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Can you use the Apple iPad as a laptop?

We put Apple's slate PC to the test on the move

Is Apple's iPad any good for working on the go? We put the slate PC to the test on a five-day business trip

Great for the hotel room
The iPad is much more comfortable than a laptop to use in a hotel room.

I've always hated working at hotel desks. The desk is always the wrong height, and I find sitting there for a long time to be depressing, maybe because the desk is always in front of a mirror and I spend hours staring at my own ugly mug.

With the iPad, it was easy to work sitting on the hotel room couch or propped up in bed. I think I was more productive because I was more comfortable.

The on-screen keyboard on the iPad was fine for tapping out a paragraph or so.

I used the Apple Wireless Keyboard a couple of times for longer writing stretches.

It's worth making room in your suitcase for this Bluetooth keyboard; it's small and light and it worked great - just as good as writing on the big iMac at home.

And the iPad really shone late at night, when it was time to read an e-book or watch some videos before retiring.

Conclusions

And so my little experiment concluded.

On the plus side, the iPad proved to be a lightweight powerhouse, useful in situations where a notebook computer is impractical.

On the minus side, it simply lacked the tools and versatility I needed to be able to rely on it as my only computer.

The iPad is no substitute for a laptop for even a few days - although I'm optimistic I can get by with just the iPad on short trips of one night or just a day.

I don't blame the iPad for the problems. I was trying to use it in a way it isn't meant to be used.

It's not a stand-alone computer; it's a companion to your main computer. If you want to do any serious work, you need a laptop or a desktop computer.

But the iPad is great for what it is - a tool to be used when accessing a laptop or desktop is impossible or inconvenient.

See also: 12 ways to improve the Apple iPad

  1. We put Apple's slate PC to the test
  2. Weaknesses
  3. Strange tools, missing apps
  4. Strengths
  5. Great for the hotel room

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