Using an Ipad as a Laptop replacement

The Western Weekender has asked me to do a selection of articles on topics of interest to their readers. This follows on from last weeks review of what to look for when buying an iPad. I decided to see if I could exclusively use an iPad as a laptop replacement while travelling.

Last week I covered off different iPad models and some advantages and disadvantages associated with each model. As I was travelling overseas, I decided to update my old iPad; I wanted to see if I could an iPad as a laptop replacement when travelling.

Screen space, portability, weight and internet connectivity were my key requirements. The ability to do online banking, emails, proposals and general work requirements was a must. Watching movies, television series and social media, was equally important.

What iPad did I purchase?

I purchased an iPad Pro 11” 256GB, wi-fi and cellular, keyboard and an Apple Pencil.  My previous iPad was a 64GB, I never exceed this, so 256Gb is a huge increase. I also added on AppleCare. AppleCare allows my iPad to be replaced twice for accidental damage. I also use Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage. so having more than 256Gb was unnecessary. My primary reason for choosing this model was it is close to the same physical size as the iPad Air but with a larger screen real estate. This is achieved by the removal of the button. You now swipe up instead. The 12.9″ iPad Pro is simply too large and cumbersome. If I was to purchase this, it would be no different from carrying my laptop because of its size and weight.

How did I go using an iPad as a laptop replacement?

So after a week on holidays, how am I finding using the iPad as a laptop replacement? The first real benefit is how light it is; the device is compact. The keyboard is responsive and powered by a connector on the back of the iPad – quite clever as previous versions used Bluetooth. It saves on battery, and you never have to worry about your keyboard not being charged, Battery life at ten hours is a lot more then I get on my laptop.

My main tools are Microsoft Office and Office 365 Teams. There are iOS versions of all Microsoft programs for the iPad. Word and Excel, are very similar to the PC versions with the differences noticed only by advanced users. Microsoft Teams app is quite functional and works the same as the desktop version. I use Grammarly for spell check and grammar correction, this also has an iPad app and works fine. Even if you do not use Office – Apple does include a free version of iWork which includes Pages, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Numbers, Keynote and iCloud. Their main products Pages, Numbers and Keynote are fairly compatible with Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

I also use Xero for accounting. The iPad app I found quite limiting, but Xero fired up in a browser just fine. I was able to raise bills and invoice and organise payroll while overseas. Online banking also worked fine, as did most web-based packages. As I mainly used wi-fi connectivity, I did run a VPN to ensure security. I use a package called PrivateVPN. It runs across all platforms, Apple, Android, and PC.

I also do a bit of photo editing, for basic editing Adobe Photoshop Express works a treat, For Video editing Apples iMovie’s is great for basic editing. Printing may be a problem if you have an older printer as the printer needs to support Apple’s Air Print. This was problematic at hotels as all hotel printers did not support AirPrint.

What the iPad cannot do is run any specific software program designed for a PC or Mac. You can purchase Remote desktop software to remote into your home or work PC to run these though. Microsoft’s RDP app worked a treat for me.

The Apple Keyboard a bit cramped when typing and I did miss the full-size keyboard   I especially missed the backspace key. Drag and drop, as well as cut/ paste,  was a bit fiddly but workable. Using a mouse is much easier than using a touch screen. At this stage, Apple does not support using a mouse.

Would I use the iPad as a laptop replacement for on-road or travel usage?

For travelling or as an on-road device, the iPad works well as a laptop replacement. When combined with a keyboard, its long battery life, small size and lightweight are compelling. I will never again take both my laptop and iPad when travelling. My iPad Pro can do everything I need it to do.

Would I use the iPad to replace my everyday PC/ Laptop? In my opinion its quite there yet. There is no proper multiple screens support. I also think that multitasking on the PC is simpler than on an iPad. Yes, the iPad Pro can use two screens, but for the most part, it mirrors the iPad screen. Perhaps a future introduction of a Dock with support for a second monitor and other devices may change my mind on this.

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Here at Nortec we understand the complexities surrounding technology. For more information or advice contact me on the form below or contact me Phone Line :  (02) 9894 9514

For those trying to determine where I went, it was Alaska. This picture is of Juneau. I used my iPad and the local public libraries WiFi to catch up on some work.

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