for different uses. Thanks for sharing yours and adding to the conversation.

  47. Xavier
    March 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I'm afraid your argument about tablets being strictly for consumption a bit unfounded. The main reason I bought my tablet was to fill the gap between my cell phone and my laptop (I don't own a desktop). I use my phone for a lot of things: games, reading news feeds, checking in on social networks, etc. But ultimately, I needed my cell phone for communications, and playing Asphalt on it while checking in on foursquare all day would kill the battery in a matter of hours instead of days. My tablet helped fixed that because it was gave me a platform on which to play all the games I bought, could effortlessly synchronize all data between it and my cell, and could last me about 9 hours before needing a charge.

    My laptop is my base of operations, so to speak, for pretty much all my work and projects. Basically, it's the center of my worklife. But there are times where carrying it around might be too cumbersome, such as taking notes around school, keeping track of tasks at work, or for those long trips to and from work. My tablet helped fix that problem by allowing me access to pretty much all of my data, news feeds, emails, notes, calendars, etc., all while synchronizing all of this back to my laptop.

    As far as reading books go, that was one of the main reasons I even thought to buy a tablet in the first place. Sure, my phone has Aldiko and carries most of my books but the fact is the screen is simply to small for viewing comfortably. I have a rather large tablet (10.1in to be exact) and I chose it over a simple e-reader because it does an amazing job of allowing me to read my books in low or bright light. The highest or lowest brightness settings are all I need for reading a book while relaxing in bed, or outside on campus under a tree.

    I've found that my tablet is probably one of the most useful gadgets I own right now because it gives me so much versatility. A netbook simple can't match that kinf of usability, simply because when it comes down to it, it's just a miniature weaker version of a laptop. And as far as you going on about how expensive tablets are, their prices are very much relative to their quality. Sure, you can go buy that cheap $90 one from CVS, much like you can buy that $200 Compaq laptop from Walmart. But unless you want a device that works like it should and can handle the stresses that come with everyday usage, you have to be willing to dish out a couple hundred, and for tablets today, that falls around 250$ to $350 for a mid-range, everyday kind of tablet. The "expensive" tablets you seem to be referring to are the iPads and Asus Transformers, high-end tablets for gaming or people with lots of money to waste on a specific brand.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks for your well-thought-out comment. You've put a lot of thought into your workflow, and a tablet works for you. All I meant to argue with this column was that I, myself, don't see a point to a tablet; that it wouldn't fit into my workflow.

      And I, personally, can't stand reading on a glowing screen. But I'm glad you've got a way to read that you like: that's great.

      Good point about prices: there are plenty of cheap tablets out there. I should have mentioned that.

  48. Colin
    March 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I bought a Dell Mini 1012 for my daughter a couple of years ago, along with a 1545 for myself. She is able to do pretty well everything I can do, on the 1012. I installed Ubuntu Lucid on both computers, the 1012 dual-boots XP as well.

    My personal opinion of Apple, not withstanding, I can't imagine why someone would pay $600 for an iPad (that becomes last years "junk" when the new iPad comes out) that has very limited use, that requires buying "accessories" that make it easier to use, while a netbook costs less than $200, that will run Windows, Android, OSX* as well as a myriad flavours of Linux and is roughly the same footprint as an iPad, and will do a pile of alot more apps than an iPad will ever do.

    However, that may be the reason why netbooks are getting harder to find. If the computer manufacturers get in on the tablet craze, they can make a heck of a lot more money. Not from me, however.

    • Louis Miller
      March 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

      What a great point! I had no idea that it was a conspiracy. But, the ignorant consumar seems all too willing to help them to screw us.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        I don't think it's a conspiracy: the market is speaking, and people love tablets. It's a shame that netbooks are becoming hard to find, though, because as I said I love mine.

  49. Glowing Screens?
    March 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

    My netbook screen strains my eyes far more than a tablet.
    Brighter (non auto-adjusting) backlight, more glare, and can't be viewed properly at any angle except directly in front horizontal upright.

    • Glowing Screens?
      March 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

      the way it sits on a desk.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        Here's what I meant: the one reason I'd want a tablet is for reading, because the form factor is great. The problem: tablets are glowing screens. As such, I use an eReader for reading or simply get my hands on a book. I'm certainly not saying that netbooks are better for reading than tablets...

  50. Pete
    March 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

    When I first signed up to MUO I felt that it was an interesting, unbiased, website that brought together lots of opinions etc. about all types of computing. Recently a crusade against all things Apple seems to have been developing. This would be fair enough if the articles provided substantive proof for any of their subjective claims. Please get back to doing what MUO used to be about and leave the petty nit-picking to other, lesser sites.

    • muotechguy
      March 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      You should read my articles (just click on my name in the footer, James Bruce), and you'll read the other side of the coin from an Apple fan. Remember, these opinion pieces are nto representative of everyone, they are just one viewpoint from our entire team. Interestingly, the people who comment on my articles seem to think we're turning into a site which ONLY caters to apple fanboys.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        Yeah, James here is a massive Apple fanboy. And I certainly don't mean to demean Apple here or in any of my articles: I like Apple's desktop operating system and love a lot of their hardware. I simply don't see any reason why I'd want to add a tablet to my life. If you gave me a free iPad today I'd probably sell it tomorrow.

  51. Ioan
    March 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Why do people always dismiss the "consumption" argument as if it's trivial? I'm doing a masters degree and reading PDF journal articles on my iPad is incredibly useful and rewarding to me. It's so much better than either reading on a computer screen (wrong orientation) or paper (come on, it's the 21st century, paper is heavy and I might forget it!).

  52. Aaron
    March 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I don't think the fact that you can break it is a particularly good reason not to buy a tablet. They both have their purpose and aren't really comparable, making this whole article seem like a waste of time. Who buys a tablet or a netbook to do "serious" work on?

    • Xavier
      March 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      I'm sorry, but what logic states that a netbook is any more or less sturdy than a tablet? Sure, any decent tablet uses a glass screen which could shatter on impact, but most people who carry their usually buy leather cases or portfolios for them. Plus I'm pretty sure that if you dropped both from 6ft or higher, they'd both be reduced to paperweights. But the bigger problem for netbooks is that most netbooks still use HDDs, which are physically fragile on their own, and they have the major disadvantage of BEING USED IN DEVICES YOU CARRY AROUND, such as netbooks and laptops. So the chance of your netbook surviving that 6ft drop, or being able able to readily access your data after said drop, are pretty slim.

      At least with the shattered screen on my tablet, I can just hook it up to my laptop and get all my data off of it. Good luck doing that on a netbook, assuming it'll still boot.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Again, it's my personal opinion. I work part time in a shop that repairs iPhone and iPads as well as netbooks, and I see way more shattered iPad screens than netbook screens there.

        My netbook has a Solid State Drive, and has survived more than a few six foot falls onto solid concrete flooring. But that's not the point: all I meant to say is that I, myself, don't want a tablet and shattered glass is one reason. It's not meant to be a universal rule for all consumers, it's just me exploring why it is that tablets don't appeal to me. Personally.

        I admit I'm probably crazy in the introduction. Some of the comments make me think I'm right on that point, but there are plenty of other comments from people as crazy as me. I'm honored people are taking so much time to discuss my points, and am learning a lot.

        • Kamal
          March 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

          Hey Justin, thanks for putting yourself and your views out there for open criticism. I own an Apple tablet and I love it. I agree with much of your points but I bought the tablet because its 'cool' to do so these days. (points for marketing) I also do a bit of writing and I must tell you it is much easier to pull out my tablet and add a few lines, paragraphs or chapters which I will edit later on my desktop.

          I chose the tablet for its convenience of use (and I'm not bothered much by the touchscreen keyboard which I have become accustomed to) I once lost my hard drive due to virus and much of my written work on it. Luckily I had typed much of my notes on my ipad and it was retrievable automatically even after I formatted my ipad because of the same nasty virus.

          Of course there are ways a notebook could have been assisted through the same problems however I just enjoyed the ease and convenience of the tablet. All in all I respect your views and your openness to the barrage of ensuing comments.

  53. Tim
    March 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

    i bought a tablet first that stuff cracked within 2 weeks i then bought a net book i dont see why i even though of something like a tablet i thought it be smarter to go the cheaper route and get a tablet but it was nearly as helpful as my netbook is.

  54. Topher Pettit
    March 18, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Disagree with this whole article. The netbooks can't handle files that I use for presentations. Sure, writing up a blog post or a chapter in a book... Wow... A typewriter can do those functions. When you can use your netbook to display a presentation with a rotating 3d model autodesk showcase and display a pages with nothing plugged in like over AirPlay and an iPad... Give me a call. Laptops, sure can handle 3d models... But all the netbooks I have played with can't handle the programs that I need for displaying high end 3d models.

    Also, if you have a problem writing on the iPad, they did invite a technology called Bluetooth that lets you hook up a Bluetooth keyboard to your tablet.

    I hate haters that don't use a product and hate on it. Try it first!!!!

    • Xavier
      March 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      I personally dislike everything Apple makes, and you're taking to a guy who turned his iPod into a phone, up until I got my Android (<3). That being said, don't get me wrong, iPads are great. But even the greatest tablet in the world won't match the versatility of the most common laptop. I absolutely love my tablet and, like I said, it's one of the most useful devices I own. But even so, it mostly supplements the usage of my laptop, more than ever trying to replace it.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        Great point, Xavier. How did you get your iPod to work as a phone?

        Topher: I've used an iPad more than just a little bit for work, and I'm certainly not hating on it or any other product.. The article is entirely just me exploring why I myself have no interest in a tablet, and isn't meant to be a universal argument. I'm glad you've got a device you're happy with and would never want to take that away from you. Enjoy!

        • Xavier
          March 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

          Back when I was too cheap to get a real phone, but too hooked to my laptop to not connected to the internet everywhere I go, I had skype on my iPod. That, coupled with a $3 unlimited calling subscription, $18 for a phone number, and a 4G mobile hotspot for T-mobile that I carried with me pretty much at all times, I had turned my iPod into a phone. It lasted for about a good 3 months, up until I could actually afford to pay $50 a month for the unlimited everything and the 5GB of data that came with my Android.

  55. Alex
    March 18, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Getting all mono is OK between you and your lover, but come on, these are gadgets... get both.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      All I'm saying is that I, personally, can't imagine what I'd use a tablet for. Like I said above: If you gave me an iPad today I'd sell it tomorrow.

      I'm not a fanboy. I use Windows, Android, Linux and Mac OS X in my day-to-day workflow. I just already have a phone, a netbook, an ereader and a couple of desktops. I don't know what niche a tablet would fill, for me. I'm glad so many people have devices they like, though.

  56. John E. Bredehoft
    March 18, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I am a writer. While some of my writing cannot be performed on my two year old netbook, at least it offers the possibility for serious writing.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Different tools for different workflows. Those of us who write like having tablets. Thanks for adding your feedback to the mix here, John.

  57. Tzvi
    March 18, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I have no experience with an Ipad, mainly because I didn't see any use for it for some of the same reasons mentioned the article. I bought a netbook that I'm very happy with. I use it for work when I'm away from my office (regular-sized notebook) when teaching and for presentations. It's a little slow, but the compact size and weight make up for that.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      I'm glad you like your netbook. These comments suggest you're not alone. Play with a tablet if you get a chance, because they are fun; I'm just not sure what I'd use one for myself.

  58. jimmygmail
    March 18, 2012 at 6:00 am

    i got my hands on a client's Asus Eee. I dialed it in for maximum speed and useabilty , and then i didn't want to stop playing with it! i had always thought i wouldn't like netbooks due to their small size, but i found the screen comfortable and i was able to type as fast as possible. i also got my hands on another client's HP tablet, and i think that is pretty nifty, though i see that more as a 'pocket computer'. i would not wnat to use one for writing or for DAW/computer music applications (though there are plenty of nifty iOS and Droid apps for the electric musician). i suppose i would like to have both! and a large laptop. and a desktop computer. and a large screen tv for a monitor. dream on

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      You make a good point: having everything would be nice, but most of us need to live without our means. It be nice to own every device, but if you have a budget you need to figure out what's important to you. I decided tablets aren't for me, for the reasons outlined above, and I don't think I'll change my mind. Others think differently. Thanks for your input!

  59. Joseph
    March 18, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Nice sensible article. I can't use the iPad keyboard -- my hands are too big. I wouldn't use it to consume, but to produce. Truth be told I can't produce AS MUCH on the ipad as I can on my notebook. I have a nook, 1st Gen., that is used for reading books and just that. I'm fine with these devices.

  60. Indronil
    March 18, 2012 at 5:47 am

    well i think a tab is a oversized phone ..it would be great to have a netbook with those features like led screens .. Some fast tegra processors those comes in tablets and extras such nfc bluetooth ..and last bt not the least a good graphics processor

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      I'd love to see something like this too. I guess we'll have to wait and see what comes out...

  61. Murachai
    March 18, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I too feel the same way as you.
    They are meant for different use. One for mobile internetting and the other as a mini laptop.

  62. Steven
    March 18, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I disagree with the statement that the death of the netbook is the word netbook itself and ultimately a netbook is merely a small laptop.

    Netbooks were cheap pieces of crap designed to lower the cost of computers for casual web and computer users. The fact that it was small in form factor probably had a lot to do with pricing beyond the "mobility" argument it's marketing led people to believe.

    By my definition, a Macbook Air is a laptop, not a perceived "netbook" not because the size doesn't fit (because it does) but because the pricing doesn't (ultimately the market netbooks were designed for.

    Let's face it, netbooks, if there was such a things, were meant to be affording computers masquerading as small laptops but ended up a pile of cow dung.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      I never thought of a netbook as a cheap piece of crap, so I'm obviously not working with the same definition as you. Some netbooks were cheap and crappy, certainly, but I didn't think all of them were. I could be wrong, though: it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

  63. emrecnl
    March 18, 2012 at 4:57 am

    All agreed. I have a 11" toshiba not actually a netbook lil bit bigger but I use it more than my phone. Because it's a computer because it runs multiple things at once and serves perfect than a smart phone.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      I'm glad you've got a device you like. Everyone should, whatever device that happens to be.

  64. Chris
    March 18, 2012 at 2:11 am

    iPad owner here. I knew it was a toy when I bought it. I have an iPod Touch that I carry everywhere, and I'd find myself surfing the Internet on it from the couch. I just figured that if I bought an iPad, I'd use it. And I do.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) The keyboard is not that bad. I'm typing on it now. It's not great, but I've used it for plenty of long emails, and I don't mind it.

    2) The battery life is amazing. If I have my laptop in public, I have to take a charger and hunt around for a plug.

    3) The iPad is an anywhere, anytime device. Try using a netbook while standing in line. The iPad is easy to get out and put away, and comfortable no matter if you're sitting or standing.

    4) I enjoy the games on my laptop. FPS are surprisingly decent, and cost between $5 and $10. Racing games are also kick-butt. I don't own a PX3, Xbox, or Wii - the iPad is my game system, and I'm probably saving money when you consider the cost of games.

    Ultimately, the iPad was not meant to be a laptops replacement.

    • John E. Bredehoft
      March 18, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Excellent rebuttal, Chris, and I will grant your point number 3. However, regarding point 2, the 4+ hours of battery life I get from my netbook (even after two years) is pretty good.

      • Xavier
        March 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        4 hours of battery life on any netbook simply wouldn't cut it for me. My 15.6in laptop gives me at least 6 hours on balanced settings, and my tablet lasts 9 hours before needing a charge.

        And as for Chris, I gotta agree with you on point 1 man. The keyboard on the iPod Touch/iPad is the best thing I've ever used next to and actual keyboard, which kinda hurts me to say considering I don't like Apple and am an Android fanboy. Back when I had my iPod Touch, I rarely ever made a mistake while speed-texting, and I have HUGE hands so it kind of amazed me that I could be so accurate on that small screen.

        Points 2 and 3 are two of the main reasons I bought my tablet, because it allowed me to play all the games I originally bought for my phone (thus saving my phone for more important usage) and saved me from having to carry my laptop everywhere. Now, the only time I take my laptop out of the house is for when I'm working on projects at school or for catching up on homework while I'm on break.

        And for Point 4, you're not really saving money. You're just spending it on a different market. I own an Xbox, which is my main gaming device. Aside from the occasional console game that I buy, I also have a rather large library of arcade games. These games, just like games on the Android Market and App Store, range from as low a buck to as high as $15. You can own an Xbox and literally never spend more than 1 dollar on a game.

        • Chris
          March 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

          I never thought I'd be an Apple guy. (My laptop is still a PC, but I'm a fan of the iPad.)

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Your points are excellent. I didn't mean for my comments to be universal: the piece is an exploration of why I, myself, see no point to getting a tablet. In regards to you points (again, from my point of view)

      1. I'm a touch typist, and have been for most of my life. Needing to look at the keys to type makes me feel like I'm seven years old again, and that frustrates me.

      2. Battery life is a very good point, and I can't counter that. It's a compelling reason to get a tablet.

      3. Part of the problem is I don't want to be online anytime, anywhere. I spend my working life online and treasure the moments when I'm unplugged because of the mental space that gives me. Again: I'm in the minority, but I know if I had a tablet I'd lose more of my life to glowing screens.

      4. I love gaming too, but tend to own consoles only when they're outdated so I can get cheap used games. I also only play games with my wife, because I like the social aspect, and a tablet isn't great for playing things together.

      So yeah, these are personal points that only apply to me. But so was the article. I'm glad you have a device you like; enjoy it! I'm going to keep loving my netbook.

      • Chris
        March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

        Fair enough.

        As for #1, I am also a touch typist, and the iPad keyboard only hinders me a little. Have you ever tried it? I don't remember it taking long to get used to.

        Take care.

        • Justin Pot
          March 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm


          I can't stand looking at the keyboard when I'm typing. I've tried the iPad keyboard extensively, and while it doesn't completely suck I don't think I could ever use it for work. I certainly can't use it to type and maintain eye contact with someone I'm interviewing or meeting with.

  65. Gourav
    March 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Agree. Tablets are useless if you want to get some work done, all you can do is browser the web and watch videos.

    • Richardnz
      March 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      And create and upload a YouTube video, and learn a new language and get an interactive textbook and make and upload a podcast or blog post, and get some entertainment and read a newspaper or run a spreadsheet, make a presentation and show it, check and write your email, keep your appointments and get the latest market news and listen to the radio and use it as a calculator or make an audio recording or make notes and Email them to yourself (about a book you just read nor pdf you downloaded from a website) or navigate your way down the road or around a new town or go there virtually and have it translate the signs into your language or do text to speech or speech to text and even find out a place nearby where they sell bleeding Watney's Red Barrel. Sure have an odd definition of useless my friend. Oh yeah and even get annoyed replying to people who write about things they obviously have never tried.

      • Louis Miller
        March 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

        I like your ideas about the tablet. I had never really thought of all those uses. I think Gourav meant that 90% of the time, you will use it for necessary web browsing, because you would rather wait till you get home and use a full-size computer and watching videos, as well as checking e-mails and watching videos. And that right now, they are so expensive, that except as an executive toy, that they wouldn't be useful enough to justify the expense.

        If you are going to do all that, why not just take along a laptop or netbook? Learning a new language and reading the newspaper might take a while. But, the first use of a newspaper for people who aren't know-it-alls is clipping coupons, so I don't know how that would work in the electronic edition.

        But, you aren't buying it because it looks cool? You are buying it because it helps you grow as a human being and evolve. You are my hero!

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        Nicely put. Many people find great uses for tablets, and that's awesome. My point wasn't that tablets are useless: it's that I myself can't find a good reason to own one.

      • mungatsuma
        August 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        Well why not buy a smart phone, sony experia arc s and do all that on the go? Try editing graphics or transcoding dvds or compile software on your beloved tablet and see why they are not yet called PCs? What a phone can do, I will let the phone do, what it cant do, I will buy a PCthat can do that. I will not have something that's not as good as a mobile phone (too big for one) and not as good as a camera, not as good as a computer and still not as good as Play Station, so what is its niche? Poser?

  66. Steve G
    March 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

    My "netbook" experience started before the media came up with the buzzword. It was with an old 9" screen Fujitsu and it had a touch screen. I upgraded it to a HP 2133 mininote - great machine and I still have it. I also have an Acer Travelmate C110 and a Fujitsu U1010, both of which are convertable tablets with real keyboards. If I want to downgrade my experience then I can choose to use the on-screen keyboards & loose my screen space. One of my pet hates are these idiots who come out with the same stupid saying that netbooks are only good for email or surfing the web or for just playing with. Well, by choosing software to match my netbooks specs I can do almost anything that a more powerful computer can do. I can watch TV & record them, edit or convert the video, run Cad or graphics programs, use them for my music practise, edit audio and even run all of my business programs if the need arises etc, etc. The best thing about them is being able to have them with you at all times. Like they say with cameras - the best one is the one you have with you!

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      To each their own, right? I'm glad you like your netbook, just like I'm glad other people in these comments like their tablets. Finding the right software for your platform is important, which is why I'm thankful the Ubuntu team puts out such a good OS for netbooks.

  67. M. Espinosa
    March 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I love my netbook. I have two of them in the house. I also have a desktop, a 17in laptop and an iPad. All my machines are used regularly. The desktop has external drives holding terabytes and terabytes of family pictures and videos. The 17" laptop is my workhorse and go to machine for editing and major jobs. The tablet is my fun, quick viewer around the house. However, the netbook is always with me in my bag. My Dell Inspiron Mini cost under $200, so I don't worry about it breaking as much as the others. Its keyboard is almost standard size for writing blog posts and is my go-to machine when the kids want to use a computer for homework. It starts quickly and is more powerful than the desktops that were out just a few years back.

    I think of it as having knives in the house -- get the right one for the right job. I hope the 10" screen portable will always be an option for people wanting an inexpensive, reliable, small, light computing machine.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      I hope it is always an option as well. I think many devices in the future will be tablet/netbook hybrids, which will give us the advantages of both tools in one device.

  68. Jon Cline
    March 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I have a desktop, netbook, laptop, and tablet. I wouldn't have purchased the tablet for myself because I thought it wouldn't be suitable for all the things I do (which it isn't). I got a Toshiba Thrive for Christmas though and I use it a lot. I still use my desktop quite a bit too but rarely use my Acer one netbook. A tablet is great for surfing, Netflix, Craigslist, and downloading music. I use it for reading as well and it doesn't bother my eyes. If I want to do that stuff on a small screen I'll use my tablet. If I want it bigger or I want to multitask I use my dual screen desktop. My net book is portable but cumbersome in bed and the small screen makes "creating" on it too time consuming. I typed this in no time with swype text on my tablet but I wouldn't want to write a lot of articles on it. I can see why you would be OK with a net book but you could use a wireless keyboard with a tablet when needed and have more portability when you don't.

    The Thrive is around $350, no e-ink reader needed, great for movies, and you can put Ubuntu on it too. I don't think I pads are worth the money but tablets surprisingly are very useful. I think you would be surprised too if you used one for a while but sometimes its better not to know, stick with what's more affordable, and go on with you're day.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      This is a great comment. I might need to look into some of these affordable tablets someday, but for now my netbook is working great so I'm perfectly happy. Thanks for your well thought out comment, and for reading my humble rant.

  69. Curtis Perry
    March 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Great arguments Justin. My counter arguments:

    1. Dictation.

    2. Text as sharp as print with 264ppi screen, in a useful 3:4 portrait screen ideal for reading, reducing the use of paper.

    3. A metadata file system reduced "shit work" ie file management.

    4. A good camera, useful as a scanner and for visual references.

    5. Hardware becomes obsolete only because the software takes advantage of hardware advances. Virtuous cycle.

    6. You can have a real keyboard with low energy Bluetooth 4.0, not a cramped netbook keyboard.

    7. Ultimately it depends on what your needs are. But clearly there is a large niche for iPad users; they're not idiots. I really don't understand the politics inherent in some comments here.

    So, great points Justin, and hopefully I've painted a compelling alternative to your argument.

    • Ibrahim Ali
      March 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Numbers 5 and 6 are weak as arguments -- #5 virtuous cycle? Are you xxx kidding me? I have to throw away my ipad every year for that? #6 will necessitate carrying the keyboard around - so there is no plus here.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      This is a great list, and I'm flattered you've taken the time to put it together in response to my humble rant. My article was all about me, and why I myself am not interested in a tablet. So I'll address your points from that perspective.

      1. Dictation is great for a first draft, but in my opinion the art of writing is all about the second, third, forth and fifth draft. It's hard to beat a keyboard when you're editing copy.

      2. Wasting paper is a problem, and I could see how a tablet could save a lot of it. I hardly print anything, though, so it wouldn't save me a lot.

      3. I like file management, and don't find it takes up much of my time. I could be wrong, though...I certainly haven't studied it.

      4. I've got a good camera on my phone, and an even better camera on my...camera.

      5. I just think it's a shame that devices are becoming obsolete so quickly. It's very wasteful and not sustainable long term, in my opinion.

      6. This isn't a compelling reason for me to want a tablet. "You can use it just like your (cheaper) netbook if you spend extra money on a keyboard!" My netbook's keyboard is very comfortable.

      7. I agree completely. All I wanted to say is that a tablet doesn't fit my needs, and I certainly didn't mean to imply iPad owners are idiots. I admit I'm probably crazy in the introduction.

  70. Fer
    March 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Gateway laptop over here and an Acer mini for the wife. Is all we need and is all we want for a long time. As a writter, I can´t understand the tablet fever and I can do all my work in a less than $300 good ol laptop.

  71. rja
    March 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Perfect. I need a portable device I can get work done on that doesn't weigh 6lbs! Thanks for bringing me back to my senses -- although tablets are tempting, I know I won't get much work done on them. Any tips for current models to purchase? Would like to stay under $500.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      I haven't been in the market for a laptop f or a while, so I can't make any recommendations. My main advice: stay away from anything that says "media" or "entertainment" on it, because those are industry code words for "crap".

    • Xavier
      March 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      I've yet to see a netbook sold in any major retailer for over $300. Tablets can be around $250, and if you're looking for a good, all-around tablet that's great for its price, I have to recommend something like the Acer Iconia A200. It's about $350 right now in most markets but easily has the specs of any $500+ tabs, assuming you don't mind not having a rear-facing camera or HDMI port.

    • Brandon
      May 11, 2012 at 3:01 am

      Personally, when my laptop dies, I'm getting an ultrabook (according to intel, they are falling to $600 this year!)

      I really dislike the 92% keyboard, and tablet keyboards make me want to cry...although I need something small and light to fit in my bag.

  72. Nolan Quigley
    March 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    lulz theres a ad for the "EPAD" right above... lulz

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      The perils of keyword-based advertising...

  73. Nolan Quigley
    March 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    yeah ipads and the like are all reterded, sure you can read a book or news story check email facebook and twitter but really? is that the very best thing you can do with your life? dont you have time for real people? even the most geekiest guys have social lives, well i do ;) so yeah, i got a macintosh desktop its 2 years old but still out shines the newest and best tablets.

    • Dl
      March 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

      I have both and I love them, I don't use my IPad for social networking or email, I work on it and sometimes play a simple game as I am not really a gamer either, the music you can add is nice, and I don't watch TV so I don't use it for those things. If there is a show I might want to see, I have Eye One on my Imac which acts as a TIVO does, it records can send video or shows to my Ipad and to my TV, smart TV, whatever my husband picked up LOL He's the TV watcher. I also have a Netbook I've delegated to one of our kids who needed a small PC so that worked out well and the Asus Netbook was/is great and has never had a problem in the years since I got it for the kids and us when we decide to use it.

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        I'm learning so much about the different reasons people prefer different devices from all of these comments. Thanks for adding your ideas.

  74. Anomaly
    March 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I can't understand the attraction to tablets. This whole tablet mania, especially the moron pad err I mean iPad, just goes to show people are idiots.

    I hate tablets for several reasons,

    1) The OS that's in them. They use mobile OS's like iOS, and Android. These OS's are useless. Try browsing the wed with the crap browsers these mobile OS's have. They are crippled compared to a regular browser.

    2) No key board. If you are even slightly computer literate you will be a heavy user of key board short cuts. Not having a real keyboard is like having your hands tied behind your back.

    3) The idiot factor. I think tablets are made for, marketed to, and used by idiots. Any body I know that uses one is a major poser. They by them because it's the current cool thing to own. They want to own the current hot thing.

    4) Netbooks/Ultrabooks blow tablets out of the water. They have desktop OS's and real keyboards. You can run real programs on them not the crap apps of tablets.

    • Louis Miller
      March 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

      What you write seems silly, but it is only because you aren't using your imagination. Tablets are beautiful and wonderful and useful. They are also expensive and unnecessary. Unnecessary and useless are different. not responding to you, but just saying.

      I fully intend to buy one when they get down to $20 new. Aw, maybe $30. By then, they will no longer be a status symbol, though. Remember, when cellphones or car phones used to be really expensive and a status symbol? Cell phones aren't as statusy, today. Hi, I'm Bill, I live in a trailer park. I don't own a landline anymore, but I have a cellphone!

      • Justin Pot
        March 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        Yeah, I'm not sure I buy all of Anomaly's points either. But that's the point of this entire exercise: people have different reasons for buying different devices. I don't want a tablet; some people agree with me, others disagree. It's fun seeing people's reasons.

        I'm not sure any (good) tablet will cost $20 any time soon: laptops certainly aren't approaching that price point and they've been around a long time.

    • d niffenegger
      May 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      I'm using a Windows 7 tablet (not at this moment). As I said elsewhere, the Tablet PCs are a completely different ballgame. Their expensive--boy are they expensive--but they do anything a laptop can.

      That's the problem, Tablet PC has not caught on so there's no reference point for productivity and content generation. Sure, you can type and post a homework assignment with an iPad (a friend of mine tried) but it's very clumsy and difficult.

  75. Adrian
    March 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Great article Justin.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for reading it!

  76. Juan Luis Palma
    March 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    My Dell Inspiron Duo say: Hi!

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      My EEE 900a says: Hey!

      • monty
        September 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        my hp pavillion says; hello