Results: iPad vs N900/Smartphone vs Booklet 3G/Netbook vs Laptop. Functionality wars – iPad loses. [iPad Rant]

| January 29, 2010 | 10 Replies

Yesterday we asked which was (or would be, since iPad is not available) the most productive device for you

  • iPad
  • N900/Smartphone
  • Booklet 3G/Netbook
  • Laptop

The results after one day so far:

Voting is still open.

[Apologies, this oddly became longer than expected. The post was originally just the above. Yes it’s not available yet, but this is just a rant of pure speculations based on the specifications]

41% of you crowned the laptop with 70 votes. Hot on its heels with 30% was smartphone (it was on par with laptop for a while) at 52 votes. Netbooks came out third at 21% with 36 votes and with at 8%, the iPad gets last place with an unlucky 13 votes.

Is it a surprise? iPad is not about functionality or practicality. Just like your girlfriend or wife might appreciate some Prada shoes or Gucci handbags, when she could have gotten cheaper, better value ones at the high street; the iPad is about brand. The Apple Factor.

When Jobs sold us the “Internet in your hands, eBook, videos, email, games” he didn’t sell you the iPad, he sold you the concept of a tablet. Right now we can see much better alternatives in terms of functionality when it comes to tablets. HP’s Slate with a real desktop OS in windows 7.

The strengths of the iPad have nothing to do with the iPad; it’s all in the integrated music/app/book stores. Supposedly the iPad is about polished usability. Picking it up, and with that sprinkle of magic, witchcraft and UI bling you’ll fall in love.

At the moment, a lot of online voices seem to be disappointed with the iPad. It doesn’t seem to be the revolutionary device its claimed to be. And the majority of negative complaints are actually coming from iPhone/iPod Touch owners who don’t see what this offers them apart from that it no longer fits in their pocket. e.g. Check out the reactions from Digg. I reckon it’s fair to say it’s normally very Apple friendly over there.

Here’s a screenshot of another article from Digg (from the N900). Just check out what’s above the title:

Some might say it’s not fair to compare Apples with oranges. But considering the $499-$829 price tag for what’s essentially attempting to do things current devices are doing (and arguably better at many aspects) there will be consumers out there trying to make the same decision in trying to get the best out of their hard earned cash. Functionality and practicality is a big factor. The more things it can do for you, the better value for money it will be.

iPad vs N900/iPhone/Smartphone

Smartphones offer portability. They fit in your pocket which means you get to take them everywhere. The advantage is carrying out these tasks at your convenience.

  • Make calls
  • Take photos/videos
  • Browse Web – making that search, checking that email wherever and whenever.
  • Games
  • Sat Nav
  • Many smartphones (except iPhone), like N900 can multitask. Juggling tasks is crucial to productivity.
  • ipad that can multitask

  • Many smartphones (except iPhone), like N900 have expandable memory. You’re not limited to your hardware.
  • Many smartphones (except iPhone), like N900 have flash. N900 as engadget says, has a glorious browser. Pretty much what you see and how  you interact on a desktop is the experience with the N900.
    • Jobs said iPad is “The best way to experience the web”. Yes, the Web minus the flash. It might have been excusable on an iPhone but not a huge tablet. Let’s just take away every flash video site, no embedded flash videos, no interactions with sites that use flash etc. How can that be the best web experience when it isn’t the complete web experience?!?! Flash may come to iPad in future, but Jobs should have had the balls or the honesty not to spout of crap like that. iPad maybe great for web but certainly not the best.
  • Many smartphones (except iPhone), like N900 have a removable battery.

As time progresses, hardware improves and as does the software, smartphones are encroaching on tasks presumably only done by netbooks. In a few years who knows what functionality the smartphone can offer us.

iPad vs Netbook

Netbooks offer you much of the productivity of laptops but with that added portability.

  • The keyboard is key for text input.
    • The reason you’d even want to lug a netbook around is so you can keep up with those notes, finish up those documents, swap windows/tasks around to continue with research
    • Keyboard accessory is available but you’ll need to lug this around too (would be nice if it was just included in the case)
  • Most often you can even get a bigger screen. Better for viewing videos
    • Plus most screens are now some variant of widescreen. 4:3, thought to be dead is brought back by iPad. Enjoy those awesome black bars cutting down the 9.7″ to around 7″.
  • You get a desktop OS. It can do pretty much many of the things on a laptop (albeit some things a lot slower)
  • There is no question in web browsing. That’s essentially what netbooks are designed to do. Portable but yet big screen internet. Everything compatible; full web experience with flash.
  • You CAN multitask on a netbook. Not as good as a laptop or desktop but at least you have the option of being able to do more things at once than waiting to do one thing at a time.
  • vs 140,000 iPhone apps? Well, you’ve got god knows how many available for whatever OS you choose to have on your netbook.
  • Plus since netbooks generally have more power than an iPad, you might expect them to perform similar tasks better than the iPad.
  • You get much more memory. 160GB as standard.
  • You get a camera for video chatting
  • You can get more RAM (upgradeable)
  • For working away from home (or a socket) removable batteries are great. Swap them whilst on a flight and continue writing that presentation.
  • Has memory card slot (for expanding and transfering data)
  • Has USB slots
  • Except for the booklet, netbooks are generally not that expensive to buy upfront.

iPad vs Laptop

$463: 15.6" screen, T4200, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, Ethernet, WLAN, HDMI

Well unless you get the smaller ones (<16″), you don’t really get that portability (but more so than a desktop). But undoubtedly if you need to do any actual rigorous tasks (with an option of portability) you’d opt for a laptop. And you can get a pretty damn good laptop for $499-$829. The example above, you can pick up for $463.


The iPad as many proclaimed is just a big iPhone, minus the phone, camera and GPS. Basically it’s iPod touch Grande (-gps). What the iPad unique offers is simplicity. It’s not designed to be hacked or messed with. Just enjoy it how Apple wants you to.

Practicality and functionality wise, there are other devices offering more. Right now, the only thing iPad offers more functionality than is your dedicated eBook reader. Though the eBook aspect is itself debateable with eye-strain-friendly e-ink displays on the likes of Kindles and Nooks.

The next iteration of iPad (if it’s still called that) maybe more to peoples’ taste. As Apple have done with iPhone, they’ll give you industry standards several generations later than expected, and people will lap it up as it’s much better than the first version.

I was intruiged by the iPad, but more so with the idea of owning a big screened tablet.

For me, the only unique point for the iPad is the Apple Factor.

That may still be enough for millions to still pick it up and buy it.


We’ll have to wait and see when it’s available for purchase for actual REAL judgement. Who knows, it might actually be the best thing since sliced bread.

Now what would be really cool is something like the Lenovo IdeaPad  U1 Hybrid Notebook.

As a tablet it runs Snapdragon and has a linux based OS, but connected to the keyboard base, not only does it look like a notebook/laptop, but it uses Windows 7 and Dual Core processors! Nice! Now that’s how I’d like to see Netbook/Booklet 2.0 evolve. Maemo Tablet and Windows 7 netbook combined!


Here’s one from Always Innovating: Touch Book



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Category: aPPLE, Rant

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]