Benefits of an iPad

IPads beat laptop and desktop computers in several areas

Whether you hope an iPad can replace your laptop, are considering dumping your desktop PC for an iPad, or simply want to know if the tablet is really worth the price, you need to know the benefits of owning an iPad. Most of us use our PCs for fairly basic tasks, such as reading email, browsing the web, watching movies, checking sports scores and updating Facebook. For many people, the iPad cannot only replace their PCs but actually offer some major benefits.

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iPad Portability

iPad Smart Keyboard
Product Images & Info - iPad / Apple Inc.

Let's start with the obvious. IPads are portable. The large 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs just under 1.6 pounds and measures just over a quarter of an inch thick. The iPad Air 2 measures 9.4 inches by 6.6 inches, which is small enough to fit into many handbags. The iPad mini 4 is even smaller, weighing half as much as its big brother and measuring only 8 inches by 5.3 inches.

The portability of the iPad doesn't start when you leave the house. The ease of using it on the couch or in bed will make you never want to lift a full-sized laptop again.

The iPad comes with apps capable of completing many of our routine tasks. These include a web browser, a mail client, a calendar, an alarm clock, a maps package, a notepad, a video conferencing app and a contacts list. It also includes tablet-specific apps, such as a camera, a photo app, a video library and an app for playing music.  

Apple made its iWork suite and iLife suite free for new iPad users, which gives you a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, a music studio and a video editor.

You will find a ton of free apps in the App Store, and even when an app has a price tag, it is much lower than prices for apps made for laptops or desktop computers. More »

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The iPad is a great solution for gaming. In addition to casual games like "Despicable Me: Minion Rush," "Super Mario Run" and "Plants vs Zombies Heros," there are a growing number of hardcore games that can satisfy even the most serious gamer. This includes classic RPGs like ​"Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" and a full-featured version of "XCOM 2."

Like most of the apps on the iPad, games tend to be cheaper than their console counterparts. A lot of great games are priced at $5 or less. More »

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The iPad's interface is intuitive, which makes it easy to use. While there is a lot of advanced technology under the hood, such as a global search feature and multitasking capabilities, the basic day-to-day use of the device is so easy that most people are able to jump right into using it.

Apple doesn't clutter the main screen with clocks and widgets and other features you may not want. Instead, the main screen is filled with apps—the main reason you purchased the iPad. Tap an app and it opens. Click the "Home" button, which is the only physical button on the front of the iPad, and the app closes. Swipe from right-to-left or from left-to-right, and you move between screens. It's that simple. More »

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Music and Movies

The entertainment value doesn't stop with games. The iPad supports popular streaming video apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. It also has access to dozens of apps from broadcast television and cable providers, such as CBS, NBC, Time Warner and DirectTV.   

The iPad also expands your music possibilities. In addition to the music you can buy in the iTunes store, you have access to Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and many other music streaming services.  

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E-Reader Replacement

Laptops support e-books, but they are clumsy in comparison to a true e-reader. The iPad's iBooks app is one of the best e-readers on the market with an excellent interface that flips pages like a real book. The iPad supports Amazon's Kindle books with a free Kindle reader available in the App Store. You can also download a reader for Barnes and Noble Nook books.

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Siri is Apple's intelligent digital assistant. Don't dismiss Siri as a marketing gimmick regulated to checking sports scores and searching for nearby restaurants. She's quite a bit more capable than many people realize.

Among the many things you can use Siri for is to set reminders, whether for taking out the trash in the morning or when preparing for an upcoming meeting. Speaking of meetings, Siri can keep track of your daily schedule. Need a quick timer? She's got it. She can also set your alarm clock, text people without touching the on-screen keyboard, place telephone calls, play music, update Facebook, search the web and launch apps for you. More »

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GPS Replacement

If you have an iPad with a cellular data connection, it can easily replace the GPS unit in your car. This is one of many tricks an iPad can do that most laptops can't support. IPad models with cellular data support include an Assisted-GPS chip. Combined with the Apple Maps app that comes installed on the iPad or the downloadable Google Maps app, an iPad makes a good alternative to a stand-alone GPS device, even providing hands-free turn-by-turn navigation.   

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10 Hours of Battery Life

Going hand-in-hand with the portability is the extended battery life. Every iPad can run for 10 hours of moderate use without the need to recharge, which beats a laptop. This battery life may not extend quite so long under heavy usage, but even if you are having your own "Doctor Who" marathon using Netflix streaming, you should be able to watch seven or eight hour-long episodes before you need to plug it in.

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Cost

Apple offers several iPad models in a range of prices. The current generation iPad Air starts at just under $400, which is a cheap price when you consider the free benefits that come with an iPad. You can also save a little space and money by going with the current generation iPad mini.

Apple has a refurbished section at its website. The offerings change daily, but refurbished iPads are less expensive than brand new ones, and they come with the same 1-year Apple warranty as new devices. 

Buy an iPad Air 2 from Amazon

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