New MacBook Pro or iPad for college use

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by parkm13, May 23, 2013.

  1. parkm13 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    Hello, I am going to be starting college this fall and just would like to know what you all would recommend getting.

    I could:

    1. Keep my 2011 base 13 inch macbook pro and get an iPad. My idea with this would be use the iPad every day in class to take notes with a keyboard, then maybe spend $100 and put a new, faster HDD in my laptop and use that for my papers or more intense things than notes.

    2. Buy a new Macbook Pro. Not get any iPad. This would mean I could get a new rMBP to use for everything in college for the next few years.

    What I think it comes down to in the end is what would be better for using in class, an iPad, or a new rMBP. Or if you have any other suggestions for what is best for an engineering student I would love to hear them. Thanks in advance!
  2. emacna1 macrumors regular

    May 31, 2012
    I've had my mid-2010 MBP for my three years of college so far and it has done me well. I take notes in class by pen, though.

    If I were in your position where money isn't a factor, I would get the iPad. You have a perfectly fine laptop, so why not get an iPad and use it for class notes like you said?
  3. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    For an engineering student, the rMBP is a great choice, but I would wait at this point because Apple's new lineup is expected June 10, just a few weeks away. But if you need something now, I would maybe just keep your regular MBP if it still works fine (maybe too heavy/unwieldy for college desks?) then invest in a rMBP when you'll get a very large speed difference. You might now because of the better GPU, CPU and SSD, but you already have a computer and it's only a year old at this point.
  4. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    Anything I do will be right before I move into my dorm so I get the most updated thing.

    It is an early 2011 and does work fine, I just don't think it will work for the next 5 years. Where a rMBP would. At least for me, I would just love to know what is better for in class use. A laptop, iPad, or good old pen and paper.
  5. emacna1 macrumors regular

    May 31, 2012
    You're MBP will last for five years, trust me.

    My personal preference is pen and paper, but like I said if I was in your situation I would get the iPad.
  6. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    Anything with math or science, pen and paper due to equations and bases and things like that (same with math).

    For English and history and business, a laptop is great.
  7. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    Thats what made me lean to the iPad at first. I am able to write on it like paper for things like equations.


    Okay, thanks for input!
  8. ccapman670 macrumors regular

    May 31, 2012
    New Orleans / Baton Rouge
    I would wait to see the next line up but would personally get an iPad. I have a mid-2010 MBP that I just upgraded the RAM to 8gb and am looking at getting an SSD for. It's still running great. I have a 3rd generation iPad with Retina and honestly that's the only thing I take to class. Got it almost a year ago and use it everyday. I bought the keyboard but personally found using the smart cover to prop it up at a slight angle I was just as fast typing on the iPad itself so I ditched it. It's also great for classes that have powerpoint lectures as I can have them all saved in Keynote. Extremely portable, great display and very efficient.

    Like previously stated your 2011 MBP is still a great laptop.
  9. TexasChemE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2011
    I'm a current engineering student, I went through a similar dilemma a few years ago. I currently have a 2011 15in MBP along with an iPad 3rd gen, and I love them both. If your current MBP is running really well right now, i'd go for the iPad. I use my iPad all the time at school just because it is so convenient and small. If you do go for the iPad, you could always upgrade your MBP (I installed an Optibay + 128GB SSD and 8gb RAM, it's like a brand new computer).

    Just my two cents!
  10. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    I think that one of the best things about the iPad would be getting most of the functions of my macbook, but just much smaller and easier to cary. So it looks to me that the iPad is the winner over a new laptop for college. Good to know. Thanks everyone!
  11. renosausage macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    I actually had the same situation last year while I was in nursing school.

    I had a retina ipad that I bought in hopes of not having to buy a laptop.

    Unfortunately as awesome as the iPad was, it could not do all the task I wanted it to do. So I eventually sold it and bought a rMBP.

    Heres my opinion:


    Light and Portable
    Has a Massive variety of Apps for every little task you need.
    Able to type documents and keynotes
    Great for reading text books
    You can also record and take pictures on the fly, I used this feature a lot in Lab

    Not very good at multitasking (This makes writing research papers really hard)
    Even though you can type, I find it a bit tedious on the ipad vs a Macbook
    Applications are great but not as robust and featured as the Macbook
    Not the best device for doing extensive projects

    Basically, I think the iPad is a great secondary tool to go along with your Macbook. I would not want to burden every task for school without having a Macbook handy.

    It is an awesome product and you will love it for college. But, you won't be able to use it for everything. A Macbook is just a lot better for typing documents, making keynotes, and doing research.

    I would personally keep the 13inch that you have and get an iPad.

    The retina macbook would be nice, but you could also save that money and upgrade your current cMBP.

    You could do all your big projects on the Macbook and use the iPad to carry around at school.

    Right now I currently only have a 15" rMBP. I absolutely love it but I had to sell my iPad because I could not afford both.

    Even though I can live with just the rMBP, I really wish I had both devices to use back and forth.

    Like I said, stick with the 13 cMBP and buy an iPad.
  12. TyPod macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2006
    And Yourself?
    I agree, I have almost the same setup as you (difference being a 2010 MBP and an iPad Mini) and I find it works great. I am also an engineering student as well.

    You're current laptop should definitely be able to get you through college.
  13. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    put an ssd in your early 11 and enjoy your rMBP without r.
  14. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Your MBP will last a LOT longer if you're not lugging it to class every day. My 2009 is definitely showing the last 4 years, and has been since last year. In terms of notes, it really depends on the professor. Some will let you use an electronic device while others only allow pen and paper. In your case these will probably be freshman English and likely your math classes. Engineering could go either way. Anyway, using the iPad in class when you can will keep your MBP in good shape. Good luck!
  15. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    So if I do go with buying an iPad and upgrading my current laptop, think I should get an SSD or just a faster larger HDD? Price wise staying away from an SSD would be good. There is NO way I could go with under 250 gb. No problem for a regular hard drive, but getting very pricy on the SSD side. Would a nice 7200RPM hard drive still give me a good speed increase? As well as giving me more space to play with.
  16. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    5400 to 7200 RPM is not very noticeable.

    5400 to SSD is extremely noticeable.
  17. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    rMBP. It will do it all. Is portable. Small footprint. Only one device to worry about/charge/sync.

    The iPad sucks with a bluetooth keyboard. Gorilla arm. Too small for me. No file management. Too many limitations. (That said it works great in the crapper as a consumption device only).
  18. kh3khalid macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2012
    I thought an iPad would help me take notes easier in class.. I've never been so wrong.

    An iPad would really help you if you want to read slides or PDFs. It's much better than any laptop in my opinion. But taking notes on an iPad is not efficient.

    If you are planning to bring an iPad + keyboard for notes, isn't a laptop better? A bigger screen with better multitasking.

    I'm a freshman (Engineering) and I bought an iPad for collage for the first semester, and in the 2nd semester I ended up getting a new cMBP (my fist Mac). Now I leave my iPad at home everyday and take my MBP to collage.

    Go for a rMBP when the new lineup comes out.
  19. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    So now a few more of you are saying go with the laptop. Any apps you would recommend getting for the macbook to take notes on? Or would you recommend just using a pages document.

    Also if I do end up going with a new macbook should I get the Air or the retina? 13 or 15inch?
  20. Hildegerd macrumors regular


    May 12, 2013
    I would have bought 21" iMAc and upgraded to 16g RAM and an iPad to use at school.
  21. kh3khalid macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2012
    A pages/MS word document would do the job.

    As of the laptop, it depends on your usage. If you just want to use it for notes, itunes, movies, browsing and other simple stuff, I'd get the 15" Air.

    I got the 15" cMBP because I wanted a GPU and the Quad-Core CPU because I'm keeping this laptop for 4 years minimum. I also like to play some games like minecraft.
  22. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    After reading your original post again... what exactly is wrong with your current 2011 MBP? Why do you need something new? :confused:

    And now you're asking what apps to use. Don't you know?
  23. starski0 macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2013
    7200 rpm also tends to be more battery demanding I think.
  24. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    My graduation gift from my grandparents is either a new laptop, or an iPad. I do not need either one, I'm sure my current macbook would work throughout school. A new one though would just work better. Originally I really just wanted to hear from college students what would be better to use in class/for class, a new macbook, or an iPad.

    As for the apps I just wanted to know if there were any really good note taking options. I have only ever used Pages/Word in High School. Just curious as to other options.

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