iPad as a travel computer!

I know there are many reviews out there about using the iPad while travelling, here are my thoughts, based on recent trips where I’ve brought along my iPad.  First comment,  many these reviews were by written by people who don’t actually have an iPad, or have travelled around with it!  My experience extends from actually owning one, and taking it on the road with me.  My advice here, try not to knock something unless you’ve actually tried it!

I’ve been on several trips this year, Chicago, New York, and North Carolina.  The latest trip was to Raleigh for business, so I do have extensive experience on both personal and business trips that I can share with you.

I feel it’s important to communicate many of these benefits as travelling with the iPad really has changed what I take with me in terms of computer equipment when I travel.   Note that I have a 16GB WiFi iPad and the article is based on this model.

Size and Portability…
For anyone that has travelled with a laptop and had to lug it through security, will definitely love the weight and size of the iPad! Depending on the airport, it isn’t even required to take out the iPad when going through security, it can go through the scanner while still in your purse or laptop bag.   Given that the average laptop and adapter usually weighs around 4-5 pounds, the 1.5 pounds of the iPad is amazing in comparison.  I remember lugging my 12″ Powerbook through Asia 3 years ago, and it was labouring in comparison to throwing the iPad into my purse!  And since the power adapter is so small that doesn’t even add to the weight.

One thing I would like to add is that the battery power on the iPad really is around 8-10 hours.  I usually keep the screen brightness on a fairly low setting so not only does the battery last a really long time, I usually only recharge it a 2-3 times a week.

Have, or have not!
Okay now turning to what the iPad can and can’t do!  I find since getting the iPad, it really does replace many of the daily things I do with my laptop.  I frankly don’t use my Macbook Pro with the same frequency I used to.

I find watching videos, surfing the web, reading/writing emails, and entertainment in the form of games, books, and even writing notes is excellent on the iPad.  I love using it, and find that I do most of my research on the iPad for work and when developing lectures for my classes.  With that being said, the iPad cannot and would not be used for everything.  I bring this up because there is an argument that the iPad is not a really replacement for a laptop.  I build statistical models and do complex mathematical analysis for a living, but I could never fathom ever doing that on an iPad, nor would I ever try.  Even when I take my laptop with me on the road I don’t necessarily do all the tasks that I would do in the office, however I do a lot of the other things I would use my computer for like surfing the web, editing and writing documents, and reading articles.  Those who need to do other things on the road should take a laptop, but for the other 90% of things that can be otherwise done on an iPad, it’s a great alternative!  For me personally, things I would have needed a computer for while on the road, the iPad has worked great as an alternative!

The glare, I know some have commented on the glare of the screen, I haven’t had any issues with it, and really have been able to see at almost any angle.  Let’s be honest, while on the road you’ll be using the iPad on a plane, or in a hotel room where the lighting shouldn’t be an issue.  Although I do know for those of you using it outdoors there are some great anti-glares out there, such as:  Speck, and Incipio.

On to the on-screen keyboard.  I find for the limited amount of typing that I do that the on-screen keyboard is fine, especially for emails, and typing in URL addresses.  For lengthy write-ups such as this one, I would highly recommend a bluetooth keyboard. I’ve done quite a bit of research into this, and really like this one by iGo, the Stowaway Folding Bluetooth Keyboard.  Unfortunately iGo does not manufacture these anymore, but you can definitely still find them online, and it’s highly portable and really makes typing on a plane or on the go a breeze!

Useful Accessories and Apps..
I’ve already mentioned a few important accessories above, but a few others I think that warrant “happy travelling” are:

  • A good case, or something to keep the crumbs out!  I personally just have a ZAGG Shield on my iPad, and picked up an inexpensive portfolio type case to carry the iPad.

In conclusion..
On all my trips this year where I’ve had the iPad with me, it has made my flights and trips easier and more enjoyable.  I am a nervous flyer and hate planes, however with iPad I can truly say the flights went by quickly and I was more productive given the amount of things I can do with it!
It was great not having to bring down a huge laptop from the overhead compartment, and be able to keep it with me in my carry-on bag under my seat.

I am taking an extended trip to France, and India this coming December, on that trip I’ve decided to go as light as possible, but I will be taking my iPad, and a camera connection kit to upload pictures and blog while on the road!  I’ll provide a more in depth update then, but hopefully this little review will help out others that are considering taking their iPad on trips with them.

Disclaimer:  Above are my opinions I am not promoting any of the companies I’ve mentioned, only that the products have worked well for me!

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3 Responses

  1. Piano Lamp says:

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  3. Tyron Bonsal says:

    Well done for posting such a fascinating post. It’s well thought of and very well written.