3 min read

iPad 2 vs 200€ netbook web

The first iPad was a new class of tablet devices, thinner than a netbook but more expensive, less powerful and with less features. Now iPad 2 is out, it's 9x faster, 33% thinner, but how does it compare to a plain classic netbook web experience?

netbook intel n450 1.66ghz 1gb Ram Windows xp vs iPad 2 512mb ram, The ipad 2 screen is brighter and pretty readeable outside. In extreme conditions you can use negative colors. 

1 million apps vs a full OS flexibility

A netbook is a cheap computer with limited 3d graphics performance, so you can install on it Windows xp/vista/7 or Ubuntu Linux and almost any software you know will run on it.

iPad 2 is tablet, which means in a few words a ~10 inch touch display with a mobile OS (something like iOS or Android), so it isn't optimized for a general purpose but for limited range of tasks.

You need an iTunes account and a credit card to be able to install even free of charge apps, it's the Apple restricted policy and some other limitations are due to its "touch" nature.

Battery and recharge

It last for a very long time, 10 hours of usage as the specs say, you can recharge the battery via usb or via power adapter. it's quite weird because when you plug the device to the pc a "not in recharge" notification is displayed, however it is recharging.

The netbook usually has just 3 or 6 hours of usage in theory.

Safari web browser on iPad 2 and on netbook

Despite the name, Safari and Chrome for mobile devices are NOT the same softwares of the desktop version. They share both the webkit rendering engine but the features are more limited on the mobile version.

Editors WYSIWYG and blogging

If you are used to blog via wordpress website or your own You'll have a bad experience on iPad/iPhone because you won't get the focus on that widget. You could use the wordpress "app" but it would be better a more HTML5 touch support. Android browser is a bit ahead in this area and it has text reflow, but iOS has codec and accelerometer support in the browser.

So if you are a fan of ckeditor, aloha, tinymce,.. And also uploading via browser Forget the iPad

Google Docs full desktop version, text selection is difficul but still possible

Speed and performance web benchmarks

The ugly chessboard effect on iPad 2 is reduced compared ipad 1. The browsing experience is acceptable for a 601 grams device. Anyway the google's benchmark V8 version 5 shows a more rational score.

  • Safari 5 windows xp: 739
  • Safari iOS 4.3: 392
  • Android Htc Desire: 168

Speaking about css3 animations, safari (even mobile), is the most advanced because it supports gpu acceleration. Try this demos below to understand what I mean.

Real world limitation and Annoying bugs

  • Upload of a file via web browser is not possible. You must use third part apps or services like dropbox
  • Facebook chat in desktop version doesn't load, you need the Facebook app which is a maximized iPhone app :{
  • Google Analytics website doesn't work fine because some widgets are made in Flash
  • AdSense v3 webapp crashes Safari
  • The wifi n card of the 200€ netbook can reach the router signal 1 meter more far than the ipad 2 8o


iPad 2 doesn't replace a netbook, but it offers a comparable basic web experience at 1024px.

Common tasks like reading a book (epub or pdf), writing an email, checking the weather or the news are simply unbeatable.
The multimedia and the gaming experiences are good but probably only for casual users.