Go get a Tab

Tags: Knowledge

Why lug a bulky laptop when a light and slim tablet can do all that a laptop does?

Go get a Tab
Someone once said that if you wish to travel far and fast, travel light, take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. In today’s context it could well mean shedding your laptop, too. Why lug a bulky, almost three kilo contraption (with bag and charger) around when you can manage with something that’s about 500 gm in the form of a tablet computer?

A tablet like the ubiquitous iPad is not only slim, lightweight and unarguably powerful, it boasts an superabundance of software to harness that power and very good all-day battery life. Contrary to common notion, the iPad is not just for browsing the web, reading news and views, gawking at video, tapping out the occasional mail and gaming. It offers a glut of eminently usable and functional office and business productivity apps that allow you to carry on your work without a blip when you are on the move. Browsing, reading and info-gathering aside, you can easily and effectively use it for creating, note-taking, editing (documents, images, audio, video), annotating, digital personal-assistance, video conferencing, presenting, and much more. And with no fuss at all.

Software solutions

When it comes to creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations et all, there are loads of options. Apart from the familiar Microsoft Office for the iPad (free if you have a Office 365 subscription), there’s Google Drive office suite and Apple’s Pages, Numbers, Keynote and iPhoto offering and Quickoffice (all free). Other viable (but paid) alternatives include Polaris Office, Documents to Go and Office HD. These apps have been optimised for the iPad’s multitouch tap-pinch-zoom-drag interface. They have the aptitude the import from and export to Microsoft Office applications. And in some cases and ability to create PDFs as well.

For note-taking there’s nothing quite like NotePlus (Rs 620). This one lets you write and scribble freehand, type, as well as make audio recordings. You can try the free version called INKredible before opening your wallet. Else, checkout Notability (Rs 300). For plain text, there’s SimpleNote (a gratis app that syncs notes instantly to other devices and the web). Then, there’s Evernote (free), the feature rich, much-lauded cross-platform, cross-device software and service that allows you to collect, annotate and sync information from all sorts of computing devices and and phones.

Dictionaries, thesauri, language translators, and special calculators are aplenty. If you need to work with PDF files, you can’t go without Adobe Reader for the iPad (free). This gives you the power to not only view PDF files, but also highlight, annotate, search for text, synchronise online and fill out form fields.

Hardware accessories

If typing on the glass surface of an iPad is what bothers you, you can carry along something like the slick and flat Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Replete with function keys for copy, paste, and undo etc, it also doubles up as a neat prop-stand. The well-built, lightweight keyboard (Rs 2,500-8,000, depending on your iPad model) attaches to the tablet via magnetic clip and works as excellent screen protection when not in use. No, it’s not really ultra-thin and it doesn’t shield the rear of the iPad at all. But it connects to the iPad via Bluetooth in a snap, offers a six-month battery life and mitigates your iPad typing woes. For cheaper (Rs 900 onwards) but heftier options, you can look to Chinese micro-fibre or faux leather case-cum-Bluetooth-keyboards.

Wondering how you will to dump photos and video from your point-and-shoot or DSLR camera on to the iPad? Acquire an iPad’s Camera Connection Kit (Rs 300-1,700). This lets you copy and then view and edit imagery on an iPad without routing anything through a computer. The iPad’s CCK imports JPEG and RAW image formats along with high-definition and standard-definition video formats (including H264 and MPEG-4 from an SD card. Once the images are on your iPad you can modify them in one of the zillions of photo editing apps, upload them on Facebook, or back them to cloud storage.

Think you need to carry a laptop along if you have to take the stage and make presentations to large audiences? Not if you have an Apple Digital AV Adapter (Rs 1,700-3,000). This allows you to use your iPad for presentations with an HDTV, video projector, or HDMI-compatible display to screen everything from slides to movies and photos. The adapter takes care of the audio too. A VGA option isalso available.

(The author is a freelance personal tech writer)

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