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_Whitetigress's avatar

I'm debating an iPad vs new laptop for my wife care to help with an opinion?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4349 points ) July 31st, 2012

My wife uses her laptop or iPhone mostly for web browsing, shopping and even watching NetFlix through her iPhone in bed (I think it’s pretty ridiculous but we would have to hook her laptop up to the TV every time and I guess she’s over the whole connecting it and set up)

I want to get her a tablet. I think it can do everything she needs from her current laptop. The most she ever does on her laptop is probably edit photos here and there but close to rarely. She’s not an Apple nut like I am, but I feel like if I go with the Android OS tablets I won’t know how to help her out should something go wrong, I’m just that familiar with Apple products.

So what do you think? iPad? Any other recommended tablets?

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18 Answers

creative1's avatar

Sounds like the iPad is the way to go, my step-father actually hardly ever used his computer (windows based) but when he got an his iPad this past Feb he actually now uses it all the time and he never had a iPod or iPhone before. I think she will be happier once she gets it since she can even do her cropping of picture from it along with watching her tv in bed on a bigger screen. My step father never realized just how much he hated waiting for the programs to open or the internet to run on his laptop until he got his iPad. Now he knows why I like apple products.

tom_g's avatar

iPad would definitely work.

But it might be worth checking out the Nexus 7. This is the one Android tablet that seems to be loved by even iOS fans. The reason I mention this is that it’s only $199. Go try one out and see if it’s something that she might like.

Disclaimer: I am an iPad 2 owner who is drooling over the Nexus 7.

tedd's avatar

How much does she type, how much does she travel?

If she travels a lot and doesn’t type much, go the iPad route. It’s easy for watching movies and stuff… great for traveling.

If you type even a moderate amount, do not get an iPad. It’s awful to type on long term.

If you get the right PC (a solid name brand like Toshiba or Sony), they’re just as good (and often times better) than anything Apple has. For instance the cropping options and watching your computer on TV that @creative1 mentioned with Apple… very much available on many PC models. As far as the internet and things loading, that is just a matter of having a computer that doesn’t suck… even the iPads will fall behind in that as they age.

The real root of this is your wife’s own preferences though. Is this a surprise or can you take her and have her try them out?

tom_g's avatar

re: keyboard…

I have this keyboard/case for my iPad 2 and can do a fair amount of typing with no problem.

elbanditoroso's avatar

On general principles, I would never, ever by Apple, because I dislike their coercive ecosystem.

But for your wife, who probably doesn’t have my prejudice, either would be fine. The Ipad will be lighter.

But an Android tablet would be just as good,

jrpowell's avatar

Keep in mind new iPads are going to be announced on Sept. 12th. If you can wait six weeks I would.

jerv's avatar

While I myself am (contrary to popular belief) neutral towards Apple products and feel that Android generally provides better functionality for a better price, the fact that the two of you already know iOS makes the price premium for a slightly less functional product worthwhile.

FYI, my wife streams Netflix on our laptop via wifi. 802.11n is faster than any internet connection, so there is no need to hook anything up physically. Still, for her needs, a tablet makes more sense, and it’s easier when the non-techy is using an OS that the techy of the house is familiar with. Not that there is much difference for basic tasks, though Android is more customizable. Just plan on some sites not allowing her to watch videos. If that hasn’t been an issue for her on her iPhone then iPad is fine, but that was one of the major reasons I went Android; some sites I frequent require Flash.

And yes, wait for the new model to come out.

creative1's avatar

@tedd Toshiba is the worse owned one for only 2 years when the thing couldn’t hold a charge anymore and it was because the heat from the laptop eventually detached the motherboard. Got to say Toshiba has a nice commercial but they are a hunk a junk. I went back to Apple never to return to anything with with windows again.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Nice, thanks all! @johnpowell Will definitely be worth the wait and @tedd Yes indeed I’m going for the shocker! (surprise)

jerv's avatar

@creative1 Your experience with Toshiba is a statistical anomaly, and mirrors my experience with Apple. In fact, most surveys I’ve seen place Apple fourth in reliability behind Toshiba by a considerable margin. But I got to say, Apple has nice commercials.
BTW, you realize that you are basically running a Linux-based PC, right?

Just out of curiousity, @_Whitetigress , how much are you in love with the 10” form factor? Another reason I went Android was that I prefer 7”, but it seems that (now that Jobs is dead) Apple might finally be releasing a baby iPad. If you prefer the big screens, then no issue. If something mid-sized is a bit more to your liking, wait.

tedd's avatar

@creative1 lol… I’ve owned 2. I had one for two years and it was working well before it was stolen. The one I bought immediately after that has worked well for me for 4 years, and still runs ably despite the fact it’s well out of date. I have a buddy who sells computers for a living, and he would put Toshiba up with Apple any day of the week. The reality of it is this “mystique” Apple has where people think it’s better, is made up. The only difference is Windows licenses out their OS rather than make their own computers, while Apple doesn’t license out their OS and makes the computers themselves. Through that model Apple has insured only high end apple OS products are on the market, whilst with windows you have to buy from a high end computer manufacturer (Toshiba, Sony, etc), rather than a crappy one (Dell, Gateway, etc).

In the end, it’s all a matter of opinion… But you are simply factually wrong if you think Mac is better than pc.

creative1's avatar

Funny your oldest working computer is only 4 years old, I have a mac g4 desk top from the late 90’s and its ran faster than my toshiba running window ever did and let my daughters play with adobe illustrator on it still to this day. I now have the Macbook Pro with 8 ram and its even faster. I have now had my Macbook Pro longer than my toshiba and its still going wonderful. No headaches waiting for the computer to start up and opening a program is instant instead of waiting for it to load. Good luck @tedd with your toshiba because another one will never enter my home. I went back to apple and that will be where I stay its worth the extra you pay for them in my book.

jerv's avatar

Okay, since this thread has been completely derailed since the OP got the information they sought, lets continue the flame war that has been going for over 20 years.

If a computer can outlast it’s own relevance, that is enough for me, and for anybody who actually knows computers. I have an old Powerbook 180 that still runs, but try finding software that runs under System 7. My old Pentium 4 lasted 8 years and running; I replaced it not because it was broken, but because it was obsolete. An old car may still do it’s job of transporting you down the road, but an old computer isn’t nearly as useful.

However, @creative1, you may be (pardon the pun) comparing apples and oranges. My Toshiba laptop is not fast, nor was it ever designed to be. It was designed to be reliable (see above for where Apple really fares there), portable (it is the same size/weight as a 2010 Macbook; I use an MB carrying case for it), have long battery life (it beat the ‘10 MB by about two hours in real-world testing), and cost-effective (at half the price of even a base model MB, yet with superior graphics). It does what it was designed to do. Maybe you needed a Lexus, but I needed an F-150. Which is better? It depends on whether you need to haul lumber or not.

As to performance, my desktop system was about the same price, and compared to a Mac of that vintage, I got a faster CPU, better graphics, more RAM, more storage, and the ability to repair/upgrade easily. I’ve had zero issues with it thus far, just as my Pentium 4 ran rock-solid.

Also note that PCs speed up considerably under Linux, which is almost the same as OS X under the hood, but since most people think that all PCs run Windows, they don’t care that the hardware itself is actually decent. Software plays a big role when it comes to performance. My old Vic-20 ran what it could run faster than your G4 could thanks to how software has bloated. Try running OS X on a Mac Plus or even a Performa and you’ll see what I mean. And instant loading is possible on a PC too; just get an SSD… or Linux.

I paid less than half the price for computers that met my needs better than any Apple ever could. Your needs may be (and apparently are) different, and I’m happy that you are happy, but that still doesn’t mean that Apple is better; it’s just better for you. And while a Mercedes is nice, not all of us consider it worth the price premium over a Toyota, nor are we willing to buy something that can’t do what we need it to do.

FYI, I was an Apple guy for a long time, so it’s not like I haven’t tried the overpriced, under-specced fashion symbols. The simple truth is that “better” is subjective. I merely changed my own definition of “better” to mean “faster, user-serviceable, practical, and affordable”. Much of the reason for derision towards Apple users is not because Macs are inherently inferior. It has to do with the smugness they exude, the counter-factual arguments they often present, and their insistence that PCs are inferior just because they feel that is so despite a lack of empirical evidence, and especially in the face of much empirical evidence to the contrary.

Okay, I’m bored now. Moving on…

creative1's avatar

@jerv If lynx is so wonderful of a os then why don’t anyone use it especially since they literally were giving it away and still no one uses it…. makes me think I don’t want to risk it

jerv's avatar

@creative1 A few reasons.

—People are unaware – Linux doesn’t advertise like Microsoft and Apple do. And many people only trust the programs they heard of, even when they are inferior. I like Firefox over IE or Safari. Foxit Reader beats Abode Acrobat in every way except name recognition (and the fact that Adobe installs itself like a virus). Ever hear of Avira? I bet not, and I would also wager that you would not trust it for that reason alone.

—People are lazy – Linux doesn’t come pre-installed on systems available off the shelf; if it’s available, it’s a special order. Look how many people use IE/Safari despite there being better browsers out there just because it’s what came pre-installed. Look at how many Windows users use anti-virus stuff that doesn’t really work despite there being free options that do work, just because it came with the computer.

—People equate price with quality – I had someone who didn’t know anything about computers tell me that their Anti-virus program was better than mine because they paid $80 while mine (Avira) was free. Independent testing showed that their product was only 88% effective while mine was 99.7% effective. However, facts like performance benchmarks mean nothing to those who feel price equals quality.

—People fear the unknown – Most people do not know about computers well enough to even maintain them, can operate them only marginally well, and cannot utilize their potential. (A quad-core i7 won’t type e-mail better and isn’t better at showing dancing kittens on Youtube than a Pentium II) Hell, many people don’t even need a computer, hence the popularity of tablets; they do everything that most people want a computer to do without all of the things that computer ownership entails.

—People do use it – A majority of servers use it, including the one at the White House. Dreamworks, Pixar, and ILM use it. The One Laptop Per Child project uses it. Many governments use it; it is more secure and stable. Most (>90%) of the super-computers use it; it is more efficient and faster. Anybody with a TiVo uses it. Do you know anybody with a TomTom GPS? Guess what! And you may have heard of an oscure thing called Android…
But odds are that you are referring solely to the desktop distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, etcetera. See above for why.

Now tell me, have you ever been interested in alternative ways to do stuff when you already have a way that you feel works for you? Most people have a “This was given to me and it’s good enough!” attitude, and such fear of the unknown that even the thought that any alternatives are viable can provoke lashing out.

If you are not curious, if you are so risk-averse that you are comfortable limiting your options, if you are afraid to learn, then Linux isn’t for you. If you want to be different, don’t do it by being like everybody else. Linux is for those who are not happy settling for whatever they are handed, who are not scared to trust anything that doesn’t have glitzy multi-billion-dollar ad campaigns, and are otherwise unlike the average person who is more technophobic than they will ever admit.

Funny story about htat, actually. I have a buddy who used to do PC repair and he would actually install Linux on people’s systems then skin it and configure WINE so that it would look the same as it did, run all the programs correctly and all. They never even knew they were running Linux instead of Windows! Many complimented him for making it faster than new. I wonder how many would’ve flipped out had they known the truth despite being faster, more stable, and virus-free. I bet most, for reasons given above.

Lastly, a pic of Mac4Lin just to show that the allegedly superior UI of OS X is not unique to OS X.

wilma's avatar

@jerv If I had you on call to help me through all the ups and downs of computer/tablet/smartphone ownership I would be very happy to be adventurous and try all those things that you suggest are better.
I am techno-challenged. I don’t even understand most of what you said up there. I believe that you know what you are talking about, but I don’t understand it.
I need someone like you by my side walking me through it. I don’t have that luxury. I don’t understand most of the tutorials that come with my equipment. I need a good teacher and coach, many of us do, and we have neither.
I have been watching this thread because I think I might like to try a tablet in the near future. I have no Apple experience, and am not very brand oriented, so I’m not in awe of it.
Thanks for your point of view. I appreciate it.
By the way I have Avira on my desktop computer at your recommendation. I got it when the freebie McAfee that came on it ran out.

tedd's avatar

@creative1 Linux is way better than anything Windows or Apple offer… no one uses it because it doesn’t come ready out of the box. It’s like, if I told you you could have a Ferarri for your car, that gets 100 miles to the gallon… for free….. but the only catch is you have to assemble it yourself…. Most people would still probably stick with a regular car they have to pay for.

I also have to highly question the functionality of this 8 year old mac you’re talking about. Any computer guy, MAC or PC will tell you you need to upgrade ever few years if you want to be able to run all the latest stuff with the latest upgrades. My phone is faster than most 8 year old computers today.. and that’s not a joke or exaggeration. For the purpose of playing advanced or new games, you basically need a computer less than a few years old, or it simply won’t possibly have the capability to play it.

But to be honest, and I don’t mean this as an insult… you answered my question to your computer knowledge when you just said your new mac has 8 ram.

jerv's avatar

@wilma My wife is the same way. When confronted with a Linux login screen, she turns to me and asks, “What did you do this time?”, but doesn’t skip a beat unless I forget to import her bookmarks. When I got tired of my old netbook (with Ubuntu), I gave it to me 12 year old cousin, and he figured it out with minimal hand-holding despite not being much more tech-savvy than my wife. Between documentation and forums, there is plenty of help available even if you don’t have a geek on a leash. Any problem you have with Ubuntu, whether as a neophyte or as a guru has probably been solved by at least twelve people for even the most obscure, arcane technical issue, so help is only a quick search away. They call out the Linux community for a reason.
Also, many Linux distros are available as live CDs; stick it in, try Linux out, pop the disc out, reboot, and it’s like out was never there.

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