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iPad or Laptop: Which Is Best for Your Middle Schooler?

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For parents who want to give their middle schooler every chance to succeed, buying them a laptop used to be the thing to do. But then the iPad debuted. Not only did it immediately become the hottest gadget around, but it also caught the eye of teachers and school administrators across the country. But does that mean an iPad is best for your middle schooler? If you want to equip your child with the technology that can help him excel, you need to figure out which one best suits the needs of your middle schooler. Sam Costello can lead you in the right direction.
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To help you do that, this article compares the iPad and Mac and Windows laptops in a number of ways, from software to hardware to fit for use by a middle schooler. When I refer to “laptops,” I’m using mainstream devices as my guide, not cheap netbooks, sleek ultra-portables, or high-end deluxe machines. For the Mac, this means the MacBook Pro line; for PCs, I used a selection of mid-price laptops from Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Sony.


When it comes to the bottom line, the iPad is tops. Its least-expensive model is just $499, and the most expensive, at $829, about matches the cheapest Windows laptop. Expect to spend $800 and up for a decent Windows machine, and $1200 and up for a Mac.

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