10 Things Netbooks Still do Better than an iPad

Posted: April 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

While the iPad might win out on some particular functions–video playback quality, in particular, the truth is there are a great many things Netbooks can do that an iPad just can’t. Right now, at least. And while that may not make a Netbook better than a laptop, in some instances a Netbook certainly seems better than an iPad.

1. Video chat.
Most Netbooks, even low-end ones, now have Webcams enabling basic video chat over Skype or any other program. The iPad, however, does not. We wish the iPad had a camera and iChat, especially since it would make the tablet a unique communications device to rival the iPhone. Perhaps cost was a factor, even though most Netbooks manage the feat in a package under $500.

2. Run Flash.
While Steve Jobs called the iPad “the best Web experience you’ve ever had,” there is a big missing piece right now, and that’s the whole Web. Browser-based apps and Flash-driven content are huge elements of cloud computing and of many Web sites, and right now it’s not even clear whether the iPad can even run Hulu or Netflix. Atom Netbooks can be slow and stuttery when playing Web video, but at least they can.

3. Programming.
Most people aren’t programmers, or anything close to it, but most Netbooks do run on a full Windows 7 OS that can be used for programming or modification. For the friendly hackers out there, that’s a deal-breaker on the iPad.

4. Upload photos from a camera.
No USB ports on the iPad mean no connecting cameras or other peripherals, which can be a drag if the iPad is meant as a portable computing replacement for bloggers. Netbooks have at least 2 USB ports standard. We should use iPad photo transfer to upload photos, but when we’re on the go we prefer a direct connection.

5. Store more than 64GB of data.
We expected a little more memory on the iPad. Even the most basic Netbook has a 160GB hard drive. Cloud storage can assist with data, but it’s still no replacement for onboard capacity.

6. Play Facebook games.
Without the aforementioned Flash, browser games aren’t really possible on the iPad. Those looking to play Farmville will have to wait for the App or just flock to a Netbook.

7. Swapping batteries.
Sure, the iPad is slim, attractive and very showy. But its battery is fixed, while a Netbook can not only swap its battery, but upgrade from a three- to a six-cell or more.

8. Install CD media
With the addition of a simple USB DVD/CD-ROM drive, disc-based software can be installed on a Netbook even without an optical drive built in. Netbooks can also install files off USB drives, or via any other input method. The iPad wasn’t designed with this flexibility in mind, but it’s still nice to be able to do.

9. Type on your lap.
Yes, the iPad has a virtual keyboard, and even a cool keyboard dock that turns the tablet into a quasi-desktop device. But the dock can’t be used for lap typing, and the Apple demos didn’t make iPad typing seem as comfortable as pounding away on an old-fashioned hinged Netbook. For long-term writing on the go, a physical Netbook keyboard with an attached angled screen still wins.

10. Upgrade.
Netbooks can upgrade their RAM–albeit slightly–and with a little effort, that hard drive can be swapped, too. The iPad is a fixed entity, so there’s no going back once you’ve picked 16, 32, or 64GB.


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