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iPad 3 VS Laptop - Value, Keyboards and Conclusion

Value also plays a role. Price of entry for a halfway decent netbook is under £250. For a new iPad 3, you’re looking at £400 minimum. It might totally be worth the extra, but the simple fact of the matter is that not everyone can afford that £150. On the other hand, the kind of quality iPad 3 provides for that money is staggering, easily matching laptops that cost over £1,000. It would be fairer, then, to compare a netbook to the iPad 2, which will continue to be available.

Perhaps the biggest factor of differentiation is the keyboard though. Laptops have it, iPads – whether new or old – don’t. You can buy an iPad case with keyboard attachment (have a read of our comprehensive iPad 2 case roundup, some will fit) but rarely will you find one that’s as comfortable to tap away on as even the average netbook keyboard.

iPad3 vs laptop vs transformer

The Casual User: iPad 3 Wins

Essentially then, it comes down to usage. If you’re the type who does a bit of light web-browsing, likes casual gaming, answers the occasional email and makes a video call once in a while, then Cook’s statement is perfectly justified. In fact, even if you do quite a bit of the above, any iPad but especially the third one has a lot to offer. That goes double if you mostly use your computer at a desk, as it takes care of typing: you can just buy a stand and decent Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad 3 and away you go.

The Enthusiast: iPad 3 Draws

If you’re an enthusiast you’re more likely to want the new iPad as a secondary tool. You’ll use it for those tasks and recreations it excels at, and switch to a laptop or desktop PC for the rest. This approach gets you the best of both worlds, but you have to be able to afford it.

The Productivity Freak: iPad 3 Loses

You want to work in Excell or Photoshop, but the iPad won’t let you use a mouse. You need to type pages of reports, but the proper desktop Bluetooth keyboard is not portable and that iPad keyboard case gives you RSI. You want to print some forms but the iPad won’t play nice with your printer. You can buy an iPad for play and a little work, but a laptop is the essential here.

But Things May Change

Of course this could all change. A laptop could come out that lasts as long as the iPad 3 on a charge and has a similarly high-resolution screen – but we wouldn’t count on it anytime soon, at least not for under £1,000. A more likely scenario is that Apple ups the new iPad’s compatibility, making or letting others certify drivers for all the bits it currently can’t interface with.

It’s also worth remembering that some Android tablets already offer most of the laptop advantages, with models like the Transformer Prime, with its keyboard dock and superb connectivity, setting the pace.


March 9, 2012, 1:59 pm

If the criterion is to replace a PC doesnt the iPad also lose for Enthusiasts?

I'm glad you mentioned the Prime; It can be used as a laptop and you can hook-up a mouse if you want.

It also has Polaris Office; not sure if the iPad has something that allows you to create and consume MS Office docs?

Convergence is happening, the Prime is a prime example, but despite their gradiose marketing claims Apple seems to be lagging behind.

Luan Bach

March 9, 2012, 4:49 pm

I don't get this post-PC message, you still need to have a PC for the iPad.


March 10, 2012, 4:24 am

Depends on your line of work. I already use an iPad 2 as a laptop replacement. The only additions I've needed are a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and Dropbox aware productivity apps (there are plenty) and LogMeIn Ignition.

Instant on, light, ultra-portable, huge range of excellent software for pennies and a pleasure to use. Simply the best tool I have for capturing and presenting my ideas wherever I happen to be.

I still use a PC - but only for access to corporate systems via a VPN and for the odd game of Battlefield 3 - so I'm no Apple fanboy.


March 10, 2012, 4:28 am

@Luan - as of iOS 5.xx - iPads do not need to sync with a PC or Mac at all, unless you want them to.

All iOS updates are over the air now - and your music, apps, videos, etc can all be synced directly to Apple's cloud service, if you'd prefer.

Admittedly, some research is needed to cut through the anti-Apple sentiment and mis-information that is bounded around so much in certain circles!

If you're smart,

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