Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone - Pick three!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacRazySwe, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. MacRazySwe macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    As the title suggests, if you could only have three types of personal devices, which products would you choose? I'm interested in your personal use case and reasoning.

    Personally contemplating going iMac, iPad and iPhone, although I'm not sure the iPad can really replace a laptop for me. Whenever I'm doing extensive typing I find myself reaching for the rMBP.

    Thanks! :)
  2. ElCani macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2012
    I have a 27 iMac (2011), 13 MacBook Air (2010) and an iPhone 6+. I had an iPad Air but sold it as soon as I upgraded from an iPhone 4 to the 6+. The iPad was nice for browsing at home or watching stuff when travelling, but nowhere near as useful/flexible as a laptop and obviously nothing like as portable as a phone.

    A 27 5k iMac, a Retina MacBook and iPhone 6s+ would be a sweet, but pricy, combination. :)
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Desktop, Laptop, cell phone.

    The iPad is fun but for my needs, its more a lightweight toy than something useful in a serious way.
  4. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    MacBook Air (13" 2013) with Thunderbolt display is my desktop replacement that I can un-dock and carry around with me for all my work needs (MS Office, Adobe, etc). MBA + iPad mini4 and iPhone 6S. This combo gives me all the portability, versatility and power that I need. I have been using a similar combo for the past several years with no problem.
  5. Easttime macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2015
    I have all four and use my iPad a lot, but if pressed I would consider a large iPhone, iMac and a light Mac laptop. The laptop gives both portability and redundancy if the iMac goes down. I have a heavy little 13" white MacBook that isn't comfortable like the iPad, but the new laptops are so compact and responsive.
  6. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Desktop, laptop & phone. Desktop is my work horse. Laptop is my work horse for on the road. Phone for work & communication. iPad is only a toy for sitting around with.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    For what uses? that's like asking pick three: hammer, chisel, forceps, tire iron.
  8. maxsix Suspended


    Jun 28, 2015
    Western Hemisphere
    My current setup:
    Mac Pro
    MacBook Pro
    Professional, using industrial design applications, modeling, rendering and more. My iPads are coffee table devices anyway.
    Just pure leisure.
  9. entropyfl macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2009
    I have a iMac, Laptop and iPhone.

    I use to have a iPad but found these newer SSD laptops nice and fast and was hardly using the iPad. I must admit, I bought the iMac for housing all my larger files i..e photos and iTunes but I've started using this less now that most content lives in the cloud etc.
  10. ElCani macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2012
    No, it's not. There's far more similarity/overlap between the items the OP mentioned than between those tools. An iPhone and an iPad are basically two different sizes of hammer. :)
  11. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Can I just pick two? Laptop and phone.

    My iPad and iPhone use has overlapped now that I have the 6S Plus, and I have no desire to use two computers. I’d rather just use the laptop in clamshell mode.
  12. MacRazySwe thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    As I said in my first post, I'm interested in your personal use-case. I'm interested in hearing whatever works for you. Only you can answer how you use your devices and which are the right tools.

    The reason I ask is simple. My needs are beginning to change and I'm thinking I don't really need both an iMac and a 13" rMBP as one of them is gathering dust. It is a luxury. Previously the iMac was my personal computer for media, movie-watching, SketchUp, personal files and data, whereas the rMBP was used only for school, brought to uni everyday. Now, my studies are coming to an end and I will hopefully start my career soon.

    The reason I consider going iMac, iPad and iPhone is that I suspect a future employer would most likely supply a laptop. (Probably Windows, yuck). This would then be used only for work, while the iMac would remain my personal computer, like previously. Moreover it seems more fitting to keep personal files and information in a desktop at home, rather than in a laptop which is brought around. However the more I think of it, the less I find myself willing to give up the rMBP. I don't think the iPad can replace it, much like this thread suggests.

    To all of you who have taken the time to respond, thank you. Keep it up, I find the replies very interesting.
  13. tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2013
    Costa Rica
    I have two(2) Mac Minis, Late 2012 and Late 2014, IPad Mini3 and Ipad2, and iPod Touch(5th Gen.) and I enjoy them all!

    Use the iPad Mini 3 and Ipad2 around the house and the IPod Touch while I am in Bed.
  14. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Mac mini for home photos/org, email etc.

    Powerful MacBook Pro for work.

    iPhone 6s for comms and travel.

    iPad I can do without.
  15. Strider64 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2015
    Suburb of Detroit
    iMac, MacBook Pro (Don't have yet) and iPhone

    When I can justify the purchase of a MacBook Pro then I will have all three. Till then I am completely satisfied with what I have.
  16. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Ah, got it.

    In that scenario, I'd try to be diverse. So you've got Mac OS and iOS covered. And I'd say an iPhone (or it could be Android) is a no brainer.

    For computer, I favor what has the best display. I do a lot of photos, and I also look at my screen a lot. Duh. So having a sweet retina screen is critical. Life's too short to be staring at some old 2.5 low res display. So that means 5k iMac over MBP, unless it's a 15" retina MBP. In that case, since it's easier to use a laptop as a desktop than vice verse, I'd go laptop. Yes, more burglable. But the laptop has built in power protection, and can be grabbed during the earthquake. And you're gonna have to do offsite backup of data anyway. And once a laptop is old, it's more useful than an old iMac (media player, travel, etc).

    And tablets? meh. For photography the iPad stinks, a laptop is far preferable. I'd rather have a 12" retina Macbook, or a Surface Pro, or even an Android tablet. Or wait for your employer to give it to you. The only thing an iPad really has going for it is a bigger screen than your iPhone. Not that useful.
  17. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2011
    Peoria, IL
    I got rid of two laptops once my wife and I got our iPads. We just didn't use them anymore. We use the desktop if we need to do serious work/research, the iPads for sitting on the couch surfing the net/Facebook/playing games. The phones are used when we are away from our iPads.

    When I'm at home my phone sits on the nightstand by the bed. I rely on iMessages sending texts to my iPad, and phone calls coming over my Panasonic Link2Cell home phone system. Occasionally I will miss out on text messages from friends without iPhones until I walk back to the bedroom and check my phone.
  18. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro that is used as a desktop except when traveling. I like a full sized keyboard and large screen but want to be able to take my computer with me. The iPad is fine for many things but sometimes you just need a more capable computer. Trying to sync a desktop with a laptop is just too much of a problem.
  19. riviera74 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2015
    Fort Myers FL
    I have just acquired an iPhone 6s Plus 64GB Space Gray from AT&T yesterday. I just got a 64GB Gold iPad Air 2 back in November. I still have the old desktop (windows xp) from 2005 and a laptop (windows 8) from 2013. I hope to replace both with an iMac 27" Retina soon and let the iPad effectively replace the laptop.
  20. thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    (PC gaming) Desktop, MacBook, iPhone. I bought an iPad Mini a few years ago and it was a waste of money for me. I'm just not into tablets since, for me, my phone is good enough for everything I'd use a tablet for and a tablet is not powerful enough to replace my laptop.
  21. Heisenberg888 macrumors member


    Dec 31, 2014
    Notebook, iPad and iPhone. MBP for work, especially connecting to my 25 inch external display so it acts as a secondary display, iPad mini for coach surfing; I also use it in conjunction with my iPhone when commuting on the train.
  22. robabroad macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2008
    I was in a similar situation to you -- I transitioned from school to work. Since my employer supplies a laptop, I find that my iMac is all I need from a computing perspective.

    • Work laptop -- it's Windows, but I actually prefer Office in that environment (ALT-key shortcuts are important to my style of work)
    1. Home iMac -- for longer, more intensive computing needs, photo editing, a little light gaming
    2. iPad Air -- really, this is what I pick up at home to do quite a lot. It's also my travel computer, effectively.
    3. iPhone 6 -- I can access my corporate email here, so it often substitutes for a computer on personal trips
    4. Kindle Paperwhite -- (sorry, I know I'm way over 3) my #1 preference for long-form reading
    Now, I could see swapping out the iMac for a MacBook (Pro, Air or "") if you want portability and the power of a computer. Here's why -- even though your employer may supply you with a laptop, it's likely to be locked down in terms of apps (and even many settings, e.g., my instantiation of Firefox always defaults to our intranet for searches, argh). Plus, do you really want your employer to have access to your personal data stream.

  23. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I basically have everything. Just retired so no work (or school) needs but have major interests in photography and intend to write some technical books.

    Of the four, the iPad would be the first to go. Useless to me.
  24. nufanec macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    Don't need 3. MacBook Pro and phone. For my uses, when I need more power I can use a cloud based rendering service.
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I have no need for both a desktop and a laptop - I have a station in my home office where I connect a monitor, speakers, and keyboard to my laptop if I want the feel of a "desktop." I use an iPad for several tasks that I almost never use a computer for, and I use my phone as a phone (95% or more of the time using it for phone calls or texting). Almost all the rest of its use is as a camera.

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