The invention of laptops has been great for freelancers. They’re portable, cheaper than a desktop, and almost as fast.
However, there are problems when you use a laptop away from a desk. If you use a laptop on the beach, you’ll soon have a broken one thanks to blowing sand.
And when you carry a laptop to an “outside” work space, you need a special, bulky bag to carry it. When you fly, you have limited time to use your laptop, because you can’t use it during takeoff and landing.
The best alternative is to invest in a tablet. Starting at the price of a new pair of shoes, you can have a portable office.
A tablet is also small enough to fit in a generic bag, large enough to work on, and much sturdier for outdoor conditions.
Let’s go through some key considerations for choosing the best tablet for you.
An Inexpensive Portable Solution
The first question is, what kind of tablet should you choose? Apple? Android? Kindle?
You’ll need to decide:
- Your budget
- Whether you need a large variety of apps and programs or just a select few to conduct business
- If you will use external devices
The cheapest option for any brand most likely will be a seven-inch screen. Any smaller, and it gets hard to read. Any larger, and the price increases about $100 to $150.
The Expense of a Well-Known Tablet Brand
An iPad, by Apple, is the most expensive. The average price is between $400 and $800, with some models well over $1,000, depending on size and storage capacity. Apple products are known for:
- Very few glitches
- Ease of use
- A wide variety of apps
However, there are downsides. Any add-ons you use must be made by Apple. This includes everything from a keyboard to a storage device. Apple products don’t work with other brands.
Plus, their products tend to be more expensive, which increases the cost of buying a tablet.
The Largest Market and Widest Variety of Brands
Android is a marketplace for apps to use on your device, not a specific brand. Android is:
- The largest app marketplace
- Available on the most devices
- Compatible with most external devices
The cost of an Android tablet could be anywhere from $50 to $900. The quality of these tablets varies. Most tablets above $170 probably work for the basics of running your business.
Android has the largest marketplace, but the apps you’ll need to run your business are most likely available in all three marketplaces.
A Cheap, High-Quality Option
Kindle, by Amazon, is the cheapest for best quality. The Fire is:
- The cheapest option at only $50 for a high-quality, seven-inch tablet
- The newest option
- The most limited marketplace
Kindles are reliable and interface well with Amazon purchases and digital downloads. The app store has the fewest options compared to other app marketplaces, but it’s growing.
External Devices for Easier Use with a Tablet
Whatever option you choose, add-ons can make your tablet more like a portable office. Popular options include:
- A portable keyboard, which allows you to type quickly
- Expandable memory to increase your storage space, so you can work on more projects before transferring your work to another device
- A carrying case with a stand that protects your tablet and props your screen up to make work easier
Whether you choose to use add-ons or not, choosing the best tablet makes a great office away from home.
For more tips on maximizing your productivity on the road, check out our article on the benefits of an internet phone number as a mobile freelancer.