Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10-inch Tablet v. 10-inch Netbook: Web Browsing, Multimedia, Storage & Connectivity

Web browsing. When it comes to browsing the web, a touchscreen device is a much more comfortable and interactive than using a keyboard and trackpad. The only drawback is that the Apple iPad does not support flash. However, the SkyFire browser promises to bring some degree of flash support to the iPad. 

With the netbook, the smaller the usual form factor also means a smaller than usual trackpad, which makes navigating the web less comfortable than with a regular sized laptop. Unless flash support is important to you, than the iPad makes for a better pure web browsing tool than the netbook.

The iPad's screen, with its 1024 x 768 resolution will also show more of a webpage than the typical 1024 x 600 netbook screen, although some 10-inch netbooks do have 1366 x 768 resolution screens.

Multimedia. Both the iPad and a netbook are likely to be used on long trips as multimedia devices. Apple iPad's have poor speakers, and is best used with earphones when watching movies or listening to music. Most netbooks, and most laptops do not have good built-in speakers either.

What distinguishes the iPad from a netbook in use for multimedia, is that the iPad can play High Definition video, and the typical Intel Atom powered netbook cannot. Netbooks with Nvidia ION chips  can play HD content. The only one we know of is the Asus 1005PN,which as far as we know is not available in the Philippines.

AMD powered "netbooks" with discrete graphics can also play HD content. We really do not consider the AMD powered "netbooks" as a netbook.   

Storage.  The entry level iPad has 16MB's of storage. While iPad's with 32GB and 64GB of storage are available outside the price range of netbooks. There is also no way to expand this by using a SD card, plugging in a flash drive or external optical drive, as the iPad has card reader or USB ports.

Your typical netbook uses a 160GB to 250GB hard drive, which can be easily upgraded. In addtion,
a netbook has a card reader and 2-3 USB ports. If storage is important to you the netbook is by far the better choice.

Connectivity. The iPad, can connect to the web via WiFi and to other devices via Bluetooth. Getting Bluetooth to work with no Apple devices is a hit and miss affair. You can also connect it to a computer using the dock connector provided, but you have to use iTunes to manipulate the files on your iPad. 

Netbooks are simply much easier to integrate with other devices.. You can easily plug a Php1,245 3G USB modem to a netbook. Getting a 3G enable iPad will cost Php7,000 more. The other ways to get an iPad online outside of a WiFi hot spot is to create your own hotspot trough a portable WiFi router or mobile phone.

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