Should I buy a Tablet or a Netbook?

What should I buy

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Since the announcement of the first generation iPad in January 2010, Apple was so determined that their touch-screen slate would eventually cannibalize netbook sales. Eventually, when there was a significant plunge of netbook sales in September 2010, Apple’s sales gained but they earned more competitors. Suddenly, the netbook sales’ monstrous growth in 2009 (641% year-over-year growth in July 2009), was obliterated by a 9.7” touchscreen device and brought the netbooks’ sales down by nearly 400%.

The triumph of Apple’s iPad over netbooks is not simply entirely brought about by the hardware but the soul beneath it – its operating system, the iOS or the iPhone Operating System. Its minimalistic yet classy user-interface, usability and the availability of applications (300,000 apps) are the iOS’ winning factors.

Last January 13, a plethora of iPad competitors filled the Consumer Electronics Show 2011. It’s noteworthy that last year’s CES didn’t feature any tablets but the latter suddenly became ‘scene-stealers’ this year. As expected, the hardware specifications of the new tablets are far better than the first generation iPad like the Blackberry Playbook, Acer Iconia Tab, Asus Eee Pad MeMo, Dell Streak 7, Lenovo Windows 7 Slate and the Motorola Xoom.

2 months later, when Steve Jobs announced the second generation iPad, the game changed all over again. Yes, the hardware specs of the new iPad are inferior to the tablets announces in CES 2011, but the winning factors of the iconic Apple tablet remain unbeaten.

iPad 2

But, the perennial question for consumers remains: “Should I buy a tablet or a laptop?”


Price and budget are two of the first considerations when making a major purchase (anything higher than PhP5,000 for me is a major major purchase). How much is your budget and how much are your options? The table below may be your price reference:

tablet and netbooks1

The ultimate factor that one should consider when buying a gadget is Value for Money (VFM). VFM is defined as “Utility derived from every purchase or every sum of money spent based not only on the minimum purchase price but also on the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the purchase.

Value for Money

When buying a gadget, looking at its VFM makes you think how the gadget would help you process certain inputs (efficiency) and how it would produce your desired output (effectiveness). Confused? Well, simply put: it would be more efficient to work on a device that’s capable of helping you be more productive – such as creating movies, typing articles and playing some games – with minimum user skill. And, it would more effective to work on a device that can provide you with best results like production of better looking movies and playing games that look more realistic.

What should I buy

For instance, the Apple iPad is best on the user input category – thanks to its touch screen interface and “tap-able” functions, but it fails to impress on the productivity department due to the lack of application flexibility and functions to deal with certain details. With the iPad, it would be too difficult, if not ‘incapable’, for you to edit photos at its pixel level, to create awesome video effects and play games with ultra-realistic graphics.

If one is after effectiveness, the iPad or any other tablets should not be the priority; thus it is better to get a netbook or a laptop, which is more capable of producing desired outputs.

On the other hand, if one is after efficiency, getting a netbook or a laptop may not be a bad idea but only a bad priority. Netbooks or laptops may be portable but not as portable as tablet computers. With tablet computers, games are easier to play, there is no need to shut it down and wait for lengthy boot-ups. It allows you to check your Facebook wall. Everything is easy.

Now, that everything is laid out, it’s time for you to answer the question – Should you get a tablet or a netbook?

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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