This truly depends on what you need out of your PC.
All told, however, I’m going to have to say that a laptop is probably still the best all-rounder, though I cannot claim how long it’ll stay that way.
As I respond to this question, there is a little red netbook sitting in my home by the microwave, I use it to view internet programs while I’m baking or cleaning up (Kevin Smith’s ‘Fatman on Batman’ podcast is my recent favorite). I have used a netbook for a couple of years now and I’ve found it to be Okay. The issue using the netbook is it tends to be slow and not have a huge quantity of memory or processing muscle. Netbooks were designed as cheap, portable choices to laptops and, in that sense, they’ve done fine.
Obviously, tablets are fine things and also the technology is developing quickly. In fact, that is a bit of an issue, really. If you purchase a top of the range tablet today, you’re only likely to receive a year or two from it before the tech is rendered ‘old hat’ through the unyielding march of scientific development.
Additionally, tablet pc’s suffer from the insufficient memory and a lot of models also possess a relatively short battery life. On a high-end tablet pc is probably better than a netbook and is definitely the most portable of the three, but it will not match up to a laptop regarding processing power, or diversity of use.
For specialized uses, gaming and just about anything else, a laptop is still your best choice. Although they may be large and clumsy when compared to either netbooks or tablets, the processing power of a very good laptop easily matches a desktop computer and also a high-end laptop is, fundamentally, a transportable workspace.
For instance, my colleague is a contract animator and, by definition, he has to spend countless hours working at his PC. However, his macbook pro is possible for him to journey around and stay with friends without ever missing just one deadline. For professional tasks, a laptop is, so far, unbeatable.
Having said, tablet pc’s are arising rapidly. If all you are after is mostly a media player plus a simple communications tool, then a tablet pc will be cheaper and way more realistic than a laptop.
As I said at the beginning, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Matt Egan at PC Advisor.co.uk, (a useful source of information on this topic) states,
“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 movies whilst traveling, get yourself a pc tablet. For the portable desktop, get yourself a laptop, it’s that simple. Netbooks are fine if you prefer a traditional PC setup to the more phone-like charms of the pc tablet.
That’s about it, really.