dds2013

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Mar 30, 2008
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I need to get a laptop for dental school ASAP. I am a PC person, so my option is to get a normal laptop, or a tablet. The only reason why I am thinking about getting a tablet is to be able to take notes when the professor mentions something on a slide that I can’t type. Or if I have to draw something out next to a slide. I personally do not know anyone who owns a tablet. I’ve heard some positives about tablets, but at the same time, I’ve heard a lot of negatives.

The negatives include:
1) The screen freezing sometimes
2) The laptop requiring a lot more RAM because of the extra digital pen that is constantly running
3) A higher risk of breaking the screen

So what do you guys think? Is it worth getting the tablet for the extra ability to draw out stuff on the slides, or should I stick with what the majority of students have, and just be able to type notes using MS OneNote? Like I said, I do not know anyone know owns a tablet, so any advice or experience that others have here would be very helpful.

In regards to the brand of laptop, I am probably going to stick with Dell, since that’s what most computers at my school at the school have, and because I’ve had a good experience with them in the past.
 

Svart Aske

is stabbing his eyes out
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Jun 7, 2008
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I would just get a laptop and use pencil/notebook where they're needed.

But if you're an unoriginal horn-rimmed glasses-wearing, latte-sipping, sustainability fetishist type, get a Mac.
 
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dds2013

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Get a Mac.
ive never owned a mac. plus, some students have complained that professors would post stuff that isnt compatible with mac's. i know that there are programs that can help you go around this (i think the program was called "parellel"?), but i just dont want the extra hassle.

i guess my main concern is whether getting a tablet is really worth it. some students have said you should just stick with old school paper and pencil because its slower to take notes on a tablet. but others have really enjoyed their tablets. this is so frustrating!!
 
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dds2013

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I would just get a laptop and use pencil/notebook where they're needed.

But if you're an unoriginal horn-rimmed glasses-wearing, latte-sipping, sustainability fetishist type, get a Mac.
When do you think i will need to use pencil&paper? a student also said that a laptop should be just fine for DS. he said that the only time you will probably need to take non-text-based notes (i.e., use a tablet) is during courses such as histo.
 

sugarsting

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Aug 23, 2008
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Why don't you start with pencil and paper for the first few days/weeks and get a feel for what you will be most comfortable with before buying a comp. Every class is different so depending on the prof's mode, which you'll quickly see, you'll be able to make a better decision of whether the tablet is right for you.
 

solzont

10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2009
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Oregon
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Pharmacy Student
I need to get a laptop for dental school ASAP. I am a PC person, so my option is to get a normal laptop, or a tablet. The only reason why I am thinking about getting a tablet is to be able to take notes when the professor mentions something on a slide that I can't type. Or if I have to draw something out next to a slide. I personally do not know anyone who owns a tablet. I've heard some positives about tablets, but at the same time, I've heard a lot of negatives.

The negatives include:
1) The screen freezing sometimes
2) The laptop requiring a lot more RAM because of the extra digital pen that is constantly running
3) A higher risk of breaking the screen

So what do you guys think? Is it worth getting the tablet for the extra ability to draw out stuff on the slides, or should I stick with what the majority of students have, and just be able to type notes using MS OneNote? Like I said, I do not know anyone know owns a tablet, so any advice or experience that others have here would be very helpful.

In regards to the brand of laptop, I am probably going to stick with Dell, since that's what most computers at my school at the school have, and because I've had a good experience with them in the past.
This is my opinion on the matter: I have a Lenovo X200 tablet. It's convertible, I can use it as a tablet or laptop. I sacrifice nothing to have tablet functionality except for screen real estate which isn't necessary in-class. At home I hook it up to an external 24" monitor. Why not get a Mac (and I love Macs too)? Easy, OneNote, and they don't make a tablet. If you take the time to learn how to use MS OneNote, it will drastically simplify and organize your note-taking and research. Dell makes a tablet btw.

I use my tablet to:
1. Mark up .ppt and .pdf notes without having to type
2. Record oral notes and .mp3 recordings of class summaries I listen to in the car, it has a built-in dual array microphone that's great for this via Audacity
3. Study while standing, pacing, or walking around the neighborhood late at night, no backlit keyboard necessary...I love to do this, so it's kind of a personal thing I suppose. But, you don't have to be sitting to use it effectively like laptops. This is a big deal when pulling 8hr study days.
4. Read electronic documents one whole page at a time (portrait view) turning the pages with a pen-flick
5. Nearly eliminate the need for paper notes, binders, notebooks, etc. I'm about 90% paper-free, everything is accessible, searchable, etc. in OneNote, Adobe, or Powerpoint.

Can you do some of the above with a traditional laptop? Sure. But you can't do it as well. Check the web, there are lots of resources available from people who have and use tablets in health profession schools. Some even require them. Really, tablets are the best of both worlds. I still have my T42 laptop, but don't use it in favor of the tablet.
 
Last edited:

4thMolar

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May 25, 2009
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I'm not completely sure about this, but don't some dental schools require that you get a certain type of laptop or OS? You might want to check with your school on that.
 

K Niner

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Jul 11, 2009
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Why a mac? money aside, I would rather have a PC. what is with people thinking mac's with slower processors, less ram, etc. are somehow vastly superior to PCs?
 
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dds2013

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Mar 30, 2008
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Why don't you start with pencil and paper for the first few days/weeks and get a feel for what you will be most comfortable with before buying a comp. Every class is different so depending on the prof's mode, which you'll quickly see, you'll be able to make a better decision of whether the tablet is right for you.
i heard waiting until school starts can be a risk since you get the ball rolling very quickly in school, and so you dont want to fall behind with school work.

during undergrad, i only used paper&pencil, and i was comfortable with that. the only hassle was carrying all those freaking binders!!! students have said it would be so much more convienent to have all your notes on the tablet. the biggest turn off right now with the tablets is the fact that it can be a little hard to write notes on them. a SDN poster described the tablet as like one of those credit card systems you sign at the end of your transaction--where it might be real hard to write on them (so your notes might not be very legible), and you cant put your wrist on the tablet either. :(
 

solzont

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Mar 8, 2009
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Oregon
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Pharmacy Student
Why don't you start with pencil and paper for the first few days/weeks and get a feel for what you will be most comfortable with before buying a comp. Every class is different so depending on the prof's mode, which you'll quickly see, you'll be able to make a better decision of whether the tablet is right for you.
Why use pencil and paper at all?
 
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dds2013

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Mar 30, 2008
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This is my opinion on the matter: I have a Lenovo X200 tablet. It's convertible, I can use it as a tablet or laptop. I sacrifice nothing to have tablet functionality except for screen real estate which isn't necessary in-class. At home I hook it up to an external 24" monitor. Why not get a Mac (and I love Macs too)? Easy, OneNote, and they don't make a tablet. If you take the time to learn how to use MS OneNote, it will drastically simplify and organize your note-taking and research. Dell makes a tablet btw.

I use my tablet to:
1. Mark up .ppt and .pdf notes without having to type
2. Record oral notes and .mp3 recordings of class summaries I listen to in the car, it has a dual array microphone that's great for this
3. Study while standing, pacing, or walking around the neighborhood late at night, no backlit keyboard necessary...I love to do this, so it's kind of a personal thing I suppose. But, you don't have to be sitting to use it effectively like laptops. This is a big deal when pulling 8hr study days.
4. Read electronic documents one whole page at a time turning the pages with a pen-flick
5. Nearly eliminate the need for paper notes, binders, notebooks, etc. I'm about 90% paper-free, everything is accessible, searchable, etc. in OneNote, Adobe, or Powerpoint.

Check the web, there are lots of resources available from people who have and use tablets in health profession schools. Some even require them.
like i mentioned, im hesitant on getting a mac bc ive never owned 1, & bc some students have said that they go thru some hassles to make the files from school to work on their mac's. im pretty sure in 5-10 years, everyone is just gonna start making everything compatible with both PC and Mac, i just dont think theyre at that point right now. to be honest, i think macs are great bc you dont have to worry about viruses, and bc they're more simple to use.

whether i get a laptop or tablet, the 1st thing im going to do is learn how to use OneNote. Everyone---and i mean everyone!---has recommended learning this program b4 you start school. its made a lot of ppls lives way easier in regards to note taking.

i got some questions for you.
1) what do you mean by "Mark up" in #1?
2) does DELL have laptops that allow you to record lectures like you mentioned in #2? i tried searching their website, but nothing came up. also, what about video recording the lectures? is that possible with normal laptops?
 
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dds2013

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I'm not completely sure about this, but don't some dental schools require that you get a certain type of laptop or OS? You might want to check with your school on that.
Thanks for pointing that out. my school actually just said to buy a laptop with requirements, and almost all the laptops currently made satisfied those requirements.
 

doc3232

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Feb 15, 2008
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Trust me...don't get a tablet.
With the money you save by not buying a tablet, you can upgrade your laptop a lot. If you want to know where to get a good deal, PM me.
 

BiomajorPreDent

Senior Member
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Dec 18, 2008
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Find out about specific laptop requirements of the school

stick to a regular pc, not a tablet or a mac

use pen and paper for stuff you have to write yourself
 
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dds2013

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Find out about specific laptop requirements of the school

stick to a regular pc, not a tablet or a mac

use pen and paper for stuff you have to write yourself
thanks for the advice, but can you please explain why do you think i should get a laptop and not a tablet? ive never owned a tablet, which is why i want to hear what you have to say.
 

solzont

10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2009
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Oregon
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The best part is...neither have they (ever owned a tablet), so they really can only speculate the "why" of their answers. Now when I say tablet, I mean the convertible type not those worthless slate things (e.g. motion).

Contrary to the popular opinion here, the tablet is very fast and more capable than a laptop for school use. Seriously, unless you're trying to turn it into a gaming machine, or video editing workstation, it's very quick. Are you buying an entertainment center or a serious learning tool for school?

Yes, they do cost more than standard, similarly equipped laptops. This is due to volume of sales. Most people are still hooked on entertainment-centric laptops because they're great for general public use and most of the world is familiar with being somewhat effective at getting work done on them. Tablets are newer, focussed on certain market segments (education, medical services, industrial and business). My tablet, with me at the helm, will outperform anyone here on this forum with their laptop at education-centric tasks. Why? Because I know how to use it; I'm highly computer literate, and well practiced in its use.

I'm in a compressed 3yr PharmD program, I don't care to waste my time playing games, dragging pixels in large photoshop data files, or video editing. If you lived around the block I'd show ya. As it is you're going to have to turn to the web at which point you'll find three types of people.

1. Own tablet & love it.
2. Had tablet, never learned how to use it...damn it won't play Crysis?...my WoW shadows aren't perfect! Fail!...sold it.
3. Never had a tablet, just have a laptop, but you should get a laptop

You want to be "comfortable" but inefficient, play games, dole out uninformed advice about tablets, print out any notes you have to draw or do math on, and type all the time, get a laptop.

A tablet is risk free. If you're too lazy to learn to leverage its strengths, you can use it as a laptop. There's really no risk here, though you will spend more.

Get on the web son. It's obvious you haven't done much research.
 

sajjy

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Sep 25, 2007
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Get a laptop and save that huge chunk on tablet, unless your parents are paying for it and you dont have to worry about loans and money.
My school doesnt have any requirements. I bought one from bestbuy for $499. Dell 14" T4200, 4GB RAM and 320GB hard drive with inbuilt cam and mic. I do not think we will be doing rocket science or rocket designing in dental school, so this will be a good deal for DS.