Guide: iPad vs Netbooks. What to buy?

Nowadays, the iPad has really flooded the US market and left netbooks in the shadows (as the demand and sales figures show), but there are still a lot of things at which a netbook is good at and some things the iPad is. We’re going to do a little hardware and software comparison and tell you guys which one is perfect for you: Apple’s tablet or the trusty old netbook.


Operating Systems

First of all we’re going to talk about operating systems. The iPad runs an OS brewed by Apple itself, therefore it’s perfectly compatible with the hardware. Netbooks on the other hand, well, you have to hunt down for the perfect OS for yourself. Since a netbook is not that fast in terms of hardware, so you sometimes have to stick with a stripped down version of Windows, like Windows 7 starter or Windows XP home edition. If your netbook comes pre-installed with Windows XP and you want to upgrade to Windows 7, you have to pay the toll for that as well, but at the same time you have the option of trying out different OS’s on your netbook BUT at a minimum cost of $70 to $100 for the software upgrade (unless you want to give Ubuntu and other Linux variants a try). Since the iPad runs Apple’s own OS, therefore you have to live with it, but what’s the advantage? It’s perfectly compatible with iPad’s hardware! No drivers needed to be installed, no antivirus software needed and freedom from other such issues. The software upgrades that will be offered by Apple will cost no more than $20. Due to relaxation from these issues, the iPad has an edge over the netbook. You can just get an iPad and get on the Internet. Sometimes, with a netbook, you can’t do that.


iPad is designed in such a way that its hardware is perfectly compatible with it’s software, therefore anything you’ll get for it (apps.. etc) will run smoothly and you’ll face no lag at all! All thanks to Apple’s custom designed A4 1Ghz chip on board. A netbook usually comes with an Intel Atom processor, and although it might have a clock speed of beyond 1.2GHz but still, you have to admit it, it’s slow! You have to find the right software that would support the hardware otherwise you’re doomed – try opening a huge excel sheet on a netbook and wish for forgiveness for your sins. A netbook has a physical keyboard, that’s a huge advantage over the iPad but the iPad also has an awesome keyboard dock as well so we can call this one a tie when it comes to a real physical keyboard. The iPad lacks a camera and USB ports, so the netbook wins over here since almost every netbook comes with a built-in webcam. As for graphics hardware, whatever you throw at the iPad, it’ll handle it with ease. You can’t be too sure with this one on netbooks since high quality Flash video playback mostly sucks on them (it has only recently started to improve on them), you can’t play other kinds of high quality video and there’s no guarantee whether your favorite game with work well on your netbook or not.


Finding apps for a netbook that would run properly is a hunt! Most of the apps for Windows are made with a thought in mind that everyone has an Intel i7 chip and nothing less, but the edge over iPad in terms of apps is the amount of apps that are available for a netbook. Though not all of them might be of the same quality as that of the iPad’s (it also has some crappy apps in the App Store, so be careful with what you buy) but still, we can’t complain that they’re not there. Pricing for apps is a really huge factor which people consider – if you’re going to use Microsoft’s Office suite on your netbook, the starting price is around $70 to $100, depending on the region you’re living in. You can get Open Office for free, which is as functional as Microsoft Office, but Microsoft’s package is far more preferable, for some people spending $100 might not be that much but it’s a handsome amount of money. The iPad has Keynote, Pages and Numbers app which are equivalent to Microsoft’s PowerPoint, Word and Excel respectively and cost a mere $10 per app, combined together your total is $30. The apps are as good as they are on a Mac and are very functional! As we speak there are thousands of apps on the App Store made specifically for the iPad itself, which makes us wonder why isn’t there an app store for a less powerful machine like a netbook? Do keep in mind that if you want to buy software like an antivirus, Microsoft Office and others, the price will increase a fair amount. Granted, there are a number of free alternatives available, but then if you’re looking for free alternatives, you would be using Linux on your netbook, instead of Windows.

Battery Life

This is an easy one. If you want to watch videos or movies for 10 hours straight, iPad is the clear winner here. You might even be able to squeeze an hour more with just web browsing. There are many netbooks that claim good battery time such as 7 hours or even 13.5 hours, but if you check the footnotes ( or sometimes another webpage on the website), you’ll find out that these battery times come at a price – around 40% brightness mostly and power saver settings. Sometimes with even WiFI turned off. No such blatant battery time lies with the iPad. The 10 hour battery time is at full performance, with around 75% brightness and WiFi working. 

What to Buy?

Well, quite frankly if you ask me I would buy an iPad. Why? Because I want an internet device which I can easily carry around. It has a killer battery life, unlike any netbook’s battery life which is usually one third of what is claimed. But still, there are things which you can do on a netbook more easily, for instance, multitasking, though the iPad will get it in it’s next major update. If you’re amongst the few of those who want some serious office work done then the netbook might be a good option for you because of the physical keyboard. The iPad has a bluetooth keyboard as well but you have to carry it around as a separate accessory. Usually a good netbook price ranges from $399 to $499 and you can have different configurations depending on the usage, but for a price of $499 you can get an iPad which is an all in one package. It has dedicated apps and games which are made to take full advantage of the iPad’s hardware. Now, what would you buy? and Why?