Smartphone,Tablet, Laptop, Netbook: What should you buy and Why?

The world of personal computing is changing. What needed almost a building to operate 4-5 decades ago, now fits into your purse without any fuss thanks to the increasing computing power and a corresponding decrease in size. Earlier there was Desktop/Personal Computer(PC). Laptops were invented to give a person ability to take his computer along with him anywhere. Smartphones were invented to give a person usual mobile phone services, along with computer like functionality.  Tablet PCs were invented to give a person more computer features in a smartphone.
Mobile device computing

Growth of mobile device

 But a question always lingers: Between a smartphone, netbook, laptop and tablet, which should you buy? With laptops falling in price, netbooks features rising  and smartphones commanding from 5000- 15000 or more, tablets available in the range of Rs 6000 to 40,000 the differences in price blurred-a high end tablet or a low end laptop. So what should one consider before making a purchasing decisionIt depends on why you need it, what will you use it for. This post might help you in understanding these gadgets, highlighting the features and differences.

Smartphone

A smartphone is the simplest of the four mobile computing device types. They offer the usual mobile phone service, talking and messaging, enhanced with other, computer-like functionality. Smartphones can access the internet using wireless signals from mobile phone carriers(GPRS), although they can also use the wireless signals(WiFi) too. They use a mobile web browser to access the internet. They run programs called apps. Apps are designed by third parties, which means you can find a one for just about anything at this point.  You do little ‘snippits’ of things like checking an email, checking postings to Facebook , play games like Angry Birds etc. Found Indian websites  priceofmobiles.com  and  consumermate.com helpful in comparing the mobile phones.

Tablets

Tablets are very similar to smartphones but on a bigger scale. Tablets have the large screen (7-10 inches) but are portable enough to carry around. A tablet computer can slide easily into most bags and weigh only a few pounds. They contain a mobile Operating System(OS) and user interface so the experience is more like a smartphone.  Tablets are great for reviewing and responding. You can turn it sideways to more easily review web pages and watch movies and TV shows. Outlook money article A Slimmer And Nimbler Computer lends a hand in helping you to know what to look for in a tablet PC.My earlier articles Samsung Galaxy Tab 750(10.1): Yehi hai right choice! talks about how to choose a tablet and how Samsung scores over other Android competitors, Low cost Tablets:To buy or not?  is about Reliance 3G Tablet(Rs 12,999),  Beetel Magiq(Rs 9999), LACS Magnum Tablet Range( 6250).

Laptops

Laptops sport the same power and functionality as full desktop computers but do so in a mobile form. They have large screen, keyboard, web browser, software programs like Microsoft Office(Word, PowerPoint, Excel Outlook etc), can play CDs and DVDs. They can access the internet. The higher-power CPUs coupled with more memory(RAM) allow for smoother multitasking. Found website consumermate.com helpful in knowing/filtering about 1400+ laptops.

Netbook

Netbook were designed as ultra-portable versions of laptops, focusing on accessing the internet and doing basic computer functions. They work very much like laptop computers but save a lot of weight and size by not using CD or DVD drives, having smaller screens and keyboards. But they don’t actually do anything better or faster than laptops, cannot help you run complex office software or project content on your TV. Also, you cannot watch high-definition (HD) movies or encode music. Working on video files, and their editing and mixing can be a problem on slow-running netbooks.  Outlook money article Small is Sensible is an informative buying guide on netbooks, netbook vs laptop lists the difference between netbook and laptop.

Comparison of Laptop, NetBook, SmartPhone, Tablet

Features comparison

Usage experience

 What consumers want?

Internet Advertising bureau research(UK)  revealed  consumers feel that even with extensive developments in tablet devices a role still remains for smartphones, desktops & laptops – allowing them to retain their staying power in consumers’ portfolio of devices.  Some excerpt from the infographic released. (Clicking on image will also take to the infographic). Note: though the research was conducted U.K but we thought information applies to world.
IAB Usage

IAB research on what is the device used for

IAB UK Research on role the device plays
IAB UK Research on role the device plays
IAB UK Research on the benefit that device gives
IAB UK Research on the benefit that device gives

Website selfhelp.carphonewarehouse.com also lists the differences between Smartphones, tablets laptops, netbooks with some useful links. One can also check out Interactive feature Comparison of Laptops, Netbooks, Phones & Tablets at dell.com.

Think about why you need the gadget.

Apple iPad set the trend rolling by captivating consumers by its smooth svelte looks and what followed was a deluge of tablets. Samsung, Motorola, Blackberry, HP, Dell, HTC all joined the party by introducing their versions of the tablet. We must remember that Netbooks and laptops are matured products with full set of functions meant for normal computing. India is a price sensitive market. Majority of the feature rich and premium tablets/smartphones available in India cost as much as a good configuration loaded laptop/netbook.  The use of portable products is all about the user experience. Laptops are better for content creation, netbooks are ultra-portable versions of laptops, while tablets are better for reviewing and smartphones are great for talking and messaging. So think what would you use the gadget for  before buying.
Conclusion

Conclusion

Note: The website mentioned in article are recommended because we found them helpful, they might not be the best websites.

Shopping for an item be it a potato chips or clothes or T.V is a complex process because of the options and information (esp. on internet) available. Section Shopping at bemoneyaware.com is about information on shopping for different kinds of items, touching upon on M.R.P, Barcode, Warranty.  You can also try guessing prices of common items at games on bemoneyaware.com

Hope the article helped you in deciding about kind of gadget you want? If you find something missing/incomplete please let us know.  How did you decide on the gadget you wanted? Which websites do you refer to get information?

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