Does a student need a laptop and an iPad? (solved)

if you are a student and ask if you need to have a laptop and iPad, or one of them this article is for you.

in this article we’re going to respond to this question also tell you when:

you need a laptop alone

you need a laptop and iPad both

Because the use is different and depends on each student. so keep reading to know which one is good for you.

Does a student need a laptop and iPad?

students need a laptop and an iPad both, laptops for running programs and doing principal tasks, and an iPad for taking notes as a preference.

But if we talk to a principal needs this answer will be not enough.

laptops are very important there no one can argue that students need to have them. But for the iPad things can differ for each major.

For instance, artistic majors need importantly to use iPad and sometimes even more than laptops while computer science majors don’t need them at all. CS major considers the iPad as the worst device to use in the field.

you could read the article to know why is the reason to avoid iPad as a CS major. 11 reasons to avoid iPad as a computer science student?

So the honest response to this response, is it depends and this is what we’re going to talk about. So in the next paragraphs, we’re going to know :

  • in which cases you should have laptops and iPads both
  • in which cases you should laptop only
  • when is an iPad enough for you and don’t to have a laptop

in which cases student should use a laptop and iPad both

  • if you are a computer science student and love to draw
  • you take notes a lot as a computer science student
  • drawing lot and do video editing
  • you study mechanical engineering
  • want to make homework or assignment
  • you have an Apple computer like Mac or MacBook
  • you study architecture engineering
  • if you are multi-tasker student
  • if you are a rich student
  • if you need a lot of storage

if you are a computer science student and love to draw

many comptuer science students love to draw and the best tool to use is an iPad because it has the best pencil tablet you can use for drawing. It gives a student or a drawer the same experience of drawing with a real pencil.

But the problem that force student to have a laptop aside is you can’t program with an iPad, you need to have a laptop. Simply because the iPad doesn’t support the programming IDE’s that you will need in college.

you take notes a lot as a computer science student

iPad is great for taking notes, students can use them to get rid of the paper notes that get lost on a shelf. you can use an iPad pencil like a pen to write all your notes.

But on the other side, you will still have to put a laptop in your backpack to run or compile programs.

drawing lot and do video editing

for students who are passionate about drawing, the iPad is an ideal tool it has a quality screen to notice all colors differences. In addition, it pencil have 2 important things for drawer That are:

  • tilth option ==> the thickness of the pen increase when you lean a pencil to create shadow or for coloring
  • pressure sensitivity ==> when you force on the pencil the color and thickness of the font increase

But the downside of the iPad that forces a student to have a laptop is you can’t do video editing in the quality of a laptop can do. It is not impossible but you won’t be able to work on the powerful programs in that field because they are not supported.

you study mechanical engineering

for students who study mechanical engineering using an iPad will serve you for one and the only thing is taking notes or drawing if you like.

But iPad isn’t going to be helpful to run software like CAD who mechanical engineers use. On iPad, you can’t use it because is not supported.

So you should bring an iPad for taking notes and a laptop for running CAD or other similar programs.

want to make homework or assignment

iPad is not good for making serious homework and assignment that is due to the problem of compatibility. You might face compatibility problems especially if your professor has a windows laptop.

So the only thing to do is to take notes with your iPad then transfer them to a laptop in order to verify it finally. But for serious assignments is not recommendable.

you have an Apple computer like Mac or MacBook

if you have an apple product like an iMac or MacBook having an iPad is a good idea and we recommend doing that. Because Apple has an iCloud option that allows you to sync instantly any information or document between your apple devices.

So if you use iPhone and already have a MacBook iPad will be a good choice. it gives much flexibility and ease.

you study architecture engineering

for architecture students using a laptop is a primal need and the iPad is also good to run some secondary sketching programs. in addition to taking notes.

But if you want to run AutoCAD or any important software for architecture, is obligatory to use a laptop because the iPad doesn’t support them.

if you are multi-tasker

iPad promotes to students that is the best tool for doing multi tasks, which is not completely true. To clarify, iPad doesn’t allow you to run more than 2 applications at the same time.

For instance, you can split a screen and watch a youtube math video lecture on the side while taking notes on another side. This is the maximum for iPad.

But with a laptop, you can split a screen into 3 or 4 apps and run them at the same time. So in this case you will need both an iPad and laptop depending on your status.

if you are a rich student

If you could afford to buy a laptop and an iPad, is not a problem but you have to be aware that you need to spend:

  • $1299 for an iPad + $120 for it pencil + 40 screen protection = $1500
  • $1299 for a laptop like MacBook pro with a standard version

So $3000 is expectable to have them both if take into consideration some gadgets to buy for them.

if you need a lot of storage

iPad has short storage they don’t exceed 128GB in their standard version. In addition, they don’t support an SD card reader or USB. So for students who need big storage iPad are out of the game.

if you need to take notes or draw and at the same time you take a lot of photos having a laptop and iPad are both necessary.

In which cases you should have only laptop

  • music student
  • if you like a bigger screen
  • you take notes on the paper
  • if you are a brock
  • machine learning

Music student

if you study music having an iPad will be optional and not a necessity. iPad won’t help you in music lectures because you can’t run on it a powerful music software.

if you like a bigger screen

if you like to work on bigger screens, an 11 or 12.9 inch iPad screen won’t be suitable for you. In this case, you should look for monitors. That is to say, have a laptop with at least 2 monitors.

you could read this article Dual monitors for stem majors(8 things to know about).

or at least have a wide laptop screen laptop like 17 inches, instead of using an expensive 13-inch screen iPad.

you take notes on the paper

if you like to use a simple and traditional way for taking notes, meaning taking notes with a pen a paper, thus iPad will be a waste of money.

a laptop will be enough for all the needed tasks.

if you are a broke

iPad is not to recommend for a student who is broke, it is so expensive but the most important thing is it forces you to buy other expensive accessories like:

  • pencil for $120
  • keyboard for $280
  • case for $50
  • screen protector $40

so if we count these expenses we find that owning an iPad can cost as a global for $1600 or even more, so is to avoid. a laptop can do the all necessary thing that students would need.

machine learning

if you do machine learning using an iPad doesn’t have any sense you will just lose your money. With iPad you can’t run any programs for machines learning is not suitable at all.

unless you love to take notes.

in which cases you can only need an iPad

  • reading drawing
  • taking notes
  • browsing on the internet
  • if you are an English or law major
  • if you study biology
  • get rid of the paper scan paper shit of professor.
  • portability

reading or drawing

if you just want to read or draw using an iPad is the best option for you. You don’t have to need to use a laptop iPad is better in this case.

Take notes

Ipad is better and considered the best tool for taking notes. You can bring it with you to a school or college is useful and very helpful to craft beautiful notes like this below.

ipad math notes

browsing on the internet

if you think using a laptop for just browsing on the internet using an iPad is better and more feasible. As a result, you can get all that you need and have more flexibility browsing the internet.

if you are an English or law major

if you are majoring in English or law major iPad is enough and can replace a laptop. You will have enough things that you can do with an iPad. In addition, the iPad is portable and touchscreen which can facilitate the work better than a laptop.

if you study biology

if you study biology, the iPad will be a lot useful to use especially for crafting beautiful drawing notes you can watch this video below to see what medicine or biology student can do with the iPad.

get rid of the paper scan paper shit of professor.

if you don’t like to take notes with paper or you lose them. using an iPad is the solution.

Sometimes notes create problems in storage and so many people are facing that issue. Many people get stuck and don’t know if they should keep their notes or throw them off.

with an iPad, you scan paper and take notes without working on that. Everything gets stored in the cloud or a device.

but does it mean that iPad can replace paper?

But to be honest, using as a student the iPad alone without a laptop has a ton of limitations you can watch this video.


using a laptop is necessary for a student and it should but when we talk about iPad a student has to know if it is suitable for him or not. Studying these cases will allow you to know if you should use a laptop and iPad both or just have a laptop.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.