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Why I'm finally considering buying a tablet

With a laptop and smartphone, I've never found a need to get a tablet, but a newfound obsession just might change my mind.

I've never wanted a tablet until now. Josh Miller/CNET

Tablets have never interested me much, but for the first time ever, I'm entertaining the idea of getting one. It's not because of yesterday's iPad announcement, either; it's for a reason I never imagined would come out of mouth. But more on that in a bit.

First, a little about my apathy for tablets. My reason for not buying one is simple, really: I just don't need one.

When I'm at home and want to check my e-mail or social networks or play some games, I just reach for my laptop or smartphone. They're usually never more than an arm's length away. Also, as I've written before, I like to unplug a bit during my free time.

Before bed, I'll grab a book (a physical book, not an e-reader) or magazine. The same goes for my commute to and from work or if I'm traveling anywhere, because after spending most of my day in front of a computer, I don't want to look at another screen for a while and need an escape from my always-on connectivity.

So why the change of heart? Well, believe it or not, comic books.

I might lose some geek cred here, but I was never into comic books growing up. I may even have mocked my brother for reading them, but as the saying goes, don't knock it till you try it, right? Well, I tried it, and I love it.

Just a week ago, my friend and CNET colleague Eric Franklin got me reading "Ultimates" (in preparation for "The Avengers" movie, of course), and to say I'm hooked would be an understatement. I blew through the first series in a couple of hours, and I just got the second series. I know once I get through those, I'll be jonesing for more.

In the battle of old vs. new, which will win? Josh Miller/CNET

Family and friends have given me more recommendations on other titles and authors, and told me the easiest way to get back issues is through apps or publishers' Web sites. The tablet seems to be the perfect vessel for consuming comics. The larger display is great for reading and soaking in all the visuals, and the portable design makes it easy to snuggle up with on the couch. Plus, the guided view, which moves the comic panel by panel, is pretty damn cool.

Despite these reasons, I'm still having a hard time taking the plunge. I struggle with the want vs. need issue, as the practical side of me has a hard time justifying dropping several Benjamins on, what's still to me, a non-essential gadget.

There are "affordable" tablets out there, such as the $200 Kindle Fire, but until I win the lottery, that's still a serious chunk of change. My mind immediately goes to what else I could do with the money--pay off a credit card bill, put it toward a house (you know, all those boring adult responsibilities).

This issue of need vs. want is certainly nothing new and can apply to a lot of tech purchases. It's just something I really haven't had to deal with in a while (file this under first-world problems).

Surely, I'm not the only one who's had this internal debate about tablets, but it appears more and more people are getting onboard with tablets as sales continue to soar. Could it be that they're destined to go from nice to necessary? What's your take?

As for my adventure into the world of tablets, well, to be continued...