Last year tablet shipments were down for the first time since 2010. That’s led a lot of folks to try to come up with explanations. Maybe big-screened smartphones are eating into tablet sales. Maybe people who already own tablets don’t feel the need to upgrade to new models as quickly as they would upgrade phones. Or maybe they were just a passing fad.

The truth is probably a lot more complicated… but it does leave me wondering what exactly people are using their tablets for.

comic dw

Personally, I’ve never really seen the point in using a tablet for email, social networking, or web surfing. I’d rather do all of those things with my smartphone or a laptop.

I do occasionally read eBooks on a tablet, but I typically prefer to do that with a dedicated eReader with a black and white screen, long battery life, and no distracting notifications.

But there is one area where I find a tablet to be the best tool for the job: reading digital comic books or magazines.

Comics and magazines were originally designed for large pages and they can be tough to read on a smartphone screen… even if you have a phone with a 6 inch screen. Sure, there are apps that let you read comics panel-by-panel or zoom in on magazine pages. But I’d prefer to view pages in their original layout.

In fact, when I killed my Nexus 7 a few months ago with one experiment too many, I decided to pick up a used NOOK HD+ tablet specifically so that I’d have a cheap 9 inch tablet with a high-res screen that I could use to read comic books.

It’s not the fastest tablet around, but I use it almost exclusively to read comics using Marvel Unlimited, Google Play Books, and Perfect Viewer and it’s more than worth the $90 I paid for it.

During a recent 14-hour plane ride, I also loaded up a few movies, but for the most part I use this tablet for reading comics and graphic novels, and it does a great job .

I’m sure there are other reasons to use a tablet instead of a laptop or smartphone… and I try to play some games, do some web browsing, and perform other tasks whenever I’m reviewing a tablet. But for most things, I prefer a device with a dedicated keyboard or a device that I can fit into my pocket. For reading material with a strong graphic element, I prefer a big screen.

What about you? If you’ve got a tablet, what do you use it for?

If you’re thinking about picking one up, why? And if you’re waiting for tablets with different features, what are they?

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97 replies on “What do you use tablets for?”

  1. The tablet that isx displayed on the top of the screen is the one I’m stuck with.

  2. BY THE WAy were are these accessories that are to come out. The only thing I see for the nook is a 30 pin charger.

  3. I know one thing for sure…………..STAY AWAY FROM THE NOOK TABLETS!!! Especially the HD+ . Don’t be fooled into what they tell you. Its more anlikely a lie. I thought I would go out find a nice cheap tablet. I wanted it for a few good reasons and explained to the salesman why I needed a tablet that that was at least 8 to 12inches. The first thing he grabs is the NOOK HD+, he explains to me the things I wanted to hear. The only thing I wasn’t thrilled about is that it had no camera but to him this was still the best thing in his opinion and he would recomend it over most tablets because of the campatibility it has and that nook is in the process of releasing a number of accessories that will make it worth my buy. He suckered me in on these statements and I was all in. Well folks guess what I still have my nook hd+ and right now I’m using it as a digital picture frame. Its not a bad nic nac. It looks nice sitting on my tv stand and it is a great photo album. I’m still waiting for the accessories, it doesn’t do the things I needed it to, ts not compatible with anything, and the hd+ is a crock. My 2008 track phone is no different. I tryed to return it a week later andthey said they don’t return electronics and I explained to them how I was misinformed by their employee and I shouldn’t be stuck with something that they lied about. He claims that they are only told what the company explains to them about the product and therefore I should take it up with them. I told him B.S. and walked out o the store and just before I did I had a look around and noticed all the other devices that would have been perfect for the reason I needed it. I also noticed that there was about 15 nook hd tablets locked behind the glass. Now I know why he lied and had me stand at the register while he’d went and grabed the nook hd+. It was real obvious that they were just trying to getf ride oif them because no one was buying them and he seen me as a sucker. Well now I no my stuff and what I’m looking for and a lot more about these tablets. So whatever you do, DONT BE A SUCKER, and do a little home work before you go shopping for a tablet or anything of that matter becasuse most store will tryg and sale you the thing that’s not selling just so they aren’t stuck with it. This is what they are taught, and if they reel you in they will make sure the product you endc up with is the one that isn’t selling.

  4. I want a color ePaper tablet with a week’s worth of battery I can use to do e-mail reading, messaging and reading comics/books/manga.

    I have yet to find a company that will serve the market I’m in.

  5. Missed this before. I’ll add that I use my personal Surface Pro 3 for production, browsing, periodical consumption, note taking, video and picture editing, Skype calls, etc.
    We also have at least 30 Pro 3s with docking stations and dual monitors deployed at my workplace (at which I also have a company supplied i5 version) that are loved by coworkers for OneNote note taking and collaboration in meetings, Skype conferencing, and the obvious other productivity and business uses. Great devices.

    I still have a couple of android tablets that I may repurpose into wall or stand mounted touchscreen displays for home automation and kitchen/workshop use, but I have to admit that I may replace those with 7 or 8 inch Windows 10 devices–depending on what’s available and how I end up integrating whole home audio and voice activation when I start building the house next year. So many possibilities and the costs for the level of technology that’s available is literally dropping every day. It’s a fantastic time to be a geek.

  6. I use a Nexus 7 (2013) almost exclusively for games.
    Recently I acquired and HP Stream 7 tablet for work purposes. This is based on a fairly slow Intel chip — about the speed of the Nexus 7’s processor (actually probably a bit slower). I am flat out amazed at how well that table runs DESKTOP Chrome. It’s so much more pleasant to have the real thing with extensions than the cut down version under Android. It also runs much less sluggishly than on Android. Android seems to have overhead I didn’t expect.

  7. I bought my Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 years before I had a smartphone. Now that I have one, it doesn’t get much use, but that’s because all of the Samsung bloat on that old hardware is nearly useless.

    I use my tablet for basic web browsing and light gaming. If I get a newer tablet with better specs, it will probably replace my phone’s role of primary mobile gaming (Games like Madden Mobile and 2048 tend to chew through my phone’s battery). I would also probably watch videos more on my tablet because of the bigger screen.

    1. You can always remove Samsung bloat by using a custom ROM which I have done. Running lollipop 5.1.1 and I have no major complaints.

      1. Yes, but I’m not willing to spend that much time with a ROM on such an old piece of hardware and such antiquated specs.

  8. I have 6 tablets in my house: 3 iPads, 2 Android and 1 Windows 8 with Bing. Our family uses the tablets mostly for Youtube videos, Gaming and Skype. Sometimes I use one to read the news. I don’t use the Windows tablet much, because the 7 inch screen is hard to read.

  9. I use it mostly as media device. Watching movies, read books and comic. I enjoy web browsing in tablet more than in phone. I found myself no longer opening my laptop unless it was for work lately. But for communication, phone still my first go to.

  10. I use my tablet for mostly reading all Web content. I also use it for PowerPoint presentations at work (with a chromecast), and for quick document editing.

  11. I like my tablet to be 7 inch to read one handed in bed, my smartphone to be small enough to fit in my Jean’s pocket and my TV to be 50 inch. Other sizes are just gimmicks.

  12. I use my Nexus 7 when I want to take something bigger than my phone, but don’t have room for a laptop (the Nexus 7 just about fits in a pocket), for web browsing, email, e-reading (I have a Nook e-ink reader too which is great for reading outdoors and long battery life, but the Nexus 7 has the advantage of being an all-in-one device) and some games.

    But I use it less since getting my Nexus 6 (although part of that may be “shiny new toy” effect). And it’s always got used less than my phone or any of my laptops.

    I don’t see any point in large pure tablets, my Asus T100 2-in-1 (and for the most part my Samsung netbook before that) is more functional, versitile, reliable, productive and faster to start up than any of these oversized phones. Typing on a touchscreen is a pain when you can touch-type with a real keyboard, and I also like how a laptop sits naturally on your lap or a desk. Tablets are meant to be handheld – lightweight and small enough to hold in one hand and use with the other, like a Nexus 7. Whenever I see people with these big 9-10″ tablets, they have to either hold with both hands and somehow awkwardly use it with same hands, or lie it flat on a desk (awkward view angle) or assemble it into a stand (adding weight and limiting its use to a desk – so much for portability). On the occasions when a tablet form is better, I can transform my T100 into tablet form in an instant – far quicker than trying to take a tablet out of a stand/case it’s been installed into.

  13. I picked up an HD+ on the cheap popped in a 32 gig SD card with Android 4.0 on it. I use it when I travel for internet access, keep a handful of movies on it and it sits on the nightstand as a portable Netflix machine….

  14. I use an Ipad to make music. It’s revolutionary. I wish Android had real time latency. It’s meant to be coming but we’ve been hearing this for quite a while now. Come on Google!

  15. I use my Lenovo Tab A7 for social networking music and casual gaming. Just basic stuff

  16. Nexus 9 with keyboard folio. Weighs nothing, fits in any bag. Good battery life.

    I do a lot or document reading and editing. I hate being at a desk more than I have to. Rathrr be at the pub.

    Part of my job is location based as well, so I also do a lot of work from a lot of different locations, sometimes half a dozen in one day. Its great to be able to move around a lit and get stuff done, especially on the bicycle.

    Without the keyboard its a little less useful. Still great for reading. And light editing.

    The android ecosystem still needs a bit of work with keyboard but it’ll be solved. A lot or ppl say its not productive, but in my specific use case Its perfect. Replaced my laptop and better in every way. I won’t be going back.

    1. Also can’t stress enough how great this piece of kit is for lying on the couch at the in-laws and getting a bit of work done while everyone’s watching TV. Far less ‘obstrusive’ than a laptop and more socially acceptable that a phone.

      1. Lastly sorry about the spelling mistakes. This was written on my phone. Case in point. Software keys aren’t my thing.

  17. I really want to buy my first Windows tablet for gaming soon, but I probably wait for the new Cherry Trails. My current favorite would be a Yoga Tablet 2.

  18. Mostly reading with some video (Netflix, YouTube, Vudu and WWE Network). I have a Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer Pad, and since the Asus is a 10 inch, it’s far superior for comic reading and video. Games? No. Mobile gaming is the worst thing to happen to the gaming industry in pretty much ever. A tablet is however perfect for looking up strategy while you play PC games.

  19. These days I only use tablets except for my laptop at work and I’m seriously considering replacing my work laptop with a Surface Pro as well.

    I have a Surface Pro at home that I use like a desktop/laptop/tablet. That’s a little too heavy to use casually, but I also have a Nexus 7 and HP Stream 7. I use the Nexus 7 and Stream 7 mainly for watching videos and doing just about anything when I’m not using the Surface Pro.

    I actually don’t see myself buying another laptop or desktop. The only reason I’d get one is if I really needed something with a dedicated graphics card and 16GB RAM.

  20. I own a 10″ Sony Xperia Z series Tablet which I mostly use it for streaming music, video, and playing android games.

  21. On a stand on the kitchen counter I use a Hisense Sero 7 Pro rooted with Lollipop for:
    -Clock
    -OK Google (ask questions by voice get answers often by TTS)
    -Weather forecast
    -General browsing
    -Check network cameras
    -Occasional music or video playback (using Bluetooth speaker)

    Incredible Personal Digital Assistant for 5″ screen and either young eyes or reading glasses, why do you need to lug around a tablet? But if cheap enough (like mine) they make fabulous devices to have in quantity here and there for automation and information to cover the middle ground between truly mobile and fixed or luggable.

  22. I bought my asus tf300t specifically to read color periodicals, similar to Brad’s use with comic books. I get several woodworking mags that I would save, until I ran out of space. I find it good for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Newsweek, PC Mag, PC World, and a few others that I would read and recycle. I wonder how many trees I’ve saved by making the switch :>). I also use it to watch YouTube, NetFlix, or Hulu while using my elliptical trainer (we cut the cable some time ago, rendering my downstairs TV otherwise useless). I find I also use it for email and web browsing occasionally while watching football. I have the keyboard dock for it, which extends its battery life and storage capabilities while allowing it to act as a decent secondary computer. I take it on trips along with my smartphone. I have a notebook pc which I find I never use anymore. I use my desktop most of the time when at home, my phone most of the time while out and about, and my tablet sometimes at home, sometimes out, but always as a secondary device if not for the magazines. I still use my old e-ink ereader for books but it sucks showing illustrations in comparison to the tablet.

  23. currently I’m using Asus padfone s, the phone mostly for communication, browsing and text reading
    When I needed a tablet I’ll just put the phone in the docking pad:
    For fun: reading magazines and comics, watching movies.rarely for gaming
    For work: remote desktop to windows 8.1VM on xeon server, and I have a powerful windows tablet 🙂 of course I’m at the mercy of Wi-Fi/carrier signal

  24. I still use my Blackberry 64GB Playbook tablet. It’s primary uses are:
    – notifies me when I have email with it’s chime and LED
    – I use it as a media player to watch videos while I work out or to watch my shows when I’m in bed
    – I’ll also use it sometimes for music while I work on the desktop or laptop
    – Word Hero is a great, great game and I play it religiously on the Playbook daily (also available for Android).

    I recently got a new 5.5″ Android phone, and it’s been competing with the Playbook lately. Although it doesn’t have a notification LED, the Pushbullet app is a real useful notification app that links the phone and my desktop. But I like the 7″ screen on my Playbook along with its stereo speakers and longer battery life. However, I could easily see getting a 6″ phone and replacing my tablet for good. I used to take my Playbook everywhere with me, but now I just take my phone.

  25. I use it as my primary computer. I edit documents and spreadsheets in MS Office. I create and edit PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Pro. I edit pictures with Irfanview with Gimp in reserve. I browse with Firefox using all my extensions and tons of tabs. Et effing Cetera.

    I have a Dell Venue 8 Pro running Windows 8.1. It’s powerful enough for all my needs except games (when I move to my Alienware desktop).

  26. I’m currently on a two device strategy: Windows 8 tablet + Android smartphone.

    I use my Dell Venue 1 Pro 7130 + mobile keyboard for everything I used my old laptop for (web browsing/documents/media management), in addition to being a portable HTPC at the couch with my 1080P projector and Sonos system. Windows 8 snap feature is absolutely THE killer feature for Windows tablets to me.

    I also have a Asus T100TA tablet that is, more or less, a backup PC. I have no traditional PCs/laptops at home at all now.

  27. I use 2 iPads and a Windows Tablet just about every day.

    Ipad Mini

    PDA Functions
    Email
    RSS Reader
    Websurfing
    Photo Sorting and Ranking
    Photo Backup in the field
    Ereader
    Magazine Reader
    PDF Reader and Editing/Markup
    Microsoft Office Apps – Viewing and Editing/Markup
    Terminal for Linux, Freebsd and Windows Server Maintenance
    Remote Access to my desktop pc
    Skype
    Facetime
    VOIP
    Project Management for Work – MS Project Files, Risk Register, Project Financials
    ODB 2 Terminal
    Netflix
    Amazon Unlimited Movies
    Plex Client
    Games
    News Reader
    Extra Monitor for Desktop or Laptop
    Google Maps/Navigation

    Ipad 1

    Document Reader – MS documents and PDFs
    RSS Reader
    Netflix Movies
    News Reader
    Podcasts
    Ereader

    Asus Viviotab Note 8

    Onenote Note Taking with an Active Stylus

    The iPad Mini and Asus tablet were bought new. I bought the iPad 1 used about a year ago. I wanted a bigger screen for viewing PDF and Office files for work. It was cheaper to buy a used 64gb iPad 1 with 3g than it was to buy a Kindle DX.

  28. The only thing people should be using tablets for is media consumption. Anything else and you’re doing it wrong.

  29. Nook hd+! One of the only tablets with 3:2 ratio… (Off-topic: what is iphone 6+ screen ratio?)
    Well I have a nook hd+, asus t100, dell venue 11 pro, and ipad 2. I had a surface rt but I sold that thing for lack of apps and support. The ipad’s digitizer is cracked and it is sitting in my closet disassembled. My venue 11 pro has been having to many BSODs that it isn’t usable. My asus t100 screen is cracked so half of the touchscreen doesn’t work and my nook hd+ is slow so I don’t like using it.

    So I mainly use my Oneplus One or my Macbook pro (or sister’s asus x205ta). I really have no need for tablet since my phone or laptop fills the need. The only thing I miss would be some apps I liked on the Ipad. I can’t understand why some services are only in apps and there isn’t a corresponding website.

  30. Brad, I’m almost exactly in your boat — I prefer to read on an E Ink reader, but I read some PDFs on a Nook HD+ I picked up cheaply for that purpose.It’s best for things with some sort of formatting that might fall apart in something like an epub: technical books (with formulas or code), academic papers of various stripes, and poetry. Also things like art books that have pretty pictures, and older books from archive.org or Project Gutenberg, where the OCR is often pretty dicey. Finally reference books, as it’s usually faster to flip through or search them on the Nook.

    I’ve connected a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to it, at which point the combo is almost the weight of a netbook while being more unwieldy and less useful. It’s also not great for web browsing, and wifi murders the battery anyway. Still, I use it most every day. I probably won’t replace it until it dies or the battery life gets unworkably short, or a miracle happens and someone produces a Transformer-style hybrid that has 4gb of memory, runs Linux natively, and has a good keyboard.

    1. ” archive.org or Project Gutenberg”

      That’s Google Books, no PG. PG doesn’t do OCR, that’s what makes them so great.

    2. I agree about the transformer-style thing, but I’m not sure about the screen size, right now I think 11″ would be great: but I’m afraid that using like tablet could be uncomfortable (to heavy), but otoh 10″ seems rather small for a laptop’sw screen. What do you think?

  31. I don’t have any. Lost the ROI plot the minute I realize that I can read ebooks on my 4.6″ Android phone just fine and by only having to move up to slightly larger screens or a phablet that’s gonna cover some more bases easily. Can’t even consider an iPad because I refuse to maintain an additional device that requires interfacing w/ iTunes from time to time. To put it short whether it’s Android or iOS none currently pose a compelling enough proposition to let me leave my laptop behind.

    Maybe this Transformer Book T300 Chi can sway me yet who knows or I’ll sit this one out until there’s a Linux distro that can really handle a 2 in 1 convertible (I prefer these “yoga”/360degs types none of those detachables).

  32. I’m stupid with tablets. I just like to tinker with them and I have bought all of them used or refurb or firesaled. I have a wife and three young kids, so between the 5 of us, currently using 11 tablets, 10 of which are android. its mostly a hobby for me, I buy and tinker and then resell or give away. the old HP Touchpads are used mainly by the kids and have been awesome for over 3 years now. Can’t ask for more than that with a $100 tablet. They use them for games and youtube. I use the rest mainly for browsing and real light gaming, is solitaire considered gaming??
    drives the wife crazy, but its really my only hobby that costs any money, don’t fish/hunt/golf, don’t drink or smoke. so i figure she’s still getting off pretty easy.
    tabs currently residing in my house:
    5 HP Touchpads
    2 Nook 16 GB tablets (mainly ebooks and euchre)
    2 Nook HD (pinterest/facebook/ebook)
    1 LG G Pad 10.1 – exclusively set up on treadmill for netflix/amazon prime
    1 Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 – just in case I ever need a tablet with note taking abilities!
    1 Hisense Sero 7 Pro – sits in drawer and taken out monthly to update play store apps
    1 Unbranded 10.1″ Windows 8.1 tablet/keyboard – token windows tab, used only for browsing and typing

    its stupid, I know. but its kinda fun and inexpensive.
    we do have a pretty good desktop and laptop for any real computing, but honestly they don’t get a whole lot of use.

    1. A few years before I started Liliputing I was moderately obsessed with buying old clamshell Windows CE devices like the HP Jornada and NEC MobilePro and trying to install Linux on them while my wife looked on in befuddlement.

      I forget how many I wound up buying, but I was just so thrilled that these things which sold for $1000 when they were new were available for around $100 a few years later… and constantly frustrated with the fact that they were too underpowered to really do anything useful.

      But looking back, I think I was a lot more interested in trying to make them useful than I was in actually *using* them for anything.

      1. I have fond memories of my IBM z50, which made a great portable writing tool, partly because of what you “couldn’t” do with it, partly decent ergonomics and battery life. Plus, like you said, they were such great bargains, used!

        Nowadays I need a windows laptop with full office for work, but I use my LG Gpad 8.3 a lot: email, web news, calendaring, social media, recipes, casual games and short vids are easier to view with these middle-aged eyes than they are on a phone, and the form factor is way more portable than a laptop on subways/buses, and moving around the house. For me, it’s the perfect middle ground.

        I think the slowdown in tablets, just like in smartphones, is more about market maturity and saturation then the beginning of the apocalypse.

      2. I used Windows CE Clamshell devices back in the day and I found them very useful for travelling. I used a Nec MobilePro 790 for years as a companion device. I used Outlook, Word, Excel and PointPoint for Windows Ce when I was travelling,

        Just before my flight boarded I would go up to a pay phone with a data port and download my email. Once the “Use of Approved Electronic Devices Was Allowed”, i would pull out my Mobile Pro and answer email, compose or edit Office documents and even read PDFs if needed. Because the MobilePro was so small, I could continue to use it comfortably even if the person in front of me put their seat back.

        Once I got to by destination airport, I’d find another pay phone with a data port, upload any emails that needed to be sent and download new emails. Once I was in a hotel shuttle or cab, out came the MobilePro again. Once at the hotel, I connected the MobilePro to the laptop, synced outlook and Office documents and used the laptop to continue to work.

        If I was teaching a course, I used my laptop for the PowerPoint and used the Mobile Pro for taking notes.

        I got a lot of use out of my MobilePro for 4 or 5 years. I had the same workflow with my Palm Pilot and Sony Clie before I bought a the MobilePro.

        Yes, I could have used my laptop on the plan, but things would have been more cramped. The Mobile Pro was so small and light, it was never a big deal to carry it along with my laptop. Things got a lot easier when wifi access became easier and wifi cf cards became available.

  33. Adore my iPad Air. Use it for gaming, watching netflix when I can’t sleep without disturbing my sleeping wife, eBooks, eMagazines, news reading via pocket or flipboard, very casual web surfing, aTV remote control or airplay streamer, practicing guitar, etc, etc.

    The extra screen real estate combined with the portability, extra battery life and a case that can stand on its own make it a major winner for around the house use. My phone sits in its charger if I’m home. Even a light laptop feels like a PITA compared to the tablet. For traveling about town, I make do with the phone due to its portability unless it is a long business trip, in which I take the pad.

    I use mine at least as much as my phone. Even a big phone feels restrictive.

  34. You’re certainly right: a color screen tablet isn’t the best device for day-to-day activities, but at $80 my Nook HD tablet, running Cyanogen Mod, is light, versatile, and does the things you cite reasonably well. It shines when I’m traveling, lightening my carry-on luggage while keeping me connected. And of late I’ve begun using it to feed content to our Roku TV; don’t know if that will continue.

    As for upgrading, in 20 months I’ve not seen new tablets that do enough more to justify replacing what works fine as it is.

  35. My 2012 Nexus 7 is basically what I use whenever I don’t feel like going to my desk to use my desktop. I will try to do anything on it as long as I’m comfortable on the couch and do not feel like getting up, even though touchscreen typing is annoying as it can get. Surf, email, youtube, Kodi remote control, IMDB lookup, reading on arduino/programming tutorials. However, if I’m already sitting at the computer, I’m just going to use the computer for any of the above.

  36. i have a asus tf300t transformer, its now running a custom rom of 5.0.2 and runs circles around the stock rom. i use it mostly for media consumption, youtube, netflix…etc the best uses i’ve had so far were manuals/faq’s when working on my car…taking notes while at a meeting (still gets crazy good battery life thanks to the keyboard) and using it sometimes as a second screen when doing work on my desktop. sure new tablets have surpased it in speed, but other than waiting an extra second or two when loading apps, i haven’t felt any need to upgrade it

  37. Market saturation along with redundancy issues plagues all the tech sectors these days in the first world. We all bought at least a cheap tablet to try, most of us realize laptop data input devices are mandatory for sanity’s sake and that smartphones can perform all the other things we need our technical devices to do without much annoyance. Tablets without specialized use cases like pen input or e-reading are almost certainly going to suffer the most.

    1. When the iPad first came out I remember thinking “OK but how big is the market going to be for something that is to big to fit in your pocket and dose not have a physical keyboard” and five years or so on it is looking as if the rest of the world is thinking the same thing.

  38. I own a Nexus 10, which I use on a daily basis. I use it to surf the web in the evenings and mornings, sometimes as a second screen while watching something else on the computer, and often while still in bed first thing in the morning. I watch a fair amount of streamed video on it, and listen to various podcasts. Also play the occasional game, like Threes and Hearthstone. Overall, I use the tablet between one and two hours a day, on average.

    But, most valuable usage is on long flights. I travel to the UK twice a year and load up the tablet with TV shows for the transatlantic trip. While the in-flight movie selections are better these days, nothing beats having a collection you know you want to watch with you.

    I don’t own a smartphone, but doubt my pattern of tablet use would change much if I did.

  39. I use my Nexus 7 to read emails and blogs like this when I get home at end of day. Smartphone screen works but is small and laptop is not high enough resolution for tired eyes to relax. I use itppretty much as iPad was advertised originally, just the relaxing at home reader.

  40. Email mostly – when on the road, my iPad Air 2 with a keyboard cover is the most reliable email and lightest email tool I have. I rarely use my iPhone for email anymore – phone screens are too small and typing is awful if you have to write emails. And I will read an occassional book or magazine using the Nook app.

    At home, I use a 7-inch Adroid tablet (Nexus) for email, Facebook and web when checking things before bed.

    Nither replaces my PC completely – PCs still do a better job with word processing, spreedsheets and presentations. And still superior email and web overall.

  41. My tablet replaces my phone when I get home. Just switches my brain from work to play by changing devices. I do seem to replace phones and tablets on the same schedule too, every two years.

  42. At this point I have five devices I use on a daily basis:

    * Tablet: Nexus 9.
    * Smartphone: XPeria Z1S
    * MacBook Retina 2013
    * HP Pavilion 500
    * Mac Mini – ancient (2012?)

    Email: Almost exclusively on the Nexus 9, I look for old emails on the Mac Mini.
    Web Browsing: Nexus 9, MacBook, Pavillion depending on which is easiest to grab.
    Video: Nexus 9, occasionally chromecast from Nexus 9 or Xperia Z1S.
    Audio Podcasts: Xperia Z1S.
    Music: Xperia Z1S.
    Skype: Nexus 9. The headphones are normally attached to the Xperia Z1S, they move to
    the Nexus 9 for Skype and watching movies/tv while commuting or on lunch.
    Gaming: Mostly the Pavilion, some on the Nexus 9. The PC is winning both for really old
    games (Civ 3) and the newest ones (DragonAge Inquisition).
    Creating content: MacBook, with the Nexus 9 being a respectable second place.

    Devices effectively collecting dust; Roku, A Blu-Ray player, PS3, XBox 360 and an even older iMac.

    I effectively use my Nexus 9 as a very very light notebook. I always have the HTC Folio Keyboard
    with me, but I’ll detach when I won’t be typing.

    If I had to replace the entire set I would replace the Nexus 9, go with a lower end Android phone
    that still supported Wifi tethering. My phone needs to do music, podcasts, light map and email.
    The 960×564 screens are good enough for that. I prefer the larger screen size of a tablet and no
    longer see much value in having even 1080p on my smartphone. I do need wifi tethering though.

    I might get another PC.

  43. I gave the Ipad to my Dad. He uses for facetime, youtube and the weather app. It was just too restrictive to my uses. I got a win8 tablet to replace my bathroom radio. Installed Kodi on the win8 and its perfect streamer from my dlna server. Af first, the wife thinks its disgusting, but now she can watch the morning news while getting ready for the day.

  44. I have the hp touchpad with android… I use it almost every night on my bed before going to sleep… I watch the new youtube subscriptions. very light browsing.

    I had galaxy note 8 also but the screen got broken.. I used it same as the touchpad.. watch youtube videos but it’s much lighter .. but screen smaller lol .. planning to get an 8″ windows tablet mainly for travel .. having a full windows on a trip seems a great idea for me.. not sure how really helpful it would be though

  45. Nexus 7 (2013)
    (1) browsing torrent files & starting them on transmission (magnetic link)
    (2) Bluetooth audio (es audio player, soundcloud) while washing dishes/cleaning-up
    (3) surf web, browse G+
    (4) Youtube
    (5) RealVNC/Juicessh remote tasks (start manual backups, move/rename files, burn xbox360 games)
    (6) 250+ solitaire games

    Everything can be done on my phone, but I like the larger screen. Also at home I like being untethered from the outside world (I will check my phone once an hour or two).

    1. If you can watch something WHILE you sleep, I think your sleep might be broken. 🙂

      Either that, or your tablet has a feature that mine really, really doesn’t have…

  46. Laptop surrogate, great battery life and portability for media. I don’t have a high-end smartphone and don’t plan to get one. You can do so much more with a bigger screen, and even a budget smartphone (Lumia 521 here) works for basic browsing, messenging, and phone calls.

  47. I have a Thinkpad Tablet 10 that i use for comics, and sketching. I also have a Winbook TW700 that I use for general streaming, comics, serving files, and surfing the net… why do people buy those shitty streaming boxes when they can get a full windows pc for less.

  48. I don’t have a laptop, so for me, my Nexus 7 tablet is an even more portable substitute. While my Moto G phone makes more sense for certain things like listening to music and podcasts while at work, using Google maps while driving, taking pictures, and simply because I can always have it with me and be connected to 3G, generally speaking I would much rather view and work on the bigger tablet screen anytime I don’t want to or can’t be sitting at my desktop. I use it for reading ebooks and articles saved to Pocket, and also find it much easier to be productive on than a phone when it comes to answering emails, entering something on the calendar, or doing a light writing task. And I also use it for almost all of my video entertainment purposes, whether it be watching a show or movie on the tablet itself, or using it to control the same video being sent to my Chromecast. To reiterate, I just find it much easier to actually do most stuff on a 7″ tablet than a 4.7″ phone.

    Oh yeah, a 7″ tablet is also far better for me when I travel too. Most of my vacations are hiking vacations, and when I hit the trail, I am (or rather, would be) very paranoid about leaving a laptop in a vehicle at a trailhead. But a small tablet in a drybag is a minor addition to my pack. And with downloaded topo maps in the Backcountry Navigator app, it is a very useful map/gps when I want to share our location info with my companions (more detail and easier to see than the dedicated gps I also carry hiking) or view the photos I have taken with my camera and transferred via Eye-Fi.

    1. Yes, my cousin gave his 5 year old a Tablet and he loves to watch cartoons on Youtube.

      I own a Tablet too and I use it everyday to:
      * Watch Videos
      * Browse the Web
      * Search on Google
      * Write memos
      * Document view
      * Picture viewer
      * Calculator and Watch
      * Games

      Sometimes I plug a Mouse and a Gamepad and it almost feels like a little Desktop.

      My Tablet is very useful and I’m very happy with it. 🙂

      1. android tablet or windows? for productivity… it seems windows tablet is the best

          1. for me android is better for media consumption but for office work and other productive tasks(photoshop, development), you cannot compare android to windows… the latter is years ahead

  49. I own a few tablets, all Android. Don’t use them at all anymore. Previously used them for media consumption on the couch, but my HTPC setup serves that purpose now.

    My Kobo Arc 7 sometimes still gets used as a map on roadtrips. Its very durable, and the plastic bezel makes it easy to hold.

    Lately I’ve been going back to laptops. Windows 8 tablets are nice, but not useful enough to me without a keyboard. And the garbage eMMC storage they use is useless.

    I’m really hoping someone will make an 8″ Windows 8.1/10 laptop. Not a transformer-style, just a hinged laptop. If it could fit a 2.5″ drive, or an M.2 SSD. Nothing nearly as big as the old netbooks. If it could be the same footprint as an 8″ tablet, simply with a keyboard attached. Kindof a throwback to the Sony Vaio P-series

    1. What’s wrong with a transformer-style laptop? What I liked about the tablet when it started coming around was the fact that it’s not awkward to use when you’re lying in your bed or sitting on the couch or waiting at the airport. But like you, I can’t do much without a keyboard, even typing emails on touch devices is cumbersome. I like the transforming styles, whether they’re yoga, or hinge attachments. My C720 chromebook is nice, but I often wish it was a touch screen and the keyboard can be undocked so I can just read on the couch without trying to find a comfortable position to place it.

      1. I don’t have anything against the Transformer-style. Its just that I don’t believe that all the features I want could be contained in the tablet-portion of the device alone. And the idea of putting all the excess features in the removable keyboard doesn’t appeal to me either.

        I want a big battery (7000mah), and a 2.5″ storage bay.

        It could be done if the battery could occupy the entire area behind the screen, and the motherboard and 2.5″ bay could take up the majority of the base.

      2. I tried the transformer-style with the HP Slatebook. It effectively becomes a notebook.
        I noted at the time that I detached the tablet about as often as the Enterprise detached the saucer section. You end up using it as a notebook.
        Meanwhile the complete collection ends up being less maintainable than either a notebook or a tablet with a magnetic attached keyboard.

      1. Haha, how is an iPad more of a computer than an Android or Windows tablet?

        In my opinion, iOS is not a real operating system. It is a useless front-end for the App Store. It is a sandbox to allow you to do the limited number of things that Apple wants to let you do.

        You can’t browse the file system, you can’t sideload applications, and you can’t plug it into a computer and access it as a mass-storage device (at least anything other than pictures).

  50. Perhaps the tablet shipments were down because of the decline of ARM powered Android tablets while more Intel powered Windows tablets take center stage. That shift in tablet type could also explain why Intel suddenly became one of the top tablet chip suppliers (currently ranked second behind Apple).

  51. Tablets for me only good for very basic stuff. Tablet/mobile browsers still not good enough to do what you can on a desktop. No printing on mobile OS is also a minus unless you are using a Win8 tablet. The lack of ubiquity on miracast displays slows me down as well.

    I use a tablet purely for basic browsing and not much else. My kids use them for games, and not much else. Occasionally I use an app to watch TV that might not be appropriate for my small kids (Black Sails for example), but the app doesn’t do my cable cos on demand so for on demand I end up on the TV. My smartphone can cover everything I use my tablets for, so I mostly keep them around for the kids to play games.

    The one use I have that may be unique/uncommon is using cheap tabs as wifi repeaters with the appropriate software…

    1. Oh, hadn’t heard of that use before. What software do you use for the WiFi repeater function?

  52. I don’t own one just yet, other than reading while in bed, I just can’t think of very good reasons to buy one. I’m waiting for an asus transformer type of device, but affordable and hassle free linux installation. I live in a “third world country”, so I’m not the guy tablet’s companies are aiming for.

  53. Since I have a ridiculous number of devices in my house, I’ll try to explain when I got them and what they are primarily used for.

    Archos 5 500GB (purchased used in 2010) – primarily used for my 100gb-ish music and audio drama collection. Also made for a very useful portable movie player once I started converting my DVDs (and now BDs) to M4Vs, and it comes in handy for occasional VHS-to-digital recording. Web browsing was always subpar, the screen wasn’t great for ebook reading, and it didn’t have enough OS, power, or memory to do anything else. It’s still limping along, but freezes often, and its battery is pretty much toast. There is no viable replacement on the market as a portable media player (I’m making due with an Archos 43 with two 64gb miniSDs).

    Archos 7 250GB (two refurbs, one purchased in 2012, one in 2013) – the first one was for my daughter. It was okay for Cut The Rope and things like that, and seriously shined as a video player for road trips. Bought the second because the A5 was starting to have problems, but its short battery life made it useless to me. It’s now my 2-year-old’s car-trip movie player.

    Nook HD 7″ (two refurbs purchased around Christmas 2013) – magnificent devices, both still get used almost every day. One is my daughter’s daily-use game player/Facebook access/ebook reader. The other is my “bedside/breakfast table” device – and I use it for ebook reading (including full-page wargaming PDFs and comic books) and light web browsing (when I won’t be typing more than a sentence or two). My only complaint about these is that you can’t install apps to an SD card, so they aren’t great high-end gaming tablets for kids.

    Asus TF100 – my wife’s EeePC replacement. She used it for awhile, but its specs eventually made it a bit sluggish for her daily use tasks. She’s replaced it with an Acer 11.6″ Chromebook, and uses her LG G2 for audiobooks, music, and Netflix.

    Asus TF300 – was basically a replacement for my EeePC as a daily-use web browser/blogger. Its screen resolution and weight made it less useful than I’d imagined for reading the bigger PDFs and comics, and the Tegra 3 processor is kinda lousy for web browsing. Still own it, but haven’t touched it much in the last year. I’m probably going to repurpose it to a DOS and classic Macintosh emulator.

    Asus T100 – my current daily-use machine. With Windows, I’m able not only to use it for everything browser-related, but have used it for building PowerPoint presentations and complex Excel sheets. Absolutely can’t stand the Metro apps – would probably be just as happy with Win7 as its installed Win8. Its resolution is better than the TF300, but it still isn’t the most comfortable to use device for full-sized PDFs or comics.

    So to sum it all up… I primarily use non-convertible tablets for reading regular eBooks, comics and full-sized, full-color PDFs, light web browsing, and occasional games. My daughter uses hers for games and occasional eBooks. I use my convertible tablet for heavy web browsing, productivity, and video playing.

    I have a Kobo Aura H2O on the way, and envision it as a general replacement for my Nook HD and will probably just use my T100 as my main tablet. I have no idea what to replace my daughter’s Nook HD with yet… I want something similarly durable, light, and with good battery life, but with the ability to install a crapload of huge games directly to an SD card. Basically a Kindle Fire HD 6 or 7 would be great if it had a micro SD slot.

  54. Put Cyanogenmod on the Nook, and you have just turned an OK tablet into a Great tablet. I use my HD+ for games, web and Hangouts Dialer truns it into a Wifi phone/tablet. Great for our remote cottage with no cell coverage, but we have Broadband.

    1. How well does that really work? Our 7″ Nook HDs work well, but have a few limits (like being able to move huge games to SD cards).

      The problem I’ve had in the past with Cyanogen and other custom ROMs is that they offer no improvement whatsoever to 80% of what we do, do improve about 10%, and render 10% completely non-functional.

      1. Well the HD+ native OS is a heavily skinned ICS, Cyanogenmod is vanilla KitKat. Many more (and newer) apps can run on KK than ICS. Plus you have Root, which comes in handy sometimes. With B&N abandoning the Nook there will be no more updates. My HD+ is pretty stable. Is it as stable as my nexus? No, is it more stable than the stock OS? Pretty close. Is it easier to use than Stock? Yes.

        1. Yeah — as I mentioned, I’m only running a handful of apps on mine, and they run well. I wanted a tablet with Google Play support out of the box, a large high-res screen, and long battery life. The Nook HD+ fits the bill with no root or custom ROM required (I did install Nova Launcher to get away from the NOOK home screen though).

          But if any of those apps drops support for ICS in the future, it’s nice to know that I can probably squeeze a little more life out of the tablet by loading a custom ROM.

  55. I had a 7″ Nook Color that I hacked into a vanilla Android tablet but when it died I never replaced it. I currently have a 5.5″ smartphone and a couple of laptops so it is hard to justify also getting a tablet. If I did get one it would be at least 10″ and good tablets that size generally are not cheap.Add to that I do not like where Google is taking Android and I am not a fan of Apple products and I guess I will be tablet free for a while. I might pick up a Windows 10 convertable at some point.

  56. Watching streaming video (e.g. NBA) while using my laptop to do work … “Double” screening it.

  57. I have an old HP TouchPad running Android (it’s my Android beta testing rig) and a BlackBerry PlayBook which I use primarily on the treadmill while running, listening to music through Neutron Music Player. The swiping actions on the PlayBook make it perfect for music selection while running without falling off at speed.

    I also use the tablets on a music stand to display song lyrics and chords when jamming on the guitar. They have tuner apps which work very well and programs like Guitar Pro which help you loop and play back song sections while learning. I could use my smartphone or laptop for this too but the phone’s display is too small and the laptop just too big to be totally portable.

    Though I primarily browse the web using my laptop, I sometimes prefer to browse in bed using a tablet. Just less cumbersome and more relaxing. I also read books/PDF’s on the tablets too.

    The smartphone is my GPS and primary phone mostly. But it gets used to browse the web on the go. It’s also my primary music player for the car and when running outside.

    1. Ah – a fellow TouchPad/PlayBook owner. There aren’t many of us and we need to stick together.

      Seriously though, I’ve moved away from the TouchPad and PlayBook to a dedicated Dell Venue 8 Android tablet as my daily consumption device – music and movies on a 64GB microSD card, lots of games and productivity programs installed on the tablet, Netflix and Hulu Plus for TV and movie viewing and Spotify for music streaming. I’ve installed lots of comics and ebooks to my Google Play Books account (thank you Humble Bundle) and keep up with the latest news with the USA Today app. Of course I will watch the occasional YouTube video, check my email accounts with the email app and browse the web using Google Chrome. I even have an external keyboard that I can use (but almost never do) if I need to do much writing on the tablet.

      The truth is I could do all of this on my laptop or desktop computer (and have a bigger screen to look at) but for sheer convenience it’s hard not to grab that tablet that i keep on the night stand. I got my sister a low-end ASUS tablet during the holiday season and within a few days she found that she was using it all the time. (And that was for a sub $100 tablet). I have a pretty basic Android Tracfone phone with a small screen, but if I had one of the newer phablets with a 6″ or larger screen I guess I would use it more.

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