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Grininventor

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2023
5
3
Hi, next year I will go to university to begin engineering studies and I would like to takes notes on Ipad because I can't stand paper notes anymore (to messy, hard to organize, heavy and takes a lot of place, etc).
I would like to buy a used Ipad, and I've found two options :
  • Ipad Air 4 (256GB) + case for 450€
  • M1 Ipad Air 5 (64GB) + case + Apple Pencil 2 for 550€
  • 2020 Ipad Pro 11" (126GB) for 600€
  • 2020 Ipad Pro 11" (256GB)+ case for 750€
  • 2020 Ipad Pro 11" (126GB) + case + Apple pencil 2 for 800€
I need the Apple pencil (140€ new) and a case is a must have.

I would mainly use the Ipad for note taking, but I will also use it for photo editing, a bit of 3D modeling and using some engineering apps, but I have an M1 Macbook Air for video editing, heavy 3D modeling, coding, etc.

I plan on keeping my Ipad for the 5 next years, so wich one should I get ?
Also, I don't know what storage I need (my photo will be on an external SSD and for reference I use 150-200GB on my Macbook).
 

Isamilis

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2012
2,106
1,007
  • Plan to keep 5 years: M1 and minimum 128gb
  • Since you have had macbook air, iPad Air M1 (256) or iPad Pro 11” M1/M2 (128) are good choices
  • You can buy Pencil later. Also there are good 3rd party products
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,062
11,866
I don't want to push you past your budget, but I'll point out that the 12.9" is about the size of standard letter paper. I find that helpful when I take notes by hand in portrait mode. I haven't tried the 11" pro, but I found the 10.5" a bit small for taking notes.

The 12.9" is also fairly heavy though, so that might offset the benefit.
 
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CYB3RBYTE

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2014
454
293
Midwest
As a computer science student, I found my 11" iPad Pro to be indispensable. It was one of the better tools I ever spent money on. Used it for all my textbooks, and could remote back into my Mac at my dorm. Now that I've graduated it's transitioned to being my media consumption device.

I had the 256GB WiFi 2018, and the 256GB WiFi M1. I'd say it's a good idea to go for a 256GB at this point, seeing as that's what is coming standard on new Macs.

*please consider AppleCare+, everyone (including me) breaks something at college, better to have it be a pencil than your $800+ iPad Pro*
 

Grininventor

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2023
5
3
Thanks for all your answers,

So if I plan to keep it for a long time you recommend me to get the M1 chip and at least 128GB. That leaves me with 2 options :
  • iPad Air 5 Wifi 256GB
  • iPad Pro M1 Wifi 128Gb
I think I don’t need more than 128GB since I have a MacBook and an external SSD.
Also I don’t want the 12.9 inch iPad Pro because it is big and heavy to carry on campus.
So I think I will get an iPad Pro M1 128Gb because it is cheaper than a 256GB iPad Air 5.
Thanks for your help guys 😁
Question : why isn’t 64GB enough ? All I will do is note taking and photo editing but I will export my photos on my SSD.
 

Isamilis

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2012
2,106
1,007
Thanks for all your answers,

So if I plan to keep it for a long time you recommend me to get the M1 chip and at least 128GB. That leaves me with 2 options :
  • iPad Air 5 Wifi 256GB
  • iPad Pro M1 Wifi 128Gb
I think I don’t need more than 128GB since I have a MacBook and an external SSD.
Also I don’t want the 12.9 inch iPad Pro because it is big and heavy to carry on campus.
So I think I will get an iPad Pro M1 128Gb because it is cheaper than a 256GB iPad Air 5.
Thanks for your help guys 😁
Question : why isn’t 64GB enough ? All I will do is note taking and photo editing but I will export my photos on my SSD.
64gb may not be enough for 5 years usage due to its more flexible:
  • You may want to watch Netflix, YouTube etc or stream music on the iPad. You want to download a few of them (not much) due to practicality and other reason (unless you buy cellular version)
  • Some text books are quite big - especially if you got the pdf-scan. I have lot of academic journals and pdf-scan books which took about 20gb. You can still use iCloud for this but I prefer to have locally stored for easy access (I am not always connected to internet)
  • You may want to record some video (or record class session in zoom) too. 64gb (or about 40gb free after OS installation) is quite limited
  • iPadOS needs some free space (on top of its own usage) to behave normally and do some maintenance like system updates. I would say, 64gb maybe enough for 1-2 years but very limited for 5 years usage.
Even though the iPad + Pencil is capable for note taking in class, but my experience (in master and PhD degree), it’s more effective (and faster) to “type” the notes conventionally using laptop (I used Ulysses). iPad is very useful for reading device. There are few indispensable tools for reading, highlighting and summarizing books, such as KyBook (for quick reading) and MarginNote (for in-depth reading).
 
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RoadWarrior56

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2014
230
432
My advice on device storage. Get the next storage size up from what you think you will need when you buy the device. For example, if you think you will need 128 GB when you are purchasing it, buy 256 GB. I have always ended up using more over time than I thought I needed. A less expensive but very viable alternative to an Apple Pencil is a Logitech Crayon. It does everything the pencil does except that it is not pressure sensitive. Plus the updated USB-C version has several improvements compared to the original Crayon. I am an Engineer, and I have NO artistic ability, but I mark up PDF's and take notes using the same Crayon on both a Mini 5 (lighting connector and 1st generation penci support) and an Air 5 (USB-C connector and 2nd generation pencil support).
 
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Grininventor

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2023
5
3
Ok so I will definitely get a 128GB IPad Pro 2021 since it is cheaper than a 256GB IPad Air 5.
It will feel a bit weird to buy a such expensive device just for future proofing and save money after wards, it will almost cost the same as my laptop.
Thanks for the help though.
 
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Grininventor

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2023
5
3
Even though the iPad + Pencil is capable for note taking in class, but my experience (in master and PhD degree), it’s more effective (and faster) to “type” the notes conventionally using laptop (I used Ulysses). iPad is very useful for reading device. There are few indispensable tools for reading, highlighting and summarizing books, such as KyBook (for quick reading) and MarginNote (for in-depth reading).
I understand what you say, but it is much easier for me to study handwritten notes, so I think taking notes on the iPad, even if it is not as fast as typing on a keyboard, will be more efficient for me and thus it will save me time while studying. But maybe I’m wrong and I will discover that it is more convenient to type my note. Only time will tell, and if I decide to type my notes, I could always resell my iPad for almost the same price as I bought it second hand.
 
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stanza.richi

macrumors 65816
Dec 5, 2019
1,047
1,568
Italy
Ok so I will definitely get a 128GB IPad Pro 2021 since it is cheaper than a 256GB IPad Air 5.
It will feel a bit weird to buy a such expensive device just for future proofing and save money after wards, it will almost cost the same as my laptop.
Thanks for the help though.

Note taking with goodnotes or similar will occupy a lot of space in 5 years, but if you will move previous semester note on your ssd you will go fine with 128 gb maybe. In my opinion the difference in price between 128 and 256 worth the peace of mind, but it’s your choice 👍🏻
 

GerritV

macrumors 68020
May 11, 2012
2,155
2,507
Note taking with goodnotes or similar will occupy a lot of space in 5 years, but if you will move previous semester note on your ssd you will go fine with 128 gb maybe. In my opinion the difference in price between 128 and 256 worth the peace of mind, but it’s your choice 👍🏻
Why not just store your files (GoodNotes or other) in the cloud, rather than locally?
That's what I do - and happily using a 64GB iPad.
 

secretk

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2018
1,494
1,228
Question : why isn’t 64GB enough ? All I will do is note taking and photo editing but I will export my photos on my SSD.
You plan to use the iPad for 5 years for education. I assume you plan to store the books on your iPad? I long stopped being a student but I still take notes for work. For your info I currently have 17 GB of books and 4 GB of notes. If you use Notability and plan to sometimes use the audio recording feature, the notes would take even more space. And do have in mind that I definitely do not have the amount of notes you will have. Also you might also have to store some video lectures on your device.

And do consider maybe other apps that you will need for your engineering program (like diagraming, cad etc).

You need a buffer of free space on your iPad if you want it to work optimally. Otherwise it becomes very slow.
 

Grininventor

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2023
5
3
I think I would have the books permanently on the IPad and move the notes to my NAS (so I can have them at any time if I need to) each year so I can use a 128GB IPad.
 
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