How I use my tablet(s) from day to day

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| August 28, 2011

Many have written tablets off as overpriced, unnecessary novelty items. (What do you want to bet a large portion of "tablet naysayers” went back on their word and snatched a TouchPad last weekend?) Contrary to popular belief and despite essentially being a larger version of my pocket-sized smartphone, tablets do have a place in this world and the affect they're having on the PC market should serve as a testament. Like it or not, tablets are here to stay and may one day – with advancements in technology, more attention to detail and a more reasonable price – replace your home computer.

I, on the other hand, have been a large advocate of the tech since its induction. From the time the tablet trend began I have owned nearly 10 different tablets. I know, I may have gone a little overboard with my tablet purchases and I have a ... fascination with them. I have found tablets to be awesome supplementary devices and have found great uses for my tablets. Whether or not you can justify their use versus the hefty price tag is another issue altogether – an issue that Amazon seeks to resolve. But I digress.

Let me begin by saying that I currently own a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, a Motorola XOOM and a HP TouchPad. I just sold my first generation iPad yesterday and the XOOM is currently dead and never really gets touched. The TouchPad is … well, brand new and I'm still searching for a good use for it, but I couldn't pass up such a great deal. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is my baby and rarely leaves my side, so for the sake of this article, the Tab 10.1 is my tablet of choice.

When I roll out of bed in the morning, I no longer grab my phone first. I reach for the Galaxy Tab. I spend the first few minutes of the day sifting through emails, checking the weather and scanning headlines from my Tab. It's quicker than booting my computer and easier to read than my phone, especially when I'm still wiping the sleep from my eyes. The only time I do not use my tablet for email is when I'm sitting in front of my laptop. Even then, I sometimes grab my Tab to read and reply to emails, simply so I can take a minute and do so while standing or leaning back in my chair. It sounds ridiculous and trivial, but when you sit behind a computer for up to 16 hours in a day, taking a minute to relax and stretch (while still getting work done) is a relief.

In my line of work, keeping up with news is vital. Before I purchased my first tablet, I used the web version of Google Reader to stay current. But Reader HD, an Android Google Reader app for tablets, is my RSS feeder of choice. Again, while leaning back in my chair (or making a trip to the couch), I sift through my Google reader, scanning headlines and reading stories side by side – something that can't be done from the web version. If I come across something that piques my interest, I star it or send it to Read It Later for viewing from my computer.

Being in several online classes, I obviously don't have a need to take lecture notes anymore. But keeping up with due dates is quickly getting out of hand. I use my tablet as a day planner, and I check it religiously. I use my phone for inserting a quick calendar entry, but when I need to enter multiple, I whip out the Tab and knock it out. I also use it to type up short assignments and sync through Evernote for revision.

It's not all work for my Tab, though. In case you didn't know, I'm kind of a social media fiend. I don't use my tablet for Facebook, although the webOS app is very nice. But I compose a large portion of my Google+ updates and tweets from my Tab. Instead of seeing individual time lines from my phone, I can view and consume all of the information at once. I stream music through my tab, too. Both Spotify and Google Music. The Galaxy Tab is also my preferred method of chatting via Gtalk, which I do quite a bit. It's also great for video chatting; I admittedly haven't done this in a long time, mainly because I've been so busy. But when I do, rest assured I grab the Tab. And when I'm winding down for the evening, I will lay in my bed and either fire up the Kindle app and work on the book I've been reading or watch an episode of American Dad on Netflix.

I won't lie, I could live without a tablet. But there's no denying why they're the perfect in-between device, especially in my line of work. Very seldom do I actually read all of the news or finish everything I was working on. But at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is sit behind a computer. Being able to take to the sofa and and leave the laptop behind gives me some much-needed separation from my work. The thin chassis paired with a large body make it as comfortable to use as a laptop or desktop for web browsing, but it's much easier to pack up and take with you. Likewise, the extra display real estate makes it much easier to type on and gives the advantage of multiple viewing windows and the battery life is at least four or five times that of my laptop. Browsing and typing from a smartphone are doable, but the tiny display makes it cramped and uncomfortable. If you plan on dong extensive work while on the go, I suggest at least trying a tablet. That's what return policies are for, right?

I've heard several people complain that their tablet started collecting dust after just a few months, and this was the problem I initially ran into. But after the third or fourth tablet I owned (and leaps in software capability), I started to see how the device could truly fit into my life and make some things easier. So tell me, tablet owners, how do you use your tablets? Do you find their luster slowly wearing off? Or has it become an integral part of your day to day routine?