How to Replace a Laptop and Work From a Tablet

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Have you ever considered switching from a laptop completely over to a tablet? For casual workers and surfers, a less expensive tablet computer could possibly be more than enough for everyday tasks, both for at work and at home. But determining whether the big switch is realistic takes a little research, mostly in matching your daily needs to what a laptop-free existence can offer. Check out our checklist and resources below to see if you can live post-PC...

An iPad Can Replace a Laptop if...

  • The laptop is used primarily for checking email, using social networks, playing casual games or browsing the web.
  • At-home productivity is done at a basic level: editing text documents, viewing and editing values on spreadsheets, simple photo editing (such as cropping photos or adjusting brightness). No special proprietary software is required to get work done.
  • Very little is stored on the laptop; it's not used to house a massive storage of files, such as music, large photos or movies. Or alternatively, those files can be moved to online storage in the cloud.

How to determine if you can make the switch: Within the course of a few weeks, keep a list of all of the tasks performed on the laptop. If you check email in the morning, jot that down. Keep adding to the list each time you perform a new task to get a better picture of you or your family's actual computer usage. Using a few weeks of recorded daily habits, compare these tasks with what an iPad or other tablet is capable of offering (those invested in Google apps might want to consider the hybrid Google Pixel netbook, while Windows/Office users might benefit in regards to compatibility switching to a Surface tablet). In the process you may find everything you do can be faithfully duplicated with a tablet instead of a full sized laptop, saving you hundreds of dollars the next time you need to upgrade machines.

If you discover an iPad, Android tablet, or Surface device can handle a lot of what gets done at home, a few apps and accessories can turn a tablet into a highly functional replacement for a home workstation. As someone already acquainted and invested in Apple products, I researched "how" and "what" I would need to make the switch over from a laptop existence to an iPad lifestyle:

Essential Applications

  • Dropbox (Free): Store photos, documents, videos and other files in the cloud to free up space on your device.
  • iWork: Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS ($9.99 each): Create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations on iPad with Apple's suite of office software, compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Documents by Readdle (Free): Read, view, download and annotate PDFs and other work documents, plus view and listen to any music, book or video file with this app.
  • Adobe Photoshop Express (Free): On-the-go photo editing, with features to crop, rotate and slip photos, as well as adjust color, brightness, contrast and exposure.

A Wireless (or not) Keyboard

An Ergonomic Stand

Other Gear

(Images: As linked above)

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