It's been nice having your college student son(s) or daughter(s) lounging about the house for the summer, but it's now August and you not-so secretly yearn to reclaim your empty nest. As your undergrad prepares for a new term, he or she will need back-to-school supplies - for which you'll likely be springing. Oh, goody.
You'll be tempted to procure an iPad for your future alumni, but Jeff Somogyi, media editor at Dealnews, has posited 10 reasons why a laptop is a better choice. And even though Jeff intends this comparison to help decide between the seemingly mutually exclusive computing devices for college use, it's a good debate checklist for anyone torn between and betwixt.
Here are my condensed versions of Jeff's reasons for choosing a laptop for college, and my agreements and/or disagreements, and additional information.
And this will count for 50 percent of your grade, and there may be a pop quiz.
Today I'll give you the first five laptop v. iPad debate points, tomorrow the second five and my final recommendation.
1. It's expensive-ish
"It" being an iPad, which, for the top of the line model - 64 GB of memory, Wi-Fi and a cellular connection - can run $829. For that kind of money, you can buy a decent (not great) laptop, which makes a laptop a more economically-viable choice, says Somogyi.
Yes and no. If you're buying a new laptop, your student prince/ss is likely to be attracted to a three-pound ultrabook, not only for the thin coolness factor but to lighten the load of your young adult's backpack as they traverse their expansive campus. An ultrabook will run you around $1,000-$1,500.
But this whole discussion of price is out of context. It's not about how much, but what you're paying for.
2. It's not the best solution for note-taking or editing documents
No condensation of this rationale necessary - it is simply true.
I have given up using iPad to take notes at press conferences, even with an accessory Bluetooth keyboard. And there is no way I can compose anything with the complexity of a term paper on an iPad.
But then, I'm usually balancing my computing device on my lap. Presumably, your scholar will have a desk or tabletop in the classroom or auditorium on which to rest an auxiliary iPad keyboard. A tabletop makes a huge difference for iPad word processing, at least for note-taking.
But while you can get away with a keyboard-accessorized iPad for class note-taking, a laptop or desktop PC is really the only real solution for paper writing. I don't know anyone who wants to compose anything more than a short email, much less a thesis with footnotes, on an iPad. I'm not aware of a word processor for iPad that can handle footnotes natively, but these folks have found a footnoting and endnoting method for Apple's Pages iPad word processor.
3. It's ultra-portable — and ultra-droppable
The author theorizes its easier to drop an iPad than a laptop because the former is smaller and lighter.
Maybe, but the right case (such as Griffin's new loose leaf binder iPad case) or backpack (such as the PowerBag Business Class, which has a dedicated lined iPad slip pocket), simply solves this klutzy back-to-school problem.
4. What makes it desirable to your teen is what makes it desirable to criminals
Like the droppable business, the potential for theft is no reason to choose one computing device over the other. A laptop is just as desirable to crooks - in fact, since we've established a laptop can be more expensive, more desirable than an iPad.
But damage and theft is a concern for either a laptop or iPad in the hands of a child or young adult. Check out the varying insurance/warranty pros and cons in my "Should You Insure Your Gadgets?" post.
5. It's too distracting: Games, apps, 4Gs, web-browsing, Twitter, and messaging beckon
This is somewhat true. When I'm watching TV, I'd much rather have my iPad on my lap than a laptop.
But a laptop dangles just as many of these tempting extra curriculum distractions as an iPad, if not more. For instance, a student could be bored in their current class and work instead on a paper due for another class, which, as previously noted, you'd be loathe to try with an iPad.
As a TV watching companion, my laptop has a largely unnecessary keyboard and doesn't have Scrabble, which is why my iPad is on my lap while the ballgame plays out on my 50-inch Pioneer Kuro. But in a classroom, both a laptop and an iPad are filled with tempting distractions to keep your scholar awake during a soporific lecture.
And that's the lesson for today. I'll see you all here tomorrow for the rest of the lecture.