Tablets are really fascinating to me. It’s like a phone, but not. It’s like a computer, but not. It is somewhere in-between the two that offers you…what, exactly? It essentially does everything your phone and computer can do, so why do you need one? I swear the biggest markets for tablets are school that give them all to students (my brother has had an iPad through school since he was in 7th grade; he’s in 9th now) and stores/restaurants that use them at the checkout.
Recently, I upgraded from my iPad mini 4 to the latest, most basic iPad, which can be found here.
Why I Got Rid of the iPad Mini
The iPad mini just never took off for me. I used it occasionally for watching videos, but it really felt like a larger iPhone. I bought a keyboard to attach, and that didn’t improve my productivity with it either. But I felt certain that there was a use that I could get from a full-size iPad. So I decided to trade in my iPad mini and I got the newly released iPad. Not the Air or Pro. Just the regular iPad.
Now, I don’t know anything about the technical side like the Fusion Chip or anything like that. So I didn’t really think I needed the Air or Pro. I wasn’t using this as a primary device nor was it a replacement for a laptop.
I ended up getting the Smart Keyboard with it because Best Buy gave me the indication that it would be a better choice than the regular covers that Apple offered but neither cover the back of the iPad so thanks for fooling me, Best Buy.
Although the keyboard has proved useful, but I’m still a little salty that the guy told me it was more protection when it really wasn’t.
What the iPad Offers Me
My laptop of choice is the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2. I’m very happy with it, it does what I need it too. But the iPad has been great for a second screen. Whether I’m working on my book or a blog post, it is great just to pull my iPad out to look something up or pull up my notes without switching between screens. I can keep my laptop committed to my writing, and my iPad provides the support.
I am learning, more and more, that I don’t like small keyboards. So the keyboard is a little bit of a hindrance to me, but that means I won’t be using the iPad as my sole writing tool. But for quick Google searches and scrolling, it is pretty useful.
I’ve also noticed that it is great for reading DIY blog posts that have step-by-step photos. It has a larger screen than my phone, it is portable, and it can also sit on a good angle with the case (still bitter though).
It is also better for watching videos than the iPad mini and for streaming shows on Netflix and Hulu and Disney+ (Anyone else loving for The Mandalorian?). If, for whatever reason, streaming to the TV doesn’t work (my one TV isn’t a Smart TV), the iPad is a great alternative to watch from.
Not that laptops are exactly bulky these days – least of all the Surface line – but the iPad is just a little bit more portable. It is easier to hold and place. Probably because the keyboard is movable in this case, but it is easier to share a screen on an iPad than crowding a monitor whether I’m showing work or watching a video.
An iPad works for me because I use it as a tool – not as the front and center piece. It is supportive.
My iPad is great for research – I keep the dictionary app close for a thesaurus and even have the Wikipedia app. I really do use it as a research device. I keep everything syncing between my laptop, tablet, and phone so my OneDrive and Google Drive are constantly up to date.
The one thing that makes the iPad worth it for me is that I pay a dollar a month for 50 GB of iCloud storage – I don’t think I’m in danger of running out of storage.
I have my Microsoft apps on the iPad too, so I can easily access my documents if I need them. I also keep various Google productivity apps.
Right now I’m writing a book, and I love being able to write on my laptop and keep OneNote open on my iPad with my various notes – it makes for quick reference and easy comparison.
Apps I Use
I know some of the complaints about iPads are that the apps are better on the phones than the tablets. I really don’t have any major complaints. Like I said, the iPad is really good for me for streaming and also keeping my files backed up through OneDrive and Kindle.
Apps may be better on the phone, but there are some I prefer to use on my tablet, like news apps or productivity apps. I like being able to use Microsoft apps on my tablet and, again, the bigger screen. And when I’m taking notes, no matter how brief, it is nice to have a keyboard. However, I’m hoping to find a good holiday deal on the Apple pencil to take even more notes. I think that’ll be a great addition to my productivity with my iPad.
While I have a Kindle, I had a Nook at one point and time. Using the iPad as an eReader is a useful benefit as well – I can read books, comics, newspapers, magazines, and basically anything else. If there is an app for it, I can read it. I really wasn’t a fan of reading comics on my Kindle, but on the iPad, they’re in color. And Star Wars is going wild with releasing comics.
Another great thing are the library apps – I have Litsy, Libby, and BookMigo. BookMigo has an insane amount of classics to read for free, no account needed. Libby requires a library card. And Litsy is a social network for readers really.
Personally, I don’t enjoy reading articles always on my phone. I prefer the larger screen. Pocket is a great app for a variety of articles to read – they’ll send me daily emails and I can save them for later. Great for waiting rooms or wasting time! But I keep a wide variety of news, entertainment, and sports apps on my iPad.
My new obsession is the USA Today Crossword.
Not a Laptop Replacement
I don’t think my iPad would ever replace my laptop. I just need a little bit more size. But honestly, I think it works great for me not as the main piece. I have noticed that I am using it more than I used my iPad mini. So I’d say it was worth the money for me. If I wasn’t a writer, I don’t know how much I would use outside of streaming, and then it’s kind of an expensive screen for streaming – you could definitely get away with a tablet on a different OS at that point.
But everything syncs together between my computer, phone (iPhone XR), and iPad. So I can’t complain. It does what I need it to, but I think everyone really needs to look at why they want to use it. I know that I’m just scratching the surface with what the iPad can do, and I hope in the future to learn how to get more out of it.