Geek Vs Geek: Have Tablets Killed the Laptop?

Description: Watch eHow Tech experts, Dave Johnson and Rick Broida, argue about all things geek, hosted by standup comedian, Helen Hong. Helen Hong is a comedian, actor and host. She plays “Janet Fung” in the upcoming Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and is featured in the Showtime documentary, “Why We Laugh: Funny Women.” Follow her on Twitter: @funnyhelenhong. Dave Johnson is the Editorial Director of eHow Tech, and Rick Broida writes the Cheapskate blog at CNET. This month’s episode: Debating Google Chromecast, the effect of tablets on laptops, and holiday wish lists.

Video Transcript

Helen: Welcome to "Geek vs. Geek," where two nerds duke it out. It's kind of like a nasty, bloody mixed martial arts fight, but with just brains. We are here in eHow's state-of-the-art tech center, aka Dave's basement. Let's meet our geek gladiators. Dave Johnson is editorial director for eHow Tech, and the author of three dozen books. Rick Broida writes for CNET, PCWorld and Wired, and is the author of the new book, "The Cheapskate Rules." Together, they are eHow tech's Geek vs. Geek. Let's get started. Before we get to the main event, let's check in with a gadget that's been getting a lot of buzz around town, but we're not sure if it's worth the money. We are calling this segment, "Worth It?" Today, we're talking about a little gadget from Google that plugs into your TV, the Google Chromecast. Dave, what is this thing? Dave: Like you say, it plugs into your TV. It turns any HDTV into a smart TV. So basically, I can watch Hulu Plus, I can watch Netflix, and the best part is, this little guy costs 35 dollars. Now, in my book, this could do nothing at all, and if it only costs 35 bucks, it's worth it. Rick: At 35 dollars, this is right up my alley, because I love all things cheap… Helen: You do. Rick: And the problem is that it doesn't really turn your TV into a smart TV, more like a second grader. It just doesn't do that much. It gives you Netflix and YouTube, and more recently they've added Hulu Plus to the capabilities, but that's really about it; versus a Roku Box, which gives you hundreds of channels of streaming of music and video, and all sorts of good stuff. Dave: And how much did that cost? Rick: This is very limited. That starts at 49 bucks. So, you're spending another 14 dollars. Dave: But the pro version costs like a hundred bucks, as does Apple TV; costs 100 bucks. What does the Roku do that the Chromecast doesn't? Rick: So, let's see, HBO Go. Dave: Got it. Rick: Pandora. Dave: Got it. Rick: Spotify. Dave: Got it. Rick: How do you got it? Dave: All of those things… Rick: How do you got it? Dave: …I can do on the Chromecast because anything you can display in a web browser, you can send to Chromecast. Helen: So Dave, do you need a computer, like an actual laptop to run this thing? Dave: You can use any device that has a Chrome browser. So, you can do it on your iPhone, on your android device, on your iPad, on your laptop, any device works. Rick: That's a limitation as well, because out of the box, it doesn't even come with a remote. So you need to have a smartphone or a tablet, or something like that, just in order to operate this thing. Not everyone has a smartphone or a tablet. A Roku box comes with a remote. Boop, boop, boop. Dave: For a lot more money! Rick: For 14 dollars more! Here, I've -- here, I'll tell you what. I'm gonna cover you right now. Okay, here. Go get yourself a Roku box. Dave: You are not getting this money back. Helen: I think I deserve that. To be sitting in between y'all, I think I deserve that money. Helen: Alright, it's time for the main event. It is the battleground of ideas, with only one rule here: no biting. Today's topic: laptops versus tablets. Have tablets gotten so good that you just don't need a laptop anymore? Dave, what do you think? Dave: Actually, we're really, really close. I'd say, for most people, they can take a tablet, like the iPad, or Windows Surface, or an Android device instead of a laptop, and they'll never know the difference, because for a few extra dollars, like here on my iPad, you can get… Helen: Fancy. Dave: Yeah! …this really awesome little keyboard that gets thrown on the top, or if you get a Microsoft Surface, look at that. And it even has a… Helen and Dave: Kickstand! Dave: …and you can type away, and then it becomes a tablet if you pull the keyboard off. Helen: That's pretty sharp. Rick, what do you think? Rick: Well, as much as I would love to be able to pack just a tablet when I travel, the reality is that it's just not there yet for the type of writing that I do, the type of blogging that I do. The mobile browser, Safari, on the iPad, cannot run the blog tools that I need it to run. If you are someone who needs to do a lot of photo editing, video editing, the power's not there, the apps are not there, you don't have a mouse for the very precise control that you need. And let's not forget, too, that most tablet screens are fairly small. So, there's definitely some limitations here. Dave: Okay, I hear what you're saying, and what you're doing is making the argument for the 20 percent of people that have very special needs. Most people aren't blogging. What they need is Word, Excel, PowerPoint. They need to go on… Helen: Facebook. Dave: They need Facebook. Helen: Twitter, email, the essential things. Dave: Angry Birds. Yeah, they need those things, and they need a browser, and all of that stuff is provided on any tablet that you can buy today, and you can do most of the things that you need. Rick: You mentioned Office stuff, Word, Excel and so forth. Well, Office proper does not exist for the iPad. Are there alternatives? Are there workarounds? Yes, there are, but, Office as we know it, and as business users use it, does not exist. Dave: It will be arriving, for the iPad eventually. Rick: As of this moment in time that we're discussing it, it's not there. Helen: Okay, so basically what you're saying, in a nutshell, is that for the average layman, who is not doing anything extensive work-wise, the tablets do work. But if you're a professional person who's doing something a little more elaborate, like a video or photo editing or blogging, as you do, it's not gonna be enough, you do need an actual laptop. Rick: That is a perfect assessment. Dave: I agree as well. Rick: In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and declare Helen the winner of this argument. Dave: Yay! Helen: Oh, my God! I've waited so long. Helen: So, it's the holidays next month, and I know a lot of you are busy making your wish lists. Rick and Dave don't need wishlists because they already own every tech gadget under the sun, but guys, if you had to pick one thing that you really want as a gift for the holidays, what would it be? Dave: My one thing I would really like this year, and just to show what a nice guy I am, I'm giving it to you Rick. Happy holidays. Helen: Aww. Rick: For me? Dave: Yes. Rick: I don't want it. Dave: You have to take it. Rick: What is it? Dave: It is the Nokia Lumia 1020. It is a Windows phone. Rick: I definitely don't want it. Dave: Phone. You do have to contend with the fact that it's running the Windows phone operating system, but actually, notice this gargantuan camera on the back of it; this is its selling point. This really does make it awesome. For people that don't carry a camera with them anymore, all they do is take pictures with their phone, this is a 41 megapixel camera. Helen: Wow. Dave: That's right, 41 megapixels, it's amazing. If you're the kind of person that doesn't carry a camera anymore at all, and all you do is take pictures with your phone, this is the phone to own. Helen: Rick, what's your one thing that you really want for the holidays? Rick: Well, the one thing that I really want for the holidays, I'm gonna give to Dave. Happy early Christmas, Dave! Dave: Yay! Helen: That's, oh, Love and joy. Dave: Is it a puppy? It's a puppy. Rick: So you've got the Moto X from Republic Wireless. The Moto X is kind of like the hot phone of the moment, the hot Android phone of the moment. Republic Wireless is an upstart service provider that has been offering, for a long time now, 19-dollar-a-month service with the one or two phones that they've offered. Now, the phones that they've offered have not been really exciting; they've been kind of, like, old, last year's models. The Moto X is, like, hot stuff, and so for Republic Wireless to be offering this phone, and then on top of it, no contract, very inexpensive service, is kind of a big deal. Helen: So, if you're a commitment-phobe with your phone, this is the thing to get. Rick: Yeah, so, it's like your chance to get the phone of the moment without signing up for a two-year contract, and the potential of a very low monthly rate. It's really quite amazing, and so my gift to you. Dave: That's a great deal. Helen: That's very generous. Dave: Thank you, Rick. Helen: Oh, those were such nice gifts. You guys didn't get me anything though. Lame! What do you guys think of the show? We want to hear from you. So, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or email, and we will see you next time on Geek vs. Geek.

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