Question to the Readers: For $499, Which Would You Choose?

Posted on 01 June 2010 By Ben Lang

While demonstrating the iPad to a family member the other night, and explaining the advantages/disadvantages of it when compared to a regular computer, an interesting thought popped into my head, and Iā€™d like to hear your opinion on it.

At $499 each, which would you rather buy, and why? Let us know in the comments section.

Apple iPad:


  • Apple iPhone OS variant
  • 9.7ā€ screen @ 1024×768
  • 16GB storage
  • WiFi
  • Touchscreen
  • On screen keyboard
  • 10 hour battery life


HP Mini 311:


  • Windows 7
  • 11ā€ screen @ 1366×768
  • 160GB Storage
  • WiFi
  • Full keyboard
  • 5 and 1/2 hour battery life

27 Responses to “Question to the Readers: For $499, Which Would You Choose?”

  1. Mark says:

    I’d buy the HP Mini 311 or any other NetBook, Hands down!

  2. Gordon Mankelow says:

    As a machine in its own outright then the HP, as a companion to another PC/Mac then the iPad

  3. Geekaholic says:

    None of them alone, i would buy a Netvertible^^ Netbooks/Subnotebooks without Touchscreen are boring. iPad as the only mobile device useless, am using it as a secondary device next to my netvertible and droid^^

  4. MiKeN says:

    I would go with the ipad. I don’t need to punch in a lot Of text all the time and being able to interact with a nice, touch friendly OS would be great as I consume more than create. I do understand the limitations of the lack of flash and I run into it more than people say I would, but I could live with it. I already have a Bluetooth keyboard if I need to input some text and also have an X200 tablet for other needs. Huge battery life of ipad was also a great plus.

  5. says:

    neither, waiting to see what happens in relation to meego, android, smartbooks and such.

  6. JRB72 says:

    I was presented with such a decision and decided to go with the iPad. My reasons were the additional battery life, no need for flash, and the ability (for work purposes) to show many multitouch implementations.

    For the average person, I like what I read somewhere: “iPad for mostly content consumption: Netbook/Laptop for content creation”. (Side Note: The size of these netbooks makes you want to be able to toss them around, SSDs really need to be the norm on these devices)

    Now not being the average user, I actually use my iPad for alot of data input. I also am using the “Air Sharing” app to use my iPad as a secondary monitor to my laptop when I am doing some heavier content creation.

  7. focus says:

    As an second computer i will buy iPad,but i will never see iPad as an laptop replacement.

  8. JohnP says:

    I’d go with the HP. It has a keyboard and isn’t dependent on Wi-Fi access to be tethered to function.

    Being an average Joe I can’t justify the cost of the iPad for what I do but easily can the HP.

  9. alese says:

    I just can’t justify 500 USD/EUR device like iPad to myself. Yes it’s really really nice, but for that money it would have to do more than have great UI and enable me to read and do light browsing.

    Now the HP on the other hand is much more usable to me, in addition to everything iPad can do, I can take it on a trip and actually connect USB device or camera, I can transfer files easily, I can multitask, I manipulate files without jumping trough hoops, I can even watch MKV videos (as it has the ION GPU) without any conversions – much more usable. But the HP is also boring, doesn’t have cool touch screen and interface, it’s slower, it doesn’t have SSD, the battery life is not as good and it’s considerably bigger and heavier…

    I think I’ll rather wait for more capable tablet than iPad or a smaller, lighter convertible netbook with proper touch UI.

  10. jjsjjsva says:

    Neither. I was waiting for the Asus “I-Pad killer” only to be 100% disappointed in their offering two offerings. The Microsoft Digital Journal would have been revolutionary and a true I-Pad killer, but Microsoft lacks vision and guts to push technology anymore.

    I’d might juts buy a 64 GB I-Touch for $399 and save $100 for apps.

  11. Charles in Canada says:

    If I was looking for a device in that category, it would be the HP Mini 311 – simply to maintain max compatibility with my computing environment.

    However, I’m not looking for such a device as a carry-on device; I’m looking for something more portable, something with as big a screen that still fits in a shirt pocket without weighting too much – something like the Dell Mini 5 – my vision of the device is like a Nokia N900 (GPS with downloadable maps, good cam, usable browser w. flash, plenty of storage for email with large file attachments, PIM data, photos, videos and ebooks…), with Dell’s mini 5 screen and without a physical keyboard (to reduce weight and thickness) and running Meego… and AVAILABLE in CANADA (the N900 is’nt!!@*!)Did you get that Nokia?

  12. Baturix says:

    I wouldn’t buy any of them, but if there is no more option I would go for the iPad.

    The HP is too big for me (current netbooks in general) and no too usefull, because I have a 13 inch Dell as work computer, with almost the same battery life and not much bigger. Besides, I have been looking for a substitute of my Nokia N800 for a year with too much success… Meego tablets, I want you! šŸ™‚

  13. MarcG says:

    Haven’t touched my netbook since I got an iPad.

    It’s instant on, long battery life and fantastic web experience (it’s suddenly like the web was designed to be touched!) mean it’s the first thing we grab around the house for any internet consumption/emailing tasks.

  14. Thomas says:

    With $499 I can buy an Asus netbook with meego, and an archos 7. Why bother with either one.

    But if I had to pick, I’d take the hp. Dual boot with meego.

  15. bob says:

    for mother’s casual surfing, the ipad.
    for me (if i needed a replacement for my existing netbook today) the hp, for productivity (but would ditch windows day 1, and maybe upgrade the bat)

  16. modano says:

    the HP i guess. But only because I see no purpose of an ipad what so ever.
    If it doesnt fit in my pocket (streak FTW!), then it stays at home. If it stays at home, then I see no reason for it not to have a keyboard.

  17. gmich says:

    The iPad definitely isn’t full laptop replacement, but since getting mine two months ago, I’d say that 90% of the time I leave the house, I take the iPad, not my 11.6″ laptop/netbook. I only take the laptop if I have to do serious content creation.

  18. says:

    agree on the ssd, sadly windows cant fit on anything that wont drive the cost seriously outside the target price range.

  19. Mike Cane says:

    Duuuuuhhhhh. iPad.

  20. rabs says:

    A netbook over any kind of big tablet, so the HP Mini 311 (though I would take a lighter one, with lower specs).

    For casual use, I like better pocketable devices.

  21. JeCh says:

    I would certainly get the HP. I don’t see any use of the iPad. And not only iPad, but also any other tablet. What is a huge phone without phone capability and HW keyboard good for? Home surfing? A netbook can do it to and much better, including Flash! As a mobile device, anything above 5″ is too big.

  22. johnkzin says:

    Easy pick: iPad.

    It doesn’t run Windows, and built-in keyboards on mid-range devices are wasted space.

  23. Claudia says:

    It’s a no-brainer: I’d pick the HP Mini 311. The iPad is nothing but a gorgeous paperweight.

  24. Claudia says:

    My mom likes looking at photos (the iPad doesn’t have a SD card reader), sending emails (the iPad has no keyboard), watching videos (the iPad doesn’t have a kickstand and is too heavy to hold for hours on end) and printing stuff out (the iPad has no USB port).

    Sure, Apple sells accessories to compensate for all of the above but a netbook is a much better fit for my mother.

  25. Claudia says:

    Oh, and one more thing: Unlike the netbook, the iPad is not a standalone device. Your mom would also need a real computer in order to support the iPad.

  26. jjsjjsva says:

    If the i-Pad is so great, than why haven’t I seen a single person with one in the public. Not even in an internet cafe. I’m guessing the wow novelty wore off after one month and the reality of what a pain in the ass it is hold and use keeps it stored away at home in an desk drawer.

  27. jb82 says:

    I’d buy the acer 521 netbook at $325 and laugh all the way to the bank with the $175 left over. HAHAHAHAHA