Life With a Tablet PC - Part 2

Much as I want to get a tablet PC as my next computer (not that I can afford even a laptop power supply for the next 18 months but, hey, one can dream, right?) I worry that it might not be powerful enough for my needs. At least not in the medium-term...but more on that later. For now though, since I am a student who moves around a great deal and whose primary computer is a laptop (so it needs to go with me everywhere), I need to be as mobile as possible. I would get that mobility with a tablet PC; while its slate-mode functionality would significantly increase my productivity. I also value performance very highly -- I play computer games and edit graphics and audio -- and most high-end tablet PCs (i.e. the latest offerings from Fujitsu, Lenovo, and HP) would let me do some of that which, for the time being, is sufficient for my needs.

The problem is that, the more mobile a computer is, the less powerful it generally is. If you list computers in increasing order of power and, therefore, in decreasing order of mobility you get this:

  • Ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) -- diary-sized, with 4 to 7-inch screens

  • Small tablet PCs -- A4 page-sized, with 9 to 10-inch screens

  • Regular tablet PCs -- ring binder-sized, with 12 to 13-inch screens

  • Regular laptops -- file folder-sized, with 14 to 15-inch screens

  • Gaming/media laptops -- box file-sized, with 15 to 17-inch screens

  • Regular desktops -- standard, with 15 to 22-inch screens

  • Gaming/media desktops -- large, with 19 to 30-inch screens (maybe even multiple screens)

My previous laptop (the one that died a few months ago) was a regular laptop. The one I am using now is a four year-old regular laptop (so it's smaller, heavier, and less powerful than a modern-day regular laptop). If I was to get a laptop next week, I would unhesitatingly get a regular, convertible tablet PC. That much is clear. Now this would be nice for a while. For quite a while, actually; that is, at least for the duration of my studies.

Once I graduate and get a job, since I would continue to use this as my primary computer at everywhere but work, I would then want to buy a large-ish external monitor for it and maybe a nice keyboard and mouse too. That would be just fine as well.

Eventually, though, there would come a time when I would want to play the latest versions of my favourite computer games and use the latest versions of my favourite resource-intensive (mainly multimedia-editing) software packages. That's when the tablet PC's lack of computing power would start to pinch (mainly the lack of a dedicated graphics card). I would then seriously consider buying a gaming/media desktop (I would be rolling in money by now, see?).

Now, knowing (more accurately: hoping) that this is how things will play out, I wonder: to avoid having to buy two computers (as if that's a bad thing), should I just buy a nice powerful laptop now instead of that tablet PC? Fortunately, my answer is am emphatic no. The fact is I do need to use a computer in two different ways and that there isn't one computer that will do both things for me (i.e. be both mobile and powerful).

What, then, was the point of writing all this? What is the moral of my little story? I think the point of writing all this is simply to say that some day, when I grow up, I am going to be just like James Kendrick :)