May 132011

Having access to the internet at all times has become part of 21st century life. If you feel a burgeoning need to be online while on the move and don’t know where to begin, here are your options:

Currently, there are three: laptop with dongle, smartphone and tablet. What’s the best device to use?


imageIf you’re already carrying a laptop with you the addition of a small plastic dongle to your daily load isn’t going to alter your habits too much; it does give you internet capabilities almost wherever you like and the convenience of all the offline computer applications we’re accustomed to using.

Mobile broadband providers understand the potential of mobile broadband and offer a free laptop with most contracts. This is a hassle free way to upgrade your machine, but bear in mind that many of the free machines on offer come from the larger end of the computer spectrum, so getting a suitable bag for your laptop is important. If you’d prefer something smaller, there are also netbook and tablet deals.

Free laptops aside, the upside of the dongle is that it doesn’t change the habits we’ve already created; it adds a sense of freedom. The downside is the 15” laptop you’re signing up for is the most cumbersome method of staying online while on the move.


imageNo longer the stuff of myth and movies, they are small – between 7 and 10 inches – light and slim. How usable they are varies from machine to machine. One of its basic functions, the onscreen keyboard, doesn’t function well on some models. Asus have solved this with their Eee Pad Transformer keyboard dock: an attachable keyboard that turns your tablet into a netbook with all the power of Android’s Honeycomb OS.

iPad still excludes Flash content making much of the internet unavailable. Samsung have opted out of making tablet native sites or apps for the Galaxy TAB, hoping that the internet will translate. The result is poor scrolling and white spaces where pages won’t load properly.

On the upside, if you’re happy to spend the money, you’ll get great multitasking, fabulous graphics and an ever expanding app market. Many models are also available on mobile broadband contracts. Their size makes your daily load a lot lighter. They are also the future of computing, so while you may not want to invest now, you’ll probably be investing soon.

The Smartphone

imageSmartphones are the ultimate internet-in-your-pocket device. They don’t lend themselves well to text heavy activities and you may find yourself migrating to a PC or tablet for data entry, or report writing.

If you need to navigate an unfamiliar place, or you want to live blog about an event you’re attending, smartphones are powerful and discrete. They sync with your computer, allowing not only your entire music collection to live in your pocket, but also your weekly schedule, which is very useful when you are transient. So, which one do you use? Well, it depends on what you’re comfortable with. If you’re an internet addict, you’re probably using two of the three devices mentioned.

About the author: Joe Linford writes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the advice portal for broadband andlaptop deal and Mobile Phone Genie, the independent comparison website for mobile phones


  • greg@finallyfast

    One thing some people don’t realize is, a tablet or smartphone is not a replacement for a laptop. Tablets and smartphones are for consuming content; it’s difficult and often impossible to create content or do actual work on a tablet or smartphone. A laptop is for running your heavy-duty applications to create content and get your day-to-day professional work done. If you *just* want to browse the web, watch videos, communicate with friends, and other such activities, this is what tablets are for.

  • BodynSoil

    I have been toying with the idea of a tablet for a few weeks but have held off. I like the portability but since the technology still new, I felt it would be better to wait until the kinks are worked out.

    I have tethered my droid phone to my laptop, there’s an app for that, that extends my connectivity whenever needed. While I love the ease of the droid, I find the small viewing screen a challenge even with the larger screens.

  • Nasif

    netbook is the best choice in terms of size and portability

  • Nasif

    netbook is the best choice in terms of size and portability.

    • Justin Germino

      battery life on netbook though still can’t match the 10 hours of an iPad2

  • Techwafer

    @Tablets : i link Asus Eee pad Tranformers than Ipad.It used Android 3.0 Honeycomb,it’s great.
    Do you think ?

    • Justin Germino

      From the latest Maximum PC and PC World magazine, iPad 2 is still the top recommendation. The Android 3 has the advantage of handle Flash and any file sizes, but they say there is only about 100 apps designed specifically for Android tablet compared to 60k or so for iPad2. That and battery life on the iPad2 is almost 2x any Android tablet.

      • TechWafer

        Yep,I Agree with you,but Ipad don’t run flash,so I like Asus Eee Pad Tranformers :)

  • Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing

    None currently, as I don’t leave the house much. I think though that it would depend on where I was going, and why.

  • Ashley S. Harkey

    Thanks for the comparative analysis. I just made my first online businesses and would like to avail for a gadget that is easy to use (I am not a techie) and easy on the monthly plans. I guess I need to convince myself to use the new smartphones.

  • Tony @ Technology News

    I think we should to have all of them, or at least a couple such as laptop + smartphone or tablet + smartphone.

  • Shaan @Geeky Stuffs

    All of these got their own features and good in different conditions. I am already having a smartphone which manages most of my work, Still, I would like to have a tablet too

  • Tessa@Web Development Portland

    I got my new Apple iPad 2. Its very thin, light weight and easy to hold. I use to connect to internet always at work and home, it always fast and never freeze.

  • Tessa@Web Development Portland

    I got my new Apple iPad 2. Its very thin, light weight and easy to hold. I use to connect to internet always at work and home, it always fast and never freeze.

  • Delena Silverfox

    Tablets are pretty nifty. I recently heard from a friend of mine who has a tablet and is having way too much fun with it. I really love how small and light it is, though, and how easy it is to consume content with it without being the least bit cumbersome.


  • FiFi

    What a useful topic as I’m still in a balance of looking for a new laptop or replace my old one with a new tablet to be movable easier. I do have a smartphone, then I think a new laptop is better.
    Tablets have gained great achievements so far, however, they should need more time to make good the existing shortcomings.

  • Dana @ TechAsking

    We should to have a couple, for example: a laptop & smartphone or a tablet and smartphone.

  • Mia

    I think that for the time being I’ll keep my laptop. When tablets will become more powerful I just might make the switch.

  • cent

    I guess i would go for laptop. and netbook also. Right now i have both and i should say that i am having the best time using it when i am online. I use my laptop at only at home while i bring my netbook whenever i go out. Netbooks are very convenient to use because of the size and of course the price. This is a great post by the way.

  • Marina@Adapter

    Maybe tablet is designed as a compromise of laptop and smartphone, considering the function and portability. I’m a big fan of tablet, but i’m still not having a plan to get one. A smartphone combined with a laptop almost could meet all my needs. But i’ll take it into consideration if there is an alarming drop on price, like the $99 HP tablet.

  • reglazing

    I think i will go for the tablet because tablet have the dual quality of laptop and smart phone and i like to buy a ipad for myself instead of any laptop or new smart phone.

    • Dragon Blogger

      @reglazing Tablets are definitely looking like a viable option, only mobile desktop pro applications you can’t find for the tablet (3d graphics stuff and such). Combining a tablet with a keyboard makes it almost completely laptop like for general office functionality.

  • roofing companies in nj

    I think i would like to go for the smart phone because smart phone have the both quality like it can use like laptop and also like tablet and now many great smartphone are releases like galaxy series of Samsung, E7 of nokia and i phone also.