I must admit: I initially didn't understand the tablet craze. When Apple announced the iPad, I was like, "Uh, it's like a half-functional computer. And I have a smartphone. Why?" Eventually, I got an iPad 2 as a gift and it was like crack during bar review -- I never put the damn thing down. And then the novelty wore off, I sold it, and then got a smaller Android tablet, one which quickly began to collect dust.
It's not just me either. Tablet sales are slowing now that the market is saturated. Consumers are starting to ask, "Do I really need to upgrade?" Or better yet, "Do I really need one?" After all, the trend in smartphones, even at Apple, is bigger "phablet" screens.
The answer to both of those questions, dear law students, is "no." Here's why:
1. Your Mandatory Reading Is in a Book.
What are you going to be doing with most of your outside-of-class time? Reading casebooks. And hard-copy paper casebooks, often authored by your professor (yay kickbacks!), are the norm. Unless you have the ultra-rare professor who assigns an e-book or PDF casebook, your tablet won't help here.
2. Taking Notes Is Easier on a Laptop.
A lot of people like tablets for their sleekness and portability. But have you ever tried typing on one of those things? Sure, you can get an external keyboard, but then, you're basically carrying a less functional laptop. Because you're going to have to write papers and take finals on a laptop (hopefully without ExamSoft), you might as well just invest in a thin-and-light ultrabook or Macbook Air.
3. Upgrading Gets You Nothing.
If you already have a tablet, you might feel attached to it. And you might be tempted to upgrade. But why? Unless you have a first generation iPad, pretty much anything will run on the older models. The new iPad Air is a little faster, has a slightly better screen, and is a little thinner, but are any of those features worth the $500 or so it'll take to upgrade? Ditto for Android -- even budget models from a few years ago will run everything but the latest games.
4. Just Get a Phablet.
If you really want a tablet, why not just get a phablet? The Galaxy Note III is 5.7 inches. One of the new rumored iPhones is 5.5 inches. At that point, you're barely more than an inch away from the dozens of 7-inch Android tablets, and since the same apps run on both devices, is having that extra inch really worth carrying and paying for two devices? Besides, a smartphone with a data connection is way more useful than a tablet that needs Wi-Fi.
Agree? Disagree? Tweet back @FindLawLP.