Why I Ditched My Netbook for an iPad

When the iPad 2 came out, I was extremely tempted to get a used or refurbished 1st-gen iPad which are currently selling for around $350 on eBay (dirt cheap for an iPad,) but in the end I forced myself to just stick with my netbook. The biggest problem was that the iPad wasn’t meant as a productivity tool (or at least people didn’t use it that way), but I kept thinking about the possibility and after some more thorough research, I ended up purchasing a used 1st-gen iPad and sold my netbook. Here’s why.

iPad Office Suites Do Exist

The iPad actually has quite a few options when it comes to office suites, which is really all I’m concerned about as far as productivity. iWork (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), Documents To Go and Quickoffice are just a few options that pop into my head. If it’s a free solution that you’re looking for, Google Docs is pretty much all you need. Personally, I ended up getting Quickoffice since it seamlessly supports Dropbox (which I use religiously).

I haven’t had the need for the keyboard dock yet, but I’m sure I’ll get one sooner or later when I end up having to crank out a large document on the road.

iPads Are Extremely Portable

I once thought netbooks were the closest to portability that anyone could get. Boy, was I wrong. Very wrong. The iPad is a device I can easily bust out of my bag and start playing with immediately. My netbook, on the other hand, took a little bit more work to get up and running, including waiting a few minutes for it to boot up and connect to Wi-Fi before I could really do anything.

I also don’t need to lug around that annoying AC adapter brick. There have been times when I would simply just let my netbook die because messing with the AC adapter would have just been a pain. Laziness on my part? Maybe, but with the iPad, all that’s needed is a convenient USB cable and the tiny wall adapter.

iPads Are Faster

Even though iPads have a slower-clocked processor (1GHz compared to the 1.8GHz dual-core my netbook had,) the lightweight OS of the iPad means that applications load way faster than they would on any netbook.

iPads Have Incredible Battery Life

The first-gen iPad’s battery life clocks in at around 10 hours according to Apple, but tech review site Tested did their own test and were able to get almost 16 hours of non-stop video playback. My netbook usually mustered up only a measly five hours of juice — six hours tops.

Weaknesses of iPads (and Overcoming Them)

Obviously (and unfortunately) the iPad isn’t awesome at everything. There are still some downsides of Apple’s tablet that don’t make it an adequate option for a handful of on-the-go users. One of the biggest complaints I hear is that the iPad doesn’t have any other ports besides the 30-pin connector and the headphone jack — in other words, the iPad lacks USB. To this I say, “the cloud is your friend.” Take advantage of Dropbox, Google Docs, iDisk or any other cloud-based service. You’ll end up quickly forgetting about flash drives and external storage (at least I did.)

In the end, the simple fact is that there are things that you’ll just have to sacrifice for portability in general. It’s not just with tablets, but with any netbook or laptop. You won’t be able to run specialized software or have a full-sized physical keyboard with a mouse. The browsing experience won’t be as solid as if you were on a desktop and you won’t have some of the advanced features of a desktop with you while you’re on the go. That’s simply the nature of the [portable] beast.

I’m interested to hear what thoughts you have for using an iPad/tablet over a netbook or laptop (or not). Shout ’em out in the comments!

Image Courtesy: Yagan Kiely



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8 responses to “Why I Ditched My Netbook for an iPad”

  1. Nick Post Avatar

    Since I got my ipad I only use my macbook when I need to write a paper and want to watch TV or need a real keyboard. The only thing I have used my netbook for since getting the Ipad is printing some power points(since its my only windows computer).

    My biggest problem with IOS and its cloud is sure you can access your drop box but you can’t download files and move them to drop box. If you do get the ipad office suite you still must sync with a computer to get your files on and off unless you just email them. Android does a better job with file management where IOS has no files to manage.

    in conclusion Ipad is a good tool, not a great one. but its a heck of a lot more fun than my slow netbook.

    1. Craig Lloyd Avatar

      Actually with Quickoffice, you don’t have to sync with your computer to get documents on and off. That’s what makes Dropbox so amazing. If you’re writing a document in Quickoffice on your iPad, you can save it to your Dropbox and then access it on your desktop later, and vice versa. It’s ultimately the same method as emailing stuff to yourself, but MUCH quicker and easier.

  2. Evan Wondrasek Avatar

    I nearly bought an iPad 2 this weekend, but the Apple store in the Mall of America was sold out (impressive). That quickly stopped my almost-impulse purchase. 🙂

  3. Craig Lloyd Avatar

    Yes, there’s a bluetooth keyboard dock available, and if your iPad is jailbroken you can use a bluetooth mouse with it as well.

  4. Smcodws Avatar

    I’m sorry but an iPad is not for an advanced user…… is only for free time.

  5. Rob 605028 Avatar
    Rob 605028

    My MSI U115 Hybrid (Netbook) gives me almost 12 hours of life from 1 charge, has 3 USB ports and runs XP fine. The closed clamshell protects the screen in transit. I can use Office ….not just a compatible suite. Im very happy with my iPod Touch..but dont think Im ready to forgo the keyboard and robustness of the clamshell design for work on the road.

  6. Sophronis Avatar

    OK I get it all of you guys who talk so highly of apple have all drunk the apple cool aid. Apple is one of the most innovative companies out there but its not the only one. Personally I am a fun of open source. The iPad is a cool gadget but the apps written for it are all controlled by apple. Also try to write a paper on the iPad. Touch technology has not been proven yet you will be missing strokes and everything and then try to print your paper .. good luck. That is why you are all looking for keyboards and maybe a mouse. And why didn’t apple put a USB port on the darn thing? to cut costs? No. Think about it. I think its because been the control freaks they are they want to control what you can do with it. Apple is notorious for making you pay a lot of money and hold you hostage for as long as you are using their products. You can not even backup your data unless you are connected to the internet. Why? Try using it when you do not have access to the internet. You will not even be able to use it as a boat anchor its too light. I think the Android applets are by far more user friendly and have tons of apps and have usb ports for connectivity.

    1. Nick Post Avatar

      I could agree with this. I have apple products all around, and yet love windows 7. I also have ubuntu installed on anything that I can have it running on. Open source is nice but it just did not play nice for me in business school. Even as a mac user I was booted into windows 50% of the time at school just to get the software to run. However getting mac office changed my school life.

      Android is a scary thing now. They claim to be open source but where do they get off putting apps that I cannot remove and are not free on my phone (CityID VZW Navigator) etc. At least with apple you don’t get pushed crap ware on IOS or OSX.

      When i’m looking for a computer, I want it to last and after a few 700 PC’s that just crap out i’d rather spend the extra 400 on a computer that has lasted me 2x longer and is still just as fast as new computers. (Thank you cloud services)

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