There is no argument that the current generation of tablets are best used as "consumption devices" as opposed to "creation". You really need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish/do with the tablet SPECIFICALLY. If you want to view PDFs, Word docs, ebooks, and surf the web then a tablet will fit right up your alley. But if your trying to create files from scratch, like writing a 5 page paper, then a tablet probably is not your best option.
Although you do have options:
There are several tablets out there with the ability to doc a keyboard which makes creating files much easier. But that gets expensive ($400-500 tablet plus $100 keyboard is a lot) so you would really be better off with a laptop.
Or maybe you need a tablet with pen input for note taking. If I'm not mistaken there is a tablet or two out there that have that functionality. If not, then they are in the works and should be out soon. Check Lenovo's lineup of tablets.
If you need access to more serious hardware/software then maybe remote access will do the trick if you have a desktop at home. There are several remote access apps for both iOS and Android.
The reality is that tablets are making huge headway. Hardware is reving up quickly. Nvidia has its quad core Kal-El coming hopefully within the next 6 months for example. I mean imagine that. A quad core in a tablet. Jesus Christ that's exciting! Software is right behind it. Look at the success that iOS has with its developers and android is quickly gaining ground being open source and all. Hell, even windows supposedly has an ace up its sleeve with Windows 8. Its very easy to assume that tablets will be the backbone of everyday computing. The question is when will that day be? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? Or maybe its just a trend that will fizzle out in the grand scheme of things. No one knows for sure but there are some major players in the technology market who are investing heavily and betting on the future of tablets. That being said, I'd hop along the tablet bandwagon. The magic question then becomes when do I want to jump on? When will tablets suit my needs?
If your needs are consumption heavy then by all means go ahead and buy a tablet now. There are plenty to choose from. If not, then wait a year and see what the market has to offer. It evolving quickly. It all comes down to whether they fill your needs specifically. OP, you never said what you specifically wanted to do. Your assumption that tablets can do everything a laptop is simply wrong. No offence. Tablets are limited by both hardware and software compared to laptops. If you need some heavier duty activities DO NOT buy a tablet. Not yet anyway.
Remember technology is primarily a tool, not an accessory. Don't buy a tablet just because they're sexy and the hip thing. You buy one because it serves a purpose.