Anonymous #1
#1
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#1
Hey guys, so as I will be entering uni soon, I'm thinking of getting a new tablet or laptop for uni studying.

Right now, I have a macbook 12 inch which I bought 4 yrs ago, so to be honest I doubt how long this will last, so I would like to use this tablet/laptop I buy this time as the main device I use for university.

I will be studying medicine or at least health science related degree in university, and the basic task I think mainly includes note-taking, listening to lectures, PowerPoint making, doing assignments/writing reports/lab work excel analysis, etc. (Let me know if there's any other crucial thing I missed)

For tablet, I am mainly thinking for an iPad + magic keyboard, or the Surface pro (both with the corresponding pen). I am also open to others if u recommend any.

For laptop, Im thinking of a macbook 13 inch, probably a pro.

Also, the weight of the tablet is another crucial thing for me as I will be carrying it around quite a lot, but the storage space doesn't really matter as I mainly use drive to save my work.

Thanks!
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WantBeAnonymous
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Personally I would go with a laptop but I suppose as long as it has a keyboard and the software to be able to write essays and put together presentations, then it doesn’t matter
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username5770391
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#3
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Right now, I have a macbook 12 inch which I bought 4 yrs ago, so to be honest I doubt how long this will last, so I would like to use this tablet/laptop I buy this time as the main device I use for university
How desperate are you to replace your MacBook? As if it's not broken, would it not make more sense to wait until it does break and then replace it? Assuming you back up your work, it won't impact your studies. Make use of a cloud service and you could buy a replacement laptop and be up and running same day.

If you would prefer to upgrade now, which is also fine, couple of questions:
How much are you looking to spend? You've mentioned quite a few expensive devices, just want to be clear what budget we're working with here.
How much do you want to stick with MacOS, or the Apple ecosystem in general?
How much would you prefer a laptop over a tablet or vice versa?

As far as devices you've mentioned, MacBook is generally what I'd recommend over iPad. Although if you can get even another year or two out of your device, you'll probably be able to get hold of next generation Apple Silicon chips, which is likely to be better in the long run. Nothing wrong with current chips, just might as well get the best value for money if you can wait a year or so.

For tablets, both the Surface Pro and iPad are excellent devices. However, the Surface Pro is a largely no compromises desktop replacement whereas an iPad is not. You might get a better tablet experience with the iPad, but the desktop experience (writing essays for example) might not be as good as a proper laptop or even a Surface.

If you're willing to look at a Surface then I assume Windows isn't totally off the table. You can get a lot of really good Windows based ultrabooks, in some cases with really competitve pricing. For example, I posted about the Dell XPS recently, which is a couple hundred quid cheaper than an entry level MacBook.

Basically, you have a lot of options so it depends what you'd rather have. But IMO I'd wait until you actually need to upgrade, then see what you can buy. You might get 6 months out of it before it dies, or your MacBook might last your entire degree.
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bushywaltz
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(Original post by Acsel)
How desperate are you to replace your MacBook? As if it's not broken, would it not make more sense to wait until it does break and then replace it? Assuming you back up your work, it won't impact your studies. Make use of a cloud service and you could buy a replacement laptop and be up and running same day.

If you would prefer to upgrade now, which is also fine, couple of questions:
How much are you looking to spend? You've mentioned quite a few expensive devices, just want to be clear what budget we're working with here.
How much do you want to stick with MacOS, or the Apple ecosystem in general?
How much would you prefer a laptop over a tablet or vice versa?

As far as devices you've mentioned, MacBook is generally what I'd recommend over iPad. Although if you can get even another year or two out of your device, you'll probably be able to get hold of next generation Apple Silicon chips, which is likely to be better in the long run. Nothing wrong with current chips, just might as well get the best value for money if you can wait a year or so.

For tablets, both the Surface Pro and iPad are excellent devices. However, the Surface Pro is a largely no compromises desktop replacement whereas an iPad is not. You might get a better tablet experience with the iPad, but the desktop experience (writing essays for example) might not be as good as a proper laptop or even a Surface.

If you're willing to look at a Surface then I assume Windows isn't totally off the table. You can get a lot of really good Windows based ultrabooks, in some cases with really competitve pricing. For example, I posted about the Dell XPS recently, which is a couple hundred quid cheaper than an entry level MacBook.

Basically, you have a lot of options so it depends what you'd rather have. But IMO I'd wait until you actually need to upgrade, then see what you can buy. You might get 6 months out of it before it dies, or your MacBook might last your entire degree.
Thanks for your reply.

In terms of when I want to replace my MacBook, I will probably replace my MacBook later into the uni if I'm getting a laptop anyway but if I'm getting a tablet I might get it at the start of my uni just to have a fresh start.

And for the budget, I am looking to spend something around 2000 AUD (~1083 pounds) or below.

For the system preference, I will prefer apple over windows, just slightly, as I personally prefer the note-taking apps available in the ios system, but windows is okay too if the tablet itself is more worthwhile.

However, my main concern over tablets in general (especially the iPad) is that they won't be as productive as a laptop when it comes to writing essays and data analysis (or other technical tasks). However, I really like how the tablets are more portable as I will be carrying them around and how it allows digital notetaking (thus why I prefer iPad over surface apart from being less productive, as I've heard the apple pencil is better??)
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username5770391
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(Original post by bushywaltz)
In terms of when I want to replace my MacBook, I will probably replace my MacBook later into the uni if I'm getting a laptop anyway but if I'm getting a tablet I might get it at the start of my uni just to have a fresh start.
Makes sense. I'd lean towards a laptop, so does that mean you're happy waiting until your current MacBook actually starts showing signs of age? I know some people would prefer to go to uni with a fresh device, even if they don't need something new, just to be safe in the knowledge that it'll last them. I think it's unnecessary to replace a functional device that still does the job, but I can also understand why people feel that way.

(Original post by bushywaltz)
And for the budget, I am looking to spend something around 2000 AUD (~1083 pounds) or below.
Just to confirm, are you looking at buying a device in the UK or Australia?

(Original post by bushywaltz)
For the system preference, I will prefer apple over windows, just slightly, as I personally prefer the note-taking apps available in the ios system, but windows is okay too if the tablet itself is more worthwhile.
Seems fine to stick with a MacBook then.

(Original post by bushywaltz)
However, my main concern over tablets in general (especially the iPad) is that they won't be as productive as a laptop when it comes to writing essays and data analysis (or other technical tasks). However, I really like how the tablets are more portable as I will be carrying them around and how it allows digital notetaking (thus why I prefer iPad over surface apart from being less productive, as I've heard the apple pencil is better??)
So this is a big part of the decision. iPads are getting closer to being a laptop replacement, but they're not really there yet. The note taking experience is supposed to be much better on an iPad, but I can't comment on that as I've only ever owned a Surface.

As far as tablets go, the Surface Pro is by far the best tablet that could replace your laptop. In fact it's the only device that I would comfortably recommend for offering both an excellent tablet and laptop experience. Everything else forces you to compromise on one or the other. However, if you'd prefer MacOS and the note taking experience is better on an iPad (I think you'll only know for sure if you try both for yourself), then a Surface Pro might be the wrong device for you.

With that in mind, my recommendation would be to go try them out in a shop. I typically recommend someone tries a device before buying anyway, but I think this is extra important as far as handwriting goes. If you try out both an iPad and a Surface Pro, see which you prefer and then use that to inform your decision. It could be that handwriting is really important to you, so you keep your current MacBook for working on and buying an iPad for note taking. Or maybe you consider it too expensive for a note taking device and don't bother.

I think replacing a functioning MacBook for the sake of it would be a bit daft. So really I think boils down to how much you want a note taking device. If the iPad does end up being the better note taking device then maybe you buy that for notes and stick with the MacBook for writing essays and the like. Worst case scenario, your MacBook gives up and you have to use uni computers for a bit or buy a cheap Windows laptop. There's no guarantee your MacBook will die of course. Maybe that concerns you enough that you'd opt for the Surface instead, since it could replace your laptop in a worst case scenario.

So I think you have 3 options, and it boils down to whether you care about taking digital handwritten notes enough to justify spending £1000 on a device:
  1. Buy nothing, and if your MacBook does die you've got the money to replace it with a new MacBook.
  2. Buy an iPad, focusing on getting the best note taking experience but keep your MacBook for writing essays. In the worst case where your MacBook dies, you could get by with the iPad but won't have the same experience as a proper laptop.
  3. Buy the Surface Pro, focusing on getting a good all rounder. The note taking experience might not be as good, but you'll have one device that does everything quite well. You could replace the MacBook straight away, or keep using it and the Surface ends up being a backup device (or it could even act as an extra display).
Personally, I'd opt for number 1. But I'm biased and wouldn't place that much benefit on having handwritten digital notes. Really, you need to decide which approach is best for you, because all 3 are perfectly valid depending on what you personally want. And I think you can only really come to a decision after trying out both the iPad and Surface for yourself
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bushywaltz
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#6
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(Original post by username5770391)
Makes sense. I'd lean towards a laptop, so does that mean you're happy waiting until your current MacBook actually starts showing signs of age? I know some people would prefer to go to uni with a fresh device, even if they don't need something new, just to be safe in the knowledge that it'll last them. I think it's unnecessary to replace a functional device that still does the job, but I can also understand why people feel that way.


Just to confirm, are you looking at buying a device in the UK or Australia?


Seems fine to stick with a MacBook then.


So this is a big part of the decision. iPads are getting closer to being a laptop replacement, but they're not really there yet. The note taking experience is supposed to be much better on an iPad, but I can't comment on that as I've only ever owned a Surface.

As far as tablets go, the Surface Pro is by far the best tablet that could replace your laptop. In fact it's the only device that I would comfortably recommend for offering both an excellent tablet and laptop experience. Everything else forces you to compromise on one or the other. However, if you'd prefer MacOS and the note taking experience is better on an iPad (I think you'll only know for sure if you try both for yourself), then a Surface Pro might be the wrong device for you.

With that in mind, my recommendation would be to go try them out in a shop. I typically recommend someone tries a device before buying anyway, but I think this is extra important as far as handwriting goes. If you try out both an iPad and a Surface Pro, see which you prefer and then use that to inform your decision. It could be that handwriting is really important to you, so you keep your current MacBook for working on and buying an iPad for note taking. Or maybe you consider it too expensive for a note taking device and don't bother.

I think replacing a functioning MacBook for the sake of it would be a bit daft. So really I think boils down to how much you want a note taking device. If the iPad does end up being the better note taking device then maybe you buy that for notes and stick with the MacBook for writing essays and the like. Worst case scenario, your MacBook gives up and you have to use uni computers for a bit or buy a cheap Windows laptop. There's no guarantee your MacBook will die of course. Maybe that concerns you enough that you'd opt for the Surface instead, since it could replace your laptop in a worst case scenario.

So I think you have 3 options, and it boils down to whether you care about taking digital handwritten notes enough to justify spending £1000 on a device:
  1. Buy nothing, and if your MacBook does die you've got the money to replace it with a new MacBook.
  2. Buy an iPad, focusing on getting the best note taking experience but keep your MacBook for writing essays. In the worst case where your MacBook dies, you could get by with the iPad but won't have the same experience as a proper laptop.
  3. Buy the Surface Pro, focusing on getting a good all rounder. The note taking experience might not be as good, but you'll have one device that does everything quite well. You could replace the MacBook straight away, or keep using it and the Surface ends up being a backup device (or it could even act as an extra display).
Personally, I'd opt for number 1. But I'm biased and wouldn't place that much benefit on having handwritten digital notes. Really, you need to decide which approach is best for you, because all 3 are perfectly valid depending on what you personally want. And I think you can only really come to a decision after trying out both the iPad and Surface for yourself
Thank you! Yeah, I think I'll try them out in-store. Also, I will be getting the laptop/tablet in Australia.

Also, would you say the dell xps or Lenovo thinkpad is better qualified as a laptop+tablet compared to surface?
Last edited by bushywaltz; 1 month ago
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GECHdesigns
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Yes a laptop is easier to back up if you buy an external hard drive (just like a big USB stick) to keep all your stuff safe if you lose your laptop etc.
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