All iPads For college (textbooks) full-size iPad and air or mini and rPro?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ericDylan, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. ericDylan macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    I have an iPad mini and a 2010 base macbook air. I am going to college in a few months and was thinking about using an iPad for textbooks.

    I don't want to spend too much on apple products this spring, so I have 2 options:

    1) Keep iPad mini and Macbook Air and also buy a retina iPad 5 (when it comes out)

    2) Sell MBA and use that money (plus the money I would have spend on an iPad) to buy a rMBP and keep the iPad mini and possibly use it for textbooks (but I am afraid the screen would be too small)

    so with option 1 I end up with MBA, iPad and iPad mini

    with option 2, I end up with rMBP and iPad mini.

    Which seems like it would be the best for college? I am somewhat leaning towards the first option if only because I don't have to worry about selling my laptop and possibly being without one for a week or so while the new one is delivered.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. FallenRook macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Personally I would go with a rMBP + iPad 5. Option 1 doesn't make sense because you don't need a mini and a regular. Option 2 is ehhh as I would think the mini is too small for textbooks. Of course that is only my personal choice, if you are happy with your air I would suggest just replacing your mini with a iPad 5. Hope I helped.
  3. ericDylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    yeah I guess I didn't think about that. My only hesitation would be that I would have to sell my Macbook air and my iPad Mini (which I just bought about a month ago)

    The Macbook should hold its value fine (I got a good deal on it a few years ago, so I could probably get most if not all of my money back)

    The iPad mini would probably be sold at a somewhat heavy loss (probably around 50, but considering it only cost 320, 50 is a big percentage.)

    What do you think I could get for the MBA and iPad mini? Somewhere around 1000? that would leave me with about 1000 to cover, I think.

    Any other opinions?
  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I would sell the Air, keep the mini, & get a MBP non retina.
  5. ericDylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    If I were going to get anything but a rMBP, it would just be a new MBA (which I am thinking about)

    I really just don't have any need for a disk drive (basically the only thing better about the MBP from the Air or rMBP).

    I also don't like the relative bulkiness of the Pro when compared to the other two. It is a great computer, but it just doesn't fit my needs.

    Has anyone had any experience with textbooks and the Mini? It would be much simpler if someone could assure me it isnt too small... (wishful thinking?:()
  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Hi. The iPad Mini is way too small, and the resolution is woefully inadequate... for me. The Mini might be the perfect size and resolution... for you. That is your answer, and you even have a Mini so you know :)

    What is a "college textbook"? I have several kinds. I have ones on Kindle, ones in PDF form, and ones in iBook form. I also have ones I scanned into PDF form, and academic journal articles in PDF and HTML formats. The iPad is obviously superior in terms of flexibility. If you try out some of these formats and find the Mini to be worth the trade off for you, though, then you have your answer!

    The MBA is nice. I am currently having to do lots of heavy formatting, so I carry the 11" and my iPad in a tiny man bag with me on campus these days -- the iPad for reading / handwriting and the MBA for typing / editing. After I finish this project, though, I will be back to just the iPad + external keyboard combination for 90% of my stuff.
  7. TyPod macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2006
    And Yourself?
    I would definitely go with option 2. Having a rMBP would be an absolute treat when at college. I really want one!
  8. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    It depends on what your priorities are. If you value lightweight portability (everything in a small man bag), then go with the MBA 11". If you value screen resolution, go with the rPro. In my use case, there isn't much need for an rPro. I'd like it! But, as I can get just about everything done on my iPad, I'm fine without it. The MBA is around for the occasional heavy lifting.

    I am in the humanities, though. If you are doing something else like graphic arts (for example), then you might want something more robust.
  9. TyPod macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2006
    And Yourself?
    Very true! What are you looking at going into, ericDylan?
  10. ericDylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    Humanities for me as well. The only reason I am leaning toward the rMBP is for gaming and the occasional photoshop/FCP.

    Plus, it is a really nice computer!

    11 inches is not an option, though. Right now, I am leaning toward the rMBP and iPad mini (with the intent to upgrade to an iPad later).

    I will just see how things go (read: how much my money I get for graduation;))

    thanks for the input!
  11. bag of kittens macrumors regular

    bag of kittens

    Feb 17, 2012
    inside a bag
    I use an iPad 3 for reading textbooks, and honestly I feel like anything smaller (i.e. mini) would make it really difficult to use. I would go with option #1.
  12. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm a researcher and read tons of PDFs and books, and like others in this thread I find full size iPad and retina essential for heavy academic reading, but your mileage may vary. My set up is 3gen iPad + 13" MBA, which works really well for me (also add an external display from time to time when I want to have notes, literature and draft papers side by side). For academic work, I don't feel the need for a stronger machine than my Air (I have a mid 2011 MBA, i7, 4GB).
  13. Zav macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2013
    MBP and iPad 4/5 for sure. To use Air and a iPad is to use two highly portable products which you might not need both of. Swap the Air for a MBP and you've still got a portable machine, but it's far more capable AND has a lot nicer screen. You've still got the extreme portability of the iPad, which you can even add an external keyboard if you miss that aspect of your Air. Plus reading on the iPad is a dream compared to a laptop.
  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am sure the rMBP is better for gaming than the MBA.

    That's a shame, because it is the only size that will enable you to go from a backpack to a man bag. If you digitize all of your textbooks and stuff, you could get away without carrying another book again. That's been the best part of the iPad + MBA setup for me.

    I'm not sure what the Mini does for you here, but if you find reading PDFs and the like on it is fine, then I guess it makes sense.

    Whatever you decide, good luck in school!
  15. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    option 2

    you do not need 2 devices (1 of which would be redundant).
  16. DaKidPin macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2010
    I am currently using a iPad mini for textbooks and I find myself zooming in more often than I thought I would. But I also like the smaller size of the mini compared to the regular sized iPad so I am sticking with the mini. It depends what you prefer.
  17. LS1 macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Mini is not good for college textbooks. Way too much zooming. I'm in grad school and many people in my class who bought a mini have switched to the full sized. I currently have a macbook air and an ipad 4 and they have worked out well together.
  18. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Buy the 15" MacBook Pro and keep the mini. Textbooks are not very good on either of the iPads because they tend to be wider than a traditional piece of letter sized paper. I know mine are.

    The mini will be okay, depending on how complex the textbook is. Most of the Kindle versions I've seen so far - Audio Engineering, Storyboarding, Animation, and Photoshop, do a good job at making them look good on the 6in Kindles. So it's good for when you're in the classroom.

    But they look even better on my MBP, especially since I can see the two pages.
  19. retroneo macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    The 13 inch rMBP and MBA both have the same crappy Intel HD 4000 graphics - which is not particularly useful for gaming. It can barely power the retina display as is.

    This years update with Intel HD Graphics 5200 should provide the biggest jump in integrated graphics ever, making it suitable for a whole lot more games.

    I recommend keeping what you've got and re-evaluate after both the iPad 5 and new MacBooks are released later this year.
  20. ericDylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    This is what I plan to do. I am not really in a hurry to upgrade anything right now. I will wait until around july at the latest. Hopefully both are updated by then. (somehow I doubt it.)

    I have decided that, no matter what, I will be getting the larger iPad (4 or 5 depending on what the newest is when I have to get it in the fall). I don't want to struggle with textbooks on the iPad mini.

    Until then, my iPad Mini and MBA will be fine for now. Thanks for all the help!
  21. charlituna macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Why get anything at all. What are you going to be doing that you need a new computer at all.

    Option 3 might be to get no new computer and see if you can test run a sample or two of the type of books you will likely be using to see if the Mini really will suck. If it's less than great, then yeah look at perhaps getting a full sized ipad. 4 or 5 depending on the level of suck.

    Depending on your coursework you might actually be fine with carrying your ipad to class with your MBA for hard core typing etc at home.
  22. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Full sized ipad for textbooks. I can't read books on my MacBook.
  23. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    You have to determine that for yourself. What is or isn't "too small" varies from person to person.
  24. ericDylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    Well I realize it varies, but, to some extent, user experience is universal with things like textbooks. Someone can tell me if they spend more time zooming in and panning the page than reading. That would give me an idea as to whether the Mini would work well with textbooks. My assumption is that it won't, but I was hoping someone had actually used it for college textbooks and could tell me it was a delight.
  25. Cricketman macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    I personally wouldn't use the iPad mini for textbooks. Not only is the screen small, but the resolution is pretty poor and would be hurt my eyes. I would purchase either a retina iPad (3/4/5) or the new retina mini when it comes out this summer.

    With regards to the MBP. Do NOT buy the rMBP, it is overkill for your needs. There is no reason to purchase such an expensive computer for a college student. Buy a base MBP or MBA and call it good :)

    I personally have all my textbooks on my iPad and use my MBP (13") for all the heavy duty stuff. Works out well for me!

    Background: college sophomore.

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