East of Paris Bookstore

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

iPad Five Months Later

The iPad has been part of my life for about five months.  I wrote about first impressions here.  Last week, I took it with me on a 4-day trip and left my laptop at home.  It is the first time in years that I have travelled without my laptop.  I survived.

First, before leaving home, I downloaded several books to read on the airplane.  That alone saved space and weight in my carry-on bag. Then, once I was on the road, I wrote short observations in the "Notes" App about the pluses and minuses of choosing to travel with the iPad instead of the laptop.

The pluses:

  • No need to take the iPad out of my bag or turn it on in order to pass through the airport security line;
  • It weighs less than even a MacBook Air;
  • It worked smoothly with the wi-fi available at the airport and in the airline club;
  • It was a conversation starter both at the airport and on the plane -- people wanted to know what it was and/or whether I liked using it (the last question came mostly from men squinting at their Blackberries or iPhones and reading e-mail);
  • I could multitask and listen to music while reading my electronic books without needing to be connected to another device;
  • The battery lasts a lot longer than a laptop battery;
  • I had downloaded the GoodReader App and was easily able to review docs in various formats on the iPad.

The minuses:

  • Many hotels do not have wi-fi in their rooms. At the hotel where I stayed, even the wi-fi in the lobby was weak.  So, I still needed to use my iPhone to pick up e-mail and download data;
  • If I had needed to write anything of length, it would have been difficult.  I was not traveling with a Bluetooth enabled keyboard and do not like writing long pieces using the iPad virtual keyboard.

Overall, I did not miss my laptop although I would not leave it behind on any longer trips or on trips during which I would need to write a lot.  The question outstanding:  would I take both the iPad and laptop with me?  It remains to be seen.

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