Benefits of an iPad Over a Laptop or Desktop Computer

Ease of use and portability can't be beat

Most of us use our PCs for basic tasks, such as reading email, browsing the web, watching movies, checking sports scores, and updating Facebook. For many people, the iPad can replace a PC for these tasks and also offer additional benefits.

of 10

iPad Portability

iPad Smart Keyboard

Product Images & Info - iPad / Apple Inc.

The large 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4th generation) weighs just under 1.41 pounds and measures just under a quarter of an inch thick. The iPad Air (4th generation) measures 9.74 inches by 7 inches, which is small enough to fit into many handbags. The iPad mini (5th generation) is even smaller, weighing less than 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.

of 10

Enormous App Selection

Detail of Facebook social media app icon on iPad tablet computer screen
Iain Masterton / Getty Images

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

Apple made its iWork suite and iLife suite free for new iPad users, which adds a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, a music studio, and a video editor to your mobile toolkit.

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

of 10

Games Rule

Child playing a drawing game on a digital tablet
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

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, a growing number of hardcore games satisfy even the most serious gamer. This roster 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.

Apple also offers a free 1-month trial of its Apple Arcade gaming subscription service, which includes unlimited access to more than 180 games.

of 10

Ease of Use

Apple iPad screen
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

The iPad's interface is intuitive, which makes it easy to use. The device sports advanced technology under the hood, such as a global search feature and multitasking capabilities, yet 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 (on iPads that have one), which is the only physical button on the front of the iPad, and the app closes, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen on iPads that don't have a physical Home button. Swipe from right to left or from left to right, and you move between screens. It's that simple.

of 10

Music and Movies

A child playing on an iPad

Corbis / Getty Images

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

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, Spotify, and other music streaming services.

of 10

E-Reader Replacement

Tablet computer and magazine.
The International Photo Co. / Getty Images

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 Kindle books with a free Kindle reader available in the App Store. You can also download a reader for Barnes and Noble Nook books.

of 10


Digital tablet with smile emoticon
William Andrew / Getty Images

Siri is Apple's intelligent digital assistant. Don't dismiss Siri as a marketing gimmick relegated to checking sports scores and searching for nearby restaurants. It's 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? It has it. It can also set your alarm clock, text people without you touching the on-screen keyboard, place telephone calls, play music, update Facebook, search the web, and launch apps for you.

of 10

GPS Replacement

Checking the coordinates
PeopleImages / Getty Images

An iPad with a cellular data connection replaces 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. 

of 10

10 Hours of Battery Life

Charging extra battery
MAINAS Lionel / Getty Images

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 enjoy 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.

of 10


iPhone SE/iPad Pro 9.7 inch Launch In Tokyo
Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

Apple offers several iPad models at a range of prices. The current generation iPad starts at $329, which is a cheap price when you consider the free benefits that come with an iPad. The iPad Air is priced at $599 and up. You can also save a little space and money by going with the current-generation iPad mini or iPad.

Apple has a refurbished section on 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.

Was this page helpful?