Technology Explained

7 Reasons Why You Still Need a Tablet This Year

Derek Walsh 25-08-2016

Some people would have you believe that you don’t need a tablet anymore 7 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Tablet Anymore Has the era of tablets come to an end? Now that smartphones, laptops, and e-readers are sufficiently advanced, the tablet is on the verge of being obsolete. Read More , that everything you use a tablet for can be done just as well or better with another device. But is that really the case? Or is a tablet still an essential item?


In the mere six years since the iPad burst onto the scene, an estimated one billion tablets of various sizes and quality have been sold, and while sales have certainly leveled off, that’s mostly because the market is now saturated.

If you have a tablet and have stopped using it, or you never got one, here are some reasons why you may want to reconsider and/or start using one.

1. It’s Bigger Than Your Phone

There’s been a trend toward bigger phones over the past few years — which are hideously called “phablets” — but who wants to carry a phone that big everywhere? Who needs a two-handed phone? At that point, it may as well be a tablet.

Having a tablet means you can keep a regular pocket-fitting one-handed phone while having a larger device in reserve for times when you need to work, when you want to play games, or when your phone is too cramped.

While some of the larger phones on the market approach the screen size of a small tablet, even the largest phablet has a screen size around half that of a full-sized tablet. That’s a big difference whether you’re watching movies or looking at spreadsheets.


iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 Plus

For some, it might even be worth considering a combination of “dumb” phone and tablet instead. A dumb phone is smaller, cheaper, and more resilient than a smartphone and has a battery life measured in days rather than hours.

If you’re always within range of a Wi-Fi connection, you won’t even need a data plan The Best US Cellular Data Plans for Your Smartphone Though mobile phones have improved over the years, cellular plans have either stayed the same or gotten worse. Luckily, we've found the best deals for US smartphone users. Read More .

Keep your phone for making calls and sending texts, and your tablet for everything else. You might find that having to switch to a separate device to go online helps you avoid distractions and that not receiving notifications every time you check the time on your phone frees you from checking Facebook a hundred times a day.


2. It’s Smaller Than Your Laptop

A good tablet can do most of the things a laptop can do. It’s smaller, faster, and more convenient all round. You may not want it to be your main device, but if you already have a desktop PC or a bulky laptop then a 10-inch tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard can fill in when you’re on the road.


Yes, there’s a trend towards smaller, lighter laptops too, but for the moment your choices are between something very expensive, something very weak, or any of a range of two-in-ones or hybrids What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More that are basically just tablets with keyboards anyway.

If you already have a tablet, get a suitable keyboard and you have everything you need to work while traveling light.


3. It Does More Than Your E-Reader

E-readers are great, and in some situations, an e-reader is a better choice than a tablet. An e-ink screen What Is E-Ink? How It Works & Why Every Ebook Fan Needs It If you read ebooks and haven't switched to E-Ink yet, then you're seriously missing out. Here's everything you need to know about why E-Ink rocks for ebook lovers. Read More  is more comfortable to read and the battery life of an e-reader is much longer than that of a tablet.

But in good lighting and with the right settings, a tablet is fine for reading, even for long periods, and battery life is rarely an issue — the eight to ten hours of the average tablet is usually more than adequate per session.

iPad and Kindle compared

There are times when an e-reader falls short and only a tablet will do. When you want to read magazines or graphic novels, a vibrant full-color tablet is a much better bet than a dull grayscale e-reader.


A larger screen size is also an advantage there as it’s closer in size to the original format, and while large-format e-readers exist, they’re not a useful option for most people.

Most e-readers have a built-in dictionary and the Kindle even has a browser, but doing any kind of serious searching on an e-reader is a drag. Many non-fiction books will include links to online articles, or even videos, and reading on a tablet means they’re just a tap away.

4. For Use in the Kitchen

In retrospect, tablets could almost have been designed purely to replace traditional cookbooks. They give you access to an almost infinite number of recipes, video tutorials, conversion and substitution charts, forums for questions, and more.


And the format of the tablet is perfect for the kitchen — yet another situation where a phone is too small but a laptop is too unwieldy. You could even consider getting a cheap tablet just for cooking, load it up with cookery apps and links, and not have to worry about an expensive device getting covered in hollandaise sauce.

5. For Kids to Play With

If you have children, you don’t want them messing with your personal phone, and you certainly don’t want their grubby, sticky fingers all over your computer. Giving an old tablet to the kids could be a great solution (if you don’t have one, buy a cheap one for them).

Fire Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Green Kid-Proof Case (Previous Generation - 5th) Fire Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Green Kid-Proof Case (Previous Generation - 5th) Buy Now On Amazon

Amazon’s Fire tablet is only $50 and comes in a Kid’s Edition that includes a carry case, access to loads of age-appropriate games and apps, child protection settings, and a no-questions-asked replacement policy.

6. For Personal Projects

If you have a little time and a little patience, there are simply loads of things you can do with an old tablet — or, considering prices start at around $50, a new one. You can turn it into a media server, a retro games console How to Turn an Android Device Into a Retro Gaming Console Love retro gaming? Here's how to easily turn any Android phone into a retro game console and enjoy your favorite classic titles. Read More , a mouse and keyboard How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows Imagine you could control your Windows PC with your Android? Intel Remote Keyboard turns your phone into a mouse and keyboard for your Intel PC. We show you how it works. Read More , a digital picture frame Make a Remote Controlled Photo Slideshow With an Android If you've ever wanted a digital photo display in your home, I'm going to show you how to use an old tablet, connector pieces, and a monitor to create your photo frame. Read More , or any number of other things 6 Creative Uses for Your Android Tablet Have an Android tablet? You'll enjoy these creative uses for it! Read More .

Your tablet is basically a small touschscreen computer with a camera (or two) and there’s almost no limit to what you can do with one.

7. As a Backup Device

So what if you have a large phone, a small laptop, an e-reader, no kids, you live mostly on pizza, and you don’t feel like taking on any kinds of projects? If that describes you, you may be wondering if you really need a tablet after all.

Well, as a worst case scenario, if any or all of your other devices suddenly stop working for some reason and you need to get something done right this minute, a tablet can always fill in.


A tablet is the jack-of-all-trades in the electronics world. It can do everything a smartphone can do (except make phone calls), everything an e-reader can do (and in full color) and pretty much everything a laptop can do (except run a few unique programs).

It can certainly substitute for any of them while you wait for a repair or replacement. It can also fill in for a camera, a remote control, a radio, an alarm clock and almost any electronic device you can think of.

The age of the tablet is far from over. We’ll never want phones big enough to replace them, a laptop as small and light as a tablet will always be a compromise, and e-readers will either stagnate or evolve until they’re indistinguishable from tablets. The tablet is here to stay.

Do you think a tablet is essential or do you get by without one? Do you use one for anything not mentioned here? If your tablet broke, would you replace it? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Android Tablet, Buying Tips, Windows Tablet.

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  1. Howard
    August 31, 2016 at 5:45 am

    I have been a big believer after adopting so many devices to get back to having one or two. I literally only need a small phone-even a flip, and a small laptop. Quality is key. I might keep my large laptop for movies along with using the small one as well for the same thing at times. I don't even need a tv and cable. I use my smart phone a lot but I really want to eliminate a big data plan altogether. I only want to pay 10 bucks a month myself for data. Add another 5 to 10 for the whole phone bill. The rest will be wifi on laptops. I read Steve Jobs didn't let his own kids use devices often or for lengthy time. I subscribe to that now. We're idiots to buy into these zombie state and cash suckers. My parents got along just fine (and happier) without all this junk. It's like being addicted to bells ringing and lights blinking gambling (losing cash) at a casino.

  2. Rann Xeroxx
    August 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    One category missing from the list are Windows tablets. You can get some very light weight ones with full Windows 10 on them. Even if you never dock them or use them as a laptop 2:1, just having the ability to completely sync everything, including settings & configurations from your primary PC with the tablet is super nice. And you get a full browser with full extension support.

    If you don't mind Chinese knock offs, you can even get one that looks exactly like an iPad Mini (I mean to the finest detail) in the XiaoMi Mi Pad 2 Windows 10 Version. It actually runs W10 x64 on a quad core Atom.

  3. ben
    August 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I have a 10" tablet, smart phone, an older flip phone that is far better for just phone calls, a laptop for travel and a full 3 screen desktop at home. Each is best for what it was intended for and sucks at some other things. The tablet is best for use in places like airports and waiting rooms where there may not be an outlet to charge your dying smart phone or plug in a laptop with a low battery. I use it as a reader and have multiple novels already on it. I can use it for movies as well. Beats watching a movie on the small phone screen with it's limited battery life. And, with dropbox I can still access work documents and send emails on the tablet without having to break out the laptop. At home, I can send a movie to the big screen TV on the wall and my surround sound system. My tablet is very useful, but so are my other gadgets.

  4. C. Lastres
    August 26, 2016 at 4:52 am

    "A tablet is the jack-of-all-trades in the electronics world. It can do everything a smartphone can do (except make phone calls)"

    You can make phone calls on tablets too...Google Voice, Hangouts Dialer, Skype.....etc.

    • Derek Walsh
      August 26, 2016 at 9:08 am

      True, although of course it's not as convenient. You need a data connection and an account that allows you to make calls, and using a tablet as a phone in public may attract strange looks (particularly if it's a large tablet).
      But in a pinch, it can do the job.

  5. pawces
    August 26, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Started with the 1st galaxy tab 7, now enjoying a Tab S 8.4 and patiently waiting to upgrade to a 4K AMOLED screen in the same size range. You have a tablet for the same reason you wear different shoes for different activities - it just does things better in certain situations than a laptop or a phone. A tablet works best for when there is not enough room to deploy your laptop comfortably, but a phone's screen is too small to properly enjoy or do efficiently whatever it is you intend to watching some movies while flying economy, or attending a meeting where there are more people than seats at the conference table.

  6. Anonymous
    August 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I use my old Nexus 7 (2012) as a radio alarm clock. It's full of audiobooks i listen to in the evenings.
    My Nexus 9 is used to listen to podcasts, amongst other things. I use the bluetooth to connect to my soundbar on the TV and enjoy a ton of shows.
    I also use it to watch Netflix/Amazon/BBC etc..
    Love my tablets and I'd be lost without them.