Buying an iPad 2 for college, need advice?

Discussion in 'iPad 2 Forum' started by Viper52, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Viper52
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    Viper52 iPF Noob

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    Hi all,

    I'm about to enter my 3rd year of college in a few days and am thinking about purchasing an iPad 2 to bring with me to classes. I'm tired of lugging my heavy HP Laptop everywhere and have problems with it being able to fit on a desk in my lecture halls without it sliding off or being cumbersome. I'm really thinking an iPad 2 may be the ideal tool to bring along for note-taking and loading different webpages, graphs, etc etc. Of course it'll also be used for fun, mainly being able to lay in bed at night and surf the internet, check emails, facebook, etc.

    Now I AM on a limited budget but think I can swing the 16 gb iPad 2 along with a smartcover. Will this be enough space for my needs?

    I do NOT plan on putting any of my iTunes on it (already have a 1st generation iPod Touch for that) and I really don't plan on storing movies on it either (all are burned onto the harddrive of my laptop).

    I basically want something I can take notes on, check emails/facebook, use the internet, play games, and probably download a few dozen apps. 16 gb should suffice right?

    Color preference? I like glossy black and will probably get a lime green smartcover, do they work as well as advertised? Should I get a different cover?

    Anything I really need to know? What is a good notetaking application, purely typing, not handwritten.
  2. giradman
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    giradman iPad Guru

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    Hello Viper52 - welcome to the forum - :)

    My first suggestion is to find the money to at least go from a 16GB to a 32GB device - you will not regret the decision esp. if you plan to put a LOT of music on the iPad (not to mention videos et al).

    Concerning your classes & note taking - check out this recent THREAD which will give you some suggestions as to apps that may be appropriate for your needs - I'm sure w/ some searching other threads/posts will provide further information.

    Finally (although I'm not addressing your more personal preferences), do you already own a BT (Bluetooth) keyboard? If not, then you might want to visit an Apple Store and try out a few (I own the Apple version) - if you need to take notes quickly in class, the virtual keyboard on the iPad will be useless, you need one w/ FEEL (assuming that you are a good 'feel' typist) - good luck in your choice(s) and in college - BTW, I just retired as a radiology professor teaching MD residents after 34 years, so understand you needs! :)
  3. NYHorsewoman
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    NYHorsewoman iPad Fan

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    As far as size, I am not the one to answer, although I do have the 64gb and not sure what I am going to do with all the extra space, I don,t have any music on it but it seems Ike overkill, but for your needs it might be different. But as far as notes, I use it for all my meetings now and I take handwritten notes with a stylus. There are many note taking apps, very good ones. find the threads here and read about them, some can also be used with typing, some can,t. I love my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and recommend it for typing papers, long emails,etc. I really don,t use my laptop any more at all. I love my iPad for just about everything. Have fun!
  4. jduncan
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    jduncan iPad Enthusiast

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    Which note taking app do you like with a stylus? Doesn't your hand hit the screen and mess things up while trying to hand write on it?
  5. GoPackGo
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    Are you my clone? Haha, SERIOUSLY, you sound exactly like me. I mainly got my iPad to be a laptop replacement (to carry to campus - I have one more semester with 3 classes and then I'm student teaching full time in the spring) because my 3.5 year old Toshiba is a brick with zero battery life. I have an iPod classic so I don't need to put any music on my iPad, and I am only going to have a movie or so on it at a time. It's mainly for apps/games, browsing the web, streaming a little TV/Netflix, etc. I am also on a limited budget and got the 16GB WiFi (with a smart cover - lime green!). I think the cover puts the iPad at a superb angle for typing. I've been typing on it all day and it's really easy to do. I think I can take notes pretty well on it.

    Yes, I think 16GB will be just fine!
  6. NYHorsewoman
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    NYHorsewoman iPad Fan

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    Hi, I use Penultimate and Noteshelf, but there are lots of them and some will be better than others based on a variety of factors and you have to decide what is most important to you. Once you put the wrist protector on, they are all pretty good about not marking up the pages below where you are writing although they aren't perfect. There are some that let you really organize your notes and the books, there are others that provide a variety of colors and thicknesses of the writing instrument and there are others that are just simple and easy to use. You have really read the other posts to get a good comparison. Even if you try a few at $1.99 and $2.99 per app, it is cheaper than most of the notebooks out there! Some of the higher end ones are $4.99 and even $8.99 but people swear by them depending upon what they are using them for. Which stylus to use is another hotly debated question. I have tried a few and keep returning to the simple and short Boxwave, it wouldn't be my choice as a pen (too short and too thick at the tip), but it works very well consistently as a stylus. Others have differing opinions and all the posts here are worth reading. There are almost too many choices for note taking so I'm sure you can find something that will work for you. It never hurts however to bring along a paper notebook and pen just in case your iPad decides it doesn't want to turn on one day (mine has done that a handful of times since I've owned it, it always comes back but I bring paper now just in case). And always make sure you back up. You can back up your notes in certain apps to Dropbox which will make them readily available to you on any computer. Much good luck! My daughter heads off to college this week for her freshman year! And no, I'm not letting her take my iPad! LOL!
  7. Viper52
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    Viper52 iPF Noob

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Any other good apps for a college student? I keep hearing that the iPad 3 may come out in September, any truth to that?

    I'm probably going to pick one up on Thursday, any other advice/suggestions would be helpful!
  8. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    There is no truth to the rumour that the iPad3 will come out in September. You'll see plenty of threads in this Forum that discuss this rumour, including some well-informed posts on how long it would take Apple to build up sufficient stocks of the iPad3 to meet the initial demand once it was announced. Given that manufacture has not yet started, it's inconceivable that it would be released then. More likely, next year some time.

    Tim
  9. oberkc
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    I expect that you will be fine with the 16gb version. That is the one I have. It is about half full, and has lots of photos, some videos, and a handful of .PDF documents. Like you, I do not use it for music.
  10. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Some reinforcement for points already made by others. Some additional points.

    () A 16G iPad should be fine for the requirements you've outlined. Don't load it up with more than 2000 songs (as I have). Don't add dozens of games, especially graphics heavy titles, and absolutely don't store movies and you'll be fine. A 32G version would give you more headroom, but for the difference in price, you should be applying the money to a keyboard.

    () Which brings us to the keyboard. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is an excellent accessory. If you can find the "/A" model rather than the newer "/B" model, you'll be better off as there are problems with controlling volume from the keyboard with the newest (/B) model. (The designation is on the box next to the UPC code.) But even if you have to go with the /B version, Apple will probably fix the problem (which emerged with changes to support the Lion OS) soon.

    On the other hand, the AWK is $70. Very good alternatives for less money are the recently released Targus bluetooth keyboard ($44) and the Microsoft 6000 bluetooth portable keyboard ($32). Look for each on Amazon. I have the Microsoft keyboard and it's great! Better in some ways than the AWK, if fact. Very durable and very good ergonomics. Both the Targus and the Microsoft keyboards are slightly larger than the AWK. That's a benefit in terms of typing ease and a cost in terms of portability. But neither is too large to carry easily in a bag along with your iPad.

    You can also find keyboard/iPad combo cases. Some people like them very much. I find them all to be undersized and cramped; a feature necessitated by having to size the keyboard according to the width of the iPad in landscape. (The AWK is almost two inches wider than the iPad and much easier to use imo than a smaller keyboard.)

    A lot of people like the Origami Workstation that acts as a case for the AWK and unfolds into a stand for the iPad. I love mine and it all fits on a small airline table in a middle seat in coach; roughly equivalent to a desk in a lecture hall. Google it. Runs $30 and adds almost nothing to the space needed to carry the AWK while providing a good typing stand.

    () You can find several handwriting apps for the iPad that are very impressive in terms of their functionality. I have both Note Taker HD (my favorite) and Notes Plus. Each provides a feature that enables you to place your palm on the screen while writing. But if you're a southpaw, like me, it's almost useless. So be warned.

    You'll also find, I suspect, that once the novelty wears off, you'll have to spend A LOT of time practicing with whatever handwriting app you choose to equal your efficiency with a pen and paper. A LOT OF TIME! At least one user (whose posts I respect) maintains that it makes more sense to take notes on a piece of paper and then take a photo of the page than to try to use a handwriting app.

    The bottom line is that the iPad just doesn't equal the "writing on paper" experience. And whatever Mr. Jobs says, there's a reason that people use pens and ink rather fingerpainting their notes.

    Do yourself a favor and be sure you have a physical keyboard or be willing to invest A LOT of effort in whatever handwriting approach you elect to try.

    () Styluses are, I think, a very personal choice. I like the iFaraday (iFaraday.com) styluses. I have two models. I also have a Boxwave and a Targus stylus. (Yeah, I know...can't be satisfied.) None is perfect, but the iFaraday glides better than the others. Some styluses come with a ball point pen in addition to the stylus. Convenient but adds to the weight. I leave the one I have in my bag so I always have a pen. (Can't sign a check with a stylus.)

    Whatever you decide, you'll need a stylus if you're going to try to take notes by hand. Trust me.
  11. breezur
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    I purchased my iPad over the summer to use in school and I have similar needs to yours and i love my iPad. I havent invested in a cover for it yet so I can't comment on that but if you're going type your notes I do suggest a keyboard. I have the mic aluminum keyboard buddy and it's great. I had no problem keeping up with lecture. As far as note taking apps go I just use Evernote. I'm a film major so my notes are pretty straight forward (no need for graphs or diagrams) so Evernote works just fine for me. Plus it's free and I'm able to sync it with my iMac. I agree with others that have suggested trying to spring for 32gb. If you can't afford it then 16 should be fine but it never hurts to be careful and get a little extra room. Good luck with school and with your ipad!
  12. mdpdmd22
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    If you don't have a ton of music or videos a 16 will hold a ton of data. I might suggest a stand case rather than a smart cover. Smart cover offers zero protection against drops. Get a padded piel Frama cinema case. It's a little pricey but worth every penny
  13. oberkc
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    I continue to be a bit surprised at the suggestions to buy a keyboard with your iPad. I think there is a term for such a combination: Laptop.

    If you decide a keyboard is a requirement, a laptop would be a better option, in my mind. Potentially cheaper, too.
  14. giradman
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    giradman iPad Guru

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    Well, this is an important & a personal decision - the virtual keyboard on the iPad is pretty useless if you are taking notes in a lecture listening to the speaker - the tactile feel of a keyboard will permit the greatest accuracy at least IMHO.

    OTOH, small laptops w/ tactile keyboards are not that much bigger than the iPad (of course a moving vs. static HD may be an important consideration?) but need to be booted unless in sleep mode - much to be considered.

    Each person will need to decide on their own, I guess - :)
  15. jduncan
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    jduncan iPad Enthusiast

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    I think you will find the keyboard suggested for those times when a person needs to type a lot. Otherwise you can leave it off the device. Sort the best of both.
  16. GoPackGo
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    I haven't tried my iPad in class yet, I start class on the 1st - but I've typed a lot of things on it in various places - Echofon, MyPad, Vtok, etc - and I type pretty darn accurately. At the right angle I think typing on it is just as easy as a keyboard - only thing it lacks (if you're in class), is the sound/assurance you're hitting actual keys.
  17. leelai
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    Hi, 16Gb sounds as if it would be big enough for you and what you intend to do with it, but the thing is once you get an iPad you will probably discover so much more that you will want to do with it. There are many posts on this forum from people who wished they sprang for a larger capacity. Food for thought just there.

    I have the smart cover and I really do like it, it does perform just like they say. I also have a snap on clear back cover to protect it from scratching and am so glad I got that. You can get them on eBay quite cheap (I paid $10 for mine) but make sure that it is the one that is designed to be used with the smart cover.

    Note taking apps are really a personal choice and there are some great threads here on this topic. I have Notes Plus There are also some great tutorial like reviews on a lot of them on YouTube.

    Good luck
  18. apple2011
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    apple2011 iPad Fan

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    better to choose the 16gb device,which would be economic and practical..I have already got one, It is enough for daily study and entertainment...
  19. GoPackGo
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    Now that I've had my iPad for a few days, I think 16GB is PLENTY of space for me. I have 2 movies on it right now (no music), a few pictures, and 50 apps. I've only used up a few gigs. So I think you'll be fine!
  20. Jockscrap
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    If money is tight, I would consider not going for the smart cover. In the UK they are extremely expensive and I presume they are in the US too. It doesn't offer any protection to the rear of the iPad, which is important if you are going to be carrying it around a lot. I've also seen my friend drop his (fortunately it didn't fall far and survived) after picking it up by part of the cover which detached putting the iPad in free fall. I know these covers are very popular but I just can't see why, other than the fact they do look good. I bought a cover that was as cheap as chips from Amazon. It cost about £10, is black leather (or leather effect..looks good, either way), and folds in to two positions, auto locks and gives great protection. I don't think i'm allowed to give a link, but you'll find these covers easily by searching on Amazon. They get consistently high rated reviews and seem to be available from many sellers on both sides of the pond.

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