From Orientation to Graduation: Tablets Replacing Laptops in College

Parents thinking about gifts for their newly-minted high school graduates may be wavering between laptops and tablets. As recently as four years ago, when today’s college seniors were going through orientation, laptops were standard equipment for incoming students. But many of today’s college students are finding that connected tablets are the better choice. Tablets are more portable – they’re lighter and thinner.  Also, a tablet battery typically lasts longer than a laptop battery, so students don’t have to carry a charger or constantly be on the lookout for an outlet.

University of Kentucky senior Victoria Hackbarth says she takes her iPad® Air 2 to class every day. “I use it to upload class PowerPoint presentations, type my notes and check my class Blackboard pages,” she said. “It is really light in my backpack and holds a charge for a lot longer than my computer.”

Larger screens and better productivity tools add to the functionality of today’s tablets.

“My iPad automatically updates any new documents I create to my iPhone and MacBook over the cloud, so I can switch easily between all of my devices,” Hackbarth said. “Also, I like that my iPad has a camera, so I can take pictures of charts or drawings my professor shows in class, then insert them into my notes, rather than having to recreate them.”

All of Hackbarth’s textbooks are on her iPad as well, so she can use her tablet’s search feature to look up concepts and definitions that need clarification. “It’s a lot faster than having to flip through page after page of a hardcopy book.”

While Hackbarth prefers the keyboard on her iPad screen, students who are more comfortable using a keyboard external to the screen can pick up a case with an integrated keyboard, available for both iPad and Android tablets.

Hackbarth said she also brings her iPad to the gym. “I watch TV episodes or movies on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. I’ll run on the treadmill for about 40 minutes and then call it a day.  It makes it a lot easier to forget you’re actually running.”

Trevor Thomas is a public relations manager with Verizon Wireless. Follow him on Twitter at: @VZWtrevor.