If you are unsure, have you considered buying a cheap 7″ Android tablet, to see how much utility it would give you?
I got one as a ‘toy’ a few months ago and it’s great for reading online newspapers, quick surfing etc.
I’m happy to stick with this, but if you found it useful, you could then get an iPad safe in the knowledge your investment is worthwhile.
Mine was about 60GBP, delivered, from ebay – it certainly is not as well built or capable as an iPad (the biggest differnence is perhaps in the huge amoutn of apps for the iPad) , but it does exactly what it says on the tin and my wife has just asked fo a similar one for Xmas, for the same type of use.
CMBurchardt says he has a Samsung Galaxy tab, which looks like a quality version of mine!