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The Bottom Line

Deciding whether an iPad or a laptop is best for your middle schooler isn’t as simple as checking the following chart and buying the one that has the most checkmarks. The device that best suits your child’s needs is the one you should buy.

All three options examined here have their strengths and weaknesses. The iPad is light, sleek, affordable, and easy to use. But it’s not as good as a laptop for typing and processor-intensive tasks, and can’t run crucial software like Microsoft Office. Given that, checking with your child’s school to see whether it has a technology recommendation or policy is a good start.

If it doesn’t, there are two things to assess: your child’s needs and the expected life of the device. If your child wants to do a little writing and a lot of the web, the iPad may be best. A lot of writing or other kinds of programs and you’ll probably want a laptop. If you do end up leaning towards an iPad, though, ask yourself how long your child will use the device. Even if the iPad works well for them when they’re in the middle school, they’ll probably need a laptop in high school. If you don’t want to buy another device in a few years, make the safe purchase and get a laptop.

If you and your child want to be on the cutting edge, or if you already have at least one computer in the house, the iPad may be the way to go. It’s a tremendous device and is the direction in which all similar gadgets are heading.

iPad Versus Laptop: Which Has the Advantage?


iPad

Windows Laptop

Mac Laptop

Price

[cm]



MS Office Support


[cm]

[cm]

Software Compatibility


[cm]


Games

[cm]

[cm]


Software Cost

[cm]



Security

[cm]



Parental Controls

[cm]



Performance

Even

Even

Even

Storage


[cm]


Internet Connectivity

[cm]



Battery Life

[cm]



Use in School

varies

varies

varies

Screen Size


[cm]

[cm]

Keyboard


[cm]

[cm]

Printing


[cm]

[cm]

Flash Support


[cm]

[cm]

Cameras

[cm]



Weight

[cm]



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