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ToughLuck

What is everybody using at med school?

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Hi guys,

 

So I will be starting school next year (yay!) and I am trying to figure out what kind of computer I should get...

I am pretty torn between the surface pro and the ipad pro, as I really like the idea of being able to write my notes with a pencil on my screen.

Does anyone have experience with these products as a medical student?

Also, what kind of apps does everyone use at med school? Specifically med related apps - i.e. anatomy, note taking, etc.

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My school supplies an iPad Mini because all the notes are in iBook form. I personally never use it unless I really need to since I find it inconvenient to work and write on (even with a keyboard case) so my #1 device is my laptop (and desktop computer when I'm home). Out of these two, I'd definitely go for the Surface Pro since Windows is much more useful than iOS IMO. An even better choice, if you definitely want a tablet option, would be the Surface Book since it offers an actual keyboard but it is more expensive so that's your call at this point, really depends on how much you type.

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1 hour ago, ToughLuck said:

Hi guys,

 

So I will be starting school next year (yay!) and I am trying to figure out what kind of computer I should get...

I am pretty torn between the surface pro and the ipad pro, as I really like the idea of being able to write my notes with a pencil on my screen.

Does anyone have experience with these products as a medical student?

Also, what kind of apps does everyone use at med school? Specifically med related apps - i.e. anatomy, note taking, etc.

iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil and notability will be all you need to take notes and study from.

Edit: if you already have a functioning laptop then the iPad should suffice. If you require a full on computer I'd probably move towards the surface as it can do both tableting and computering.

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Most people in medical school use apple products, usually its a Macbook. A minority use PC laptops, i rarely see anyone just use a tablet. I know one person who uses a surface pro. 

 

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The Surface Pro is incredibly glitchy. In concept, it's great, in practice, not so much.

I recommend Macbook for pre-clinical studies and perhaps an iPad (or maybe just a large mobile phone) for the wards.

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Congratulations!! 

Most people in my class, myself included, use a MacBook. A few have PC laptops, and quite a few use a Surface Pro. Maybe 1 or 2 people in my class use an iPad, but I think they also have laptops. 

I have heard that the surface pro can be especially useful in clerkship during rotations. I’m not sure how many people find this to be true, but hopefully someone can comment. :) 

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10 hours ago, MD_2021 said:

The Surface Pro is incredibly glitchy. In concept, it's great, in practice, not so much.

I recommend Macbook for pre-clinical studies and perhaps an iPad (or maybe just a large mobile phone) for the wards.

I'm also wondering about the practicality and usefulness of using a tablet/Ipad on the wards!

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I really like my surface pro and I don't find it glitchy at all. I don't find ipads that useful. I had one during pre-clerkship. It was nice to have all my textbooks electronically on my ipad. But once I was in clerkship, I never used my ipad. I have all the apps/references that I need on my phone for clerkship.

The surface pro is a good option if you want to be able to draw and write notes here and there. I mostly type my notes on a pdf editor. I would not recommend writing  all notes by hand on ipad/surface pro.. too time consuming and less legible. I really like how light and portable the surface pro is. Great for studying during public transport, because you can pull off the keyboard and use it like a tablet. The surface pro is better than a tablet because you have the full functionality of a laptop. With the ipad, I hated that I couldn't transfer documents onto a USB and that it took longer to load webpages on safari.

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29 minutes ago, yup said:

I'm also wondering about the practicality and usefulness of using a tablet/Ipad on the wards!

ipads are standard issue here at Ottawa (at least historically) as you can use them on the wards for all manner of things. You have to have the right software - something that is designed to work with that type of device but if you do it can be very powerful.

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I second what Gangliocystoma has mentioned -- if you already have a fully functional PC or Mac, then I would go for the iPad Pro / new iPad that supports Apple Pencil.

If not, I would go with the Surface Pro which is a full functional OS. 

The iPad's iOS is limited to Apps found in the App Store, and you may end up spending quite a bit for several note taking apps just to find one that fits your style/liking.

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On 4/23/2018 at 9:56 AM, JohnGrisham said:

A laptop with a good PDF editor. The hype of iPads and surfaces died quick. PC or Mac doesn't matter, just spring for a good PDF editor

Do you have a recommendation for a good PDF editor?

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I am tempted by the new iPad pro but I have a functional macbook (going on 6 years, still speedy, battery life is max. 3 hours though). I guess I'm hesitant because my laptop might only have another 2 years and I don't think the iPad pro can fully replace a laptop. Any suggestions?

I also on study exclusively on the computer; I don't print off powerpoints, just type notes and highlight PDFs. 

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On 4/23/2018 at 11:59 AM, rmorelan said:

ipads are standard issue here at Ottawa (at least historically) as you can use them on the wards for all manner of things. You have to have the right software - something that is designed to work with that type of device but if you do it can be very powerful.

But the hospital is set up to be fully integrated with the iPads which is why it works so well. 

The utility of a tablet completely depends on your hospital. 

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47 minutes ago, NLengr said:

But the hospital is set up to be fully integrated with the iPads which is why it works so well. 

The utility of a tablet completely depends on your hospital. 

absolutely - it is actually kind of amazing they are so organized here. 

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7 hours ago, NLengr said:

But the hospital is set up to be fully integrated with the iPads which is why it works so well. 

The utility of a tablet completely depends on your hospital. 

 

6 hours ago, rmorelan said:

absolutely - it is actually kind of amazing they are so organized here. 

Yes and yes, if your school provides iPads/tablets or even just software that can be loaded onto tablets for use on ward, you should go for it. Our school provided iPads with the hospital VPN and the hospital EMR on them and I found mine to be critically useful even though I'd never used a tablet before or since.

That being said, a good friend of mine and I have different approaches re: computing devices in med school and I think we represent sort of archetypal cases so I'll describe:

I was someone who did pretty much no work outside of the curriculum, i.e. no research, no side hustle, no nothing - just clinical work at the hospital and regular personal use at home. For this purpose I found it most ideal (and still do) to use my phone for in-hospital duties, a cheap PC laptop for note-taking in school, and a fully built PC desktop at home. For personal use I am someone who values price : computing power so it's PC > Mac for me any day. When I'm at home I don't need portability so it makes most sense to have a desktop, for which PCs are ideal since you can build your own and save costs/better specs. You can build Hackintoshes but you are essentially stuffing a Mac into a PC and it eats up computing power.

My friend was someone who did extensive research work as well as other work on the side, always on the go, multitasking constantly. He needed a machine that would be portable since he needed to work everywhere, with battery life to last him a whole day of research outside and durability so that his work wouldn't get lost with some freak BSOD. No PC can provide all of that at the same time, so he went with a Macbook. My friend didn't own a desktop because a) it is a hassle to transfer files for research in between desktop <-> laptop and b) his laptop was good enough to handle everything even at home and c) he didn't game or use other resource-intensive programs that need a desktop setup.

Each to his own, but if you fall close to either of our situations, you might benefit from our respective choices.

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I've tried both and found that the iPad Pro has better hardware (Apple Pencil, longer battery, better display) and software (Notability, and although the surface has desktop Microsoft office with full features, I prefer the simpler mobile versions). 

With the iPad Pro, I was torn between using Notability vs OneNote. Notability has superior annotation, functional auto-sync to pdf, OneNote has better organization, infinite scroll in both x and y planes. So rather than choosing a compromise, I've ended up using both: Notability for in-class notes and OneNote for studying. Let me demonstrate what that looks like:

Downloading the pdf/lecture file is easier on iPad (vs laptops) because you open it in the browser and tap "Open in Notability". This iniates multiple steps at once; it downloads the file, opens it in Notability, creates a pdf back-up in google drive that gets updated in real time as you take notes. All with one click. After class you get this:

KX0jpO6.jpg

Then after class, you just tap the share button on the top left corner and with one tap save it in OneNote. Later when you're studying, you'll have room the ability to add additional subpages if necessary (Notability doesn't have this, see example below) and make additional comments/add resources on the side (see example below). You can also still annotate further:

oOHfT6i.jpg

This system has worked beautifully for me so far. Let me know if you have any questions!

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3 minutes ago, Sauna said:

I've tried both and found that the iPad Pro has better hardware (Apple Pencil, longer battery, better display) and software (Notability, and although the surface has desktop Microsoft office with full features, I prefer the simpler mobile versions). 

With the iPad Pro, I was torn between using Notability vs OneNote. Notability has superior annotation, functional auto-sync to pdf, OneNote has better organization, infinite scroll in both x and y planes. So rather than choosing a compromise, I've ended up using both: Notability for in-class notes and OneNote for studying. Let me demonstrate what that looks like:

Downloading the pdf/lecture file is easier on iPad (vs laptops) because you open it in the browser and tap "Open in Notability". This iniates multiple steps at once; it downloads the file, opens it in Notability, creates a pdf back-up in google drive that gets updated in real time as you take notes. All with one click. After class you get this:

KX0jpO6.jpg

Then after class, you just tap the share button on the top left corner and with one tap save it in OneNote. Later when you're studying, you'll have room the ability to add additional subpages if necessary (Notability doesn't have this, see example below) and make additional comments/add resources on the side (see example below). You can also still annotate further:

oOHfT6i.jpg

This system has worked beautifully for me so far. Let me know if you have any questions!

That's beautiful. 

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1 hour ago, Sauna said:

I've tried both and found that the iPad Pro has better hardware (Apple Pencil, longer battery, better display) and software (Notability, and although the surface has desktop Microsoft office with full features, I prefer the simpler mobile versions). 

With the iPad Pro, I was torn between using Notability vs OneNote. Notability has superior annotation, functional auto-sync to pdf, OneNote has better organization, infinite scroll in both x and y planes. So rather than choosing a compromise, I've ended up using both: Notability for in-class notes and OneNote for studying. Let me demonstrate what that looks like:

Downloading the pdf/lecture file is easier on iPad (vs laptops) because you open it in the browser and tap "Open in Notability". This iniates multiple steps at once; it downloads the file, opens it in Notability, creates a pdf back-up in google drive that gets updated in real time as you take notes. All with one click. After class you get this:

KX0jpO6.jpg

Then after class, you just tap the share button on the top left corner and with one tap save it in OneNote. Later when you're studying, you'll have room the ability to add additional subpages if necessary (Notability doesn't have this, see example below) and make additional comments/add resources on the side (see example below). You can also still annotate further:

oOHfT6i.jpg

This system has worked beautifully for me so far. Let me know if you have any questions!

This is amazing, I will 100% be doing this.  Thank you.

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13 hours ago, Sauna said:

I've tried both and found that the iPad Pro has better hardware (Apple Pencil, longer battery, better display) and software (Notability, and although the surface has desktop Microsoft office with full features, I prefer the simpler mobile versions). 

With the iPad Pro, I was torn between using Notability vs OneNote. Notability has superior annotation, functional auto-sync to pdf, OneNote has better organization, infinite scroll in both x and y planes. So rather than choosing a compromise, I've ended up using both: Notability for in-class notes and OneNote for studying. Let me demonstrate what that looks like:

Downloading the pdf/lecture file is easier on iPad (vs laptops) because you open it in the browser and tap "Open in Notability". This iniates multiple steps at once; it downloads the file, opens it in Notability, creates a pdf back-up in google drive that gets updated in real time as you take notes. All with one click. After class you get this:

KX0jpO6.jpg

Then after class, you just tap the share button on the top left corner and with one tap save it in OneNote. Later when you're studying, you'll have room the ability to add additional subpages if necessary (Notability doesn't have this, see example below) and make additional comments/add resources on the side (see example below). You can also still annotate further:

oOHfT6i.jpg

This system has worked beautifully for me so far. Let me know if you have any questions!

Wow I like this a lot. Do you use the 9, 10, or 12 inch iPad?

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I’ve been using One Note on iPad 10.5 inch with the Apple Pencil and its been the best thing ever. Lots of teachers just put random pictures and its really easy to just write some notes on the picture. You can save everything on an One Drive account (my school provides a free 1To storage) so you can access your written notes on any device, PC or Mac. Also, i find it quicker to take notes by hand since you naturally pick what you find more important instead of typing down the exact sentence the prof said... My notes or identical as the ones above with the subjects all lined on the side and the PDF copy/pasted in the One note file. 

only downside,  not so easy to transfer your notes to someone since the PDF conversion is not optimal...

i would give  it a 8,5/10

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1 hour ago, Cheers2life said:

only downside,  not so easy to transfer your notes to someone since the PDF conversion is not optimal...

That's the benefit of using Notability + OneNote combo. Notability will automatically create PDFs of every note and back it up on a cloud service of your choosing (I use Google drive because we get unlimited storage on the QMed drive).

3 hours ago, Doctorofmydreams said:

Wow I like this a lot. Do you use the 9, 10, or 12 inch iPad?

12.9 inch, only because it's much better for multi-tasking if you want to have 2-3 apps open at the same time, and there isn't that much difference in portability imo

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