Can a tablet PC really do it all?

I decided to find out if it’s possible to replace a laptop and desktop computer with a tablet PC running Windows 8. This is the diary of what happened.


Ever wondered if it was possible to replace a laptop and a desktop computer with a tablet PC running Windows 8 Pro? I decided to try out an HP ElitePad 900 for a week to find out. This is my resulting ‘I did if for science’ diary.


It’s my Monday morning video conference with my Turbine development team. I use the ElitePad’s HD web cam and the Windows 8 Skype app to talk to them. They’re in Ukraine and I’m in London but the tablet brings us together as if we’re in neighbouring rooms. Then I have my weekly conference call to discuss Articulate’s upcoming copywriting work. I load up Microsoft’s free OneNote app to take notes while I talk – just using the onscreen keyboard works fine for this. I can create tasks just as easily using the touchscreen display. It’s actually more intuitive to do this on a tablet.


It’s a busy writing day so I drop the ElitePad into its docking station and connect it to the big monitor on my desk and a full size keyboard. Using Microsoft Word 2013, I quickly finish off two articles. The way that the new version of Word sinks into background and brings my copy to the fore is impressive. The new design is very slick with nice details like a smoothly animating cursor and support for touch as well as mouse-based editing.


Off to a content planning meeting with Edelman. I use the ElitePad on the tube trip to Victoria to go over my notes, which I’ve downloaded to the device via Box. (And yes, I listen to some music on my headphones while I’m doing it!) When I surface, I use Bing maps to find my way to their offices. On the way back, I pick up my email at St. James’s station using the Virgin Wi-Fi there. Cool.


Another writing day but with a few interviews. I’m working on some brochures for HP and a couple of case studies from other clients. For the HP call, I use HP Virtual Rooms on the ElitePad so that my client can show me a presentation while we talk. I take notes in OneNote during the call so that I have a record of the conversation. Swiping in from the edge of the screen is like alt-tabbing between apps and I can quickly check the calendar while I’m talking and make sure that I don’t overrun into my next meeting.


It’s billing time and I use Excel to open up the tracking spreadsheet on my server and log into FreshBooks to actually create the invoices. More housekeeping: I check my social network accounts, reply to a few emails … the usual stuff. And suddenly, I realise that I could quite happily use the ElitePad as my main computer, especially with the docking station and I’m sad to have to give it back. I really can’t say that about the other tablets I’ve bought over the past couple of years. I’ve just downloaded the Netflix app and I’m looking forward to watching some TV over the weekend. The ElitePad is a capable, everyday business computer shrunk into lightweight tablet PC with a responsive touch screen and Windows 8 Pro. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a bit of fun on the weekend! This post first appeared on the HP Business Answers blog. 

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