/ Technology, Travel & Leisure

From trains to toilets – where do you use your tablet?

Laptops are still the best selling portable computing product, but tablet PCs are gaining ground. Earlier in the year we ran a survey to find out how and where people actually used them.

One statistic that came out of the survey of 1,201 Which? members was that about three quarters of owners use their tablets for over half an hour a day.

I fall into this category as well; I’ve done endless hours of house hunting in recent weeks. And my tablet has suited the task well – it’s quick to power-up, displays pictures clearly, and browsing the net on it works like a charm.

I also fall into the two thirds who multitask, using my tablet at the same time as watching TV. Perhaps this is why I’ve not found a suitable house yet!

At home, at work, on the train

But most interesting of all is the variety of places people use their tablets, bringing home how versatile these devices really are. Almost all the tablet owners we asked used theirs at home, with just two in ten getting them out at work. Around one in ten use their tablet on public transport, and two in ten take it out in public places like cafés.

At home, half use it in bed, another two in ten have it in the kitchen while they cook. Oh and then there’s the 8% who use their tablet in the bathroom…

So, in February we put this question to Which? Convo commenters – where and how do you use your tablet?

Craig enjoys using his Motorola Xoom outside of the home:

‘I use my Xoom for reading PDFs and magazines, as well as catching up with various websites on the train in. I also use it to rekindle my old obsession with reading comics now that most have gone online.’

While Maryofdungloe is a little more reluctant:

‘I use my iPad on public transport sometimes, but not that often, because I’m wary someone might try to steal it. I don’t like to use it in pubs and restaurants for the same reasons of not using it on the bus. I do use it on the train though.’

Snowdin seems to be using their tablet in every room imaginable:

‘It’s hard to think of anywhere that I don’t use my iPad – yes I use it there too, because it’s so light and convenient.’

While Liz Barnard’s tablet use sums up the device’s versatility:

‘I use my iPad to download books to read on planes, on holiday (saves weight in cabin bag), in the doctor’s surgery and departure lounges. I use it to follow recipes in the kitchen, to take notes in workshops and seminars: to draw with outdoors, to take photos on site: to access emails and the net wherever, including libraries.

‘I use it for teaching purposes, looking things up when a query comes up that needs research. It lives in my handbag and the map app comes out if I’m lost and can’t find my way. I use my bank app to consult my statements in the bank. I can Skype my sisters abroad from any location, so not tethered to my laptop. Arranging to have it surgically attached to me next week.’

So if you’ve bought yourself a tablet, where do you use it? Or perhaps you take other portable computing devices, like your laptop or smartphone, to all manner of places?


Funnily enough, I don’t tend to take my tablet out of the house. The few times I did, I think I nearly destroyed it by being clumsy with my handbag!

I use my iPad in bed and in front of the TV for the most part, but I also use it in the kitchen for recipes and music. I find my Kindle is a far better device to read on, and my smartphone is ideal for GPS and looking things up quickly when I’m out of the house.

I came to the conclusion that an iPad was not for me – I very very rarely need access to the internet outside the home – when I do I take a laptop with me. For all usual internet access I use a desk top. I find the iPad screen too small for comfort.

We are all different, Richard. Internet access is very important for me and I choose between a laptop and my iPad depending on portability and whether I need to do much more than use email and use websites. The laptop usually wins but the iPad is ideal for long train journeys and taking along when I don’t think I will need a computer. I usually do.

The iPad screen is an ideal size for me. I have used friends’ smartphones and even the larger ones are too small for my liking.

Steven says:
24 May 2012

My iPad is with me almost all day, I use it an an alarm clock, take it to work where I’ll use it all day for reading emails, researching, drawing diagrams, spreadsheet-work, taking notes in meetings and configuring network and telecoms equipment. Back at home it’s used as a remote control for a media serving PC and Apple TV. A true bit of Star Trek technology.

Julia Clark says:
25 May 2012

I recently got an ipad with my christmas money. I am now converted to reading the ipad version of the Guardian as well as looking at e-mail, blogs etc. I haven’t used it away from home yet (but I do use all over the house). Oh yes and it was much more comfortable for iplayer. Having initially thought I would never want one I now wouldn’t be without mine.

Anthony Wood says:
25 May 2012

I use my I pad at home and in a nearby cafe with wi fi for reading The Times and email and whatever else comes to mind but as a keen amateur photographer it is used to download pictures as soon as possible zafter taking to see if they are sharp and worth keeping. The finger moving.enlarging feature is really helpful.

I’m waiting for the Kindle Fire, it seems like a much more cost effective option for me than an iPad.

Ian Hazell says:
28 May 2012

I have tried to like the iPad, my wife is a convert so I have had plenty of access to one, but I really prefer my macbook for everything & apart from portability I really cannot see any advantages with the iPad.

Most of the time I would agree with you, Ian, but even a slim and relatively light MacBook is often a nuisance. I’m driving around looking at houses at present, checking details on estate agents’ websites. An iPad is ideal for this and for general use if you are out for the day. It takes up little room in a briefcase and can be put in a rucksack. I use my iPad to compare specifications and check prices when I buy electrical goods, though I do this in the car our outside the shop. I have not yet had the confidence to get out my iPad in Comet.

Where do you put a tablet when you wash your hands in the Train loo?

Just don’t shake my hand