My 2-year old netbook recently went kaput and ever since I have been scouting the market for a new buy. It’s about the same time that Apple launched its iPad. It’s hard to resist the buzz and the glare of the new iPad. I am not a rich kid to afford multiple devices. It had to be a netbook or an iPad and not both. So, I went on this detailed market study to find the strengths and weaknesses of these two and ultimately choose the right one. The way I went about doing this is to list down all the important features that matter to me and then find out which one of the two really does well.
Most netbooks fall between the cost range of Rs 16,000-Rs 20,000 and some of them come stocked with amazing features. Compare that with an iPad where the costs ranges from Rs 30,000-Rs 45,000. And what’s worse is that you need to buy additional accessories that come inbuilt in netbooks.
Winner Clearly, netbooks
This is important to me. I meet a lot of prospective clients and speak at conferences and I have noticed that the gadgets matter. They play an important part in creating the first impression. While there are some really nice looking netbooks, nothing holds the candle to the iPad. Added to this is the novelty factor, especially since it isn’t yet sold in India.
Winner: iPad, by a mile
I know I can walk into a computer store and buy a decent netbook. Unfortunately, I can’t do that for iPad. It’s not launched yet in India and the bad news is no one knows what that date will be. Not even folks at Apple India. It’s this or they know how to keep a secret really well.
Apple rules this territory. Watching a movie is sheer pleasure. The clarity is outstanding. Try watching a movie in the tiny netbook screen and you won’t have a problem until you get exposed to iPad. After that, its no turning back. The iPad also doubles up as an ebook reader. You have the Amazon Kindle apps that let you read the books and the experience is even better than the Kindle.
That’s the number one use for me, in addition to using Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 tools. Factor in the columns I write, the books I author and I have lots of typing. Start using the iPad and you’ll quickly find out that its not conducive for tying for long hours. Sure, its virtual keyboard is slick and dandy but its no match to the purposefulness of a normal keyboard.
I simply adore the touch features in the iPad. The ability to flip pages and zoom in adds to the wonderful surfing experience. Even with the disadvantage of iPad not supporting Flash, I still like it better than the surfing experience in the netbooks.
The iPad comes in three versions: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. That’s chicken feed for most netbooks where the average storage is 160 GB. Some have twice that size for a nominal price rise.
This is an important feature. The lesser the weight, the better. The iPad is less than half the weight of most netbooks. It’s also super-slim. In fact its so slim that if it got any slimmer, it might disappear!
This was a big turn-off that worked against the iPad. I still can’t believe why Apple hasn’t added these. They should realise that a huge chunk of the world does not have Wi-Fi. I shoot a lot of pictures and videos and keep transferring them all the time. To me, USB is a hygiene feature.
I can multi-task on the netbooks and we are so used to doing this. On the iPad that can’t be done and that’s a bummer.
After carefully going through the features, I find that the netbooks give much bigger bang for the buck. Apple iPad, no doubt a great machine, loses on very critical areas. I have reached my decision. My hard-earned money will go to a netbook. Sorry, Apple.