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Is the Apple iPad or Netbook right for me?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 26, 2010 8:21 AM PDT

Is the Apple iPad or Netbook right for me?

I'm looking for a device that will let me check my e-mail and surf the Web when I'm travelling, but with a larger screen and storage size than any phone has. I thought a Netbook would be the way to go, but now the Apple iPad is coming out, I'm wondering if that would be a better choice. Any recommendations for Netbooks, or should I wait for the iPad? What are the pros and cons of both devices? Whatever I get needs to be portable and light enough to be hauled around a lot. Since I'm on the road quite often, sometimes for weeks, its battery life and charging options are important. All opinions and suggestions are welcomed. Thanks in advance.

-- Submitted by: Corey C.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

iPad vs. Netbook --Submitted by waytron

It all depends... --Submitted by Wolfie2k5

It really depends on what you want to do... --Submitted by Watzman

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have some buying advice you can share with Corey please click the reply link and submit it. Please be as detailed as possible in your answer. Thank you!
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by fgn1953 / March 26, 2010 11:03 AM PDT

If you are looking for something that is very user friendly and no viruses; go with the new iPad

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no thanks
by eeee / April 3, 2010 12:15 AM PDT
In reply to: iPad

Personally: Dont think so. Wont be on a smelly line to buy an iAnything behind crazed people who just have to have this.

Economy will benefit: I am sure the TV networks will be swamped with Apple commercials for this thing and they will be so happy to get the Apple money in ad revenue from the cazed people who buy the things. so it is circle of sorts and it promotes and enhances our economy to a degree and for that we should be thankful
People should also go and buy a new GM Frod or Chrysler car as soon as they can research the best prices using their new iPad: that would really rev up the US economy

100% mark up on this thing from info on other sites so good for you Apple and Jobs for extorting that kind of profit from your crazed drones. Not me. Have PCs and spend too much on creating web updates and email and Excel and Word and other programs as it is: dont want more hardware and worry about more batteries to charge.
Why doesnt this thing have inductive charging BY THE WAY??!?!?!

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excuse the typo
by eeee / April 3, 2010 12:16 AM PDT
In reply to: no thanks

GM Ford or Chrysler car.....excuse the typo and dont jump all over that !

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(NT) typosss
by DNAUSED / April 6, 2010 5:51 AM PDT
In reply to: excuse the typo
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Apple products ARE inferior, as compared to PCs IMHO. :-D
by asciibinary / April 30, 2010 6:08 AM PDT
In reply to: no thanks

I agree with the previous poster, Apple is for people who are "forced" to buy it... There are many mini-laptops, palmtops and other arrays of choices - other than Apple, actually; for example:

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is that the only selling point " no viruses"?
by kirk_watstien / April 4, 2010 4:30 AM PDT
In reply to: iPad

because aside from that this thing kinda just be completely honest.

compare any netbook to this thing and it's pretty clear how limited it actually is.

oh and um if you buy an hp netbook you can load snowlepoard onto it. I'm seriously hoping that these "apple people" know that it's only the op system that prevent (but not really) viruses.

somehow I don't think many a here even know THAT MUCH lol

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I think it is.I
by brad1445_dotmac / March 26, 2010 11:05 AM PDT

I vote yes, unless you play online poker or other Flash Games.

If you notice when you come up to a flash site on your full computer you will hear your system work harder and the cooling fans kick in. Its very processor intensive language.

That's why no cell phones and such allow flash to work on their products.

E-Mail 100%
Web surfing for the average person 80%,
size 100%
Price good
fun factor priceless in a hotel bed to flip through a e-book in color.

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Cell phones and Flash
by ronseymour / April 2, 2010 12:40 PM PDT
In reply to: I think it is.I

Many cell phones DO support flash.
Do some checking before you make stupid statement.

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he's right....
by MadDog843 / April 2, 2010 4:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Cell phones and Flash

many cell phones and portable devices do support flash...even my old PSP 1000 supports flash.....

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by longplainfirstnation / April 3, 2010 2:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell phones and Flash

He is referring specifically to the tablet which does not support flash. Perhaps you should read what you write!

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It really depends on what you want to do ....
by Watzman / March 26, 2010 12:03 PM PDT

The answer here really depends on what you want to do.

A netbook is basically a PC laptop (running XP or Windows 7) without an optical drive (CD/DVD) and scaled down in size. The iPad is a different platform, with a different OS and set of applications. So this is really going to depend on what you want to do with the device. Presumably (since I do not have detailed familiarity with the iPad), if you want to surf the web and check E-Mail, both classes of device will work, and the iPad will probably have less overhead (e.g. need to boot Windows when you turn it on, etc.). But the iPad, while it will run it's own set of "apps" (which may be extensive) won't run Windows or Windows software (which is a deal breaker for some users, but which others would view as a positive characteristic). Bottom line, again, it comes down to what you want to do with the device. Considerations like size, weight and batter life all matter also, but there is a wide range of netbooks, so those can only be discussed in the context of a particular device.

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No Apple Today!!!
by financyone / March 26, 2010 12:24 PM PDT

Get a Netbook or a laptop. You will be unhappy with an Apple unless you want Apple to try (and with success)to control everything you do!

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yes! I would love Apple to control
by redplanet / April 2, 2010 11:55 AM PDT
In reply to: No Apple Today!!!

everything I do. I would be more organized, efficient, sleeker, always looking good, and cutting edge. They can control my house, finances, wardrobe, social life - anything they want. Steve - takeover/makeover my life. I am so ready for Apple to control everything I do. Start with the desktop on my Mac and clean it up. Thanks.

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i dont think itd go like that.
by bleachigo / April 2, 2010 12:39 PM PDT

no it would be all plain and flat, with everything costing absurd amounts to get the weakest things. in apple world, your new icar would get 50 m/gal but go 6mph and be a square with wheels costing $120,000 but hey itd be compatible with all other iproducts and wouldnt need antivirus.. ha apples a joke. the only good thing they ever made was the ipod and the zune is better than it. lol.

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@ redplanet: It's easy to do then...
by Wolfie2k5 / April 2, 2010 7:36 PM PDT

Just go down to your nearest Apple store and have a nice big helping of the Kool-ade... Once the reality distortion field kicks in, you'll be getting your marching orders.

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Go with Apple
by altoid1 / April 3, 2010 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: No Apple Today!!!

If the iPad is as user friendly with great apps and reliable as my family's iPhones, MacBooks, and iMac it is a no brainer - get the iPad. This is freely written with no mind control from Steve Jobs... from long experience, I just know a good product and company.

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I too would go for an iPad.
by rlcato / March 26, 2010 12:47 PM PDT

Flash would be a down side but that's 12 year old tech anyway. The iPad has no 'proper' USB: it's on a separate, little, corded dongle and that's no biggy. Ignore the multitasking issue that you may have heard about; that's a non-issue. Real-world: you'll have difficulty zooming in on a netbook and you'll be limited in physical space. There is no instant 'on' for netbooks. You'll be board silly sitting on the couch or in bed with a netbook perched on your chest while you peck away and whizz around using the touchpad and double clicking on icons. So in general, netbooks are just laptops in miniature. I believe you'll be carrying a briefcase or under-the-arm satchel with paperwork. Just slip out the iPad, push the main button, tap an icon (app) and you're there in less that 15 seconds in either portrait or landscape mode: how cool is that? But with a netbook: pull it out, flip it open, if not in stand-by or hibernate mode -turn it on, wait, look closely at the tiny pointer while you whizz around on the touch pad (or plug in a mouse), double-click an icon, wait, and you're there in about 2-3 minutes ...maybe.

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Old Tech.
by ipggi / March 26, 2010 7:14 PM PDT

The world wide web is 20 year old tech, doesn't mean you do not want it on an Internet enabled device!

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What's the point of working with old tech...
by rlcato / March 27, 2010 1:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Old Tech.

...if the current tech has to struggle to make it work. You're not running DOS on your mobil are you? Flash hasn't kept up with current trends so it's time to move on from that 12 year old legacy crap. Some of those internet Flash games and a few of those internet Flash programs are being turned into 'Apps' so they can be used and cash in on new mediums like iPhones, iPads and Androids.

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re: working with old tech
by ibelieve01 / April 2, 2010 10:49 AM PDT

Steve Jobs? Is that you?

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by kirk_watstien / April 2, 2010 10:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Old Tech.

what difference does it make how old the tech is? there are thousands of people who want flash access due to work or due to old farts playing video poker etc..

that argument was indeed lame. and it came off a lil fan boi -ish

at least to me

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by Gaximus / April 2, 2010 10:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Old Tech.

html 5 will be the death of flash, hopefully. Html 5 will do all video and audio streaming, while almost any game you want play will be in an app that you can get from the app store(which will not kill your battery like flash does). Also PC only programs besides MS Office(which the iPad is completely compatible with) you wouldn't put those programs on a netbook anyway.

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why wouldn't I put ms office on a netbook?
by kirk_watstien / April 2, 2010 10:53 AM PDT
In reply to: HTML 5

I really want to know the answer to that one

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How much computer do you need?

How much computer do you need? If all you do is word processing then paying hundreds for a new word processor every three years is not economical.

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@ ChuckJTS - That's a matter of perspective...
by Wolfie2k5 / April 2, 2010 7:43 PM PDT

If you buy an office suite and you use it to make a living and it serves you well, then it's likely to have returned the original investment by several factors.

Secondly, just because you bought a copy doesn't mean you HAVE to rush out and buy a new copy every few years. I'm still using Office XP. It still works fine. No one's holding a gun to your head to do so. Most of my clients are still using older versions of Office as well. No one's holding a gun to their heads either.

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by bleachigo / April 2, 2010 1:00 PM PDT

ha the ipad takes a while to boot too and theres no reason you wouldnt have the netbook in sleep mode. and also the argument that the ipad is something youd just carry around without a case of some sort is just broken. why would u be able to carry a brick thats bigger and heavier than a netbook under your arm (also slick and no texture so you would drop it) but not be able to carry a netbook??

the ipad would be fine, cept multi-tasking, processing power, battery life, durability, storage, compatibility, programs, price and speed are all a lot more important than being idiot friendly. and who cares if the ipad has apps, netbooks or laptops have programs, invented alot longer ago and there are many times more programs for windows than there are apps for ipod touch. netbooks also have real keyboards, much better than a touch screen keyboard.

you cant even use the ipad without looking awkward with it in your lap or a very short table and straining your wrists and neck.

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Have you used a mobile phone?
by rlcato / April 2, 2010 5:32 PM PDT
In reply to: really??

It sounds like you haven't. What many of the posters have stated: 'it's a BIG iPod Touch.' Push the button, it's on: instantly! I'm sure that netbook has to be in some sort of sleep, standby, hibernate (or whatever the hell it's called)-mode before it's opened up and -wait for it- used, otherwise it's batteries would go flat. DUH! I said 'carrying a briefcase or under-the-arm 'satchel' -a 'satchel' or 'portfolio' is a flat case that holds papers or thin books or items inside that you carry around in your hand, under or in your arm, etc. Unzip to open. Slide the iPad out. It's thin. It will never fit in a pocket. Like a netbook, it will not fit in a pocket... except maybe a coat pocket during the winter.

Multi-tasking: It's what's everyone keeps saying and not having a clue. ITunes going, surfing, down loading emails or really, what multiple things are you referring to that you need to do? You're just spewing out rubbish because everyone else is saying it. 10 hour battery life (continuous) ain't good enough for you? Are you going to be away from a outlet that long?( I won't comment about those other 'things') The things that are done now-a-days are just routine episodes of an electronic life style. It's an electronic appliance: like a toaster; a microwave; a fridge. Instant. Quick. Now. This is not a serious item like a laptop or desktop. If you have to do some serious number crunching or top-notch design work, or high-end photo editing, you'd be a fool to use this... or a netbook!

Go to the Apple site... if you're capable without looking awkward and straining your wrist and neck.

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Corey C.
by ronseymour / March 26, 2010 2:15 PM PDT

The pad is a good idea, however I wouldn't get the Ipad.
The main reason (for me at least) is that it doesn't support
Flash. I'm a photographer and my site uses Flash so I can't see
my site or thousands (probably millions) of other sites that use
Flash. In a very short time many other similar pads are coming
out. I'd wait a few months and see what's out there.
The iPad is very cool but Steve Jobs wants to control everything.
He doesn't like Flash because it's an Adobe thing and not his.
The only way you'll be able to download books,apps, and everything
else is through Apple.....I think it's worth the wait.

Ron Seymour

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It all depends...
by Wolfie2k5 / March 26, 2010 3:33 PM PDT

There are numerous things you might want to consider like:

1.) What you plan on doing and how comfortable you might be without a keyboard. If you're emails are short and to the point, you might be able to get away without one.

Yes, you CAN buy a keyboard attachment for the iPad, but it's gonna cost you extra money. That will not only raise the base price $70, it's another thing you have to carry around with you. The Netbook's keyboard is already attached and it's included in the price - which brings us to...

2.) Most netbooks are a bit cheaper than the iPad to begin with. The Dell Mini 10v can be had for as little as $249. Lenovo's offerings start at $359. HP's netbooks start at $269. That's in comparison to the iPad which starts at $499 for the basic model.

3.) The Apple universe is a walled garden with lots of limitations. Since the iPad runs the same operating system as the iPhone/iPod Touch, this can be an issue. You'd have to buy new apps to do some things that don't come with the device. Yes, there are free iP___ apps out there as well.

Netbooks, on the other hand, will run any and all standard PC software given they're based on full versions of Windows (or Linux). If you're really a die-hard Mac fan, there are even tutorials on how to set up certain Dell Mini 10's with OSX. If youv'e got a licence for the software and it's OK to install it on more than one device, you can install it and use it on either one. It may be cheaper to go this route.

4.) Then there's the issue of what sort of stuff you can or can't do with the iPad. It's primary purpose is as a fancy ebook reader. But as such, there's been a recent controversy with regards to how Apple is going to require ALL content to be approved (read: censored) before it's allowed onto your device. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both released or announced ebook reader apps for the iPhone/Pod/Pad that have been approved. The issue is the content that will be banned from your iPad. If, for instance, you have a subscription to say, Playboy or Maxim - you will NOT be able to read either magazine on your iPad.

You can, of course, read them from the comfort of your home PC by way of the desktop version of the ebook reader - but it won't sync to your mobile device.

While it might be considered "OK" and "PC" to keep the iP_____ family of devices porn and smut free, it begs the question - "What's next on Apple's list to be banned?" Given Apple's track record, that's hard to say. They recently purged something like 5,000 apps from the iPhone store because they were deemed "too racy".

Who knows - Steve Jobs may get an itch and decide that only certain politically oriented content that agrees with his personal views may be allowed and all else is banned.

Or medical text with graphic depiction of various body parts could be banned simply because they're too suggestive.

Either way - it's not an issue with the netbook. You can have pretty much ANY and all content on them regardless of how they're rated - G, PG, PG-13, R or XXX for that matter.

5.) As far as battery life goes - That's hard to say. It will depend largely on a couple of things - like how you use the device. Since we haven't got a working iPad to put through the proverbial testing mill, it's hard to say how well it will live up to what Apple claims the battery life will be. Either way you go, you'll likely need to keep charging the devices. All of these devices come with the usual charging cables and stuff you need to keep them going.

Netbooks, as a general rule have user replacable batteries. That is, if your battery is running low, and you're not quite done with what you're working on, you can shut the device down after saving your work, pop in a fresh battery and go on with your life. The iPad - not so much. It, like the iPhone and iPod Touch comes with a battery that's sealed inside of the device. You can't replace it yourself. You'll need to take it back to an Apple store and they'll replace the iPad - lock, stock and barrel for $99. It would be also a very good idea to sync your device with your primary desktop before turning in your iPad for replacement as anything on the device will NOT be extracted...

6.) Netbooks, typically come with 160 GB or larger drives which are 10 times larger than the base iPad hard drive (only 16 GB). If you have a large music collection you want to bring along with you, or if you want to bring movies along for your trips, 16 GB may not be quite enough room. The largest drive space available to the iPad is 64 GB - half as much as the ones typically found in base line netbooks.

7.) About the only thing that the iPad excels in would be in the realm of "cool factor". If that's an important feature, more important than productivity, then by all means, there's your answer.

The bottom line, if it were my decision, I'd go with the netbook. They offer more bang for the buck. But hey, I'm less concerned with looking good as I am with getting the job done.

Collapse - be fair
by oobe2u / April 2, 2010 12:17 PM PDT
In reply to: It all depends...

There's an upside to the 'walled garden'. Your apps aren't coming from a backroom in Russia, looking for your identity and bank account. Windows still doesn't have the virus/malware thing licked. Not a big deal to a nerd-gamebreaker for a newbie. The censorship argument is weak at best. I don't see Apple standing between me and content I want or need.

We need to see the iPad in the wild to give it any kind of reasonable appraisal. A lot of my friends aren't so keen on their netbooks anymore - the disadvantages seem to mount, while the benefits stay the same.

The primary purpose of the iPad isn't 'a fancy ebook reader' as you put it. You need to do some honest research. In among the fart sounds and flashlights in the App Store are some extremely well-designed and productive applications - tools for professionals and consumers alike. The iPad is focused on being a game changer, a transition device. I already do a lot of work where my files are on a server and I interact with them - no need to have them copied here and there -and I believe we'll be doing more, not less of that in the future. That's where the iPad and the variants it spawns (regardless of OS or vendor) is taking us.

For many people, the best choice is a good, old-fashioned desktop. For others, it's the next big shift. I think we're at that intersection now.

I'm not sure if I'm a candidate for the iPad, but I am going to check it out thoroughly and give it a good honest look. and not rely on the opinions of people who are still afraid Steve Jobs and Apple are going to wipe out Microsoft's throttlehold on the PC market.

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