iPad vs. Netbook for college student

Discussion in 'iPad' started by brtdud7, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. brtdud7 macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2012
    First post on here

    I'm a college student and currently use a netbook for class. It has a 1.66 GHz atom processor and 2 GB of RAM (just posted for reference). I use it in class only, with Microsoft Word, a PDF program, and the internet. I have a full size laptop (PC) at home.

    My mom just upgraded from an iPad to an iPad 2 and wants to give me her old iPad 1. My question is, to anyone who uses an iPad in class or knows, would using the iPad to take notes (given I get the external keyboard and case with stand) and do stuff be more efficient than using a netbook?

  2. Joey225 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2011
    New Jersey
    With all that stuff to carry? The netbook would be more efficient.
  3. arctier macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2010
    Since it sounds like you may already have access to both free of cost, I would suggest you try it and see how it works for you. The iPad's effectiveness at certain tasks is really up to how it feels to a given individual.

    The iPad is certainly capable of doing what you need.
  4. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    If you have the keyboard case it would probably be about the same if you're just taking notes. For students though, I would recommend an 11inch MBA instead of either. If all you're doing is stuff in Office then it would probably replace your netbook and main computer. That being said it sounds like you could probably go ahead and try it out for yourself before spending money on the keyboard case. I'd try it for a week and see how it treats you.
  5. brtdud7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2012
    No, I'll never ever buy a Macbook Air, Pro, or any apple computer for that matter. Also, why would you recommend a $1000 laptop for someone only using Office? Especially a money-tight student? I see that too much in my classes, people with $1000+ MBPs only going on Facebook and using Word
  6. lokster macrumors 6502


    Feb 7, 2010
    hear hear! im agreed to this

    @brtdud7 i have to ask, what course are you taking up? because ipads are bad for engineering students like me, doesnt have any simulator or calculator or even coding things. it only doubles as a textbook for me.

    remember the ipad doesnt have any hard keys and if you bring an external keyboard, might as well have a netbook. try it for a few days, free is free.
  7. Mirai 11 macrumors 6502

    Mirai 11

    Aug 3, 2005
    I used an iPad 2 for a couple months, and then i returned it, and used my Macbook instead.
    For now, a £/$300 or less laptop will be best for whatever you need it for.
  8. striker33 macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    I'd personally stick to the netbook.

    The iPad 1 struggles on iOS 5 a lot of the time due to the lack of RAM, so I really wouldnt trust it for things like note taking when the app could crash at any moment.


    Depends on the Macbook. The MBA and 13in MBP arent made for heavy use. People buy them for the best quality and experience more than anything, on top of extreme portability.

    Mind you, people in my old Graphic Design course used 15-17in MBPs for light Photoshop and listening to internet radio. In fairness though, most were rich snobs.
  9. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Yeah, depends on if you want to use a keyboard or write to take notes.

    I mean there are some things, especially stuff like Math and Physics, that it would be much easier/quicker to just write the equations (Than have to find all the shortcuts to find the different symbols). I think with a stylus the iPad will be far superior to take notes for stuff like that over a netbook.

    You can find keyboards that are part cases for the ipad (my stepmom is sending me hers cause she doesn't use it. But it is like a portfolio case for the iphone that the iphone is on one side and the keyboard on the other (bluetooth keboard). So it will act more like once piece (no trying to put them together).

    But, if you need to use Word to write papers (or rather need a good word processor), the netbook is going to, well have Word (and Excel). Also, I hear the keyboards for the ipad, save the Apple wireless one (Which would have you carrying a separate device) still aren't as nice as a laptop keyboard even. So also depends on what programs you really need. I just don't see the iPad having as extensive a word processor (or spreadsheet program). But keep in mind, I don't have an iPad (yet, like you my mom is sending me her ipad 2 cause she upgraded) so I haven't really looked so some one can correct me if I'm wrong on app equivalents to Word and Excel.
  10. LanEvo macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    Word of Advice, nothing beats pen/pencil and paper! Anyway, I have an iPad for school, it works well, music, notes on the go, email, web, etc. it works. I keep my 15" lappy at home. But with all classes it is a notebook and pencil. The iPad i pick over the netbook b/c it is portable and works well for my uses as a college student. I could take notes with it using the Jot, but ehh. I perfer the regular way of doing things.
  11. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    You can do word processing on an iPad, but without a external keyboard it really slows you down.

    For school, I would stick with a netbook.
  12. xnickitynickx macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    I just sold my ipad1 for the new iPad. I'm a sophomore premed student and I use my iPad for tons of stuff in class. Honestly I like it way more than a netbook. With this, typing, even onscreen is no issue. I really like being able to have notebooks on the iPad that I can use to draw equation and hand write notes. My MacBook is my home base if you will. My iPad goes everywhere and does most everything. I think for the general student, an iPad, even an original iPad, will do the job just fine. On iOS 5.1 most of the troubles are gone, leaving you with a stellar device. It'll still outperform most any netbook.

    But for free, the best thing would be just try for yourself :)
    Good luck!
  13. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Right now I have Windows 7 desktop PC > 15" MacBook Pro > Dell Mini 10 netbook > now I got an iPad is this too much for a student?
  14. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Jun 8, 2011
    If I can use my iPad for business, you can use your iPad for school. Schools have other computers in the computer labs so I feel the iPad is versatile enough to be the best note taking device as well as learning tool.

    The netbook is going to be way too slow and way to bogged down to be really useful in school. The iPad will more efficiently allow you time to work on things with features such as instant on, long battery life, and fast app launching. This means, no boot time, no lagging on important things, no hassles with upkeep. If you need to use paper, be sure to get an ePrint printer. Other than that, just enjoy the light weight and faster performance. If you really want a secondary device that's more powerful, it's time to get a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro but you'll still be using the iPad for most things.
  15. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    I'm a college student, and I used to use my laptop before the new iPad came out. After the new iPad came out I decided to use that in class and see how it performed. I think it's a lot better than my laptop, and taking notes on it is really easy, I just use the Pages application made by Apple. Not to mention it's a lot lighter than my laptop in my backpack, and it's really easy to pull out and surf the web when I get bored..
  16. Capt T macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2010
    Since it would cost you nothing, I would suggest testing it out. See if it fits into your routine. Might help with papers and such if you are using PDFs. Read on the iPad, type on the netbook.
  17. EarlZ macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2012
  18. Yr Blues macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Use the netbook. Sell the iPad and save-up for the iPad 2 or 3. The original iPad is long in the tooth.
  19. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    it depends on your college. LOL. that probably sounds stupid, right?

    Here's the thing: at my college we don't have those high school desks. Instead, we have these little "tables" that come out from the side of the armrest. Basically, in almost every single class of mine, the "table" size is a bit less than my 13" MBP. Although my MBP doesn't fully fit, it is still stable to not move.

    With that said, assuming you go the iPad route- you will have the iPad, the stand, the keyboard. Will that fit [without fear of it falling off]?

    If you think so, then I would go the iPad route. I used a netbook once, and I despised it. It was way to small for me. Sure the iPad is smaller, but you have more freedom in certain aspects.
  20. cinca macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    If you do decide to try going with the iPad one challenge is finding the right combinations of apps for your needs. There are several threads I've read where people struggle to do a few things well with a single app. With the iPad you may need to identify two or three apps for your needs. The general challenge of iOS 5 is that sometimes file exchange between applications is a headache. For example, you may end up with diagrams in one app and notes in another. Whereas on a netbook it's a little easier to do a handful of things in MS Word for instance.

    Don't get me wrong, if I were in school I think I would opt for an iPad over a netbook – but it would definitely take a while to figure out which apps would make sense for me. This, I think, is a big difference between using a PC (something we are all well familiar with) and an iPad. I think it would be misleading to say that there is not a learning curve to becoming a "power ipad user". You may, for example, need to try two or three notetaking applications before landing on the one that's right for you – will you be typing, using pen input, using pen input and having it translate to text? It's a bit of a brave new world.

    One final comment to those reading this thread: I know the original poster was talking about inheriting a previous generation iPad but one big difference with the iPad three – and I think it's actually fairly substantial if you're considering the iPad as a notebook replacement – is the voice translation feature. Don't get me wrong, I love the on-screen keyboard on the iPad and it is, in my opinion, by far the best out on any tablet. But the speed and ease at which I can dictate makes my new iPad substantially more useful. For me it's a game changer.

    You definitely need to get accustomed to "saying" what you would normally be typing and it does feel a little awkward to begin with. But once you're used to it you can very easily speak as fast or faster than you could ever type – with any type of keyboard… On screen or a real physical keyboard.

    I would also recommend doing a little research on good cases with integrated keyboards. There are a lot of options out there and many of them are poor. It would suck to spend 60 or $70 on a garbage case/keyboard and get sour to the idea of having one when it was just a matter of a poor purchasing decision. I would recommend the Adonit writer pro but other folks are very keen on the zagg portfolio keyboard/case.

    Good luck making a decision.
  21. Mrg02d, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: May 10, 2012

    Mrg02d macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2012
  22. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    which stylus do you use?
  23. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I feel the ipad may not necessarily be inferior to a netbook for university-related tasks. However, there can be a fairly steep learning curve involved as you basically have to get accustomed to a new (and often, indirect) way of doing things. So in the beginning, it will definitely be slower.

    For a windows netbook, you basically have the advantage of familiarity. All the old commands and functions are still relevant, such copy+pasting from a webpage or pdf into word; conversely, even simple acts like alt-tabbing is a chore on an ipad.

    For example, I created my first word document on pages for ipad today. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. Using my fingers to drag new rows/columns into a table, pressing down onto the screen to copy and paste a term into other cells, highlighting squares...

    It took a little longer than if I had typed it on my imac. However, it somehow felt more "right" than hammering it out on a keyboard+trackpad/mouse combo? :confused:
  24. DodgeV83 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012


    And AudioNote


    Are the two apps I'm aware of that allow you to take either typed or hand written notes, and sync them up with an audio recording of the lecture. Let's say you're going back to your notes for studying, and you find your notes on a specific topic a little confusing, simply click on the note and the app will payback what the professor was saying at that exact moment. It greatly improves the efficiency of studying, and I personally don't see how audio recordings of a lecture can work without that functionality.

    Personally, I think Notability is a better note taking app. I can imagine myself importing the lecture notes before class (PDF) and writing directly on them during class. That combined with the audio sync for each slide would be golden. Audionote's audio syncing feature seems to be more fleshed out, but it's lacking features in other areas.

    If you prefer paper, however, there's a physical pen I've used that provides similar functionality.

    Pulse SmartPen


    I bought the pen for my girlfriend a few years back, and while it worked perfectly, she found the pen a bit too big to write with comfortably. She's a bit particular about her pens.

    Good luck in school! :)
  25. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007

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