iPad a reasonable replacement for laptop?

My husband is not what you would call a “power user”. His laptop is getting pretty old and giving him a lot of problems lately, and he’s considered getting an iPad to replace it. I know there are a lot of peripheral devices like keyboards, etc. that would allow it to function more like a laptop. He really only needs internet, some word processing program, some excel-like program, so he is not a heavy user by any stretch.
He’s also just recently gotten an iPhone 4, so he is getting used to the OS and seems pretty comfortable with it. For those of you with iPads, do you think this would be feasible to do?

Since he needs Word and Excel, no, AFAIK. That’s based on previous threads here and on what my iPad-owning aquaintances do with theirs: wonderful mobile mediacenters, great for checking internet on the road, but not particularly nice to write anything big on.

It looks like there may be some office-type programs out there for purchase on the device, I just wonder how they are to work on.

Can you get him into google docs versions of word & excel? Those might be fine depending on his needs, and you already said he’s not a power user so I’m guessing his needs are pretty basic. If he’s ok with cloud document storage, then the iPad might be fine.

Does he need to print? You can get printers that will work with an iPad, but not with any old printer, it has to be a fairly new one. Of course, he could get around that by emailing whatever he needs to print to a traditional computer, but that might get old if he has to print a lot.

And how much does he work with Excel/Word? If it’s a lot, I’d say go with a laptop. Yes, you can get a keyboard to work with the iPad, but there’s no mouse. Constantly picking up your hands from the keyboard to use the touch screen to open a menu (or whatever) isn’t very efficient. Sure, you can write the occasional email or letter, but if you’re doing it a lot, it’s not a great way to do things.

On the other hand, the iPad excels at things that traditional laptops aren’t great for, primarily comfortable surfing. The iPad is great for laying on the couch and surfing the web or reading a book. It’s got all sorts of cool apps and games. If these things are the majority of what he does and the Word/Excel stuff is only an occasional thing, then the iPad will be fine.


The iPad is not designed for doing any actual work. It’s primarily a convenient and portable web browser – a netbook without a keyboard.

We have a relatively new wifi-enabled printer, so I think that printing won’t be an issue. He doesn’t print much anyway. His usage of word processing programs is pretty minimal too, mostly he just surfs the web. Like I said earlier, he just got an iPhone that he’s been using quite a bit, so I guess if he feels comfortable using that more than his laptop it would be a good indication of the potential of the iPad.

I think it’s worth mentioning that the iPad is very expensive, and you might be able to get that fits your husbands needs just well or better for a lot less money.

Double-check the printing - wifi isn’t the only thing required. There’s a list of iPad compatible printers (all 17 of 'em! all HP!) here.

But yeah, judging from what you’ve posted, he might really like the iPad.

Since you need a computer to update, restore and sync content to an iPad, the answer is NO, the iPad is not a suitable replacement for a laptop. It is a suitable secondary device which can perform most of the tasks that more than 90% of the people use their computers for, but it is not intended to be a standalone device.

True, that’s a good point. You can’t even set up the iPad without first syncing it to the computer - it will turn on, but just whines at you until you hook it up before it’ll do anything.

Once it’s set up, though, I find that I rarely sync it. I have no need to sync calendars, for example, and you can easily buy and update apps via the app store.

For what your husband needs to do, the iPad might work for him. I’d recommend getting the iWork suite for $30 to give him access to a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. And you can also get a cover for the iPad that integrates a physical keyboard that connects via Bluetooth.

You can also buy this awesome case.

Me wants. Me wants hard.

Haha. You’ll enjoy the sleeve I just bought for my macbook Air.

If he goes to the Apple store, they’ll probably have an iPad set up with Apple’s productivity suite. it’s called iWork and has a word processor (Pages), spreadsheet (Numbers) and powerpoint-type software called Presentations. You can buy them for $10 a piece as individual apps. Or like someone suggested upthread, there’s always Google Docs and Spreadsheet. And of course, any number of apps for writing, budgeting and so on.

I think the iPad could make a laptop replacement - but it’s very much an individual assessment. He won’t know until he gets his hands on one.

A very emphatic no here. I own an ipad and a laptop. Any real work I have to do gets done on the laptop. The also have the iWorks suite, and it is just not up to snuff, nor is it easy or efficient to use for actual work.

Another ‘No’ here. I use my iPad for browsing the web, checking email, updating twitter, but if I have anything more substantial to type (like doing a post on the SDMB), I’ll use my laptop.