How practical is this for university?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by corruptfate, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. corruptfate macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I'm strongly considering getting an iPad for university. The thing is, I'm in Canada and I don't know the amount of textbooks that will be available to me on the iPad. Currently I already have a 15 inch HP which is pretty fast and an iPhone. One major thing is my dorm does not have wifi. That means I would have to tether my phone or spend most of my time without wifi. If anyone has any experience with the iPad for university, could you tell me how your experience with it was and whether it was worth it to you?

  2. Lindenhurst macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2011
    I would go for the MacBook over the iPad.
    No wifi is a no go for the iPad. Many schools that have no wifi in dorms do have ethernet connections
  3. corruptfate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    I already have a laptop, so I wouldn't really need a macbook haha I was thinking if an iPad would be helpful and practical
  4. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    If you need internet in your dorm I'd recommend macbook pro or keeping your current laptop to connect online.

    As per the iPad, I use it in class all the time for taking notes. I study in french, none of my textbooks are availble thru iTunes. I do however scan most of my course material or try to get it online and wok directly with it on my iPad.

    Not having wifi however is the big downfall of the iPad but you could tether or get a 3g model.

    The ipad is really a companion device to your laptop. To get your notes and such you'll have to use iTunes or some sort of cloud service if you can find wifi.
  5. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am a graduate student and I use the iPad all day, every day. I do most of my work on it, and the rest on an MBA. Textbooks are no problem if you are willing to do a little work, or pay a service to do it for you ($1 for 100 pages of scans).

    It's up to you. A few hours / a few dollars over the summer will get you all of your textbooks digitized, available to you 24/7 (no more figuring out which books to lug around campus today), searchable, and annotatable.
  6. Medic311 macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2011
    if you are a student and you already have a Macbook, i would just stick with that. the last thing you need to be doing is racking up more school debt.

    putting that aside, i'm an engineering grad school student. i can't do any of my work on my iPad nor would i want to. the iPad is solely for when i just want to have fun and not do work. my iPad is almost an escape for me from my work computer. sit back and casually browse the web, watch some video clips, watch a movie, etc.

    you don't want to be using the iPad for anything like note taking, you will wish you had your Macbook about a minute into the lecture.
  7. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Nothing is better than pencil and paper for taking notes. I see so many students tried taking notes with laptops or iPad, and failed miserably. Guess what, your brain learns best as you write things out.

    You could use a stylus on iPad to replace pen and paper. The only advantage is you can carry all the notes with you on one device. However, it gets difficult to flip through your files to find things toward the end of school year. It is still easier to flip through papers in binders.
  8. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    If you have internet in your room, you can easily set up wifi with a $40 router. Though not legal, you could also sell that to those in rooms nearby,

    That solves part of your problem.
  9. lbowler12 macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Most universities do not allow students to use routers or switches. Though, it is some what easy to get away with a switch, but a router can easily be detected if they ever scanned. And no... hiding the ssid does not hide the network
  10. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    I can't imagine going to Uni without mine anymore. In most of my classes, we got a bunch of PDFs which we had to print out and bring to class to annotate. Had I printed all of them out, it would've been quite a few hundreds of pages (even double sided and 2 slides/page). This was one of the main reasons I decided to get the iPad :)
  11. jgc macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    I'm a Canadian university student as well. If you're a little creative like I am, you'll be able to find scanned PDFs of your textbooks no problem. Saved myself hundreds just the other day doing so. As for the WiFi issue, you can purchase a cheap router and set it up exclusively for your iPad to use. A $15 one off eBay should do the trick.

    Can't comment on how well they work at university since I just bought mine partially for fun/partially to use in class as well. Typed notes don't work in engineering and I'm hoping that handwritten notes via stylus synced with Dropbox will work better for me than keeping a big mess of paperwork and binders. We'll see.
  12. palpatine, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Pencil and paper is great!

    But, I have gone paperless, and everything is scanned into Evernote. Want to see notes from that class you took last year? I'll wait here in the coffee shop while you go home and find that binder. I will literally have them in the palm of my hand before the barrista finishes making my coffee. Evernote OCRs your handwritten notes, provides all sorts of tools for organizing them, and syncs them to every device. I prefer an iPad and stylus these days (GoodNotes) to reduce the number of steps involved - my notes are in Evernote getting OCRd before you walk out of the lecture hall. Trying and failing. Hahaha.

    As for jgg204's point about how bad the iPad is for taking notes, try a stylus or an external keyboard. It is wonderful. Open Evernote, type notes, done. The process is the same on both devices. And , my MBA, iPad, and external keyboard fit snugly into my man bag (Waterfield Vertigo). I've scanned all of my books, so I've probably got more books / articles in Evernote (about 500) than all of the books in all of the backpacks in the classroom combined. Back to back classes? That's cool. You hunt for an outlet. I've got hours to spare. oh yeah, the iPad is also a great ereader :)
  13. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I use my iPad extensively for academic work. My iPad carries my entire library of research journals, plus some academic books. There is no way in hell I'd ever go back to pen and paper for note taking. It's way too slow, it takes up space, it can get lost, is difficult to edit, and, like palpatine said, is not necessarily there when I need it. I use Notability and a stylus for handwritten notes, and Circus Ponies notebook with an external keyboard for typed notes. Both apps have very good systems for organising notes, so it's very easy to organise and retrieve large amounts of information. I use my iPad several hours a day for work and I'd never go back.
  14. gngan macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2009
    Couldn't agree more to what you say. I remember so much better by writing things out. I guess the 'older' generation is like that. lol
  15. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    iPad + stylus.
  16. NineFace, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    NineFace macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2012
    I bought my iPad for Uni as well :) in my uni all lecture notes are in PDF and power point. So I thought the ipad will be very useful for me but that was before I got it :(

    There are some problems at lease for me, the iPad doesn't work with PDF web page therefore I can not download the PDF file to iPad unless there is the PDF download link. So I have to use my laptop to send the PDF file in Dropbox to iPad. Once PDF file is in iPad it's great.

    Power Point on iPad suck, if there are some animation or diagram most of time the PP program on ipad can't see it. The best program I use is SlideSkark but it's slow (maybe someone can recommend something better for PP)

    Taking Note is nice but you need a good a stylus. many review say that Adonit Jot is the best for that. I don't know I got Kuel H10 which is good but I still find it is slow me down so I went back to pen for something very important. I'm using Notability for note taking or homework if I have time.

    My uni also have lecture video and it useless if it not HD :(

    iPad can't transfer file to USB drive ... which is suck if you don't have wifi.

    Essay: even if I have external keyboard I don't think I will use iPad for that because I like to open many windows on screen when I essay.

    Other than that it's good product to have for uni, group meeting, read, etc.

    If you don't have wifi then you should get the Airport express.

    p.s. I though if I have iPad then I won't have to carry my laptop but now most of time I end up carries both T_T
  17. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
    as others have stated, its great for note taking.

    I use mine for meetings at work. The battery life is much better than my macbook pro.
  18. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Lots of good points here. I think what it comes down to is knowing yourself, knowing your devices, and having a gadget ecosystem. Even though I use the iPad for most of my work, it is a complement to, not a replacement for a computer. If you could only have one, I would always pick a computer, because it is 100% capable, even though I spend most of my time on the iPad.

    So, to address each of these points:
    (1) PDFs are fine. I am not sure what you are trying to do. If you come across a PDF, it will give you the option to open it (see the top), but you can also tap in the center to bring that option up, and open it in the PDF reader of your choice. I prefer iAnnotate, but you can get iBooks for free.

    (2) I don't use power points made by others very much, so I cannot say much. Keynote works great. I have used other applications to convert Power Point files to PDFs. Your computer will probably do better with it.

    (3) I use a Targus $10 stylus. I think you need a good app with Zoom. I prefer GoodNotes.

    (4) I don't know about your university's video lectures. Sometimes things don't work. Sometimes using a browser like iCab Mobile or a flash-enabled one like Photon will solve the problem. Sometimes it won't. It depends on the issue.

    (5) The inability to transfer files is a huge problem if you don't have wifi. Most campuses now have it everywhere, but if you are off campus, it can be bad. There are wifi equipped external drives, but these are not cheap.

    (6) If you like to work with lots of windows for anything, then the iPad is not going to fit well. I set it up next to my computer, read there, and write on the computer. I sometimes pair my keyboard with my phone, take notes there, and read on the iPad.
  19. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
    check out notability for note taking.

    if you have the new ipad, the retina ink on it looks amazing. it has great features such as dropbox integration, and my favorite, the ability to add memos with in your page. really cool
  20. czarlzk81, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012

    czarlzk81 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2012
    Going totally paperless for Uni? U'll need to follow these:

    Hey everyone. I was asking the same question about the ipad up to a few months ago and i didnt have any luck once or ever as most reviews out there are on how to make very silly things like ‘drawings’ or huge notes for blind people to read on a white screen etc, but no one was being accurate or even mentioned about ‘real productivity’ for uni, and everyone was saying different things about different stylus. So I made a big research on the major Mac forums and finally sorted myself out completely, i bought an iPad 3, the right apps and the proper stylus for note-taking. That said, this is what i had to get to go to uni carrying only my ipad in my bag:

    1. IPAD 3 PLEASE. (I don’t know how good ipad 2 is, sorry)
    2. Notability app (4 usd on itunes store online)
    3. Adonit jot pro stylus (29USD + postage, I paid 50 USD to receive mine in new zealand with a set of extra tips/or disks), google the website for adonit (its the '.net' address)

    Here is the step by step and valuable hints, hope these will help u as much it did help me out for REAL ipad use in class, not just another weight to carry around.

    1.For hand noting, buy adonit jot pro stylus, it’s the only decent one you can use for pen-like notes. I have spent a lot of money with expensive stylus (including Bamboo Pen) and they are all bad, very bad. A hint: stay away from all black rubber tipped stylus if you plan to use the ipad to replace pen and paper but still like to write instead of typing. you will need to touch all of the tip on the ipad to be able to write and that means your wrist will need to hold the stylus up straight while writing, big wrist pain after 5 minutes writing. If you see reviews, pay attention to the details, they never write anything in a decent font size, its always big child-like note for blind people, because the tip of most stylus are too thick to write small and fine words. Adonit is flexible and you can see where you’re writing, like pen and paper, and the fine writing looks like 5mm pens without having to zoom in and out every 5 seconds. Done!

    2.I spent around 30 bucks with bad applications, so i can advise you out of experience to stay away from these ones if you like handwriting annotations that will look and feel exactly like pen and paper in all senses:

    -Bamboo paper (terrible graphics, great pens but really bad quality drawing lines),
    -Paper53 requires you to buy all the pens for about 3 bucks each and all u can do is make drawings, nothing else.
    -Penultimate (around 7 USD): that old paper style is very cute, but after a day or two you’ll want to get out of that ‘stained recycled paper looks’ and you can’t because thats the only colour choice for pages backgrounds. Penultimate is cute, but no one likes writing in old and stained paper forever, mostly if you are using for your studies, unless you want to feel like edgar allan poe writing horror poems....

    All of the above apps have beautiful thumbnail book covers, almost like real bookshelves, dont fall for it, the writing features are really bad and some of them dont even let u export your notes to your computer, only send to email. Imagine sending a 100 mb notebook to your email? Crazy stuff...

    In short, buy Notability. Its less than 5 dollars and it has all the things you will need for serious writing, business, pdf, photo, scanned page annotations. The folders are easy to access too. If you have loads of powerpoint pres., simply convert them online or get a free converter to pdf and you'll b able to import them to the app with no hassle. All classes are in pdf? There you go, get notability and transfer the pdf files using itunes to transfer them to notability folder. Make annotations of every file u open! (u may need to read on their website about advanced 'howtos'.)? No more books to carry around!

    3.Come on, u can easily download or buy pdf versions of textbooks anywhere online, I got even rare geology ones for less than 20 cents on ebay, ready to download and make ur notes with the ipad.

    4. BUY WITH 3G and sign up for a cheap plan with an internet provider, Don’t risk being caught using an illegal router in the UNI dorm! It’s too great a risk. I bought the wi-fi version only because at uni wi-fi is free for us, so I don’t spend my own money.

    5. Make backups either to dropbox, evernote or to itunes into local computer, one never knows when the ipad will be lost or broken. All the above names will look very confusing at first and will require u to create accounts with them to make backups, i personally chose the backup with itunes, in my pc at home once a day, its all i need. Not to mention that if you access your files uploaded to the online backup, it will be using your internet, costing u loads of money.

    6. Use the ipad cameras as a scanner. Ive been doing extensive library visits and taking photos of the pages of books I need copies of. Put the book on the table, point the camera on the page and shoot. No need to scan or use a pc, after taking the photo, go back to notability and add the photos of the books to a new note and voilat, u have all ur important docs ready to receive handwritten notes on top! This will save u a lot of money with books and photo copies in the long and short terms.

    Cheers everyone and hope this helps u make up ur mind. I love paper and pen, but the new ipad together with adonit jot pro stylus is saving me a lot of money and time, by the end of the year I will have saved the bloody 900 I spent with apple!!!!!! Good luck to all.
  21. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    I've backed the Hand Stylus on Kickstarter. Many notable news site seem to like it.
  22. Gordonpn macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2012
    Same here! I can't wait to get mine, haha.

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