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Is the iPad worth it?

A student's perspective - 2023 edition.

Let me save you some time and give you the conclusion up front. It's worth it if you are a

  • Student

  • Artist

  • Creative Professional

  • Mobile Gamer

For others, it's not that straightforward.


Mainly, an iPad is a device which is in between a laptop and a smartphone in terms of portability. Due to a nice 4:3 aspect ratio, content consumption becomes quite convenient and pleasurable. For the binge-watchers out there who need to twist and turn in their bed while on a Stranger Things marathon, an iPad becomes the best go-to option.


One of the core features of an iPad is its stylus, the Apple Pencil. The response time of the Apple Pencil is about 9 milliseconds! To put things into perspective, a human eye's reaction time is 200-300 milliseconds, i.e. the pencil feels buttery smooth on the screen. Apple isn't exaggerating when it says it can replace pen and paper in the years to come. Over time a whole ecosystem of apps has come to the App Store which capitalizes on this capability of the Apple Pencil.


I have been a student most of my life and have been using my iPad Air since 2020. I took all class notes on my iPad during the CAT entrance exam preparation as well as during my MBA in IIM Calcutta. I used an app called Goodnotes to take all my notes. Initially, I used Apple Notes for most of the note-taking but soon it became hard to manage. In Goodnotes I could create notebooks on the fly and put them in neatly organised folders. It also added the feature to record audio along with the notes which helped me recall what the professor said while I wrote a certain line. Apart from that, I could add pages anywhere in between, export it as a pdf, insert images of the whiteboard in the notebook, search for keywords from my handwritten text and help save some negligible amount of paper. I also reduced quite a bit of load from my backpack and didn't ever risk forgetting a book for my class. It made studying something to look forward to!


I also had friends who were into creating paintings and logos and editing photos and videos for their channels. Most of it could be done on an iPad much better than on a phone or a laptop. Apps like Procreate and Adobe Lightroom helped in much of the artistic works. More on these apps in a different blog post.


Playing games like Call of Duty, Real Cricket, Dream League Soccer, or any mobile game involving good graphics is 10x the fun as compared to a smartphone. In some cases where reaction times are of paramount importance, the iPad can even give you a competitive advantage over other players.


Going forward with the advent of Apple Silicon chips, the iPads keep beating each other's record as to who is faster. Speed wise they will continue to be in a league of their own for at least half a decade. If you do get an iPad, it's going to stay lag-free for most of its lifespan which could be 4-5 years if you don't break it in two before that. Which model should be picked shall be a topic for another day.


So, to conclude, if you find laptops to be too cumbersome to use, smartphones too small to watch stuff on, need to replace pen and paper from your life or need to just look tech savvy in front of your kids, the iPad is your answer.

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