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Thursday, August 9, 2012

1260. iPad or laptop?

Kenny asks: I'm contemplating getting an iPad or a new small computer, and can't decide which would be right for me. Do you have any suggestions?

I do love my iPad for consuming content (viewing videos, listening to music, reading magazines and e-books, browsing web pages), and of course you have other options as well. If you want something cheaper, you can look into the Kindle Fire, or one of the many Android Tablets. They all do well at showing you content. 

None of these does a great job when it comes to creating new content--the form factor and the lack of a physical keyboard and mouse make things difficult. The iPad (and any Android tablet that allows hooking up a keyboard) do the best because you can easily hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and use the thousands of apps available on the device for creating creating music, videos, and documents. But it's still not as easy as using a laptop, because without support for a mouse, you end up having to take your hands off the keyboard and point at the screen far more often than I like.

If your goal is to create content, whether it be the written word, music, or video; my guess is that you'll be happier using a full-fledged laptop. Either a full-sized laptop or a new Ultrabook,  like the MacBook Air or some of the other Windows-based Ultrabooks, should do fine.

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