Computers, Laptops & Tablets Apple 574 574 people found this article helpful Should You Buy an iPad? If you need a reliable device to do most of what a laptop can, then yes by Daniel Nations Writer Daniel Nations has been a tech journalist since 1994. His work has appeared in Computer Currents, The Examiner, The Spruce, and other publications. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Daniel Nations Updated on May 11, 2020 reviewed by Jon Fisher Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Jonathan Fisher is a CompTIA certified technologist with more than 6 years' experience writing for publications like TechNorms and Help Desk Geek. our review board Article reviewed on May 08, 2020 Jon Fisher Apple iPad Macs Tweet Share Email The iPad combines a high level of functionality and portability, so there are many reasons you may want to buy one. But, should you? That depends on what you need to use it for. Explore some of those needs and whether they're better met with an iPad or another type of device. Is an iPad Better Than a Laptop? With the iPad, you can accomplish many common tasks: Check email.Browse the internet.Keep up with Facebook.Place video calls.Balance your checkbook.Work with spreadsheets.Create and print Word documents.Play games.Watch movies.Stream music.Make music. Apple, Inc. There are certain tasks an iPad can't perform. For example, you can't develop the cool applications you use with an iPad on an iPad. For that, you need a Mac. Similarly, there are other applications that need Windows or macOS to run. If you need some of those applications for work or personal use, then a laptop might be a better choice. Some laptops come built-in with features like USB ports, a disc drive, and options to extend the display, like through an HDMI or VGA port. To make a disc, flash drive, or external monitor work with an iPad requires more work than just plugging it in like you can with a laptop. So, if you use do these tasks frequently and aren't planning to move the device around often, a laptop might be a better choice. Another deciding factor is how easy it is to service the device. An iPad is much more difficult and more expensive to fix than a laptop. However, you can often open a laptop up and replace hardware yourself, rather than sending it to the manufacturer for repair. You don't have to choose between a laptop and an iPad. You can have both. But if you only want to buy one device, think carefully about what you need it to do. If you don't need any of those applications, then choose the iPad. Here are a few good reasons to choose an iPad over a laptop: It's more portable.When you compare price, build quality, and longevity, it's more affordable.It's easier to use, troubleshoot, and keep viruses and malware at bay.Use it with a variety of cloud services to virtually expand the storage.The 4G version gives easy access to the internet while on the go. Is an iPad Better Than Other Tablets? This depends on what you want to use it for. There are a few areas in which Android tablets shine. Some support Near-Field Communications (NFC), which allows you to tag a spot in the real world and have the tablet interact with that spot. For example, tag your desk and have your tablet automatically play a playlist when it's on your desk. NFC is also used to transfer files. Android tablets also allow for more customization and have a traditional file system that allows you to plug in a SD card for more storage. The iPad doesn't support NFC, but it supports the wireless transfer of pictures and files. The iPad provides access to the App Store, which offers a large number of apps designed for its larger screen. The App Store uses more rigorous testing before apps are allowed on it, which means the likelihood of a malware-infested app slipping past the screening processes is much lower than on Google Play. The iPad makes it easier to keep up with operating system updates, which means your device will continue to add new features. Android updates roll out on a device-by-device basis rather than globally to all devices that support the update. Google is looking to help out with this, but Apple still leads in making it easy to be on the latest version of iOS. Additionally, the iPad tends to lead the tablet market with features. Apple was the first major brand to use a 64-bit chip in a mobile device and to equip its devices with high-resolution screens. Apple has cool features like a virtual touchpad on the on-screen keyboard, drag-and-drop from one app to the next, and some useful multitasking features. While Android has its perks, it also tends to follow where the iPad has already gone. Is an iPad Better Than an iPhone? In many respects, the iPad is a big iPhone that can't place traditional phone calls. So, what's the advantage? First, unlike an iPhone, an iPad can run two apps side-by-side, which provides more flexibility in how you use the device. Due to its larger screen, an iPad can do things that aren't as easy to do on an iPhone, such as operating Excel or Word. Other than making calls, the iPad is better for just about every task. No matter how much better an iPad is than an iPhone at many things, there's one thing it can't compete on, and that's portability. So, it's less of an either-or situation than iPad versus laptop or iPad versus other tablets. However, you can make a different distinction, and that is how often do you need to buy a new phone? If you mainly use your iPhone to make calls, text, check email and Facebook, and find your way around, let your iPhone lag behind and upgrade to a new iPad every two years. You'll get a more powerful and useful device for less cost. So, Should You Buy an iPad? If you aren't tied to Windows or macOS because of a specific piece of software, the iPad can make a great alternative to a laptop. It's more portable, has more features packed into it than the standard laptop, supports adding a wireless keyboard for those who don't like typing on a screen, and can be cheaper than an average laptop. You may be able to do all that with your smartphone, but this may be impractical if you need to use your device for heavy research, writing papers or proposals, or working with spreadsheets. Smartphones pack enough power to do many of these tasks, but it's not always comfortable on a small screen. If you want a larger device, choose the iPad.