Tablets and I will never have a serious relationshipAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
I guess it might be a little weird to classify my rapport with gadgets as a type of “relationship”, but in a weird, awkward sense they kind of are. My “relationship” with my phone has always been pretty close; like a really good friend that you can stick in your pocket and take with you everywhere. My “relationship” with my computer is like my childhood best friend. We might not be that close anymore, but they’ve still got your back after all these years. My “relationship” with my tablet though? Like that person who you thought you really wanted to be with, but it turns out they weren’t what you were expecting them to be at all. It’s not that they’re not good for somebody, they’re just not that compatible with my lifestyle.
Before I actually owned my first tablet, I thought that owning one would be the bee’s knees. All of the things that my smartphone was too small to do, my tablet would be able to one up it. Or anywhere that was inconvenient to carry my laptop to, I could always haul around my tablet instead. It was like the best of both worlds between laptop and smartphone - or so I thought. As it turns out, tablets actually only serve me a few key purposes, none of which replace my smartphone or my laptop. Maybe it’s my choice in tablets rather than the tablets itself, but so far I have yet to find a good, solid reason to go tablet shopping again.
My first tablet was an HP TouchPad, which I bought once they had that swanky fire sale back in 2011 or so. The tablet was only $99, and it still ran webOS, one of my favorite operating systems at the time. It was the end of the line for webOS, though, so the purchase was bittersweet. I used that tablet for all of 2 days total before I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I used it to listen to music around the house and to read e-Books. That was about the only good use I could find out of it. However, I chalked it up to the fact that webOS was dead. It wasn’t long before I went out to look for a different tablet that might tickle my fancy a little more.
The Amazon Kindle Fire seemed like a good starting point. I knew that it was a forked version of Android, but I liked reading eBooks and it had at least half of the apps I was looking for. At the time, it was also quite easy to root and install normal Android on the device, which is exactly what I did. Still, before my 30 days were up I realized I wasn’t using the tablet as much as I had hoped I would. I attributed this return to the fact that I was undergoing a lot of life changes at the time, and just didn’t have the time to be messing with a tablet.
Some odd months after that, when life settled down, I purchased a 1st generation iPad. I was using an iPhone 4S at the time and liked the thought of having matching gadgets. The iPad was heavier and larger than any other tablet I had, and surprisingly I found a couple of good uses out of it. That being said, I still couldn’t find a real good reason to hold on to it. I regifted this to my little brother the following Christmas, when I decided to try the Kindle Fire HD. I don’t know what possessed me to buy it, or what made me think I would like this Kindle Fire any more than my previous one, but I did buy it and I did use it for a lot of Netflixin’. Once again, though, it wasn’t used for much more than that.
You would think by now that I would know that tablets aren’t for me, but I was determined to find one that at least worked well with the art that I did. Finally, I settled on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 for the simple fact that I liked to do digital art, and this particular tablet conveniently came with a stylus attached to it. I’ve held on to my Galaxy Note 8.0 for over a year now, and I think I can safely say that I will probably never invest in another tablet again. Not because this one is so great that I don’t have a need for another, but because my desire to use a tablet in the first place is so low now that I just don’t think that tablets particularly fit my lifestyle.
Initially, I thought that tablets would be a good bridge between smartphone and laptop, but really, a smartphone and a laptop are all I think I can handle. I don’t find owning a tablet to be particularly more convenient than not owning one, which is a real shame sometimes because some tablets that are coming out now seem really cool - but I think after five tablets I’ve finally learned my lesson. Simply put, tablets aren’t for everybody, and that’s okay.
But hopefully most people realize that before they buy several tablets in a row, because you could save yourself a lot of money that way.
Readers, what is your relationship like with tablets? Are they a “must have” gadget for you, or is it something that you do without? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!