I’ve recently enjoyed using Apple’s wonderful tablet – surfing the web on an iPad 2 has been fun! But if I wanted a portable, internet-enabled computer, I’d take a £250 netbook over a £400 iPad every time.
Yes, price is a major factor for picking a netbook, but they have a lot more to them than just being cheap.
My netbook, purchased refurbished for £170, is not only lightweight it also has a 250 gigabyte (GB) hard drive. You’ll have to pay at least £559 to get just 64GB in your iPad 2. This means that I’m basically free to put as much music and videos on it as I want.
Plus, thanks to its three USB slots (the iPad has none) I can transfer my files to and from it easily. I’m able to quickly transfer photos from my digital SLR camera while on holiday, in order to empty my memory card, for example.
You can’t beat a physical keyboard
For some tasks a netbook just makes life easier. In a previous Conversation my colleague Andy Vandervell argued that netbooks belong in the technology junkyard. He wrote this on his iPad 2 as he sat on a train outside Waterloo.
But I’ve used said iPad’s virtual keyboard, and while I think it’s the best of its type, you never feel you’re typing as quickly as you could on a real keyboard. You usually find yourself hitting the delete key most frequently, as you’ve once again mistyped. I also wonder how Andy would have got on if the train wasn’t sitting still but was actually moving.
With typing being a key function of any computer, whether it’s working, emailing, posting a comment on Which? Conversation or whatever, the convenience of a real keyboard can’t be underestimated.
I also like my netbook’s natural screen protector – the lid with which you open and close it. This novel idea means there’s no need to buy a £35 (or £59 for the expensive one) smart cover.
You can upgrade your netbook
And though my netbook is no supercomputer, it’s definitely fast enough. If I put it to sleep, rather than fully powering it off, it’ll come back on almost immediately when I want to use it again (with only a marginal battery life penalty).
I’ve also been able to increase its RAM from 1 to 2GB easily and for less than £20 – try doing that on your new iPad. As I write this Convo in a cafe, I’ve got eight internet windows open (I’m easily distracted) and the latest version of Photoshop Elements (see what I mean?) to touch up a few holiday photos using precise touchpad and cursor control.
While the iPad 2 might be the sparkliest and hottest new gadget, spare a thought for the humble netbook and what it can do for you.