What Should Your Tablet Weigh?

What's the Right Weight?

An acquaintance of mine received a new tablet the other day and when I asked him how it felt, the first thing he said was that it was intuitive, slick and way too heavy. Great for jotting down notes, but not so great for actually carrying around and getting things done.

Right now, we’re in a place where all the features users want in a tablet aren’t quite possible in a single device. For example, if you want a device capable of lasting 10+ hours and light enough to hold and read or take notes on, it probably won’t offer a replaceable battery.

In fact, most devices don’t have replaceable batteries. Only a handful of devices have them and they tend to be larger and heavier. So, my question then is this – do we need our tablet PCs to be incredibly lightweight? If so, how light do they need to be?

When Mobility Matters

A lightweight, mobile tablet is certainly nice, but does it offer anything that you can’t get elsewhere – from your smart phone for example? Do you need to hold your tablet up as you use it or do you simply like the feel of a lightweight device?

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For sure, once you get to the point of 2+ lbs (1+ kg) for a device, it’s pushing the boundaries of mobility. Even a 10 inch tablet that takes up little space in a handbag or backpack gets a bit unwieldy when it weighs so much.

Some people choose to pair their tablet with an eReader or a second tablet for just this reason. Sure, the tablet weighs too much, but if you want to read an eBook comfortably you can snag your Kindle off the shelf and use it on the train or airplane, or you can snag a smaller tablet to watch a movie or play a game.

Smaller tablets are great for these things because you can take them anywhere, but when it comes to a tablet or slate that can really do everything you want of it without sacrificing power, functionality or longevity – how important is the weight and subsequent mobility factor?

I think in the years to come this problem will dwindle. Eventually, system on a chip designs will make it possible to make device components smaller and integrate replaceable batteries within a lightweight frame. For now though, how much does that weight and mobility affect your tablet use? Is too heavy a no go for you? Or do you simply grab another device for those on-the-go situations?

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Comments

  1. Joe Romeo says

    It’s an interesting commentary on the current tech world when a 2.5lb tablet like the Asus Eee Slate is a heavy beast. I for one love the direction we’re headed.

  2. Cuhulin says

    Personally, I find the answer is less than a pound. That may vary for others, and design issues matter too. The Ipad 2 is not that much lighter than an Ipad, but, to me, it is much easier to hold — although the weight becomes more evident with time. I have a rooted Nook Color that I bought precisely because the weight felt better for portable use. (There are other usability problems with it, though.)

    Hugo is correct that more integrated chips will allow smaller batteries. Apple’s interest in carbon fiber may allow lighter cases. Eventually, we should have light and functional in the same device!

  3. Steve S says

    …I guess I would set my bar at about a kilogram, for now. Having used a TC1100 for years, I didn’t find 1.5 kg to be unmanageable, but it was definitely on the threshold for me. After using an HP Slate (~0.7 kg), I like the weight, but the screen is too small. I’m looking forward to the Fujitsu Q550 (at about the same weight?). Interestingly, my very first impression of the Asus EP121 was that it felt like a brick! But subsequent encounters weren’t as negative; now, I think that the Asus is a good balance between weight and capability using today’s technologies…

  4. Hildy says

    Having had a 1 pound OQO and a 1.5 pound HP Slate, I’d say 1 pound is ideal, maybe 500 grams would be okay. For carrying around, the Slate is no problem. It’s also great for meetings where I often support it while taking notes. But for extended couch surfing the extra half pound becomes noticeable after a half hour or so.

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