Tablets or Laptops?
When I sit down in the library or in class, the ﬁrst thing I often hear is, “Is that an iPad?”
From fellow students to a 40-something Dad at Barnes & Noble, my tablet seems intriguing to people, but they’re not entirely sold. There’s some skepticism there, and I understand that. I’m here to outline to you what it’s like using a tablet as a college student, as well as some pros and cons of tablet and laptop use.
For most of my undergrad years, I used a laptop exclusively. It may as well have been a desktop, because it never left my desk. It’s hefty weight made it a pain to lug to class, but it had a lot of storage and was very sturdy. Then, I received my new iPad 2 as a gift this year, and I’ve been using it as it my primary computer since then. It’s tiny, lighter than most of my textbooks, and a breeze to bring along to class.
I’m a science major, so I don’t spend a whole lot of time writing long papers and storing them on my computer. The iPad is ideal for me because I can bring it to lab, class, and study sessions. For large science lectures, I don’t have to worry about a good seat, because I can bring up the slides on my tablet. Storage is limited on the iPad, as it is on any tablet. My lab partner uses her tablet on campus and a larger laptop at home. However, on a typical college budget, that isn’t entirely feasible, and I feel comfortable using campus desktops if need be. For the student who can’t aﬀord both, I’ve created an easy guide to help you choose.
Choosing between a tablet and a laptop? Here’s how:
- Are you comfortable having your work backed up on your campus login account?
- Do you want to bring your device with you on campus daily?
- Are you comfortable using a wireless keyboard?
- Do you want a convenient device that synchs easily with your smartphone?
- Are you comfortable not storing a huge amount of videos and music on your primary device?
If you answered YES to the majority of these questions, a tablet could be right for you. It synchs easily with smartphones, is easy to transport, ﬁts comfortably in small spaces, and is less expensive than the typical laptop. However, if you need immediate constant access to a large bank of ﬁles (like music, photo, or video), a laptop could be the better choice. If you have access to desktop on campus and are comfortable not having access to have an enormous bank of music and videos, the tablet is very feasible, aﬀordable, and convenient. As a primary tablet user, there are some key accessories that make this do-able for me. My recommendations are a wireless keyboard, a screen-protector and case. Dodocase (http://www.dodocase.com/) sells a case that covers the ipad to look exactly like a little notebook, cute, and theft risk reducing. I got mine on ebay for a discount, and there are many other aﬀordable options to keep your tablet safe. Apple often oﬀers student discounts, and they also sell covers for iPads.