iPad, Netbook, or Laptop: Which to Choose

Weigh your options before choosing Apple’s “tablet” computer, the iPad vs. a regular laptop or netbook.

In a Wall Street Journal personal technology column (http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20100331/apple-ipad-review/), Walt Mossberg made a comment that rang true with most reviews: “The iPad is a better device for consuming content than creating it.” But, Mossberg went on to say that “The beautiful touch screen device has the potential to change portable computing and to challenge the primacy of the laptop.”

So, if all you need to do is check e-mail, surf the Web, listen to music, play games, take notes, and read content, this device is what you need. If you need to do heavier computing work, you might want to look at other options.

If you need a more flexible compact device that allows you multitask, netbooks—small laptop computers with 10-inch to 11.5 inch screens—are another option.

“Diehard Apple people will buy the iPad, but I think everyone else will find they are better off with a conventional laptop,” says Heath Skarlupka, a systems administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Netbooks (ranging from $250 to $500) are generally cheaper than the iPad ($499 to $829) and netbooks usually have more processing power.

Keep in mind that small laptops and the iPad are really meant to fill a niche as a secondary computer. Most of them have an adequately sized hard drive as long as you don’t use it as your only file storage device.

“They’re not meant to be a repository for all of your media,” says Skarlupka.

When making the decision about which device to purchase, take into account hard drive size and capability, how you’ll use the device, flexibility and availability of additional software, and whether you’re getting the features you need for the purchase price.

And if you need a little help financing either device, Hopewell Federal Credit Union can help with a short-term, low-rate loan. Call today at 740.522.8311 or check our website at http://www.hopewellfcu.org for more information.

Copyright 2011 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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