Laptop, Tablet PC or iPad??

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Rookie1986, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Rookie1986 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #1
    Hey Guys,

    I'm in the market for either a laptop, tablet PC or iPad, I'm looking for something small that I can use at work for email, document reading, PDFs, internet browsing, document creating, calendar, calculator you know the basic stuff that I could need for day-to-day work tasks. Also I would like some functionality that I can use when I travel for work in the form of movies, tv shows and music perhaps. Battery life is important because I will need it to be able to last around the 6 hour mark in most cases.

    So, what do you guys think I should be looking at?
     
  2. brendu macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Depending on how much document creating you will need to do I would say MacBook but if it is minimal the iPad could be a great solution for you. I almost never use my MacBook anymore except for MS office type work.
     
  3. Rookie1986 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #3
    Well when it comes to document creation its mainly notes during meetings, order lists and stuff, any spreadsheet work would be done on my main work station.

    Also my budget doesn't stretch as far as a Macbook so it would be a cheaper alternative (HP, Dell, Samsung, Sony etc etc).

    Thanks for the reply :)
     
  4. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    A hot desert
    #4
    11" or 13" MacBook air 4/128

    Or. iPad and zaggmate
     
  5. jsh1120, Aug 21, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011

    jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #5
    It sounds as if an iPad might work for you. But keep some points in mind before jumping in.

    () If you're hoping to avoid using a keyboard for notes in meetings, be cautious about relying upon either the virtual on-screen keyboard or various handwriting note taking apps. The on-screen keyboard is much less efficient than a real keyboard and the learning curve for handwriting notes is very steep compared to a paper/pen solution. Trust me, you'll spend many hours trying to be as efficient taking notes on your iPad as you are with a pen and paper. You may well want to invest in a separate bluetooth keyboard ($35-$70) or a combo iPad/keyboard case ($50-$100).

    () There are several solutions to sharing of spreadsheets (and word processing docs) between MS Office and the iPad (Documents to Go, Quick Office HD, etc.) if you need to look at what you've created on your desktop system. But they're not perfect. And if you have complex spreadsheets they may not be fully and correctly presented on the iPad. Editing of a relatively simple spreadsheet (if you need to do so) is certainly possible, but if you have a mission critical spreadsheet application I would be recommend you not trust it to these apps.

    () Depending on your current email solution, you may or may not be satisfied with what the iPad provides. I use the iPad email mainly just to be alerted to recent email and dash off quick replies when necessary. It is by no means a fully functional business-level email solution. And integration with Exchange (if that's important to you) is primitive at best and relies upon a web-based Outlook client.

    () Even web browsing may be problematic if you use that functionality seriously in your work. Safari on the iPad currently does not support multiple tabs (though it will in a few months, apparently). Alternatives that do support multiple tabs are available but most are built on top of Safari and going from an app to the web will always put you in Safari regardless of what other browser you may prefer.

    () Be sure you understand just how small the iPad's screen is. Compared to a smartphone or an iPod it's HUGE, but compared even to a 13" laptop, it's very cramped. That is often not obvious because you can view only one app at a time, anyway, but if you need to consult multiple apps at the same time, you're out of luck both in terms of available screen real estate and the iPad's functionality.

    Some of these issues may be unimportant for you. And there are workarounds for some of them, as well. But keep in mind that the iPad is optimized for consumer media consumption, not as a business laptop replacement. Personally, I would not choose an iPad over a good 11-13" Windows laptop for business use. But it makes an excellent supplement to my laptop and while it doesn't work nearly as well in some areas, it does other things that my laptop is simply not designed to do.

    P.S. Lenovo introduces its ThinkPad Tablet for business on August 23. You might take a look at that alternative if you're open to an Android tablet. It has a number of features not available on the iPad and an optional Lenovo keyboard/tablet case that will likely be very good. (Lenovo is renowned for their keyboards.)

    P.P.S. I have a friend with a Lenovo X220 Tablet PC, as well. It's a very impressive system, combining a 12.1 Windows7 laptop with touch screen entry. You might want to take a look at it but keep your fingers off the options as the price can easily approach $1500.
     
  6. boonlar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    #6
    an asus transformer android tablet would do all those things you mentioned. its a tablet but can be a laptop when you want it. with the keyboard dock you get 16 hours battery life. its the only tablet in existence that can be used to create content as well as consume. also its pretty cheap at $300 and $125 for the keyboard dock
     
  7. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    A hot desert
    #7
    My transformer was a disaster. It could do a bunch but sucked at all of it.
     
  8. boonlar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    #8
    You must be doing it wrong then. Mine runs great on 3.2. The first batch had a few hardware quirks like backlight bleeding but so did the ipad
     
  9. 4DThinker macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #9
    I've got a slew of tablets, but had to buy a nice 15.6" win7 notebook to run the software I'll need.

    When win8 shows up on a decent quad core tablet with a 10 hour battery then maybe a tablet will be enough.
     
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #10
    Just to clarify, Safari for iPad does allow you to open up to 9 webpages at once. It's just that in order to switch between them, or to see what other pages you have open, you have to switch to a thumbnail view first.

    To me, it sounds like the iPad should meet all of the OP's requirements, except maybe for document creation. That really depends on how complex a document you want to create, and how comfortable you are with the ipad's virtual keyboard. Personally, I find writing first drafts of documents is doable on the iPad, even fairly long ones, but editing them, especially if it involves shifting sentences and paragraphs around, is better done on a desktop/notebook.
     
  11. jmpnop macrumors 6502a

    jmpnop

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #11
    A tablet would work for you, I'd recommend iPad because of its consistent performance and availability of apps which IMO is the most important factor.
     
  12. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #12
    Not exactly. Safari displays thumbnails of the last nine web pages you've had open. It doesn't keep them open for switching. Not a big deal if you're browsing casually and one can more or less accomplish one's work with a combination of that feature and bookmarks. But if you're used to the tabbed interface that most browsers now provide, it's a bit of a pain.

    This is one of the areas where Apple limited functionality in the interest of consistent performance. i.e.The browser cannot get grab such a large chunk of ram to be troublesome with a design like this. If you've ever used a desktop browser on a system with limited memory and a relatively slow processor, for example, you'll find that you can create lag by opening too many browser windows simultaneously. Apple prevents this from happening simply by limiting the user to a single open browser window at a time.

    Just to be clear, I don't think that was a bad decision. Apple is very good at assuring that their systems perform consistently even if that means the system sacrifices functionality or speed. In general users prefer that consistency to a system where performance varies according to load.
     
  13. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a

    Benbikeman

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    From what you've described of your needs, an iPad would seem a good bet.

    Most laptops won't give you the 6-hour battery-life you need. They will claim to, but won't really. The iPad, in contrast, really does deliver the 10 hours it promises.

    You may or may not need a bluetooth keyboard for typing. I was absolutely certain I would, as I'd hated every other touchscreen keyboard I'd ever used, but in fact found the iPad one very usable indeed.

    The idea that iPads are for consumption only, rather than creation, depends entirely what you need to do. I wouldn't use one for video editing, or photo processing, for example. But note-taking or other forms of writing? No problem at all: I've written tens of thousands of words on mine.
     
  14. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 1, 2011
    #14
    Good point. Frankly, I don't worry much about battery life since I'm almost always near a power outlet ("mains"). The biggest exception for me is cross-country flights and the iPad does come in handy in that situation. (Also fits much better on a tiny airline table when I'm crammed in a middle seat.)

    But things are changing with the latest generation of laptops. Chips run cooler and draw less power, especially with intel's integrated graphics. That translates into less draw for cooling, the most significant battery killer. The Lenovo T420, for example, lasts for almost 11 hours on a charge according to Laptop Magazine with its 9 cell battery. (And the latest MacBook Pro lasts for 8.5 hours according to the same source.) Furthermore, with non-Apple laptops one can carry an extra battery. (Not ideal, I know, but when you're going to be away from an outlet for 12 hours, even an iPad won't survive without some form of recharging.)
     
  15. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a

    Benbikeman

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    London, England
    #15
    I've used a lot of laptops on battery power, and in real-life situations (see below), a reliable rule of thumb is to halve the claimed life. For example, Apple claims 9 hours for my MacBook Pro 17, while real-life usage delivers around 5 hours.

    Manufacturer claims / Real-life usage:
    Single continuous session / Use-hibernate-use-hibernate-etc
    Very low brightness / Use outdoors requires max brightness
    Minimal CPU & disk usage / Typical CPU & disk usage
    Everything wireless switched off / Wifi needed most of the time

    I was absolutely astonished when I genuinely got more than 10 hours out of an iPad. It's the first battery-powered device I've ever used that has not only delivered the claimed life, but actually exceeded it.

    You're right about work to improve the life of future laptops, so a genuine 10-hour life may not be too far away.
     
  16. greytmom macrumors 68040

    greytmom

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #16
    iPad. I do all of the stuff you mention on mine, and I have no trouble typing efficiently on the touch screen.
     
  17. mystik610 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #17
    As long as you're handling one of these tasks at a time, you should be fine...the trouble with a tablet for doing any kind of serious work, is that if your work is anything like mine, you'll find yourself needing to do multiple things at once. ie....typing an e-mail based on a document you have, using internet based resources to type a document, etc etc.

    I've got an iPad and while it handles individual tasks well, it doesn't multi-task particularly well. It isn't a matter of being able to have two applications run at the same time either...it has more to do with the fact that tablets and mobile OS's in general (including Android) are not designed to jump back and forth between apps or run them concurrently on the same screen well. I find myself running to my laptop anytime I need to do anything other than very light (usually casual) tasks.

    Where the iPad works great as a productivity device is as a companion device. The main use of my iPad is to store textbooks for grad school, and being able to keep excel or word open on my laptop and my textbook or a website open on the iPad goes a long way. I also use my iPad in the capacity at work at times.

    Oh and one annoying shortfall of the iPad....unless you e-mail a file to yourself, loading a document onto it is a PITA, as it usually involves syncing the file to a specific App through iTunes. That whole process is extremely counter-productive
     
  18. h00ligan macrumors 68030

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    A hot desert
    #18
    That shortfall is really easy to work around. Get goodreader
     

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