In a word, the iPad is awesome. It is replacing laptops in corporate boardrooms, books in classrooms, and even entertaining children, especially during long trips across country whether by car, plane, or train. However, the iPad duplicates function and form that can be found on many other types of devices. iPad users can play music the same way as they listen on other iOS devices (such as the iPod), and email can be read on other Mac OS platforms with devices such as the MacBook Air. Other tablets are emerging that are much more cost-effective — especially if the only features you may desire are to read a book in bed or check Facebook from the comfort of your living room. Do you really have a reason to buy an iPad 2? Here are four reasons you don’t really need an iPad 2.

You Don’t Have the Money

Let’s face it: Unless you live quite comfortably, the iPad 2 is a luxury for most everyone in the world. A 64 GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G can cost $829 — which is more than twice what just my monthly rent was in college. When Chris Pirillo asked his followers on Google+ what might prohibit them from buying an iPad 2, many users responded that price was the primary pain point. Bob Ress said: “I think having no [money] is a pretty good reason [not to buy an iPad 2].” If you have a need for an iPad 2, such as a plan for transitioning to using the iPad 2 in lieu of a laptop and a tablet and a smartphone, the investment may be literally worth it despite the financial burden. However, you may want to reconsider spending the money on a gadget you just don’t have the funds for and sticking with the plethora of devices you already have — even if the quantity is a burden. If you’re living off loans in school, paying off school loans (or other debt), or are living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to save your money to pay for more essential necessities — at least for now.

You Have a MacBook

Four Reasons You Don't Really Need an iPadIf you already own a MacBook — especially a MacBook Air — you likely don’t also need an iPad 2. A MacBook Air performs many of the same functions as the iPad 2, including the option to utilize apps, listen to music, watch videos, and generally get things done. Some users familiar with both options, like Jeremy Kalinowski, mentioned on Google+ that the “MacBook Air can do more and is better for typing.” He agrees that, contrary to some popular opinion, the MacBook Air is actually better to use on the go for those seeking productivity rather than just casual browsing. The size is also very comparable, as both are equally portable; I’ve been able to carry my MacBook Air covertly in my purse for months (even out to bars at night). Though the MacBook obviously lacks the 3G option that some iPad 2 owners choose, this problem can be solved by using the MacBook with Wi-Fi or using a personal hotspot (more on that below).

…And You Also Have an iPhone

How different is the iPhone from the iPad 2? Aside from form and some function, the difference you will experience depends entirely on, well, how you will use each iOS device, as well as what other devices you own. If your only portable device is an iPhone, and the rest of your fleet of “technology” consists of desktop computers, landlines, and printed books, an iPad 2 may be a good investment (that is, if you can afford it). However, if you have a MacBook and also an iPhone, there is really no reason for an iPad, as you will get nearly every feature oaf the iPad wherever you are, whenever you need it. If you are in a place where you can’t use your MacBook, you likely would not be able to use your iPad 2, either (such as in the car or other small quarters). On Google+, LockerGnome community member Wolfe Tiel advised that “If you own a smartphone, a Wacom, a desktop, a PS3/Xbox/or Wii, and at least one netbook/laptop all at the same time, [you] should not bother with an iPad.” Your iPhone also features a personal hotspot function, which allows you to use Wi-Fi on your MacBook (or other laptop) anytime and anywhere you have 3G service, eradicating your need for an iPad just for those reasons.

You Already Have a Kindle or a Nook

Are you one of the millions of people buying a Kindle every week? The Amazon Kindle and its primary competition, the Nook tablet made by Barnes & Noble, are simple tablets compared to the iPad; they’re designed primarily for reading books, magazines, and using apps like Facebook and playing Angry Birds. Though these simple tablets can be rooted to run a “normal” Android OS, Kindles and Nooks offer many features that most consumers seem to desire from a tablet. If you already have a Kindle or Nook, an iPad 2 may unnecessarily duplicate the features you are looking for an a tablet. If you’re in the market for a personal device or tablet with more features, you may want to consider a MacBook or other PC with options such as USB ports or an HDMI outlet — both of which the iPad lacks. Google+ user Micah Francisco points out that the iPad lacks the critical feature for data transfer, which is important for most Internet users.

All said, the iPad 2 does have a place for some users. As mentioned earlier, in addition to some parents and schools, many businesspeople are finding the iPad 2 useful.

Did you purchase an iPad 2 this year? Do you think you really need it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.