Mr. Modem: Laptop-to-tablet transition is fairly easy

Patrons settle in with tablets and newspapers at an eatery in Washington.
Patrons settle in with tablets and newspapers at an eatery in Washington. The Washington Post

Should I be thinking about replacing my laptop with a tablet? All my friends are telling me to get a tablet.

If you are a happy Windows user, many affordable Windows 10 tablets are available today. The transition from a laptop to any tablet, whether Windows, Android or Apple, is not that difficult — assuming you are motivated to make the change. Sure, there is a learning curve, but if you really want to learn to use a tablet, virtually all tablets are so intuitive and user friendly, it’s not that big a deal. (I know what you’re thinking, “Easy for you to say, Mr. Big Shot.” Personally, I think that’s a bit harsh, but let’s forge ahead, despite the affront.)

Mrs. Modem jettisoned her desktop PC and laptop several years ago and now uses an iPad exclusively. She is not a computer enthusiast and refuses to read a manual (she says that’s what she has me for), but she managed to figure it out almost entirely by herself. I showed her a few very basic tablet functions on one occasion and from that point she was off and swiping.

If you plan to switch to a tablet — any tablet — you will probably need to get comfortable with the cloud. Tablets do not have large hard drives in the traditional sense. It is generally anticipated that tablet users will save things like documents and photos to a cloud storage service — in other words, on the Internet.

Having used Android, Windows and Apple tablets, I prefer Apple’s iPad, followed by the Samsung (Android) Galaxy. If you plan to use your tablet for email, Web browsing, social media and games, a tablet will fill the bill quite nicely. If there is a particular app (program) that you use on your PC that you absolutely, positively must have on your tablet lest life no longer be worth living, make sure that app or a comparable one is available in the appropriate app store for your device.

To answer your specific question (finally), with few exceptions, it is certainly possible to replace your laptop with a tablet, but only you can answer the question if you should. And keep in mind that there is no reason you can’t have both a tablet and a laptop while you become comfortable with the tablet and determine if it will meet your needs. For some users it does; others still require a computer.

Mr. Modem publishes “Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit

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