Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

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Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby polishbiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:19 am

Heya,

One thing i wish i had on my last tour is a small device to keep a blog/journal/check the internet etc so now i am looking into something before the next trip.

Never used a tablet but they seem to be a popular choice nowadays.

Also considering one of the EEE PC mini laptops.

Not really sure what would work better, reading and comparing lots of equipment out there but cant really make a decision.

What do you tour with and why?

Thanks for your input
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by BNA » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:24 am

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:24 am

I initially started out with a netbook but on stage two I went with an Apple iPad (jailbreaked) and a bluetooth keyboard. I will stick to this formula for the foreseeable future unless I get an Asus tablet.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby RonK » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:52 am

I started out with a eee pc, but the tiny screen and trackpad, and poor performance was frustrating.

I now use a Macbook Air.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby AndrewBurns » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:21 am

I have an old Acer aspire one and a no-name 7" Chinese android tablet (Ainol Novo Aurora 7). The netbook is great but for portability, battery life and robustness you can't beat the little tablet. If you just want to browse the internet, read and send emails, check maps etc it's perfect, you just don't want to type any essays unless you get a wireless keyboard.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:02 am

"What do you tour with and why?"

An iPad. WiFi only original model.

Why?
It is the only portable computer gadget I've had and it has proved itself on several short, fully loaded backroads tour, and OS travel.
Battery life is good. Easily several days, or up to week with care.
Robust. Takes the bumps. Easy to slip into a pannier.
Versatile. Does everything I need it to do. Photos, blogging, basic word processing, emails etc
Very fast start up.
Simple, basic, intuitive to use.
Screen is excellent, especially for looking at pics.
Has stood the test of time and travel under various conditions.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby DaveOZ » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:19 am

iPad will work brilliantly for all the things you want and even has a good camera BUT if you want to upload ride data from a Garmin to Strava or similar it will not work. A MacBook Air 11" would be a better choice if you need to connect USB devices.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:12 am

DaveOZ wrote:... BUT if you want to upload ride data from a Garmin to Strava or similar it will not work.


For all of my Chasing the Dirt tour I regularly uploaded my ride data to Strava from my iPad. For sure in "delivered" mode it is not possible but it is not hard to jailbreak and to set it up the iPad to do this as I have already posted. All that is needed from a hardware point of view is the Apple iPad camera adaptor to allow reading of the card.

Using the adptor also has the added benfit of facilitating the backup of the camera to the iPad or to an online service such as Dropbox.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:18 am

AndrewBurns wrote:... you just don't want to type any essays unless you get a wireless keyboard.


This is where the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover has proved a real winner for me in combo with the Apple iPad 2. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover provides some protection to the iPad but more importantly it provides an “attached” bluetooth keyboard. The iPad 2 sits in a rail secured by the magnets in one edge of the iPad. When not in use the the cover provides a screen cover for the iPad. Not a robust protection level but it is a cover.

I still use it daily with my iPad. It has made a huge difference to the iPad's functionality for me.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby polishbiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:36 am

Excellent, thanks for the input so far.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:22 pm

Yes.. I think these days these days, for cycle touring, it has almost come down to 'which type of tablet?' rather than 'tablet or net book?'
Typing on the iPad's virtual keyboard is something I have got used to with practice. Like any hand-eye task, practice makes better. I don't think I'd like to write a thesis or the great Australian novel on it, but small amounts of writing are just fine.
For travel including cycle touring, I am pretty well unashamedly hooked into the Apple system with an iPhone and iPad because they easily synchronise and back-up stuff such as e-books, contacts, email, pics etc. It is very convenient and simple.
If you do go down the tablet route, then the phone with pad compatibility is a consideration. Presumably Android has a similar sort of compatibility. And Nexus?
I don't know about the other OS's but I guess if you have a smartphone and a tablet, there is some advantage in having them both on the same platform.
Back on to the tablet vs small laptop question, I think of my tablet (iPad) as being a bit like my Trangia stove. Not flashy, keeps on keeping on, minimal moving parts and just works every time. If I could get the iPad to run on meths, touring life would just about be perfect :)
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:35 pm

Vintagetourer wrote:Back on to the tablet vs small laptop question


The other advantage of a tablet is easy of charging ... with the iPad for example I can easily charge it with my PedalPower+ Super-i-Cable and I would assume that the eWerk will do the same. That said Apple like to mislead with "not charging messages" when it fact it is charging; something to be aware of.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Baalzamon » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:22 pm

I've got a Acer Iconia spare at work I'm playing with. Loaded up Windows 8 on it and it's a breeze to work with. Touchscreen works lovely, it has a USB port native and a HDMI port. Onscreen keyboard will take a bit of getting used to, but it comes with a keyboard anyhow. And since it comes with a USB it can use garmins etc. Also has a 3G as well.

But it won't be charged by bike :(
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby RonK » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:45 pm

Vintagetourer wrote:Yes.. I think these days these days, for cycle touring, it has almost come down to 'which type of tablet?' rather than 'tablet or net book?

Not for me Graham - I'm an IT worker and an iPad just doesn't satisfy my requirements.

I've just updated my journal for today, and I'm very pleased I wasn't trying to do it on an iPad.

Take a look - some very interesting pictures posted today.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:18 pm

"Not for me Graham - I'm an IT worker and an iPad just doesn't satisfy my requirements. "

Yes but you are special Ron :) We know that. Us IT klutz's need something more basic than a model T.
Though, I would not say no to a MacBook Air, but probably not for touring. My next step would be even smaller, perhaps to an iPad mini. Not yet tho. I'll stick with the iPad until I wear it out.

And yes...your pics are great. I've been following your ride and wishing I was there. Just after the big ChCh earthquake, I was over that way and took are younger children on a driving tour through the south of the South Island. My in-laws live on the South Island, so I get over there reasonably often, but not yet with my touring bike. Just my Tikit folder.

Magnificent countryside and your pics do it justice.

Regards Graham
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby polishbiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:43 pm

Someone suggested a phone table such as Samsung galaxy note, someone at work showed me what it can do and i am quite impressed, combine that with a small bluetooth keyboard and i think we have a winner :)
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:12 pm

polishbiker wrote:Someone suggested a phone table such as Samsung galaxy note, someone at work showed me what it can do and i am quite impressed, combine that with a small bluetooth keyboard and i think we have a winner :)


Just make sure it is Telstra 3G connected unit or you will need a wifi modem and maybe a non-usb one such as the Telstra Elite. Otherwise you will need to rely on McDonalds and co :)

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:32 pm

RonK wrote:
Vintagetourer wrote:I've just updated my journal for today, and I'm very pleased I wasn't trying to do it on an iPad.


I can do a simple page updates on my Wordpress self-hosted blog along the lines of what you have done (text and photos is hardly complicated blogging) via email using the Wordpress Jetpack plug-in net alone easily via my iPad setup so differently not a downside for me and other bloggers using the likes of the Wordpress self-hosted blogging platform (and probably their hosted one as well). Maybe it is a different matter for Blogger users. I dumped it years ago as I considered it an inadequate blogging platform and your comments re-confirm that decision as being correct.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby RonK » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:52 pm

Aushiker wrote:

My choice of technology is not related to my choice of blog platform. I passed over Wordpress because it did not support my preferred format, or if it can the information is not readily available, so it was totally inadequate for my purposes.
I'm very glad however, that I don't have to corrupt my devices' operating system by "jaibreaking" it to make it usable.

The small difference you have gained in terms if weight/bulk over my Macbook Air is simply not worth the trouble.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:43 pm

"a small device to keep a blog/journal/check the internet etc "

Yes well I guess it is a case of matching horses to courses in terms of needs.

My blogging is very basic ...just to CGOAB.
Similarly with photos. Just quick downloads and simple edits using Photogene.
I use a basic word processing app. called Pages to write diary and article content.

Off Internet use includes a bit of music listening and book reading. Not a lot though.

A lot of people would just use a SmartPhone for the range of jobs I do with the iPad. I just find the phone too small to key into easily. Battery life on the phone is also much less than the iPad. Once again, others differ and can manage their phone power better than I do.

The iPad is just more forgiving of my klutziness. As I said, it is the Trangia of computers. Basic but functional. Fit for purpose, but it depends on what your purpose is.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:52 pm

Vintagetourer wrote:"a small device to keep a blog/journal/check the internet etc "

Yes well I guess it is a case of matching horses to courses in terms of needs.

My blogging is very basic ...just to CGOAB.
Similarly with photos. Just quick downloads and simple edits using Photogene.
I use a basic word processing app. called Pages to write diary and article content.

Off Internet use includes a bit of music listening and book reading. Not a lot though.


Yep and all can be down without jailbreaking even though I choose to go down that path because I wanted to use Strava but with hindsight iCab might have done the trick anyway.

I forgot about the book reading ... another bonus with a tablet ... nice feature if one likes reading.

On the power consumption. I found I could write up my journal, back up photos etc each night whilst keeping my power usage to around 5% (that excludes reading a book but). Really happy with that. Also the keyboard has a claimed battery life of about two months with two hours usage a day.

How have you found Pages? I went with iWriter in the end but I prefer unformatted "free flow" writing when touring.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:59 pm

"How have you found Pages? I"

It is fine but I don't ask much of it. My need is limited to basic word processing ...just typing really...and this is the function it provides. I've written a few published (hardcopy) articles, several CGOAB journals and numerous other bits and pieces with it. No complaints. Words appear on screen. All good :)
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby alanm » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:26 pm

Polishbiker,
Are you wanting to use decent maps when out of reception off whatever you choose, like 1:250000 / 1:100000, with a mapping program laying over it, say for real time moving map?

Ipads and Iphones don't have real GPS units in them, sadly. They rely on mobile tower triangulation, good enough in town but useless in the bush. The other drawback is Apple's little run in with Google, they're not allowed they're maps and Google maps works a treat for finding out haw far to go when being used in civilized areas, as is Google Earth when tired and looking for a camp site at the end of the day.

If so, it may pay to check out an Android system such as a Xoom 2, they run a real GPS unit and can take a 3G card for when you're in town but don't have wireless. If you get it damp you don't need to go into a blind panic either. They'll run OziExplorer for Android very successfully. Battery consuption is good, apps plentiful, take a 32Gb micro SD, expanding memory to 64Gb and can be hooked up to data via mobile hotspot on your phone if you have a data componant on your plan. (This negates the need for a 3G card for the unit) Ebay prices range from 300 to 570$

If you have a few spare $$ tucked away, you may want to look at a Pannasonic Toughbook with intergrated GPS, CF18 or CF19 will do. They are high end but can be purchased off Ebay for a (reasonable?) price, but make sure the GPS unit is installed, otherwise you have to cough up a thousand bucks for it alone. These are very tough and will take an absolute hammering but weigh 3KG. I once ran mine over by accident!

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby wombatK » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:06 pm

alanm wrote:P
Ipads and Iphones don't have real GPS units in them, sadly. They rely on mobile tower triangulation, good enough in town but useless in the bush. The other drawback is Apple's little run in with Google, they're not allowed they're maps and Google maps works a treat for finding out haw far to go when being used in civilized areas, as is Google Earth when tired and looking for a camp site at the end of the day.
l

On a recent trip to USA, we took both an Acer Aspire One Notebook (mine), an iPad (the daughters) as well as Android Smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S2's). The Notebook's access to Google Maps/Google directions was a huge advantage, as was the decent keyboard for speedy typing of emails and web searches etc.,.

The far superior disk storage of the notebook was a major advantage - could backup photos every couple of days. On a previous trip, daughter had an SD-RAM camera card die, so backup on Notebook was great insurance. I had tossed-up whether to take a larger i7 laptop, but was quite satisfied with the smaller and lighter notebook.

The Galaxy S2's web access wasn't very useful - mainly used to relieve boredom when standing in queues (check smh.com.au etc.,.). The screen format is just too small to use except when you are desperate.

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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby il padrone » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:48 pm

alanm wrote:Polishbiker,
Are you wanting to use decent maps when out of reception off whatever you choose, like 1:250000 / 1:100000, with a mapping program laying over it, say for real time moving map?

Ipads and Iphones don't have real GPS units in them, sadly. They rely on mobile tower triangulation, good enough in town but useless in the bush. The other drawback is Apple's little run in with Google, they're not allowed they're maps and Google maps works a treat for finding out haw far to go when being used in civilized areas, as is Google Earth when tired and looking for a camp site at the end of the day.

On an Ipad or on your mobile phone there is an app called Mapswithme that gives access to downloadable off-line maps that are really accurate. You can get maps from different regions of the world and many have excellent details including local bike tracks and many tourist features (supermarkets, hotels, campgrounds, post offices etc).

Worth having for your local navigation, independent of GPS.
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Re: Tablet or a small laptop - touring.

Postby rusteh » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:43 am

alanm wrote:Ipads and Iphones don't have real GPS units in them, sadly. They rely on mobile tower triangulation, good enough in town but useless in the bush. The other drawback is Apple's little run in with Google, they're not allowed they're maps and Google maps works a treat for finding out haw far to go when being used in civilized areas, as is Google Earth when tired and looking for a camp site at the end of the day.


Rubbish, iphones have had a proper GPS chip in them since the 3G. AGPS is also employed using cell phone tower triangulation to speed up a lock but it isn't required. I've used the TomTom software with locally stored maps on my iphone extensively while travelling abroad in airplane mode with no connection to any Telco and it works fine. I've also used offline google maps for certain countries which doesn't require an internet connection, but does require a fair bit of local storage. This may be an option for the OP.
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