The rivalry between Mac and PC users is well-documented and increasingly complicated. Each time a new gadget enters the marketplace, consumers have more decisions to make about how they want to check email, watch movies, download music, and surf the web. But outside the typical debate, what should an end user consider when deciding between an iPad and a laptop PC?
At one time, the laptop was the height of portability, offering a slim, lightweight device that could be slipped into a bag or carrying case. The iPad, however, is only a little more than one and a half pounds, and is easily transported regardless of what you decide to carry it in.
Furthermore, the iPad is easier to operate in awkward positions, such as on the subway or in the car. The downside is the smaller screen size, which might be an issue when editing photos or playing games.
It is important to realize that the iPad and the laptop PC were designed for separate functions. While some of the applications overlap, this is usually the deciding point for consumers. If you are interested primarily in social media, ebooks, and other content consumption, an iPad is more than adequate.
However, those who spend a lot of time typing or designing might prefer a laptop PC. The applications available for the laptop are far more comprehensive (e.g., Photoshop, Office), and their use is more ergonomically sound. You can buy a mouse and keyboard for use with the iPad, but that costs extra money and reduces the portability benefit.
One of the biggest benefits of the iPad is the intuitive, user-friendly UI. The screen has more pixels and is generally more beautiful to look at than any of the laptop PCs on the market. This can be a huge benefit for consumers and professionals who want to enjoy working on their chosen device.
Laptop PCs are notorious for battery life, requiring a charge every three to four hours. An iPad 3, on the other hand, can last up to 10 hours on a charge, which means you won't have to go looking for an outlet as quickly when you're on the go.
The iPad 3 currently starts at $499, while an iPad 2 can be had for as low as $399. A PC laptop, on the other hand, varies significantly in price, starting at under $300, and you don't have to buy a keyboard if you want to type on something other than the glass UI.
More devices and peripherals will work with a laptop PC than with an iPad, and there are more accessories on the market for PCs. However, compatibility is a larger issue. For example, those who buy mostly Apple products (e.g., iPhone, iPod) might benefit from the syncing capability offered with the iPad. Consider all the devices in your arsenal before making your purchase.
Most serious gamers stick with a desktop computer for graphics-intensive games. Lighter fare will operate on a laptop PC, which might be a selling point. Of course, there are thousands of games applications made specifically for the iPad, so it depends on your preferences. Check out the games that most interest you to determine how you might be able to play them on each device.
Light business tasks, such as scheduling and email, are perfectly aligned with the iPad, which is lighter weight and easier to operate than a laptop PC. However, mobile operators might require a more powerful machine. Talk with your IT department if you are considering a work device.
Make a list of the tasks you would like to accomplish with your new device, then compare them against the specs for both the iPad and the laptop PC. This should give you a good idea of which is the better choice.