This actually depends on what you wish out of your computer.
All advised, however, I am going to have to state a laptop might be still the best all-rounder, though I can’t claim how long it’ll stay that way.
As I answer this question, there’s a little red netbook sitting in my kitchen near the microwave, I have it to view internet shows while I’m baking or washing up (Kevin Smith’s ‘Fatman on Batman’ podcast is my present favorite). I’ve used a netbook for a couple of years now and I have found it to be OK. The problem using the netbook is that it tends being slow and not possess a huge quantity of memory or processing muscle. Netbooks were made as bargin, portable alternatives to laptops and, in that sense, they have done fine.
Certainly, tablet pc’s are fine things and the technology is increasing rapidly. Actually, that’s a bit of an issue, really. If you purchase a top of the range tablet pc today, you’re only more likely to receive a year or two out of it before the tech is rendered ‘old hat’ by the relentless march of technical progress.
Furthermore, tablet pc’s suffer from the insufficient memory and a great deal of tablets also possess a comparatively short battery life. On a high-end tablet pc is probably better than a netbook and is definitely the most transportable of the 3, but it’ll not match up to a laptop regarding processing strength, or range of use.
For specialized uses, gaming and just about everything else, a laptop is still your best choice. Although they may be bulky and awkward compared to either netbooks or tablets, the processing strength of a good laptop easily matches a desktop computer and also a top-end laptop is, fundamentally, a portable workspace.
Case in point, my colleague is a contract animator and, by definition, he has to spend countless hours functioning at his computer. However, his macbook pro is possible for him to journey around and stay with mates without ever missing just one deadline. For professional purposes, a laptop is, so far, invincible.
Having said that, tablets are coming up fast. If all you are after is a media player plus a simple communications device, then a tablet pc is going to be cheaper and way more realistic than a laptop.
As I said at the beginning, it will depend on what you’re searching for.
Matt Egan at PC Advisor.co.uk, (a useful source of information on this subject) 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 simple way to check your emails and watch films whilst traveling, get yourself a pc tablet. For a portable desktop, obtain yourself a laptop, it’s that straightforward. Netbooks are fine if you prefer a conventional Computer setup to a more phone-like charms of a pc tablet.
That’s about it, actually.