iPad vs. Laptop for College: The Pros and Cons

It’s that time of year again- back-to-school shopping! Like most students, you’re probably trying to decide if you should buy an iPad or a laptop.

Both devices have pros and cons, making it difficult to decide which is right for you. In this article, HUAWEI laptop discusses the pros and cons of each device so that you can make the best choice. Let’s get started!

What are some factors you should consider before making your decision?

Before you head over to the Apple store, your local electronics retailer, or add anything to your cart, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using your device for. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

The purpose of the device

Ask yourself what you’ll be using your device for. A laptop might be the better choice if you use it mostly for schoolwork. Laptops are typically more powerful than iPads, making them better suited for writing papers and running complex calculations.

On the other hand, an iPad might be better if you just need something to keep you entertained during lectures or take notes.

Your budget

The biggest consideration for college students is usually budget. Laptops tend to be more expensive than iPads, but cheaper options are available if you know where to look.

Prevent overspending by setting a budget before you start shopping. Once you’ve decided how much you’re willing to spend, you can narrow your search to devices that fit your price range.

Physical keyboard

We’re including this one as a factor to consider, even though it might not be as important to everyone.

Some students prefer the feel of a physical keyboard when they’re typing. If this is you, then a laptop might be the better choice. However, most iPad keyboards are Bluetooth-enabled and can be easily connected when needed.

What are the pros of an iPad?

Now that we’ve gone over some factors to consider, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each device. Here are some of the most notable advantages of choosing an iPad over a laptop:

Size and portability

One of the biggest selling points of an iPad is its size. iPads are much smaller and lighter than laptops, making them easy to carry around campus. If you value portability, then an iPad is a great choice. The measurements of the iPad (2022) are as follows:

  • Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm (9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 in)
  • Weight: 461 g (Wi-Fi) / 462 g (5G) (1.02 lb)

Long battery life

Another advantage of the iPad is its long battery life. The iPad can last up to 12 hours on a single charge, while most laptops only last around six hours. This is important to consider if you’re often on the go and don’t have time to stop for a recharge.

Ease of reading

For students who want a soft copy of their textbooks, an iPad is a great option. The large screen and backlit display make it easy to read for long periods. Needless to say, reading with an iPad is much easier than from a laptop.

What are the cons of an iPad?

Of course, no device is perfect. Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing an iPad over a laptop:

Lack of processing power

The biggest downside of an iPad is its lack of processing power. If you’re planning on using your device for resource-intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, then a laptop is better.

And if you plan on doing much of your research and thesis writing on your iPad, you might be frustrated by its lack of processing power. 

Storage space

Another downside of the iPad is that it doesn’t have as much storage space as a laptop. The starting storage for an iPad is 32 GB, while the MacBook Air starts at 128 GB.

If you need a lot of storage for music, movies, and photos, then an iPad might not be enough. You can always buy additional storage through iCloud, which costs extra money.

Restrictive operating system

The iOS operating system is much more restrictive than macOS. This means that you can’t do things like changing the default web browser or installing unapproved apps.

If you like to have a lot of control over your device, then an iPad might not work for you.

The steep price

The iPad Pro with an M1 chip goes for $799, while the MacBook Air starts at $999. And while that seems cheaper, there are plenty of laptops that are cheaper than the MacBook Air. So, if you’re on a tight budget, an iPad might not be the best bang for your buck.

What are the pros of a laptop?

Whether you’re considering a MacBook or a windows laptop, there are several advantages of choosing a laptop over an iPad:

More processing power

As we mentioned before, laptops have much more processing power than iPads. Most recently-released laptops have processors that are much faster than the iPad’s A12 Bionic chip.

Whether the processor is important to you will depend on how you plan to use your device. If you need a powerful photo or video editing machine, then a laptop is the way to go.

RAM

Research shows that the human brain can store the equivalent of about three million hours of video. The average laptop has between four and 16 GB of RAM, while the iPad has just three GB.

This difference might not seem like a lot, but it’s important to consider if you plan on storing a lot of information on your device. Recent iPads have a lot more RAM, but of course, you’ll be paying more.

Greater storage capacity

Another advantage of laptops is that they have more storage space than iPads. The starting storage for a MacBook Air is 128 GB, while the iPad only starts at 32 GB.

Laptops can also upgrade to an SSD, which offers even more storage space. And if you need external storage, there are plenty of laptop options.

Flexible operating system

The macOS and Windows operating systems offer a lot more flexibility than iOS. You can change things like the default web browser and install unapproved apps.

Bang for your buck

Many laptops are cheaper than the iPad, especially when comparing a laptop’s price to an iPad Pro. You can find a great laptop for under $500, while the cheapest iPad Pro starts at $799.

And for around $999, you can get laptops with features like a touchscreen, fingerprint reader, and more. Check out these laptop offers to find one in your price point. 

Better for multitasking

College students are often juggling multiple tasks at once. And laptops are better for multitasking than iPads. With a laptop, you can have multiple apps open simultaneously and easily switch between them.

You can also connect your laptop to an external monitor to simplify multitasking. And if you need to type a lot, a laptop’s keyboard will be much more comfortable on the hands than an iPad’s touch screen keyboard.

What are the cons of a laptop?

The laptop isn’t a perfect device, and there are some disadvantages to consider before purchasing. Let’s go over some of them:

Heating

The laptop’s main advantage over the iPad is its processing power. But that same processing power can also be a disadvantage.

Remember, the more powerful the processor, the greater the risk of overheating. So, if you plan on using your laptop for gaming or video editing, you might need to invest in a cooling pad.

Weight and bulk

Another disadvantage of laptops is their weight and bulk. While some ultra-portable laptops are on the market, they usually don’t have the same power as a standard laptop. If you’re looking for a lightweight device, an iPad might be a better option.

Reading

Laptops are not made to be read ebooks on or to browse the internet for long periods. They’re bulky, you can’t hold them in one hand for long, and the screen can cause eye strain.

If you’re looking for a device to read ebooks or do a lot of web browsing, an iPad is a better choice.

The Bottom Line: Which is Better for College Students?

College students looking to buy a device to make their lives easier have a lot of options. And it can be tough to decide between an iPad and a laptop.

Both devices have pros and cons, but ultimately, it will come down to what you need the device for. If you need a sturdy, powerful video editing machine where you’ll be writing a lot, then a laptop is the way to go.

But, if you’re looking for a lighter device that’s great for reading and web browsing, then an iPad is the better choice. Consider your situation and decide which one is better for you.

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