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Is the iPad the $500 portable computer of choice?

According to CNET poll results from last week, it certainly seems that way. Do you agree?

iPad 2: does it even need a keyboard to overtake laptops?
iPad 2: does it even need a keyboard to overtake cheap laptops? Scott Stein/CNET

Last week, I conducted an informal poll on a CNET article I wrote called "Chromebook, Netbook, iPad: which would you rather spend $500 on?" In it, I outlined equivalent price options in the world of Android tablets, Chromebooks, small laptops, and iPads. In the poll, I opened the options further, asking what readers would spend $500 on. The options: a Netbook, an iPad, a Chromebook, an Android tablet, a smartphone, or a cheap laptop.

Even I, a serious iPad user, was surprised at the results. See below, current as of today.

Percent Votes
iPad 50 percent 4980
Android tablet 16 percent 1637
Cheap, big laptop 13 percent 1301
Chromebook 10 percent 1002
Netbook 7 percent 662
Smartphone 4 percent 392

With a little under 10,000 total votes, the iPad came away as the runaway winner, with 50 percent of all votes. Maybe that doesn't surprise some, but this poll wasn't just about iPads versus Netbooks; it was offering iPads versus any other $500 computing device.

To break down the results further, in terms of laptop-type devices versus tablets:

Tablets: 66 percent (6617 votes)
Laptops/Chromebooks: 30 percent (2965 votes)

Or, breaking down by OS manufacturer:

Apple iOS: 50 percent (4980 votes)
Google Android/Chrome: 26 perfect (2639 votes)
Windows laptops: 20 percent (1963 votes)

Admittedly, even a large number of votes such as this poll can be subject to some bias. Still, we tried to steer clear of influence with a headline, graphic, and tags that would appeal to all parties equally. Simply judging by these results, tablets seem to indeed be running away with public interest, while Windows as an OS still seems to be holding on as an option--at least, versus Google's products.

One question to ask regarding these poll results are whether these numbers reflect future purchasing trends, versus current ownership. A recent Nielsen poll of 12,000 consumers shows only 5 percent ownership of tablets versus 8 percent Netbooks--notably, the poll didn't include a "laptop" category. CNET users who comprised our poll results, by comparison, are obviously far more tech-aware than the norm. However, is it indicative that half of those users might be planning to purchase a tablet next, whenever that might be?

Related links
• Chromebook, Netbook, iPad: which would you rather spend $500 on?
• Has Apple's iPad finally killed the Netbook?
• Nielsen: Tablets are hot, but few actually own one

Would you choose an iPad as your $500 portable of choice, or do you prefer another option?