When Using a Tablet is Better Over a Smartphone

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by Lori Cunningham

VS.In previous articles, I reviewed the  Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ and 10.1“.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the Tab and highly recommend one.  I have been asked many times, is a tablet worth investing in if you have s smartphone.  I have been using tablets for nearly a year now and this article points out the benefits of using a tablet over a smartphone.  However, let me make it clear that I do not believe a tablet can be used in place of a smartphone.  You still need both.

I have found that I use the tablet for most things except when 1.) I needed to call someone (most tablets don’t have phone service) and 2.) I wanted to be more discreet when checking e-mail.  Basically, it boils down to this.  Use a Tablet when you want the convenience of a lightweight computer (much lighter than laptops/netbooks) yet desire a larger screen.  The larger screen display is why you’ll favor a tablet over a smartphone.   Here are ways in which having a larger screen is preferrable:

1.  Watching Videos – the 7″ or 10″ screen is a welcome change from the 3.2″ or smaller screen on smartphone.  The videos are much more engaging and the lighting seems to be better.  Watching on a tablet makes movies more sociable since more than one person can watch the movie.

2. Reviewing and Making Appointments on Your Calendar – tablets are extremely helpful with appointment management.  During CES I had over 80 appointments to keep track of during the week.  The weekly view helped me to easily identify my upcoming appointments and possible openings for new appointments.  My tablet performed way better than my smartphone in this area.

3.  Responding to Texts/e-mail’s –  The SWYPE keyboard is much larger and I had a lot less texting/e-mail typing mistakes as a result.

4.  Reading Books on Kindle – hello?  Have you ever tried to read a book on your smartphone?  Using a tablet to read books allows for larger fonts and more words to be read on a page.  A tablet creates a more natural look-and-feel due to it’s closer size to a book.

5.  Playing Angry Birds…and Other Games – now two players can watch and play more easily when playing  games.  More people are involved and the game becomes more fun.  With a larger screen, you really get a sense at how angry those birds really are!  Angry Birds is a fun free app in the Android Market (free) and iTunes Store (free-$.99) that is a fun addictive game that has gained widespread popularity.

6.  Price Comparison Shopping – boy I wish I had a tablet when my husband and I were shopping for a new BBQ.  First of all, you can search online for the brand and features of the product you’re looking at in the store.  Secondly, you can use a price comparison service like PriceGrabber.com, Shopzilla.com, etc. to easily identify whether the price of the product in the store is a decent price compared to online prices.  Having a big touchscreen with the ability to easily magnify products features and pictures make it easier to compare products.

7.  Viewing and Reading Websites – this just makes sense…whenever you have a larger surface to read from, it’s easier to read and you’re more likely to read for longer.

8.  Viewing Pictures – who doesn’t like to see pictures of their baby on a bigger screen to bring out the baby’s personality?  With a larger viewing screen sharing your pictures is sociable and fun.

9.  Using GPS – you can read the screen easier and touch the buttons you mean to touch more precisely to get the information you want to see.  More people in the car can see the map which helps answer the question, “are we there yet?”

10.  Controlling Your  TV – as I mentioned in The Top 6 Product Trends of CES 2011, one of the major tech trends is that the smartphone is in control.  While this is still true due to the larger number of people who have a smartphone over a tablet, a tablet makes this control much more convenient.  A larger screen is easier for family members to type in shows, channels, or movies they are interested in.  With the right software, you can see all or most of your connected devices on one screen.  You can control more features of a TV, receiver, or information from your computer more easily on one to a few screens on the tablet versus 5+ screens on a smaller smartphone screen.

A Mom’s Perspective

Do I think tablets are worth the money?  Yes.  Do I think they will be used as extensively as your smartphone?  Well, no, not right away.  I love the sociability and connectiveness tablets bring to a household.  Playing games on a tablet  are more sociable.  Pictures can be shared very easily or the tablet can be docked and used as picture frame.

You can now download apps to help you control your TV, receiver, cable DVR recordings, pool settings, music around the house, content from your computer, lock your doors, change your thermostat, see when your kids get home via your connected cameras, etc.  There are so many exciting things becoming available through the use of our smartphones, PC’s, and tablets.

With over 80 tablets introduced this year and more in the pipeline, the iPad is no longer the only contender.  With over 300,000 apps available in the iTunes store and 100,000 apps in the Android Market, there are plenty of resources to to take advantage of with your tablet.

I thoroughly enjoyed using a tablet and I am sold on the benefits of using a tablet…inside my home and outside of it.  I only wish the tablet would be phone capable so I wouldn’t have to carry both my phone and tablet on short out-of-the-home stints. .

For those of you with a tablet, please leave us a comment telling us why you love your tablet!

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