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Tablets: Life without a PC or Laptop

Tablets: Life without a PC or Laptop

2 years ago we moved offices from a home workshop in my converted garage to the new shop in downtown Milborne Port, my computer going with the move.

I thought long and hard about if I actually needed a PC at home and decided to see if I could survive with just a tablet, if the worst happened I could always use my wife's PC!

To make it work you need the following; a tablet, a Bluetooth keyboard, an internet connection, a Wi-Fi printer and a credit card.

A tablet: There are hundreds on the market, the Apple iPad, Android based and Windows based tablets from a variety of other manufacturers, and all of varying sizes. They all run "apps" that are the programs that do stuff like internet browsing, email, writing, calculating, picture viewing etc., all have cameras and are all touch-screen. I have a four year old iPad 3 (about £299).

A Bluetooth keyboard: When you type on a tablet you have an on-screen keyboard that pops-up; this is great for simple stuff like internet browsing, emailing or messaging, but a bit unforgiving if your typing a long bit of prose. What you need is a Bluetooth keyboard! I have a Logitech keyboard/stand/cover made to fit my iPad (about £30).

An internet connection: EVERYTHING you do on a tablet will require an internet connection at some point; browsing, email, file saving, picture storage etc. There are three ways of achieving this:

  1. Wi-Fi: Either at home or away in a hotel, pub, café etc.
  2. Wi-Fi Tethering: Using your mobile phone to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for you to connect to.
  3. Cellular Connection: Requires that your tablet has a SIM slot to connect to the mobile phone network and you need to subscribe to a data plan for that device.

I use whatever Wi-Fi is available and use mobile tethering as necessary.

A Wi-Fi printer: The paperless office I hear you laugh! At some point in time you will want to, or need to print something. Nearly all new printers are Wi-Fi enabled and nearly all support wireless printing from your tablet. I have a simple Brother J132W scanner/printer/copier (about £65).

A credit card: Tablets have very limited storage (if any), and all data needs to be stored in the cloud somewhere. What are you going to do with all your existing documents, pictures and videos from your old PC? Upload them to cloud storage! Many providers exist; Microsoft, Google, Apple, Dropbox etc., and all offer limited space for free with a payable upgrade when you run out. It's really cheap storage at about £50 a year for hundreds of gigabytes of space. I use two; Dropbox for business stuff and iCloud for private, as it stops it getting muddled up (for both about £35 a year).

So there you have it ... it is possible to live without a PC or laptop, and it can be challenging to work around the problems ... but I have yet to fail! You need to get into the right mind-set and accept that it just works differently, once you've done that you may never need a PC again.

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Added: 1st October 2015

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