Laptop vs. Tablet – Pros and Cons for Taking Notes

Laptop vs Tablet

With back to school on the horizon, it’s time to make a decision about the best way for your kids to take notes once class is back in session. While laptops used to be the first choice, improvements in tablets have made these mini computers another popular option. At P.C. Richard & Son, we’ve put together some pros and cons to help you and your child make the best choice.

Laptop Benefits

There’s a lot to like about laptops, which are constantly getting better and better. Here are some good reasons to buy your returning student a laptop:

Simulates a desktop. Laptops come with full keyboards, trackpads and have the option of a wired or wireless mouse. Their large screens have good resolution, which makes taking notes and writing papers easy to do. Unlike the touchscreen pad of a tablet, a laptop’s full keyboard is more accurate. A laptop’s screen at 12-17 inches is also much larger, which makes developing school projects containing photos easier.

Durable. For the most part, laptops are more durable than tablets. You’re less likely to scratch or damage the screen than a touchscreen display.

Substantial storage capacity. Laptops hold significantly more data than tablets. They also possess multiple USB and memory card ports.

tablet vs laptop

Tablet Benefits

Though tablets have only come onto the scene in recent years, they’re quickly catching up to laptops in terms of functionality. Here are the top reasons you may want to choose one for your child:

Lightweight. Most laptops weigh from three to nine pounds, which doesn’t sound like much until you’re lugging the device back and forth in your backpack. The average weight of a tablet is less than a pound, and they are thinner and smaller in size.

Intuitive. Many students enjoy the tapping and swiping of the tablet’s touchscreen rather than always having to rely on a keyboard.

Better for eBooks. Tablets are more conducive to reading virtual books than laptops. They more closely resemble a real book and you can more easily relax with them and read.

Long battery life. We all know that kids forget to charge their hardware and can use that as an excuse for not completing homework. Tablet battery life averages about 10 hours, which is two to three times longer than a laptop.

Best of Both Worlds

If you and your back to school student can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet, there are options that can offer you the benefits of both. They include opting for a wireless keyboard for the tablet, which gives you the benefits of functioning like a laptop. You can also now find 2-in-1 computers that are combining laptops and tablets into one device.

To help you make the best choice for your child, check out our computer and tablet choices online, or stop in to any of our P.C. Richard & Son locations and have one of our expert sales representatives help you make the ideal decision for you and your child.


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Introducing the Samsung Galaxy Tab4


Samsung’s next generation Galaxy Tab4 line releases May 1, 2014 and is perfect for the whole family. This new line offers an exceptional multimedia experience in a more premium and portable design, making it ideal for viewing or sharing content with friends and family.

All three Tab4 models, 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch, sport a WXGA display with a 16-by-10 ratio—ideal for watching movies, playing games, or reading digital content. And with the Multi Window function, users can seamlessly move between apps and windows, and drag and drop content to better fit the screen.

The Tab4 line also comes with features like Group Play for sharing music, documents, and games in real time, WatchON and Netflix for watching TV shows and movies on any device, and Samsung Link, which allows content to play across smart gadgets.

All models come in two colors, white and black, featuring 1.5GB of RAM, 1.2GHz quad-core processors, 16GB of storage and would make a great gift for Mother’s Day! You can pre-order a Samsung Galaxy Tab4 here.


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Keeping Your Devices Safe In The Cold


Stepping out into the bitter cold does not only have an effect on you, but the blast of arctic temperatures could put your electronics on thin ice! Smartphones, notebooks, tablets, and laptops can all lose functionality as the temperature drops. Here are some problems that may occur during these chilly days:

Battery Drain: Is the most common and most immediate effects of cold weather. Your device may spontaneously power off with a dead battery in extreme cold. If your smartphone is exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, you risk killing the battery altogether.

Screen Issues: LCD displays on smartphones, Apple iPads or Android tablets are sensitive to the cold. Users may experience delayed touchscreen reactions as well as smudging or ghosting of images. The cold weather makes the panel more rigid, which makes it more likely to shatter if dropped.

Internal Component errors: In extreme cold temperatures, smartphones and mobile devices may begin to register various errors of their internal components. Smartphones may have difficulty reading a SIM card or executing any number of processing  operations.

Physical Damage to Internal/External Components:  Mobile devices that are subjected to extreme cold  can cause both internal/external components to become rigid, which could lead to physical damage such as spontaneous screen shattering. Leaving devices in extreme cold temperatures for an extend ed period of time can cause permanent damage.

Liquid Condensation: When used too quickly after bringing your device in from the the cold, your mobile devices are susceptible to liquid condensation underneath their displays. This can cause various liquid damage issues and make your display screen hard to read.

Now that you are familiar with the problems that can occur with your mobile devices in cold weather, here are tips to help prevent it.

Tip #1

Try not too take your devices out in cold weather, or if you have to, limit the use.  Keep your devices in your jacket pocket, bag or purse to limit exposure to the direct cold.

Tip #2

Protect your devices with a case. For smartphones, use a heavy duty, weatherproof case such as a Lifeproof or Otterbox.  For laptops or tablets, get a well insulated and well padded case.

Tip #3

Never leave your smartphone, notebook, tablet, iPad or any other mobile device in your cold vehicle for extended periods of time. Even with a case, such extended time left in the cold can cause permanent internal and external damage.

Tip #4

In addition to protecting your devices from the cold weather, you should keep your devices out of the snow. Dropping your device in the snow causes it to get wet and this can be extremely damaging. If your device does get wet, you should get indoors (to keep the seeped water from freezing), remove the battery, take out the SIM card (if the device has one), dry the device with a clear microfiber cloth or paper towel and then put the device in an air-tight container with packets of silica gel to absorb the moisture. It has also been said submerging your wet device in a pot or bowl of uncooked rice can help remove moisture from it.

Tip #5

Laptop hard drives can freeze from the cold. It is recommended that you let your laptop warm up to room temperature before using it. This is a good rule a thumb to use for all mobile devices that have spent extended time in cold weather.

Tip #6

NEVER use pocket warmers or other warmers not intended for mobile devices to try and keep them warm.  These warmers  are not designed for that purpose and can create other issues. For example, generating too much heat can cause internal components to melt.

Tip #7

You can keep your laptop warm by changing the power settings to power save mode. This keeps the laptop warm as it continues to run, and instead of shutting down the hard drive, it keeps it spinning. The longer the laptop can be kept running, the warmer it will stay as it generates its own heat.

Tip #8

If you find your smartphone has shut off, don’t start it back up immediately. Condensation can form inside your device if you turn it on while it’s still cold.

Tip #9

Charge your smartphone before going outside. If your battery is fully charged before going into the cold, it is less likely to experience battery drain. For all your mobile devices, keep a mobile charger around for long trips as well as an extra battery for backup.

Tip #10

Make sure to check your manufacturer’s temporal guidelines. For example, Apple products can operate in temperatures between 32 and 95 degrees.

We hope this post will help you keep your devices protected from the cold days ahead. Remember, if you can, avoid or limit use of your electronics in the cold. Stay warm!


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Sony Event This Week at P.C. Richard and Son


It’s the perfect week to start your holiday shopping with the Sony event going on now at P.C. Richard and Son! We’re celebrating all that Sony has to offer this week with amazing deals on Sony TVs, laptops, cameras, speakers, and much more.  Work, play, or create – Sony offers an array of products that are great for the office, home, or hobby. 

This week, save up to $1500 on select Sony 4K Ultra HDTVs and experience a picture as real as life itself! Plus, purchase any 55”/65” Sony 4K Ultra HDTV and save $200 on a Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player, which allows you to watch select movies in 4K.  Don’t forget to also check out their first curved LED TV that features a similar curve to that of a movie theater screen, allowing you to experience home theater like never before.

 Also during this week-long event save on 3D Ready LED HDTVs, and instantly save $300 on a Sony 7.1 Channel Surround Sound Bar  when purchased with any Sony TV 55” or larger.

Not looking for a TV right now? Be sure to check out their state-of-the-art cameras, tablets, and computers; many of which feature Sony PlayMemories… a whole new way of having fun with photos and videos. The PlayMemories series lets you easily organize your photos and videos and instantly share them anywhere on all your favorite digital devices. See your local P.C. Richard & Son sales associate for details! Hurry in and save big on select Sony notebooks, tablets, home audio, cameras and more! For more details check out our weekly circular or stop into one of your local P.C. Richard and Son stores to see all the savings on Sony products. See you there!


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Top 10 Dorm Room Essentials


Back to school, whether you are preparing to go away for the first time or preparing to go back, it’s time to make a list of what you need.  We did a friendly poll and asked the question “What do you need when you go back to school?” – below are the top 10 answers.

#1 Laptop

 Laptops are essential to campus life.  When looking to purchase a laptop it is good to keep a few things in mind.

  • Size – pick a portable size, something  light that can be stored easily
  • Processors – faster is always better. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a processor either, there are less expensive processors that will easily handle students’ web, email, word processor, and spreadsheet requirements.
  • Memory and Hard Drive – You may want to talk to university about minimum requirements of memory and what size Hard Drive you may need.  Your university may offer shared space on a network server for student files.
  • Battery Life – It may not always be easy to plug in on the go, so you may want to find a battery that can last at least 5 hours.

On a budget, check out Samsung Chromebook 11.6” Exynos Dual Core Processor Chromebook Computer for $229.99.

#2 Printer

You may not have time to stop by the library before class to print out that paper that’s due. Having your own printer can come in handy. You do not need anything fancy, just something reliable. The HP Wireless All-In-One Printer can easily handle printing out papers and other assignments.

#3 TV

Every student enjoys downtime in their dorm room watching their favorite TV shows. Dorm rooms tend to be small so no need for a big screen, a screen between 24” and 39” should be fine. You can get a Proscan 32” Class LED HDTV for under $200. I would suggest, if possible, mounting your TV to the wall instead of buying a TV stand, you will save money and space.

#4 Mini Fridge

Anybody who has lived on campus will tell you, you need a mini fridge. It is perfect for storing drinks and small snacks. A mini fridge will save you a little cash too. Instead of buying an individual drink every day, you can buy a 6 or 12 pack of your favorite drink, buying in bulk is much cheaper. Same goes for small snacks like fruit. When you are on the go and have no time to sit and have breakfast, grabbing an apple or orange from your mini fridge on the way out the door can be a great convenience.

#5 Microwave

So much for home cooking you’re in college now! Don’t be too worried you will be amazed how many recipes you can find for cooking with a microwave online. This is one of my favorite sites for awesome microwave recipes. Just like the mini fridge having a microwave will save you money as well. Going out for meals everyday can be costly, having the option to make a few of your own meals will minimize how much you eat out.

#6 Desk

Sometimes you can’t always get to the library having a place to do your school work is key. When looking for a desk you want to find a size that will easily fit in the space you will be occupying and also room for your laptop to sit. The Bell’O Computer Desk/Workcenter is perfect for the dorm, with a built in shelf you can store some of books as well.

#7 Chair

Well you can’t have a desk without a chair. Besides personal use, an extra sitting area other than the bed can come in handy when you have guests. We have an excellent suggestion for you, Office Star Task Chair, wheels, adjustable height, and on sale right now!

#8 Fan

So it seems even when it’s not summer time a fan is a dorm room essential. You will most likely have no control over the temperature of your dorm room and a fan can help keep a comfortable temperature as well as circulate the air. Fans are inexpensive and take up little room so they are perfect for small spaces.


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Enter For a Chance to Win an HP Back to School Bundle!

You may not be thinking about school while you’re hanging out on the beach, but you know what they say; time flies when you’re having fun! Before you know it you will be heading back to school, and now is the time to start preparing for the year.

P.C. Richard & Son has just what a student needs to make this the best school year ever. We are giving away two HP Back to School Bundles which include; an All-In-One Touchscreen Computer, a Slate 7 Tablet and an All-In-One Wireless Printer – it’s everything you need to make the grade! Two lucky students will be heading back to school in style; one of them could be you!

How to Enter

1 Winner Through Facebook

Enter via our Facebook fan page by filling out the form located here.

1 Winner In-Store

Stop by any of our 66 P.C. Richard & Son Superstore locations and fill in the entry form at our convenient sweepstakes kiosk.


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HP Back to School Bundle Giveaway: Enter to Win an HP Entertainment Notebook Computer and Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones!

While choosing the pattern on your dorm’s bedspread or the posters on your wall may be an important task when packing up for school, remember that it’s your computer that will help you get the grades you’re striving for. Your machine will be up late with you, helping you power through your latest research paper or programming project until the wee hours of the morning.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your computer, either! That’s why we’ve teamed up with HP to give away an HP Pavilion AMD Turion II 17.3″ entertainment notebook computer with Beats Audio and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. It’s a perfect balance of work and play for school!

What We’re Giving Away

One back to school bundle, consisting of:

About the HP Pavilion AMD Turion II 17.3″ Entertainment Notebook Computer with Beats Audio

You’ll be able to get your homework done quickly with this computer’s 2.3 GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and Windows 7 operating system. When you go to class, take the machine with you and enjoy the long battery life! You’ll be able to boot up quickly before class starts with the integrated fingerprint reader and HP SimplePass Identity Management software to give you a quick, easy and secure way to access your favorite websites with a single swipe.

When you’re ready to relax, pop in a Blu-Ray disc and immerse yourself in the 17.3″ HP BrightView LED display. You can also video chat with your family at home, play a game, or surf the web with ease. The computer’s 320GB hard drive has tons of space to hold all of your photos, movies and music.

Speaking of music, the most impressive feature of this computer is the sound quality. Beats Audio delivers studio-quality playback through line-out to headphones and external speakers. You’ll notice the difference when your tunes are being played through the Altec Lansing speakers and built-in HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer, or Beats by Dr. Dre headphones with ControlTalk by Monster Cable, which are also included in the giveaway.

For the full specs list of this machine, check out our product page for the Hewlett Packard Pavilion AMD Turion II 17.3″ Entertainment Notebook Computer with Beats Audio.

About Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones by Monster Cable

Hear what you’ve been missing. Beats Tour high-resolution in-ear headphones reveal the full sound of today’s digital music, including sonically demanding hip-hop, rock, and R&B that crush ordinary earbuds. Beats Tour delivers sound so big, you’ll think you have speakers in your ears. Exclusive Monster technologies reproduce clear natural vocals, detailed highs, and deep powerful bass without distortion. For more on the Monster Cable Beats by Dr. Dre heaphones, click here.

How to Enter

You have several ways to enter to win this great HP back to school bundle. You can enter using each of the methods below:

  1. 1 entry: Leave a comment on this post about why you love HP and/or P.C. Richard & Son.
  2. 1 entry: Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on this post saying you’ve done so with your full name so that we can match it.
  3. 1 entry per day: Follow us on Twitter and tweet the following message:@pcrichardandson I entered to win your great HP back to school bundle! . Make sure you comment back on this post with a link to the tweet.
  4. 1 entry: If you have a blog of your own, post about this contest with a link back to this page. Comment on this post with a link to your post.
  5. 1 entry: Subscribe to the P.C. Richard & Son e-mail list here, then comment on this post telling us you subscribed.

Please leave 1 comment per entry and put your full name and e-mail address in the appropriate fields. For example, if I was John Smith, my email was, and I entered by liking us on Facebook and subscribing to the e-mail list, I would leave two separate comments like this:

Name: John Smith
Comment: I liked you on Facebook! Facebook name is Jonathan Smith.

Name: John Smith
Comment: I subscribed to your emails! E-mail address is above.

This contest will run from July 19, 2010 to August 31, 2010. The winner will be selected by random drawing and will be contacted by email. For the complete rules, please click here. This contest is open to legal residents of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut who are 18 years of age or older.

Good luck! Note: All comments MUST be approved by an administrator before they will appear, so if you don’t see your comments right away, don’t panic!

EDIT: This giveaway is now closed. We will be determining and contacting the winner soon and will post an update on this blog once the winner has been chosen. Stay tuned!


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Summer Gadgets from P.C. Richard & Son and Toni On! New York

Have you seen Toni On! New York on WPIX yet? If not, you should check it out. Hosted by Toni Senecal, this show takes you all over New York and dishes on the city’s best-kept secrets, tips, and places to go.

Earlier this month, she and her team covered summer gadgets at our store on 23rd Street. Brett Larson covered some great portable products we have available both in-store and at, including:

Flip Video UltraHD
“Don’t miss a moment of your time outside with the Flip Cam! These inexpensive cameras capture the moment with the push of a button and save from 1 to 2 hours of video. And, they slip right into your pocket when you don’t need them, so it can always be with you.”

Acer Ruby Red Netbook
(Previously covered on our blog as a hot deal) “This netbook will also come in handy for staying connected when you’re on the go. Netbooks sell for under $500, and, like this one from Acer, have Wi-Fi on board so you can connect to the internet while you’re away. Maybe do a little office work from outside the office, or just check your e-mails and surf the web.

(Also previously covered on our blog) “With FLO TV, you’ll be able to catch your favorite television shows wherever you go. The pint-sized devices tune into new digital frequencies and let you watch everything from news to entertainment shows. They come with 6 months of service included.”

“The latest PSP Go is smaller and just as fun. Games come on mini-sized discs that easily slip into your purse, pocket or backpack, and there’s hundreds of titles to choose from. Just be sure you pack plenty of battery power just in case your game goes long.”

Bose SoundDock Series II Digital Music System
“Take your tunes to go and let them sound their best with the Bose speaker to go. Just pop in your iPod or mp3 player and rock out.”

Monster Cable Lady Gaga Heartbeats High Performance In-Ear Headphones
“You don’t have to let the world hear your music with these Lady Gaga headphones. Yes, the Grammy Award-winning Lady Gaga. They’re the same headphones she wore in the video for her song Telephone.”

Monster Cable Dr. Dre Headphones
“If Lady Gaga headphones really aren’t your thing, check out the Beats by Dr. Dre. Drop it like it’s hot, Toni!”

Here’s the clip from the show:

You can catch Toni On! New York on WPIX Saturdays at 6PM.


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5 Free Tools to Prevent Viruses and Spyware from Crippling Your PC

It happens to the best of us: you stumble across a website or open an e-mail that suddenly unleashes havoc on your computer. Pop-up windows start flying everywhere, you can’t launch a single program, and your machine is rendered useless. You can prevent this from happening or try to fix your problems with the free programs below:

Spybot: Search and Destroy
Spybot is a great free program that detects and removes adware and spyware, which is software that obtains information from a your computer without your consent . Even if you do not see anything wrong with your computer, you should update and run this software weekly to clean out any spyware that’s tracking your surfing behavior or has installed malicious adware. For more information on how to install, scan and clean your computer, head on over to Spybot’s tutorial page.

AdAware protects your computer from from viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, password stealers, and much more. The free-for-personal-use version is very effective at removing spyware and adware, but anti-virus capabilities are only included in the paid versions starting at $26.95. This is another program that should be run at least once a week if possible. AdAware’s website has a list of video tutorials to help you get to know the program.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
AVG picks up the viruses that the free versions of Spybot and AdAware don’t. AVG’s free edition will make sure you can’t get or spread a virus, worm, or Trojan horse that can destroy your machine and repairs or throws what it finds into quarantine. This program should be set to scan every night if possible, as viruses are usually what kills your computer over spyware. Like AdAware, AVG has some good video tutorials to walk you through their program.

avast! Free Anti-Virus
avast! is very similar to AVG but with a few differences: while AVG only allows a full system scan, avast! offers quick scans that search for infections only in typical folders on your computer. This is good if you’re being proactive in your anti-virus protection and want to frequently check your computer without spending hours on the scan. It also automatically updates itself, while AVG is manually updated. AVG is more well-known and does tend to update faster and has more stable servers, so whichever you choose is really up to your preference. They have an active support community to help answer any questions you may have.

Knoppix is a small operating system that doesn’t require installation– it boots right from a CD. In the unfortunate event that you get a virus that you simply can’t remove, Knoppix makes it possible to backup all of your important files without loading Windows. Simply download Knoppix for free, burn it onto a CD, pop it in the infected computer and back up your files onto a portable hard drive. For more detailed instructions, check out this guide to Computer First Aid Using Knoppix.

There are many more free software packages to use to help protect yourself from virus and spyware attacks, but these are a few of the more popular choices. What software do you use to protect your computer?


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Sweepstakes of the Century April Giveaway: Win a Houseful of Electronics from Sony!

We’re continuing our celebration of 100 years of P.C. Richard & Son by offering a sweepstakes every month this year. This month, enter to win over $10,000 in Sony electronics for your home, including a slew of TVs, Blu-Ray and DVD players, cameras and camcorders, and more. You could probably open up your own P.C. Richard & Son with all of the stuff you’ll receive!

This contest is open to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania residents over the age of 18 and the winner will be randomly selected from the entry pool. The lucky winner will receive 12 Sony electronics, amounting to a $10,120.00 value. These electronics include:

  1. One (1) 52” BRAVIA NX800 Series HDTV (KDL52NX800)
  2. One (1) 46” BRAVIA EX700 Series HDTV (KDL46EX700)
  3. One (1) 40” BRAVIA EX500 Series HDTV (KDL40EX500)
  4. One (1) 400 Disc Blu-ray Changer (BDPCX960)
  5. One (1) Blu-ray Disc™ Home Theatre System (BDVE570)
  6. One (1) Blu-ray Disc™ Surround Sound System (HTSS370)
  7. One (1) Blu-ray Disc™ Player (BDPS570)
  8. One (1) VAIO® Notebook (VPCEB12FX/BI)
  9. One (1) VAIO® L Series All-in-One 24″ Touchscreen Computer (VPCL111FX/B)
  10. One (1) 16GB HD Handycam® Camcorder (HDRCX150)
  11. One (1) Cyber-shot® Digital Camera (DSCW330)
  12. One (1) 9” Portable DVD Player (DVPFX950)

Entering is simple and there’s no purchase necessary. There are two ways to win:

Stop into your nearest P.C. Richard & Son store during business hours and locate the promotional displays at Point of Sale terminals throughout the store and/or ask a P.C. Richard & Son employee to assist you in entering the sweepstakes during normal store hours.  At the counter, there will be a computer where you can access the electronic entry form and follow the directions to complete it.

By Mail
On a 3”x5” card, hand print your full name, address, city, state, zip code, telephone number (area code included), date of birth and email address (optional) and mail in an envelope with proper postage affixed to: Houseful of Sony® Sweepstakes II, P.O. Box 1443, Midlothian, VA  23113. All mail-in entries must be mailed separately, postmarked by April 30, 2010 and received by May 8, 2010 to be eligible.

Only one entry per person will be accepted, no matter how many times or by what means you enter. For more details and further rules, check out the sweepstakes page. Good luck!

If you won this contest, what would you do with all these products?


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