Student dilemma: iPad vs laptop

Don't Waste Your Money

Best Buy is struggling financially these days, as electronics shoppers make their purchases online, or at the Apple store.

But it is seeing an uptick in business this month from college students -- and parents of high school students -- coming in for computers.

But this year, the decision on what to buy is tougher than usual.

3 Choices For Many Families

Laptop....iPad....or nothing? That's the dilemma facing parents of high school and college students this back to school season.

If your school provides laptops, you can choose option 3: Nothing.  But most families will have to choose between a tablet or laptop computer.

"You want to make sure they have all the right tools," Best Buy's Moe Mohammed said.

Many teens will want an iPad for the coolness factor. And the fact that they are small and lightweight.

But he says many newer laptops -- especially the Macbook Air and some new Dells -- are almost as light.

"Students who are used to buying the larger laptops, they don't have to fold it up and throw it in their backpack anymore.  Just fold it, keep it in their hand and carry it."

The Seattle Post Intelligencer -- in a recent report -- says as much as your kid may want an iPad,  a laptop is still a better choice for most students.

    --Laptops are better for note taking and writing documents.

    --Laptops are less desirable to criminals.

    --Laptops are less likely to slip from your hands and drop.

    --And you can get a loaded laptop for under $400, $100 less than an iPad.

The Bottom Line

Finally, the report says if you buy a student an iPad, they will love it. But they will probably realize a month later they still need a laptop computer.

If you decide to buy an iPad, you may want to consider also purchasing a portable keyboard for a around $50.

It makes it much easier to type, and makes an iPad almost a laptop.    

As always, don't waste your money.

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