While tablet computers have a lot of features and benefits, they also have quite a few downsides. It's important that you carefully consider these disadvantages before you buy a tablet. That way, you can ensure that the gadget truly meets your personal or professional computing needs. TUTORIAL: Investing 101
Downsides of using tablet computers include:
The biggest potential downside to purchasing a tablet computer, is that there is no physical keyboard built in. You can only type using the touchscreen. If you send a lot of email messages, or if you like to chat via instant messages, the lack of a keyboard can be a real drawback. Typing messages using a touchscreen, can be time consuming and frustrating. (For related reading, see How Tablets And E-Readers Can Save You Money.)
Lack of Ports
Many tablet computers do not include ports, and this can significantly limit overall functionality. For example, a tablet may or may not have a VGA port. Without it, you cannot connect your computer to your television, among other things. Furthermore, if a tablet doesn't have a card reader port, you can't view photos from your digital camera.
Some tablets don't come equipped with standard USB ports, which are used to insert thumb drives into your computer. This is a major disadvantage if you need to upload documents from another computer, quickly and easily. Full-sized computers come with several ports for all of your computing needs. If you want to buy a tablet computer, research the number and type of ports it has, to make sure that the machine has all of the features you need.
No DVD or Blu-ray Drive
Very few tablet computers come with DVD drives. This add-on allows you to watch movies, and you can also use the drive to view other forms of electronic media. Carefully consider whether you can do without this valuable feature before you buy a tablet.
High-definition videos will soon be the norm in the electronics industry. The 10-inch tablets typically have the functionality to properly display high-definition videos. Seven-inch tablets, because of their small screen resolution, cannot display these videos in high definition. Nothing is worse than purchasing a product, that you think is on the cutting edge of technology, only to realize, soon after, that it is already time to upgrade. (If you're interested in investing in companies that create tablets and eReaders, see A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry.)
There is no doubt about it, tablet computers are fragile, and their touchscreens can easily become damaged. Also, their small size and portability mean that the tablets are handled more, further increasing the risk of an accident. In some cases, a tablet's screen hinge is designed to rotate around two axes, which can easily break, if handled incorrectly. A larger-sized laptop, stored securely in a laptop case, is more durable.
Since tablet computers are fairly new to the market, you have to pay a premium price to get them. With an average price range of more than $400, they cost more than a lot of conventional netbooks. If you have your heart set on a tablet, wait for the prices to decline. Some experts predict that the prices for tablets will continue to drop over the next few years. Alternatively, you can discard the notion of purchasing a tablet altogether, and pick up a mid-range netbook computer for a fraction of the cost.
Tablet computers aren't ergonomically correct. If you plan to work for long periods of time, using a tablet will quickly become awkward, and could be hazardous to your health. The risk of repetitive strain injuries to your neck, back and wrists is enormous when you work on a computer, and using a tablet only exacerbates that danger. You may want to look for a computer that offers an ergonomic set-up, which correctly positions your body for optimum comfort and maximum efficiency while you work.
The Bottom Line
If you want to impress your family and friends, by owning the latest electronic device, then a tablet computer may be right for you. Otherwise, there are many downsides to tablets that you should keep in mind as you make your decision. If you want to buy a tablet, consider waiting until prices drop before you buy. Alternatively, if someone on your holiday shopping list wants a tablet, get them a gift certificate with instructions to buy the exact model and style they want. In this way, they can also take advantage of after-Christmas sales and purchase when prices have dropped. (For related reading, see 5 Alternatives To Expensive Textbooks.)