Prospective iPad buyer: iPad vs Netbook

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Djombo, May 4, 2010.

  1. Djombo macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I am a college student about to go into grad school for Journalism. I'm going to need easy access to the Internet and a way to take notes in class, and I'm deciding between an iPad and a cheap netbook.

    The big plus for netbook, obviously, is that they're cheap. Whatever I end up getting will be bought with financial aid and summer work money, and I really don't/won't have a lot of it. With a limited budget, a $299 netbook may be my best bet.
    Also, a cheap netbook will still have 1gb RAM and 160 GB hard drive.

    But...I was at the local Apple store on Friday and I got my first look at an iPad. Impressive. Typing seemed easy enough, and I'm sure it'll be even easier after some use. The iPad's benefit seems to be that it will have more uses than a netbook (once more apps come around), and it will be a more professional-looking interview tool (for taking notes and such). The school is giving all of us free iPod touches, though, and I don't know if the iPad is a different enough product to be worth $500.The school buildings all have free wifi, and I'm cheap, so 3g isn't an option. I would be buying the basic 16gig.

    tl;dnr: iPad vs Netbook
    Netbook is cheap, and so am I
    iPad does more and is cooler
    iPad is expensive and weak, and I'll already have an iPod touch
    Is the iPad a unique and useful enough product to warrant the extra $200 and memory downgrade?:confused:

    Thanks in advance for any useful and intelligent responses, though I expect this forum to be at least a little biased:apple:
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  3. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    You're biggest hurdle as a journ student will be typing. Don't fool yourself, you will never gracefully do a lot of word processing with the ipads built in keyboard. With that said just adding on an Apple bluetooth keyboard and iWork and you would be all set to go.

    The netbook will have the same problem of typing, although not as bad as the ipad. But I can't see doing any sort of long term typing on either without an external keyboard. If you had the cash I'd highly suggest a Macbook Air as it is super thin and light, but has a full size keyboard and OS. But that's a very expensive option.
  4. WLS macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2008
    Neither a netbook or an iPad will meet your needs. You need a full laptop in a 13 or 14 inch size.
    You want an ipad which is fine, just don't confuse your wants with your needs.
  5. Djombo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2009

    I am a little weary of the typing, but the reason I'm so short on cash is because I recently bought a 27 inch iMac. I'm a film writer and I like to be able to watch a movie while I write about it. Fortunately, that came with a wireless keyboard.

    I would love a MacBook Air but I just don't have the money. I do have a 5 year old MacBook that doesn't work unless it's plugged in and has a broken disc drive, but I still feel guiltily like buying a netbook is just doubling up on laptops.
  6. mackworth macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2008
    As someone who went from a dell mini 10v to an iPad, I think you might actually want the netbook. I like the iPad more, but I think for your use the netbook might be useful.

    The biggest problem with a netbook is that the screens are too small and proc not fast enough to do anything major on it. As long as you just taking notes and browsing, its probably good enough for you. Typing on it will certainly be better than the iPad.

    If you were looking for something to surf web, watch movies, read, play games, etc, then the iPad would probably be better. But it doesn't sound like this is what you need.
  7. tinfai macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    I have a two week old iPad. Touch typing is no where near as fast as with physical tactile keys and errors are around three times as high. I've never had to hit the delete key as much as I do with the Pad. I'm sure it'll get better with time and, for most non-essential tasks, it's fine. However, I would imagine that you'd need to type quite a bit as a journalism student. As a lawyer, I could not imagine having to rely on this touchpad for drafting or negotiating contracts.
  8. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    Dont get fooled with the 1GB vs 256MB.

    You need 1GB on notebooks because of the Bloatware thanks to the Windows OS whereas on the iPad you have a purpose built thin OS which has no bloatware/AV/etc/.NET runtimes/etc.. to bloat down the system.
  9. bperrella macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    I switched from a Dell mini 9 running windows 7 with 2gb of ram and a solid state drive. I use the ipad for the same reasons that you do... Notes in class, keeping organized, and reading books watching movies etc. I honestly can say that i can type faster on the iPad keyboard than i ever could on the mini 9. IPad + evernote is a winning combination for class notes because it syncs to the web so you have a backup and can edit on any other computer. Maybe sell the ipod touch they give you and use the difference to make up for the iPad!
  10. Djombo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2009
    One of the major reasons I don't want a netbook is because I already have a (kind of broken) laptop, though. I feel like buying a netbook would be the same as buying a second crappy laptop.
    Also, those are some of the reasons I want an iPad. I know I'll get more everyday use out of it than I would a netbook, which I'd only ever use in the classroom.
  11. MT0227 macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2009
    Personally I see the iPad as a media consumption device, not so much a creation device. Using it as a source for serious note taking would seem a bit of a reach without using one of the keyboard options available to you. This now makes for an additional component you have to carry around, take out and set up each time you use it. iPad is a plausible solution for you; perhaps not the most efficient per $ spent for your purpose.

    Within the Apple lineup, I think a MacBook would better suit you needs if you can swing it and would be money better spent if you have one purchase option. You also have a decent resale value down the road if you keep it in decent shape.

    I have a 17" MBP at home and its way too big to lug into NYC every day; I use my iPad during my commute to and from work, catching up on news, reading books, watching movies, organizing my schedule and to-do's; it's also is a nice couch/bed web surfering tool.

    Good luck with your peding purchase
  12. ippikiokami macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2010
    Sounds like you more are stretching and hoping for a reason to buy an ipad instead of really comparing them.

    A 10 inch netbook would be much more useful for you as a student. There is no way around that.

    I love my iPad but it doesn't replace my laptops....
    let me state that again
    I REALLY love my iPad but it doesn't replace my laptopss....

    Honestly as a student that is looking at a budget don't get the iPad just because it's cool. Get your netbook now to help you in school. Maybe by the time the new version comes out (april) you'll have some funds freed up to get even a better ipad.

    Quick question. for your notes or papers you are typing on your iPad, would you ever need to reference other documents and copying and paste information while you are making them? The current iPad and even the 4.0 OS are still very slow to impossible to do this.
  13. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    While in general I think that the iPad is a great supplementary device for an iMac if I was in your position I would get the netbook. With the amount of writing you are going to do I think that it would be a better option.
  14. Pared macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    You're really trying to justify this purchase, but it isn't the right thing to do.

    If you go with the iPad, you will still need another device to sync from (if you even want to do that) and it just will not be practical for what you say you need.
  15. mackworth macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2008
    There is no way that you can type better(faster/less errors) on the iPad than a dell netbook. Granted, by dell 10v keyboard was a little bigger than your mini 9 but still.

    If you are a decent typist, I don't see any way it could be faster.

    they also make evernote for windows.
  16. jeffkempster macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2008
    If you have the big iMac then just get the iPad. This is my exact setup. You can use the ipad for all the mobile needs and then the iMac for more complicated stuff. I bet you will use it a lot less though. :)

    I would eventually get the Bluetooth keyboard. It is very handy if you intend to type a lot. Another typing option is dragon dictation. It is really awesome at converting words to text and it's free.

  17. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    If the budget is $299 I saw a 13 inch full laptop at Best Buy for that price. Granted, it was a PC and not as pretty but it had a full keyboard, big hard drive and is more powerful and versatile than an iPad *for your uses*. When you're spending financial aid money you must keep everything cheap and practical--especially if you have loans you'll be paying back.

    Honestly, I wouldn't have bought the 27 inch iMac you mentioned you bought--but rather a macbook pro in the first place. For a college student, I would think a single powerful portable would have been ideal.
  18. Lara F macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2005
    Montreal, Quebec
    What if you sold the iMac and with the proceeds got a Mac Mini, display and Macbook (Pro)? Either that or a MacBook Air and connect it to a display at home (assuming it's powerful enough for video viewing). Seems to me that would be a better setup for you. I definitely wouldn't go iPad in your case and even a netbook would be a pain to do extensive typing with the small keyboard.
  19. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have an iPad and an Acer Aspire One running Linux. For my main computer I use a Macbook. Because I have the Macbook to fall back on, I can get rid of the AAO and use the iPad 99% of the time. I would not purchase an iPad as an only computer, but paired with another computer it is a good "road machine". I never carry my Macbook, and now that I have the iPad, I never carry the netbook. The iPad is not as good at note taking and email handling as the netbook but it is smaller and lighter and I decided to live with the quirks to get the more convenient size and weight. I will be selling the AAO when I find the time.

    If I were in school and had to pick one portable machine to get me by, I'd have to recommend a netbook running Linux. If your main machine was a Macbook Pro, at least you'd have the choice of taking your iPad or your MBP, but since your main machine is not portable, proceed with caution when considering the iPad as your "only" portable machine.
  20. iaddict macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Actually, if your MacBook works but only when plugged in it sounds like you would only need a battery replacement for it. That should run you less than $100 which is less expensive than any of the other alternatives and should still last you for a few more years if it's taken care of.
  21. nalk7 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008

    I'm also a college student, and bought my iPad with the sole purpose of making mobility easy around campus (MSU is a very big campus, so 5lbs takes a toll on you). Baterry life is great! I had a 4hr class this semester, and my early 2008 MBP would sometimes run out of juice before lectures were over, no longer a problem with the iPad. As for writing, I just turned in a 10 page paper I wrote using pages on the iPad. My recommendation would be to get the iPad instead of the netbook. Some friends have netbooks, and I wouldn't recommend any of them to anyone. Also 16gigs is more than enough for what you need, I also went for the 16gig wifi version. Hope this helps. :)
  22. iSingandiDance macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010
    I have an hp mini 110 and iPad. I don't have a use for my netbook now outside of synching and Skype. However, if i were still in college, I would probably use the netbook only for word documentation. It's keyboard is much better than iPad and I don't have to jump through hoops to transfer and print those documents.

    While the allure of the iPad and your current crappy PC may be influencing your decision, it is best to be truthful with yourself. If that means purchasing iPad, so be it. If that means buying the netbook, so be it. I just don't want you to make a purchase and later on down the road be stricken with buyer's remorse because your workload is being doubled, when the alternative could have very well cut that time in half.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd go for the netbook. Then, I would work extra hard, maybe do some overtime and then go for the iPad. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
  23. bperrella macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    I constantly made errors while typing on the mini 9 and the keys were completely cramped. I'm not arguing that I can type faster on the iPad than on my MacBook, but I really feel less frustrated while typing on the iPad vs netbook. I know that they make ever note for windows... That's why i said you can access it from any computer.
  24. malnar macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    I love my Ipad and it has pretty much replaced my Macbook. He already has an Imac. Why would he need a laptop AND an Imac? Sounds like the perfect situation for an Ipad to me.

    I checked out netbooks last year when I was considering my Macbook and they were terrible.

    I don't know that he's doing this. Again, he has an Imac. I think he needs something to take to class to take notes, reference stuff online, etc. I think he's doing his heavy lifting on the 27" Imac and the netbook/Ipad would be strictly for light-duty uses.

    Djombo: from what I'm reading, as indicated above, I would really suggest skipping the money pit netbooks and get the Ipad. You know you like the Ipad, you know the Ipad will be worth at least something later on where the netbook will be something to donate to Goodwill. Spend the extra money on the Ipad and be satisfied rather than frustrated. You sound like you've pretty much sold yourself on the Ipad. Don't cheap out when you have your heart set on it and your mind made up. You will regret it.

Share This Page