I figured battery life + performance would be an issue, but considering the size of the screen, and the fact that the unit theoretically will automagically be switching from integrated to dedicated graphics only when necessary (ie. gaming), I would expect at least 6 hours (with screen brightness low and wifi on). This would be reasonable for one full day in classes, taking notes on word, no?
As a point of reference, I've worn out the battery on my Dell so that I'd be glad to get about 2.5 hours out of it. But then again, it does have a dedicated card and is a 15.4" screen.
I don't want to use Pages or any other Apple Office equivalent for the following reasons "Trimmed down features of Pages versus fully fledged Office? Lack of compatibility with certain formatting? Annoyance with the layout because he is so used to Office?" The gf had constant complaints (and issues that I'd have to fix) using Pages and Office for her Mac that I don't want to spend the time again to get everything running well like I have right now on my PC. I don't mind using Google Docs, but that would require a constant internet connection. I'm sure OpenOffice has been made quicker, but from my previous experiences, it was a pain to use, so I'd like to avoid that. Basically, if it's not Office, and to a lesser extent, Google Docs, I don't want to use it. I'm sure they're great programs, but I'm picky. I do know that the school I'm looking into (Santa Clara) does offer exam software for both OSX/Windows, but nothing mentioned on other platforms, so at least both OS's seem to be supported.
Again, space wouldn't be an issue because of Dropbox, and now that I think about it, the 16GB WiFi model would be sufficient since mostly everything I would need would be in the could. My main concern is the fact that iOS broswers would be able to run any proprietary software that classes may require (at least on non exam days...I can definitely bring in my laptop on days where I need to take an exam or final).
I will not be purchasing any type of Mac except an iOS device. I'm not a fan of the OS and the keyboard layout. I will not be building a laptop since I'm constantly mobile and would like the ability to game on the go.
The other thing that I don't like about the iPad is looking like a complete tool whipping out my iPad and keyboard combo in class. I'm trying to fit in, not look like a hipster geek (not that all Apple fans are hipster geeks! Much love!) But then again, I don't want to be labeled a "gamer nerd" with an Alien on my laptop either. So I'm screwed either way.
I think it boils down to whether or not I'll be able to sufficiently get my work done (ie. take notes) on an iPad + keyboard combo (since I know it can easily be done on the Alienware). I'm worried I'll have to use an app like DocumentsToGo and it won't offer me the same level fo comfort as Office itself. If I use Google Docs, I'll need to be constantly uploading and downloading files to keep them synced with my laptop (if need be).
Has anyone actively used a tablet in class before? Not necessarily to handwrite, but just in terms of performance (the older units seemed to be slower so it might be a more indiciative measuring stick against the performance of an iPad 2.