Here at HackCollege, I’d say that we’re pretty partial to the iPad and how it can help students in many of their classes. We’ve discussed the iPad and textbooks. And iPads in lectures. And iPads and homework. And just iPads and college in general. I think we can safely say that HackCollege is pretty much obsessed with iPads.

But what about other tablets? Do they stand up to the success of iPads in the college atmosphere?

Jumping on the coattails of the iPad, several different companies are now producing tablets catered to students, hoping to entice them with their promises of easier studying, saving money, and of course something shiny and new to play with. Two of the most talked about up-and-coming tablets aimed at students are the Kno and Dell’s Inspiron Duo.

Now, I do not own an iPad. I’m not even a MacHead. The only Apple product I own is my iPod, and it’s not even an iPod touch. So I consider myself fairly unbiased to the whole tablet debate. Other HackCollege writers have already done their job reviewing the iPad for the college atmosphere, and so I’ll do the same for these two products as well.

The Kno is currently available for purchase, but at a price that will make most students shy away immediately. The single screen Kno will cost you $599. An iPad is currently set at $499. But you can get the very tempting dual screen tablet for a whopping $899. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell do not have an extra $900 lying around to go buy myself a spiffy new tablet. The Kno is basically only marketing itself exclusively to students. Check out their website. “Your next textbook is not a textbook. The Kno Tablet textbook revolutionizes how you learn.” On one hand, because their market is smaller than that of the iPad, it makes sense that they’re going to have to raise the costs. On the other hand, college students are certainly not the group of people who are going to spend their spare thousand dollars on a fancy textbook.

(And just as a side note, do companies really think they’re fooling us by calling it $899 and not $900? It’s only a dollar. You’re not kidding anyone.)

In addition, Apple has been around since the dinosaurs, right? I mean, people know Apple products. We trust them. We love our little iPods. I, for one, would be more willing to pay less money for a product from a trusted company that’s been churning out good products for quite some time rather than spending twice as much money to a company that I don’t know about.

Furthermore, what do you do with a Kno after you graduate? You just spent a thousand dollars on this thing, and you’re only going to use it for four years? Granted, you’ll probably be able to use it in graduate school and maybe for keeping track of projects and notes for your job. But for such an expensive piece of technology, I’m not sure it’d be worth it for me to buy something I will only use during college. At least other tablets, the iPad included, have infinite uses that are not just confined to schoolwork.

As much as I would want to buy a Kno, with its beautiful dual screens and oh-so-tempting organization apps, I’m not sure I would invest that much money into it. It claims to save money, and while many of the textbooks they offer do seem cheaper than hard copy textbooks, many others of them are still upwards of $80. Their selection range of books seems fairly large, but what if you need a book that’s not in their selection? You just paid a thousand dollars, and now you have to pay a hundred more because your text book isn’t there? For me, the benefits just don’t outweigh the costs, which is really unfortunate because I really want that dual-screen tablet. It’s just so pretty.

Moving on.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to say about Dell’s Inspiron Duo. According to fairly vague reports, the part-laptop, part-tablet is due out sometime at the end of this year. Other than that, we know that the promo videos make it look pretty darn cool. We also know that it’s 10″ and powered by Windows 7.

“What makes the Inspiron duo unique is its dual personality – it transforms seamlessly between a tablet that delivers an immersive entertainment experience to an ulta-mobile laptop with a keyboard enabling instant productivity on the go,” says a spokesperson from Dell.

Since we don’t have a lot of other information about the tablet and since it’s not even on the market yet, there’s not a whole lot to go on as far as if this piece of technology will be helpful to students. However, I’m willing to bet that this tablet/laptop duo will be more widespread than the more narrowly tailored Kno because it can be used by people other than students. However, since the pricing for the Inspiron Duo isn’t known, cost may drive students away from this product too.

All in all, I think that if the Kno wasn’t so expensive, I would definitely consider putting my money towards it. For college, it seems like a pretty neat gadget to have. However, thinking longterm, I feel like I would be more likely to purchase an iPad. Although it may not cater specifically to students with organization and software like the Kno, there are many apps available to help students use their iPad to its fullest potential.

What do you think about these two tablets that are trying to market to students? Which would you purchase and why? Let us know in the comments!

[via Gizmodo, Gizmodo, and PC Mag]