It’s a long time since our computing was confined to using a desktop PC in the corner of the living room. Portable devices and wireless internet have made it an anywhere, anytime activity. Where do you do your computing?
To better understand people’s tablet-using habits, we surveyed 1,201 Which? members. The results were very interesting, and really brought home how broadly used these devices are.
The numbers show that they’re heavily used for browsing, gaming, watching films, listening to music, emailing, social networking and more. And three quarters of tablet owners use theirs for over half an hour a day, showing that tablets aren’t just being left to gather dust.
In contrast, I bought my desktop PC two years ago at a cost of £650, and I now rarely use it for more than about an hour a week.
At work, in cafés and on the train
But we didn’t just ask them about how much or what they were using their tablets for – we also asked them where they were using them.
Almost all the tablet owners we asked used theirs at home, with just 19% getting them out at work. That’s not all too surprising. Most of the Which? Tech team still rely on pen and paper to supplement their desktop PC at work, but my colleague Andy Vandervell uses his iPad for note-taking at meetings and drawing diagrams.
As I look at the various pages of scrap paper and notes cluttering my desk, I’m starting to think this might be a good idea. My colleague Angus Farquhar completely replaced paper with a tablet as a challenge last year and managed just fine – in fact he still uses it almost exclusively.
Around one in ten in our survey use their tablet on public transport, which is definitely more convenient than turning the pages of a newspaper in a packed train carriage. And two in ten take it out in public places like cafés – browsing the web conveniently over wi-fi and a macchiato is something I’m quite partial to myself.
Where abouts in the home?
Back at home, 67% multitask by using their tablet while watching TV. And 50% use it in bed.
Another 18% have it in the kitchen while they cook, just like me. I recently used my tablet to find and follow a complicated recipe, while simultaneously watching a YouTube video on how to spin sugar! My dessert didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, though I was more relieved not to get caramelised sugar all over my tablet’s screen!
Oh and then there’s the 8% who use their tablet in the bathroom. Where exactly and for what reason, our survey sadly didn’t discover…
Do you have a tablet or another portable computing device? If so, where’s the most unusual place you’ve used yours?