This really depends upon what you need out of the PC.
All informed, however, I am going to have to state a laptop is probably still the best all-rounder, although I cannot say how long it will stay that way.
As I respond to this query, there is a little red netbook sitting in my home by the microwave, I use it to watch web programs while I’m baking or washing up (Kevin Smith’s ‘Fatman on Batman’ podcast is my current favourite). I have used a netbook for a couple of years now and I’ve found it to be OK. The issue with the netbook is that it tends to be slow and not possess a huge amount of memory or processing power. Netbooks were manufactured as cheap, portable alternatives to laptops and, in that sense, they’ve done fine.
Certainly, tablets are fine things and the technology is rising rapidly. Actually, that is a bit of an issue, really. If you purchase a top of the range tablet today, you are only likely to get a year or two from it before the technology is rendered ‘old hat’ through the persistent march of technical progress.
Additionally, pc tablets suffer from a insufficient memory and plenty of tablets also have a comparatively short battery life. On a high-end pc tablet might be better than a netbook and is positively the most portable of the three, but it will not match up to a laptop in terms of processing power, or range of use.
For specialized uses, gaming and almost everything else, a laptop continues to be your best option. Although they are large and awkward when compared to either netbooks or tablet pc’s, the processing strength of a solid laptop easily matches a desktop computer and also a high-end laptop is, essentially, a transportable workspace.
Case in point, my colleague is a contract animator and, by definition, he has to spend endless hours working at his PC. Yet, his macbook pro makes it possible for him to travel around and stay with mates without ever missing a single deadline. For professional tasks, a laptop is, so far, invincible.
Having said that, tablet pc’s are developing fast. If all you’re after is a media player plus a uncomplicated communications device, then a tablet pc is going to be cheaper and far more practical than a laptop.
As I said originally, it depends on what you are searching for.
Matt Egan at PC Advisor.co.uk, (a useful source of knowledge on this subject) says,
“In technology, you get what you pay for… most of the time. Right now, however, a certain class of cheap tablets are genuine bargains. Consider this: for the £450 price of a fairly basic 15in Dell or Lenovo laptop you could buy three Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD or Nook HD (comparison review) tablets. So that makes tablets the cheaper option, right? Not quite. The Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD tablets are pure consumption devices. They are great for watching, listening and reading. But you can’t do much with them in terms of productivity”.
For a uncomplicated way to check your emails and watch films whilst roaming, get yourself a tablet. For the convenient desktop, obtain yourself a laptop, it is that straightforward. Netbooks are fine if you prefer a conventional Computer setup to the more phone-like charms of the pc tablet.
That is about it, actually.