It’s time to go back to school! It’s also time to shop for all types school gear including the must-have laptop. Except for computer related degree students who need high-powered computers, most students would prefer their computing device to be light-weight and small. Good-quality display is also a priority, as well as video and audio recording, long battery life, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Applications and software should be reasonably priced to fit the student budget. If this describes your requirements, then the iPad is your best choice, and here’s why:
With long battery life, Retina Display, a fast processor, and a lightweight and compact design, the iPad truly is the choice for students. It can last up to ten hours on a single charge, and with proper planning and power management, you won’t run out of juice in the middle of a class lecture. The Retina Display makes it possible for you to see things clearly even on the 1 0-inch screen. The fast dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics also enables you to open an app in an instant, so even if you get in late for a class, you can immediately start taking down notes. At less than 700g and 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.37 inches, you won’t need to get an extra bag for it. You can just slip it in your handbag or messenger bag with your notebooks-that is, if you even need to have notebooks.
LOW PRICED APPS APLENTY
There’s a wide range of affordable apps available to the iPad user, and they are all so much cheaper than those made for laptops. For example, Pages, Keynote and Numbers for iPad go for USD 9.99 only as opposed to USD 19.99 for the same on Mac OS.
In addition to these three apps, I recommend AudioNote. For only USD 4.99, it can replace all of your notebooks and at the same time record lectures with time index so you will have perfect recall of all the class lectures and even keep track of your study sessions with your classmates. Using the camera on the iPad, you can take a snapshot of the blackboard and insert the photo in your notes for a complete picture. There are lots and lots of apps available for any activity, assignment or project.
WI-FI AND INTERNET ACCESS
Most schools provide Wi-Fi on campus these days, but if you want to have ondemand internet access, I suggest you get the Wi-Fi Cellular model, especially if your school’s location already has LTE service available. With internet access you can sync and backup your iPad contents to iCioud in real time. You can also share files with classmates via Drop box or email. Having dedicated Internet access will also guarantee that you have online access to web resources that could give you an edge during class recitation.
eBOOKS, eLIBRARY, eTEXTBOOKS
Having your very own collection of resources can give any student an advantage. A lot of textbooks are now available in eBook format, at an even lower cost than the printed edition. The catch is that at the moment, many of these titles are only available from the iBookstore, which in turn can only be accessed from an Apple device, giving iPad users an added advantage.
Another recent development is that school libraries are now starting to have eBook collections, most of which can only be accessed from a Library computer or an eReader that is not allowed out of the school library. But with your iPad on hand, the school librarian may be able to let you checkout an eBook for a limited time-giving you an advantage over your classmates.
ENHANCING YOUR USER EXPERIENCE
Having an iPad not only allows you to have a great device that will take care of your school-related activities. You can also use it for all your extracurricular interests and be your multimedia entertainment center.
Typing on a virtual keyboard for hours on end can be tiresome after a while, so you should consider getting a Bluetooth keyboard to work with your iPad. The Apple wireless keyboard is a good option, and you may want to consider getting an iPad case with a Bluetooth keyboard.
If you want to have your files available all the time and boost your iPad’s storage space, consider getting an external wireless device like the Seagate Wireless Plus, which allows you to transfer files between devices via Wi-Fi.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, June 2013
Words by Presy Alba