iPad mini-review, Part 1 – The iPad vs. Netbooks.

Okay, now that I’ve spent almost a week with my 64GB 3G iPad, I can honestly say that if you can’t see how its better in every conceivable way than a netbook, you might be a complete raging fool.

I’ve heard some say that they think the iPad is a little heavy. I find it completely acceptable, but either way, it’s lighter than a netbook, at least any netbook I’ve used. Some also don’t like the on-screen keyboard. It does take some getting used to, but it becomes surprisingly easy after a few days with it. If you don’t like the soft keyboard, then you can use a wireless BlueTooth keyboard like the one I am now typing on. It’s sleek and light and even carrying both units around is still lighter than a netbook. Plus, when watching TV shows or listening to music, your BT keyboard becomes your remote for play/pause, skip, volume and brightness. Don’t want to carry both to the coffee shop? Then the soft keyboard will do for entering URLs or the odd email. You do not need a mouse, a power supply, or a big bag to carry it all in.

Now let’s get to functionality. Netbook screens are useless. Once you have a browser taking up 1/3rd of the narrow screen you don’t have much space left to enjoy web pages, and you can’t change orientation. You can suffer with a tiny track pad, or carry around a mouse and have to have a surface to mouse on, which means sitting in a chair with no table is out.
I’m a photographer (http://www.chrissyone.com) and there is no sexier way, on earth, ever, to store, transport, and show off your photos than an iPad. It can be used standing and walking around with ease, unlike putting a netbook or laptop over your forearm and gimping the trackpad with one hand. It can be easily viewed by you and flipped to show others. There are no navigation controls when showing photos. Just swipe, and rotate to show verticals off the way they were meant to be seen. Redraw? Uh… no. They’re all right there. Thousands and thousands of images scroll by with ease, and zoom and swipe beautifully. If the iPad was ONLY my photo portfolio, I’d be happy. But it’s more.

Netbooks run desktop apps. Poorly, clumsily, and slowly, but they run. And SO WHAT? There are iPad alternatives to most applications that work better, look better, and do things that desktop apps can’t, like use the accelerometer, GPS, and multitouch. And most of these apps are far less expensive than their desktop counterparts. I can get a productivity suite from Apple for 30 bucks. Now of course, I can’t run Excel macros in Numbers, but I use Excel about 1% of the time and it’s only for work stuff. If I need to make a spreadsheet for my personal business use, Numbers would work just fine. It’s certainly not worth sacrificing all the other advantages just to use Excel for an hour a week.

I will probably never play games on my Mac again, and my toughts of buying a console have now vanished. I don’t know why I need one. Games are absolutely gorgeous on the iPad, and give you a true analog control experience for things like car-racing games (my personal favorite). The iPad offers a unique interaction paradigm that no typewriter-based computer can match. Your mileage may vary… but really, I’ve never seen anyone playing a game on a netbook. Well, aside from Farmville.

Netbooks are officially history. And mark my words – laptops are next. I will certainly never buy one again. I no longer have a need for one. I’ve never liked working in Lightroom on photos on a laptop screen, preferring my large iMac with a second 23″ monitor. I’ll work this way on the desktop for the forseeable future. But the iPad does almost everything else I need to do, and then some. It’s a fantastic ebook reader, it’s quickly replacing my television with great apps like ABC and Netflix, and for a news and photo junkie its a dream sent from heaven with apps like Reuters, BBC, and Guardian Eyewitness.

So let’s review… netbooks are stupid and useless. Laptops are looking like relics from the prop room of a steam punk movie (but way less cool). The iPad beats all of this, if, that is, you’re willing to give up some of your notions of what you think a computer is.

I dare you to try.



~ by ChrissyOne on May 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “iPad mini-review, Part 1 – The iPad vs. Netbooks.”

  1. But, but… it doesn’t support FLASH!!!!

    Nice post, C1. It just dawned on me today what Apple has just done. They’ve made their own laptops virtually obsolete, in favor of the iPad which guarantees a steady revenue stream from apps. They will make $$ like Microsoft makes mistakes.

    As soon as my dear, old, decrepit G4 Titanium kicks the bucket, it will be an iPad for me, for sure. I love my iPhone and can’t imagine life without it any more. I rarely download apps, but I’ve got just the ones I want and use all of the time. When the iPhone 4G comes out, my wife and I will give our 3G’s to the kids and upgrade. Can’t wait to see what’s under the hood of those things. If they have similar power and battery life, I think Apple will crush any competition. Seriously, who would want an Android that gets about sixty minutes on a charge if you can have an iPhone that will go all stinkin’ day.


    Take care.


    • Yes, Apple has lost a laptop customer in me. But I have a feeling that they don’t care. They will sell far more iPads than they ever sold laptops, by the time all is said and done.
      FULL DISCLOSURE – I’ve actually only ever owned 1 laptop of my own, an original ‘toilet seat’ iBook graphite way back in the day. I was provided a ThinkPad and a series of MBPs by Adobe during my tenure there, and while I loved my MBP at the time, that time has passed. I almost bought one of my own late last year when my new employer refused to provide one, but I’m glad I didn’t. Sure, there are a few things I can’t do, like shop Flash-based stock photo sites for work, but my iMac is still perfectly capable of that. And I was never a fan of the whole ‘forearm balancing maneuver’ that you had to contend with when trying walk around with Lappy. I won’t miss that at all.

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