Help Me, Laptop: What's a Good Laptop Alternative to an iPad?

There are a lot of people who think they can jump to an iPad to replace a laptop, but user coldwell from our forums isn't one of them. They're looking for a device to take on the road and do occasional photo editing. While they had their eye on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, they have some cold feet about the tablet market.

"I've never used any apple product before [sic]," they wrote, so maybe a laptop would be more comfortable. They have $800 to spend.

Let's start with the iPad Pro. For something lightweight, the iPad is a great bet, and iOS is very intuitive. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649 for the 64GB model, and you can add cellular for a grand total of $779. The 256GB model is $799 for Wi-Fi only. An Apple Pencil, if you want one, costs $100, so there's definitely some bundle in there for under $800. There are plenty of free or cheap photo editing apps on iOS, like Adobe Lightroom and Pixelmator, which is also a plus. I know plenty of people who use both iOS and Windows, so it's worth giving it a go.

MORE: Best 2-in-1s (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)

But OK, you want something else. While there are plenty of great laptops under $800, you won't get the same premium feel as you would on an iPad at that price.  Integrated graphics can handle really light photo editing, but pros will want something with a discrete video card, and that will push coldwell over budget.

The newest Microsoft Surface Pro starts at $799, but you'll get a Core m3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and that's before you buy a stylus or keyboard. That model, frankly, is overpriced whether or not you have a budget.

You may be one of the few people who love the innovative but sometimes frustrating Lenovo Yoga Book. There's a $500 Android model and a $550 Windows version, and each has a Wacom tablet behind its keyboard, which could be great for photo editing. Of course, the trade-off is a keyboard with no travel at all.

If you're down with mobile apps, you might like the Samsung Chromebook Plus ($449) or Pro ($549). Neither is the powerhouse you'll need for full editing, but coldwell said they'll do their primary editing on a desktop. Both support Android apps and come with a stylus, so you can use mobile photo editing software. Beware, though: Android apps on any device that isn't the Google Pixelbook have proved finicky, and we're still waiting for Google to fix that.

Me? I'd go with the iPad. I'd also consider carrying around a larger, more expensive, more powerful laptop if it's for work. But for simple tasks, the iPad is a great choice. Still, there are other laptops — some with innovative features for photo editing — even if you're on a budget or uncomfortable with iOS.

Credit: Laptop Mag