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Here's why you should buy the budget iPad over a cheap laptop or Android tablet


This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

If you’re in need of a budget laptop, you may want to consider buying a budget iPad instead, unless you really need Windows. There are plenty of solid reasons why the 10.2-inch $329 base iPad may be the safer, more reliable and higher-quality choice for you over any budget laptop.

I went through five budget laptops and Windows tablets over the last year, along with two iPads and two additional budget Android tablets. My experience with them, along with my conclusions would likely be useful to you, if you’re currently planning your next budget purchase.

No $330 laptop will have as good screen and speakers

You’ll be surprised how nice the 10.2-inch screen is on the budget iPad, and how surprisingly high-quality its speakers are. And you likely won’t be surprised that none of the laptops I’ve ever used that cost under $500 got even near that level of quality. Normally, they feature ridiculously tinny and in some cases quiet speakers, and even if you do find one with a decent screen, it would likely be lower resolution and with poorer colors and contrast.So even if you’re just looking for a budget entertainment device, to simply watch YouTube and Netflix on, your better bet is the iPad.

No laptop under even twice the price would perform as smoothly

While the budget iPad flies through games and apps like a champ, and I’m barely seeing a difference between it and the much more expensive iPad Pro, the same can’t be said for budget laptops. Normally when it comes to budget laptops, although they will be running Windows 10 which theoretically can do much more than iPadOS, you’ll barely even be able to open 5 Chrome tabs or go full-screen on a YouTube video without solid lag.

Don’t underestimate your valuable time, which would be promptly wasted if you’re relying on a budget laptop. Something even as simple as opening your Google Keep notes, or a PDF file could take significantly longer on a budget laptop than on the budget iPad. All of this waiting time adds up. Would it really be worth it that you’re using a full-blown operating system, when it barely runs?

No budget laptop will have as good build quality

Even many expensive laptops don’t feature the sleek and solid build quality you get from the budget iPad. With budget laptops, you’re also looking at well above 3 pounds in weight to carry around, and uncomfortable heat to deal with as it starts choking on a few Chrome tabs.

Don’t forget that you should enjoy using your devices. Even on a budget, you don’t need your lap to be getting cooked and your nerves to be pulled.

Most cheap laptops won’t last nearly as much on a battery charge

While the budget 10.2 iPad is advertised as lasting up to 10 hours on a single battery charge, I’ve been getting about 9 hours of screen-on time. Light users can well surpass 10 hours, if not even a few days.

On the other hand, budget laptops I’ve used would either die after 4-5 hours, or last up to 6 hours at best. And let’s not forget, a lot of that time is just me waiting for things to load.

iPads can do less things better, budget laptops can do more theoretically

Would you really be able to do video editing, music production, gaming or anything else you may want on a budget laptop? The answer is either no, or barely. Yet the cheapest iPad can do all of that flawlessly, except for the gaming part. But at least the games it runs, such as PubG Mobile, can actually be played smoothly and normally on high graphics settings.

If you’re hoping to do some work or anything power user-related on a budget, you may be tempted to go with a Windows laptop because Windows is a full-blown operating system. And while that’s true, on budget laptops you’ll be disappointed by how little you’ll be able to actually accomplish.

Again, the budget iPad can even do video editing perfectly, and I’ve personally tested this with the iMovie and LumaFusion apps. No hiccups, a $329 device.

You never know how soon your budget laptop may start breaking down

People really overlook how unreliable budget laptops can turn out to be. You may start having issues with the hardware as soon as in the first three months of usage. And I won’t even go into software bugs, broken Windows updates due to issues with drivers…

You won’t be dealing with any of this with an iPad. It just works. I’ve used about 10 different iPads in my lifetime thoroughly, and not a single one broke in any way even years later. At worst, eventually the battery will last less and the software will slow down four or five years into using it.

I can’t say I saw such reliability from any of the Android tablets, Windows laptops, and even MacBooks I’ve used. My last MacBook had a battery failure 5 months after I bought it, and I’m only pointing that out in case you thought I’m not sharing objective conclusions based on experience, but am just an Apple fanboy. I am well disappointed with MacBooks and some other Apple products. But iPads have been reliable.

As for budget Android tablets, they normally stop getting major software updates almost immediately, especially if you pick a lesser known brand. And I’ve had at least two that just stopped working one day – refusing to turn on or charge, without actually being damaged in any way, or even used that much.

Budget Android tablets will plain disappoint you

Even with the lowest of expectations, Android tablets that cost under $400 will likely disappoint you. The ones I’ve used in that price range were almost comically slow and useless. Unless you need the bare minimum of an entertainment device, for reading books or watching YouTube videos, avoid. Even Netflix I’ve had lag or even refuse to run on budget Android tablets such as the 2019 Samsung Tab A, so you never know.

In conclusion – a budget laptop versus a budget iPad

If you think that you definitely need Windows even if it’s slow, and you can get by with a poor screen and build quality, or you really need a keyboard – then a budget laptop it is. But if what I shared about the budget iPad got your attention, you’ll be correct to assume that it’s the better, safer choice for you.

Just do keep in mind that things work differently on the iPad, it unfortunately comes with software limitations that may or may not affect your workflow. But if you’re looking for an entertainment device that you can rely on for some light work also – the budget iPad it is.

Buy the budget 10.2-inch iPad 7th Gen (2019) from Apple.com

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