iPad mini iPad, Chromebook, or 2 in 1 PC?

nviz22

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I currently have an iPad mini 4, but it seems to be collecting more dust these days. I travel quite a bit on the road and the air. I prefer to take something lighter and more portable than my Mac. However, I feel like I may want to consider replacing my iPad this Black Friday. I am not 100% sure I would want to upgrade to the regular iPad w/ the A10 processor.

I would use the device to watch Netflix, play music via Spotify, type docs, read emails, set my Fantasy Football lineup, web browse. Each of these can be done with my iPad since I have a bluetooth keyboard, however, I feel like the A8 processor is a bit sluggish now compared to other more modern products.

A Chromebook is an interesting proposition since it can get 4gb RAM, a touchscreen, run Android apps, have really fast boot speeds, receive quick updates. However, my coworker cautioned me that Chromebooks are very limited without Wi-Fi and they have very little storage to save apps.

A 2 in 1 PC seems more sound to me in terms of multi-tasking, but the price for a 4gb RAM version seems quite high. My personal choice would be to go with the Surface Go since it has a 1200p display to watch content and Windows Hello facial recognition support (although, something similar to TouchID is fine too).

I owned a Surface Pro 4 for a bit, but I had to get my $ back because of a manufacturer's defect with holding a charge and the device didn't recognize sleep vs shut down.

A 2 in 1 PC would be great if the keyboard is optional since I could just use the tablet in touchscreen mode. I haven't used a touchscreen PC in about 2 years, so idk how optimized is the touchscreen experience is now?

Is Windows Defender enough to keep a PC secure, updated, and efficient with 4gb RAM and an Atom or Pentium processor? I want something fast enough, simple, and capable of doing what I need while being extremely portable and lightweight.

I would like to keep it to $250 or less out of pocket, including selling or trading in my iPad mini 4. Thanks for the input.
 

sonicrobby

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Might be hard to get an objective opinion on an Apple forum :p Can I ask why the mini has been collecting dust? And what are you currently using if the mini isn't being used. I use mine when I travel and have no problems with speed running iOS 12.

Ive never tried a Chromebook, so I can't comment too much on them, but it was my impression that the chromeOS is mostly web-based and thus requires internet for most of the native google apps. Again, don't know if this is true, but something you should look into if you're on a plane a lot.

Ive looked at the surface go, but I quickly turned away. I will admit to windows having an upper hand when it comes to program availability/compatibility, but I've also had more experience with errors, glitches, crashes, and other issues on windows. Lately I haven't been having many issues, but I don't use it for anything more than 3D modeling. Windows is much more vulnerable to malwares and viruses than iOS is since Apple tightly controls their OS.

I mean at this point it does seem to be more of a personal preference of what you gain the most pleasure of using. All options seem to give you the capabilities to handle what you want to do. I'm heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, so its easier for me to stay in that. My vote would be on keeping the mini if you can, it has been and will be my preferred travel companion (unless these new pros entice me when I go to play with them in stores).
 

rui no onna

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Quite honestly, having had to troubleshoot other people's (fairly new) netbooks, I expect a $250 Atom/Celeron/Pentium Windows 2-in-1 will probably perform worse than your iPad mini 4.
 
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nviz22

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Might be hard to get an objective opinion on an Apple forum :p Can I ask why the mini has been collecting dust? And what are you currently using if the mini isn't being used. I use mine when I travel and have no problems with speed running iOS 12.

Ive never tried a Chromebook, so I can't comment too much on them, but it was my impression that the chromeOS is mostly web-based and thus requires internet for most of the native google apps. Again, don't know if this is true, but something you should look into if you're on a plane a lot.

Ive looked at the surface go, but I quickly turned away. I will admit to windows having an upper hand when it comes to program availability/compatibility, but I've also had more experience with errors, glitches, crashes, and other issues on windows. Lately I haven't been having many issues, but I don't use it for anything more than 3D modeling. Windows is much more vulnerable to malwares and viruses than iOS is since Apple tightly controls their OS.

I mean at this point it does seem to be more of a personal preference of what you gain the most pleasure of using. All options seem to give you the capabilities to handle what you want to do. I'm heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, so its easier for me to stay in that. My vote would be on keeping the mini if you can, it has been and will be my preferred travel companion (unless these new pros entice me when I go to play with them in stores).
I use my MacBook when I travel. The Mini only comes into play on a few trips here and there. I use it mainly for Netflix and that's it.

For the Go, I was considering using it w/ Windows Defender and Malware Bytes to keep it secured. I feel that using it could provide a little more processing power than the A8 and still be able to feel smooth. Plus, the split screen might be more useful on a bigger screen than a 7.9" display.

I may have to go try them out at a store because Black Friday is my target to reach a new solution. A 2018 iPad might be smart for me too because an A10 might just add more longevity.
 

sracer

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By limiting chromebooks under consideration to $250 or less, you're going to really do yourself a disservice. There are some very nice 11" 2-in-1 chromebooks in the $250-$350 range but they don't work well as tablets because they are too thick and too heavy. You'd need to go a bit higher than that to get a good representative experience. I suggest buying one within your budget from a store with a good return policy, kick the tires on it within the return window. That should give you enough time for you to figure out whether or not it is something that you want. And if you decide to return it, simply "powerwash" it is set back to factory settings.

Regarding chromebooks in general, the landscape is changing so rapidly that anyone who is NOT using one on a daily or near daily basis has dated information.

There is quite a decent quantity of Chrome OS apps that function perfectly fine when the chromebook is offline. Support for Android apps helps fill in those gaps...even when the app isn't quite optimized for tablets. The latest version of Chrome OS now provides support for Linux apps, and using something like CrossOver allows me to run the oddball Windows app on my chromebooks.

When comparing mobile apps offered on iOS and Chrome OS, Chrome OS falls short. Whether or not that is a deal breaker depends upon the apps that you use. I'm a heavy iWork user and using the cloud version of iWork on my chromebooks is actually quite good. And using the web version of MS Office is light years ahead of using MS Office on Android or iOS.

There are some simple configuration changes one can make to a chrome OS device so that apps appear as separate standalone apps (instead of tabs in a browser).
 

rui no onna

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There is quite a decent quantity of Chrome OS apps that function perfectly fine when the chromebook is offline. Support for Android apps helps fill in those gaps...even when the app isn't quite optimized for tablets. The latest version of Chrome OS now provides support for Linux apps, and using something like CrossOver allows me to run the oddball Windows app on my chromebooks.
This sounds quite interesting. I want a very lightweight device to run Calibre and Apache+PHP.
 

nviz22

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By limiting chromebooks under consideration to $250 or less, you're going to really do yourself a disservice. There are some very nice 11" 2-in-1 chromebooks in the $250-$350 range but they don't work well as tablets because they are too thick and too heavy. You'd need to go a bit higher than that to get a good representative experience. I suggest buying one within your budget from a store with a good return policy, kick the tires on it within the return window. That should give you enough time for you to figure out whether or not it is something that you want. And if you decide to return it, simply "powerwash" it is set back to factory settings.

Regarding chromebooks in general, the landscape is changing so rapidly that anyone who is NOT using one on a daily or near daily basis has dated information.

There is quite a decent quantity of Chrome OS apps that function perfectly fine when the chromebook is offline. Support for Android apps helps fill in those gaps...even when the app isn't quite optimized for tablets. The latest version of Chrome OS now provides support for Linux apps, and using something like CrossOver allows me to run the oddball Windows app on my chromebooks.

When comparing mobile apps offered on iOS and Chrome OS, Chrome OS falls short. Whether or not that is a deal breaker depends upon the apps that you use. I'm a heavy iWork user and using the cloud version of iWork on my chromebooks is actually quite good. And using the web version of MS Office is light years ahead of using MS Office on Android or iOS.

There are some simple configuration changes one can make to a chrome OS device so that apps appear as separate standalone apps (instead of tabs in a browser).
Reason why I limit myself is because it's a secondary device that will be meant for portability. I see some decent 4gb RAM Chromebooks with Celeron processors and touchscreens, like the HP for $200 on Target's BF ad.

I also wanted to give the Chromebook a fair evaluation because fast boot speeds, quick updates, and switching between programs/apps seamlessly is something I definitely want in my next product.
 

sracer

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Here's a brief overview comparison between the iPad Pro and Pixel Slate. Yes, this is from a Chrome OS-centric perspective (Chrome Unboxed), but IMO, very well balanced. Some here might be put off by his (Robby Payne) definition of "getting work done" but the 6 reasons he lists give everyone considering these 2 devices things to think about...

 

secretk

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Here's a brief overview comparison between the iPad Pro and Pixel Slate. Yes, this is from a Chrome OS-centric perspective (Chrome Unboxed), but IMO, very well balanced. Some here might be put off by his (Robby Payne) definition of "getting work done" but the 6 reasons he lists give everyone considering these 2 devices things to think about...

Really interesting video! I agree with his points. Of course it still depends as not everyone of us cares about those.
[doublepost=1541337471][/doublepost]
I use my MacBook when I travel. The Mini only comes into play on a few trips here and there. I use it mainly for Netflix and that's it.

For the Go, I was considering using it w/ Windows Defender and Malware Bytes to keep it secured. I feel that using it could provide a little more processing power than the A8 and still be able to feel smooth. Plus, the split screen might be more useful on a bigger screen than a 7.9" display.

I may have to go try them out at a store because Black Friday is my target to reach a new solution. A 2018 iPad might be smart for me too because an A10 might just add more longevity.
If you will do mostly media consumption I don't think that you have to spend a lot on such device. I like the idea of the Surface Go but I am not sure if it's worth only for media consumption considering its price. 2018 (6th gen) iPad might work for media consumption. For more serious stuff it might not. I definitely tend to use most of its RAM but I use it for other stuff and never for media consumption. The screen is not the best though. You will have to check it out and decide for yourself if that's a deal breaker for you or not.
 
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sracer

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Really interesting video! I agree with his points. Of course it still depends as not everyone of us cares about those.
Exactly. That's why I was uncomfortable with his "getting work done" point he repeated. I was able to get "work done" on my 12.9 iPad Pro... not all of the work and not in the most straightforward manner... that is why I've switched over from the iPad Pro to a Pixelbook. For the work that I need to get done, the Pixelbook is it (for now). My 2018 iPad has become my invaluable companion device... primarily as a digital notebook (and is able to share data with the Pixelbook).
 

secretk

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Exactly. That's why I was uncomfortable with his "getting work done" point he repeated. I was able to get "work done" on my 12.9 iPad Pro... not all of the work and not in the most straightforward manner... that is why I've switched over from the iPad Pro to a Pixelbook. For the work that I need to get done, the Pixelbook is it (for now). My 2018 iPad has become my invaluable companion device... primarily as a digital notebook (and is able to share data with the Pixelbook).
What kind of work did you try do on the iPad and why do you think that the Pixelbook is better?

In general I am the type of person to not see my regular ipad (2018, 6th gen) as a laptop replacement, but I never bought it with that purpose. I bought it for the pencil support. This is where the iPad stands out in my opinion. With the pencil you can do stuff that you won't be able to do with a mouse on computer.
 

sracer

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What kind of work did you try do on the iPad and why do you think that the Pixelbook is better?
I'm in institutional research in higher ed. That involves a lot of data manipulation, software development, process analysis and redesign, collaboration, and the like.

Working with non-trival spreadsheets on the iPad Pro is extremely painful. And I'm not talking about super-complex spreadsheets with macros and other advanced capabilities... but far more than a simple table with column/row sums. A mouse is essential.

Extended display capabilities are important. To be able to have a "working" document/chart on display for all to see in a meeting/work session, and have supporting documents "in the queue" on the local display (but hidden from the group) really helps move things along.

We make extensive use of remote desktops. Using a touchscreen to interact with a remote desktop is not ideal. The target OS is not touch friendly. But having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed using my iPad Pro to remote into my home iMac and by using Jump Desktop that DOES support a physical mouse on the iPad Pro. Absolutely fantastic.

When giving presentation, I use a presentation remote control. This isn't supported by iOS, but I can plug the USB receiver into the Pixelbook and it is recognized and fully supported... couple that with extended display capabilities, it makes a terrific presentation device.

We have a couple of chromecast devices on campus. These allow pretty much everything but iPads/iPhones to remotely display. Whether someone is on a Macbook, Windows notebook, or chromebook, they can cast their screen (or tab) to it.

Separate user accounts. My Pixelbook is my personal device but I also use it for work. I can log in with the work account and all of my work-related files, shortcuts, etc. are there. When work is over, I can log into my personal account and all is there. I can even have both accounts "active" so if during the workday I need to do something personal, I can simply hotkey over to my personal account, do what I have to do, and hotkey back.

This just scratches the surface but I think it gives a good idea. I've spent years (since day-1 of the iPad 1) to push the limits of the iPad platform to be my all-in-one mobile device. I knew it would never fully replace my notebook, and I really didn't need it to. But Apple has decided that some things just aren't going to happen and so I needed to respond accordingly.


In general I am the type of person to not see my regular ipad (2018, 6th gen) as a laptop replacement, but I never bought it with that purpose. I bought it for the pencil support. This is where the iPad stands out in my opinion. With the pencil you can do stuff that you won't be able to do with a mouse on computer.
That describes me as well. My 2018 iPad + Pencil is fantastic!
 

secretk

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I'm in institutional research in higher ed. That involves a lot of data manipulation, software development, process analysis and redesign, collaboration, and the like.
Sounds interesting! I used to be a Software Developer. Now I am leading a team of 22 Software Developers. Unfortunately no time for coding at all, but lots of organizational tasks need to be done.

Working with non-trival spreadsheets on the iPad Pro is extremely painful. And I'm not talking about super-complex spreadsheets with macros and other advanced capabilities... but far more than a simple table with column/row sums. A mouse is essential.
I recently had this case too. I had to work with an Excel file that contained 22 sheets and each sheet had like 22/23 columns. I needed bigger screen and a mouse.

Extended display capabilities are important. To be able to have a "working" document/chart on display for all to see in a meeting/work session, and have supporting documents "in the queue" on the local display (but hidden from the group) really helps move things along.
Yep, same for me.

We make extensive use of remote desktops. Using a touchscreen to interact with a remote desktop is not ideal. The target OS is not touch friendly. But having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed using my iPad Pro to remote into my home iMac and by using Jump Desktop that DOES support a physical mouse on the iPad Pro. Absolutely fantastic.
Sometimes I connect remotely from my iPad to my work desktop computer, but it's mostly to check or show something. So nothing complicated.

When giving presentation, I use a presentation remote control. This isn't supported by iOS, but I can plug the USB receiver into the Pixelbook and it is recognized and fully supported... couple that with extended display capabilities, it makes a terrific presentation device.
That's huge for me too because I spent half of my work week in meetings and quite often I need to show something to the rest.

We have a couple of chromecast devices on campus. These allow pretty much everything but iPads/iPhones to remotely display. Whether someone is on a Macbook, Windows notebook, or chromebook, they can cast their screen (or tab) to it.
Yeah, that is cool indeed.

Separate user accounts. My Pixelbook is my personal device but I also use it for work. I can log in with the work account and all of my work-related files, shortcuts, etc. are there. When work is over, I can log into my personal account and all is there. I can even have both accounts "active" so if during the workday I need to do something personal, I can simply hotkey over to my personal account, do what I have to do, and hotkey back.
I had not thought about this but it makes total sense. I have something similar on my phone. Whenever someone has to use my phone for some reason I just give them access to the user guest account. This way they have access to regular functions of a phone, but don't see my files and my installed apps. It's a completely new user setup.

That describes me as well. My 2018 iPad + Pencil is fantastic!
What are you using it for mostly and how often?
 

nviz22

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Really interesting video! I agree with his points. Of course it still depends as not everyone of us cares about those.
[doublepost=1541337471][/doublepost]

If you will do mostly media consumption I don't think that you have to spend a lot on such device. I like the idea of the Surface Go but I am not sure if it's worth only for media consumption considering its price. 2018 (6th gen) iPad might work for media consumption. For more serious stuff it might not. I definitely tend to use most of its RAM but I use it for other stuff and never for media consumption. The screen is not the best though. You will have to check it out and decide for yourself if that's a deal breaker for you or not.
If anything, Black Friday deals make or break my purchase decision because $199 for a HP Chromebook seems like a solid alternative to another iPad or Surface. Though if I can get a Surface package deal for $350 prior to selling my iPad? I’ll have a keyboard and a device.

I could’ve gotten a keyboard for $50 from Fry’s a few days ago, but they made their deal in-store only sadly.
 

flur

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I have a SP4 and I totally hear you on the battery not holding a charge - mine is through work or I would have returned, same as you. I’ve also had various PCs since the 80s. I would not go with just Windows defender if you go PC, I’d invest in Norton or one of the other heavy duty malware and virus detectors/blockers. Viruses and malware are just too common in the ecosystem and Defender doesn’t cut it.

I don’t know much about chromebooks, so I can’t comment there.
 

sracer

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Apr 9, 2010
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Sounds interesting! I used to be a Software Developer. Now I am leading a team of 22 Software Developers. Unfortunately no time for coding at all, but lots of organizational tasks need to be done.
This is actually my 2nd career. I was as Software Developer Team manager when I retired from IBM after 30 years.
I hear you about more meetings and project management than hands-on coding. It was one of the things that I missed when I got "promoted". :)

What are you using it for mostly and how often?
I'm using my iPad primarily for digital notebooks...everyday all throughout the day. I create custom notebooks with hyperlinks for months and subjects for work and home using GoodNotes. I also use OneNote for more extensive notetaking that involves including material from other sources. When I'm in the mood, I'll use it as a sketchpad. 2018 iPad + Pencil + MoKo Pencil sling + Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard is a surprisingly capable and compact setup.


I have a SP4 and I totally hear you on the battery not holding a charge - mine is through work or I would have returned, same as you. I’ve also had various PCs since the 80s. I would not go with just Windows defender if you go PC, I’d invest in Norton or one of the other heavy duty malware and virus detectors/blockers. Viruses and malware are just too common in the ecosystem and Defender doesn’t cut it.
No, please no. No Norton. If a person uses common sense, and adblock extension on their browser, and runs something like MalWareBytes periodically, Windows Defender does a fine job.
 

secretk

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This is actually my 2nd career. I was as Software Developer Team manager when I retired from IBM after 30 years.
I hear you about more meetings and project management than hands-on coding. It was one of the things that I missed when I got "promoted". :)
Same sentiment! I miss the coding part. Luckily I sometimes support my team members and then I get to debug or write code.

I'm using my iPad primarily for digital notebooks...everyday all throughout the day. I create custom notebooks with hyperlinks for months and subjects for work and home using GoodNotes. I also use OneNote for more extensive notetaking that involves including material from other sources. When I'm in the mood, I'll use it as a sketchpad. 2018 iPad + Pencil + MoKo Pencil sling + Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard is a surprisingly capable and compact setup.
I use OneNote for notes taking during meetings too. What I like about it is that I can also record the meetings and it will link the notes with the audio recording. That's cool.

I have not tried GoodNotes, but having digital notebooks with hyperlinks does sound useful. I will try to check some reviews about it.

No, please no. No Norton. If a person uses common sense, and adblock extension on their browser, and runs something like MalWareBytes periodically, Windows Defender does a fine job.
Same here. I have no antivirus software (aside Windows Defender) and I have no issues. Granted I do use addblockers. Windows is not insecure as it's used to be. Nowadays I don't have any issues with this.
 

flur

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No, please no. No Norton. If a person uses common sense, and adblock extension on their browser, and runs something like MalWareBytes periodically, Windows Defender does a fine job.
That works in theory, but in practice, not so much. My personal experience is that MalwareBytes doesn’t find everything (or, anything). I mean, sure, if you want to use Defender as the primary and just run something periodically, that can work as a minimum, but it needs to be something a lot better than MalwareBytes. It’s been over a decade since I’ve had to deal with a virus, but it was a terrible experience I have no desire to repeat, and keeping strong antivirus software on my PC machines hasn’t impinged usage at all.
 

nviz22

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I have a SP4 and I totally hear you on the battery not holding a charge - mine is through work or I would have returned, same as you. I’ve also had various PCs since the 80s. I would not go with just Windows defender if you go PC, I’d invest in Norton or one of the other heavy duty malware and virus detectors/blockers. Viruses and malware are just too common in the ecosystem and Defender doesn’t cut it.

I don’t know much about chromebooks, so I can’t comment there.
I might just get the Surface Go, just gotta hope Microsoft can give me a decent trade in for my iPad and then have a sale on the Go, like $299. That should be perfect for me, but I’ll also try out the iPad 2018 and Chromebook in a store to get an idea.
 
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flur

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I might just get the Surface Go, just gotta hope Microsoft can give me a decent trade in for my iPad and then have a sale on the Go, like $299. That should be perfect for me, but I’ll also try out the iPad 2018 and Chromebook in a store to get an idea.
Is be interested in your thoughts on the Surface Go v the iPad once you have a chance to check them out. I’m not a huge fan of the Windows tablet implementation, but obviously YMMV, and if you need to do work on it, it may be the better fit.
 

nviz22

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Is be interested in your thoughts on the Surface Go v the iPad once you have a chance to check them out. I’m not a huge fan of the Windows tablet implementation, but obviously YMMV, and if you need to do work on it, it may be the better fit.
iPads are going to be very refined with tablet apps and media consumption. What you do give up is the x86 capabilities along with a full mouse function. Then add in the more ports? Might have to be a compromise to get more functionality for myself.

Sure, I can post my thoughts if I get the Go.
 
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nviz22

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I would also be interested in your experience if you get a Surface Go as I'm also considering a Surface.
Sure, I’ll be posting something if I get it because it depends on BF pricing. If the market is too barren with deals, I might just try to get a Chromebook and keep the iPad.