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12/06/14

Type farce: Why the tablet and laptop hybrids won't work for writers

As someone who bounces between a laptop and a tablet for work and is proficient at typing more than just a handful of words per minute, you'd be hard pressed to not love the line of products available that consolidate both aforementioned products into one.
Gadgets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, probably the most highly touted and lauded of these hybrids, market themselves as the next generation of portable devices, calling themselves the "laptop that will replace your tablet."
Most of that rhetoric isn't just blind advertising and actually makes sense when you consider what you're getting. The tablet portion disconnects from the keyboard, but both together make brilliant music together if you decide you want to have the best of both words.
But here's the catch, or call it a drawback if you will: the tablet and laptop hybrid computers or portable devices lack sorely in the keyboard department. The same could be said for the tablet lovers who attempt to search out and buy docking stations or keyboard attachments or stands for those devices as well.
If you have any ability whatsoever to type quickly or have larger hands, that combination is a deadly one if you're contemplating either using your tablet and docking station or have the Surface or something of that electronic ilk in your sights.

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The keyboard is simply too small to be able to work with any sort of productivity in mind, so for anyone thinking of replacing a larger scale keyboard from your laptop with one of these alternatives, you'll be sorry you decided to take that route.
Perhaps the one saving grace in this category is the Yoga model from Lenovo. While the laptop and tablet unit doesn't disconnect like it's Surface competition it does fold over completely flat giving you the "illusion" that you're using a tablet. The only difference is the keyboard is tucked behind the tablet, but Lenovo manages to keep the product in question remarkably thin and still easy to use as a one and done combo.
The keyboard, truthfully, is a forgotten entity as it relates to how the laptop and the tablet coexist, which is why the hybrid designs aren't up to standard for the business professional that wants to be able to type and work efficiently but can't at the moment. Again, the Lenovo is the best of a terribly uncrowded field of competitors that have forgotten that some consumers still like to type. The arrival of the tablet made the keyboard, for some manufacturers, not quite as important to fine tune.
That won't do the product any favors for the plenty of customers that still want to be able to type out something as simple as an email or complex as a report without peppering their backspace key to the point that they're more frustrated and frantic, rather than actually enjoying their device in front of them.

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