Poll: iPhone, iPad, or PC for browsing the web?

What's your absolute favorite device for browsing the web -- iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or your Mac or Windows PC? I'm a little torn myself.

The iPhone is great when I'm out and about and have no other options, but it's small and doesn't support Flash, and it's not a fast experience.

iPad is big and beautiful and I love it for reading and relaxing but it also doesn't support Flash and I can't type on it as fast as I need to for things like blogging here on TiPb.

My 11-inch MacBook Air is portable but not really mobile, so I don't have it always when I need it, but when I do it can handle every kind of web page imaginable and has a keyboard so I can easily whip up posts like this.

(We have an iMac in the house, but I almost never use it.)

If you had to pick one -- if you were stranded on Internet Survivor Island and could have only a single device with you for browsing the web -- what would it be, iPhone, iPad, or PC?

Vote up in the poll and tell me why in the comments! I'll reveal my answer on the next podcast!

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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Reader comments

Poll: iPhone, iPad, or PC for browsing the web?

48 Comments

i have only had my ipad for less than 2 weeks but already it is my go to web browser, it used to be my laptop but its too bulky, especially in the evenings on the sofa, now i dont even unpack my laptop when i get home from work, its straight onto the ipad.
Laptop only comes out when i need to sync

I have blocked Flash on all of my computers for almost a decade now. It is a non-issue. If a site requires Flash, I simply use a different site. There are so many options now that you only lose business by requiring Flash. I always send an email to the sitet though. Used to be I would either get no reply, or get a "thank you but we won't change" reply. But since the popularity of the iPhone and iPad these last couple years I have noticed sites are starting to reply with "a non-Flash site is in the works". So the future looks bright!

I picked other as I use the Powerful, Portable, BlackBerry PlayBook. That way I can take advantage of the WHOLE internet and still be using a tablet that will fit in my pocket, just saying... But either way, nothing beats a MacBook Pro or full computer for surfing the web...

iPhone on the go/out and about, tethered Cr-48 ChromeOS notebook when I'm needing a more thorough experience and a hybrid Windows PC/Cr-48 at home or the office.

I picked other because I use my Droid X most of the time, even around the house. The screen is big enough for most web browsing and it supports flash when I need it. Its mostly the convenience of being able to use it one handed since I have small children.

Interesting that you would even be reading, let alone commenting on "The iPhone Blog: the #1 iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch blog". Welcome! Everyone is welcome here!

My home pc has become obsolete. I only use it to sync my idevices and store my files. When I'm home, I use my iPad exclusively for web browsing. Obviously, I use my iPhone for browsing on the go. At work, I use the pc a little more often for browsing, but that's only when I'm sitting at my desk working on something.
My idevices have completely reshaped the way I browse and consume information...and watch TV. I forgot to mention that I use my apple tv for YouTube and netflix just about as much as I use my cable box. It's hard to believe that before I got an iPhone 1 in dec. of 2007, I hadn't owned even an iPod. Now I'm saving up for a MacBook pro.

"When I’m home, I use my iPad exclusively for web browsing... I use my iPhone for browsing on the go... At work, I use the pc..."

So, you'd use all of them on the island, even though you could only have one of them. Got it.

Behind desk: Chrome on MacBookPro 15". At home or travel: BlackBerry PlayBook*, lightweight on the run ;-) : iPhone4 /BlackBerry Torch
*and sorry, but indeed for the flash integration.

As much as I like her polls, I am starting to see a trend with them all. She types like how she would talk in a real life conversation. Do not get me wrong, I am no where near perfect myself.

In studies, most people will type like they talk. You can almost tell of the author was the person writing, if you have enough known samples of their work.

I have an iPad and think it's great but not the best for web browsing. I am constantly annoyed by websites where the scroll function is messed up and the whole "two-finger" drag does not work as well as you'd think. It is almost more irritable trying to get the multi-touch dragging to work than not at all. I still prefer my Windows-based browsing or my OSX or Linux

Before buying an iPad Touch, I was on the computer daily checking emails, and searching. I now only use it may be once a week. Everything else can be done on the iPod. I am waiting for the iPhone 5, and will also get the current iPad 2 or 3. Off subject, when is apple going to drop the numbers? In the distant future, will there be an iPhone 15, or iPad 27? I guess by then it will just be called the iPhone, or iPad.

Georgia- Seriously, who gives a crap about flash. I don't even want to hear about how the iPad doesn't support it.
I prefer the iPad for browsing.

Productivity decrease when using ipad for web browsing.. its great for news, but tasks take longer when using it for web.. not to mention its slooooooower..

I love these people who say oh i dont use flash its not a need ur right its not needed buy its for sure a want i wont get the ipad because it dosent have flash end of story and i know alot of people who agree just not isheep

I simply hate flash. Always have. Since long before I ever touched an Apple product - so it has nothing to do with being iSheep.
It is visually unappealing. It is processor hungry (even on Windows PCs). It is used by people who should not be designing applications, and as such almost every Flash app violates user interface guidelines. Flash ads are distracting and un-needed. Flash has many security concerns, and poor privacy tools. Flash content for websites rarely follow standard interface paradigms making each website more confusing for novice users (like grandma and grandpa). Flash is not ADA compliant, and works poorly with screen readers or color-blindness settings. Flash does not allow for proper indexing and search-ability. Flash is a proprietary format controlled by a single company (Adobe).
Anything that can be done in Flash can be done in HTML 5.
Flashblock is an old, established, and well appreciated and highly used browser plugin - having nothing to do with iProducts. The only thing I am thankful for from the iProducts is that they have made not using Flash mainstream.
Seems to me like the only "sheep" are the ones who blindly latch on to Flash because it has "Farmville" or whatever (even though the iProducts have like 100,000 just as useless time wasters).

"Flash is a proprietary format controlled by a single company (Adobe)."
iOs is a proprietary system controlled by a single company (Apple).
That is how the world works...

iOS is an operating system, required to use an iDevice. Flash is a web product expected to be used by anyone anywhere on any device. Completely different situations.
Flash has an open and standard alternative in HTML 5. iOS, and even Android in very specific flavours are required to run hardware.
You can use a website with any device, but you can't run an iPad with any OS. If you don't like iOS you are free to buy a different product. But websites are in the business of attracting users - and the best way to do that is with standardized and compatible technologies.

"You can use a website with any device"
I can't use a Flash website with a device that doesn't support Flash. And since more devices support Flash than don't and most non-tech businesses don't care to spend more money on redundant development than they have to, a lot of web sites still only offer Flash interactive media.

After 2 years of browsing on iDevices®, I can sincerely say that lack of Flash has never been a big deal with respect to what I normally do on-line. Have I hit a few sites what I got a "you need Flash" notice? Sure, but not on any site I really wanted or needed to access.
I have a Windows PC and I accept the numerous Flash updates that pop up every few days (I'm a slave to any update), but I've never once run to that computer to see what I was missing by not having Flash on my iPad. Maybe if I played a lot of on-line Flash based games I would feel different, but until someone points me to a site filled with Flash required awesomness, I'll continue to roll my eyes every time someone says "but you don't have Flash". Yeah I do (on my PC), and it's even the latest version, but I honestly don't care.

One thing I feel is that the iPad was a product that no one knew what it was or how to use it. iOS 3 and iOS 4 were predominantly iPhone and iPod oriented and as such combined with the newness of the iPad - made it kind of a strange thing. However the iPad took off like gangbusters.
I am pretty sure that iOS 5 will have a much better feel for where it wants to be, especially with regard to pad type devices. We are just now starting to understand how a pad device like the iPad (or competitors) can and will be used - and what it is good for. So the OSs and the apps will start to come into their own this next year and they will be MUCH more stiff competition for the PC.
Additionally, our company is now developing all of our web products with iOS as part of the core strategy and design. This was something we hadn't done before this year. Our previous versions of web products bordered on unusable on iOS or Android platforms but our new products in the pipeline now will be fully designed for the new "mobile" space. I bet a lot of companies are doing the same - and as such we will see the usability of devices like an iPad get better and better, and the need for most users to have a PC will diminish. As it is pretty much the only thing I do on my PC anymore is work and photo organization+storage.

11 in. Macbook Air... No matter how much ppl hate flash, it is everywhere. Until that changes, I cannot have an iPad. I only really use my iphone browser for quick google searches

If you want it to be more obvious when you're "running into" Flash you could set your browser to not auto-load page plugins. My browser shows a "play" button for every Flash element on a page and requires me to click that button to actually load the element.

South park studios, espn, cnn...3 sites I always am on 3 sites that use flash in one way or another

I will always use my imac or macbook pro for more power browsing. And my iphone or ipad for quick of lighter browsing.

Well, if I were really stranded on an island, chances are I'd have no reception (as there'd be no cell towers) and no way to charge up my iPhone's battery, so it'd be kinda pointless to have it with me for any real length of time, except maybe to signal a passing plane or ship (There's probably an app for that too. LOL). But assuming I could still get a signal and charge it up somehow (like maybe with a solar charger), it'd have to be my iPhone 4, as it's the only device I have. Since I've had it, I don't even use my 24" iMac that much anymore, as I do the vast majority of my web browsing and e-mailing on my iPhone when I'm out and about. AT&T provides pretty solid reception in my area, so my browsing speeds over 3G are plenty quick enough. So my iMac has become relegated to being a big docking station (a "home base," if you like) for my iPhone, for synching with iTunes, watching something on the big screen (when I actually have time to!), or doing the heavy-duty stuff my iPhone simply can't do as well or efficiently, e.g. editing long documents, video, audio, & photos. I've ended up using my iPhone for way more things than I ever thought I would, so my iMac tends to sit unused for a week or more, and I end up having to dust it off. LOL Now I'm seriously considering selling it and replacing it with a MacBook Pro, since it's portable and outperforms my nearly 3-year-old iMac anyway. Later...
PEACE

She did mention you would be stranded on an island with internet.
But if we WERE talking about being stranded on a deserted island and what we'd want I'd have to say a sat phone with GPS link and solar charging panel so I can be found easily!

Oh, OK. I guess that was implied by "Internet Survivor Island." Got it... And yeah, a sat phone with GPS and a solar charger would be ideal for that kind of situation.

Was the point of splitting up the different PC operating system options to fice the iPad an artificial lead? Otherwise, if you were going to do that you should have at least thrown in Android Tablets as an option.

With only one to choose from, I'd have to take the Mac. I bounce back and forth between tabs and windows frequently, and neither the iPad nor the iPhone do that well (nor are they trying to). Flash is a bonus, I suppose, but not a big deal either way for me.
Like macboy15, I use my Mac for "power" browsing, and iDevices for lighter tasks. I am actually surprised by how little I use my iPad even for those lighter tasks -- it is better browsing experience than my iPhone, to be sure, but most of the time, when I am away from my computer, I already have my iPhone in my pocket, and I can do what I want to do on it well enough that I do not bother to go over and pick up the iPad.

Exactly; I'm away from my iMac most of the time, and I almost always have my iPhone with me, so I do the bulk of my web browsing and e-mailing on it. If I had an iPad, I'd use it more than my iMac as it's portable, but I'd still end up using my iPhone more than the iPad as it's almost always with me in my holster.

Put MAC, PC, and Linux together in 1 desktop/laptop category vs the others, and the desktop/laptop wins vs ipad.

I think the answer splinters into task related directions and will evolve over time as this is really becoming more of an app issue. For news/information the iPad is hands down winner. I use News360 and Flipboard a lot...makes scanning for articles easy and the iPad allows me read away from home, in the kitchen, during my daily constitutional, everywhere. But for general browser related searches/surfing, the desktop/laptop is much easier...larger screen to accommodate the page better and a real keyboard.
Bottom line is that we are an impatient society that yearns to be spoiled and will flip allegiance to the app/device that gives us the biggest warm and fuzzy. I think that iOS will evolve along with its apps and within the near future the desktop/laptop will become the specialized device that Jobs talked about a year ago. Add voice-to-text as an input option and there will no turning back from the iPad...though it will be another one of those devices that has us all walking about like homeless people mumbling to ourselves. Better yet, the brain implant that lets us communicate directly with all our devices....I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

I use my PC and it's mostly because alot of websites do not function properly on my iPhone. I can't even vote in this poll on my iPhone. I only use my iPhone when not around a computer and it will probably be like that for a long time.

I chose other simply because I will surf on whatever device is handy. If I'm sitting at my iMac I use my it. The same goes for the iPad. If I'm completely mobile I use my iPhone. The iPhone is my least favorite way to surf. The iPad has spoiled me in that regard.

Definitely PC, for now at least. I would love to say the ipad, but there are so many compatibility issues, mainly flash. Im quite tired of not being able to view a website because of what they use, and I hate that apple expects the world to convert to their preferences. The web offers a wide variety of formats for many things, and I hate that the ipad is only compatible with some of them.

To all the people who still claim to be dependent on flash: apparently, youporn works a treat on iPad, no flash required.

You guys must not have the need to type while surfing the web. Because if you did you'd realize that the best way to surf is a pc or mac..or eventually a chromebook. I think people are forcing it to confesss their love for the ipad. The greatest thing about the ipad is ease of use of the tablet optimized apps. The layouts are beautiful and functional but its definitely not better for surfing the web

I have had my iPhone for a couple of years and my iPad for only a few months now, but I'm kinda annoyed at myself for preferring my phone for web browsing when both devices are in front of me. It's just easier, less of a commitment if that makes any sense. :/