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Thread: IPAD or laptop

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    IPAD or laptop

    Which would you take on a bike tour, IPAD or laptop? If laptop which one?

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    IPhone
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    I have an asus zenbook ux 31, it has a solid state processor and weighs in at 2.8 lbs while being less than 3/4' at it's thickest. There are a few other ultraportables out there also.

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    It depends on what you want to do with it. I have never toured with a computer but have been touring with an iPad of late. It is great for off-bike games, route planning, note taking, and web browsing. If you have more to do that than, then I'd suggest taking a "real" computer with a real keyboard.

    Note that I also take an iPhone on tour, but mostly because that is the cellphone I use and like to listen to audio books.

    I wrote an article about taking an iPad on tour in July, 2011 that you might find interesting.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

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    I find the iPad's on-screen keyboard to be a bit frustrating. It's good for typing short notes or e-mails, but I wouldn't want to use it for a journal or anything especially long. If you're planning to type a lot, I'd suggest a small notebook like a MacBook Air or whatever the PC-equivalent happens to be.

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    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    IPhone
    +1. 5.5 ounces ---> Keep it in your pocket.

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    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    My iPad has gone with me on every overnight trip (and many other trips) since I got it. I import my routes, save my maps, and use the GPS (which isn't on the wifi-only models) to quickly pinpoint my location and get me back on track (or keep me there). Gone are the days where I had to find a labeled cross road, and then comb the map to figure out where I was, hoping that the crossroad signs had the same names on them as the map.
    The keyboard is not ideal for extended typing, but neither, to my mind, is the cramped keyboard on a netbook. You can get a bluetooth keyboard for those times that you need to type a lot, and still come out with a smaller package than some full-size laptops. That's what I've done, but I generally find that after a day of riding, sitting down and typing an essay is not a high priority. I still expect to carry the keyboard on some trips, but I haven't yet used it enough to justify it's place in my luggage.
    Ultimately it depends on what you want to do. For me, the iPad is the ultimate travel resource for easily pinpointing my location, where I want to be, and what I can find in between. And it keeps me in touch with The World At Large at the same time. I know that a laptop can technically do more, but the ease of use of the iPad makes it easy to grab and check without even dismounting the bike, something I have a hard time imagining with a laptop.
    So if the iPad is capable of doing what you need, I think it's a great travel tool. I highly recommend springing for the 3G model even if you plan on using wifi only. The GPS really enhances the functionality of the iPad when on the road. I used to want a laptop to supplement my desktop, but since getting the iPad, I can only imagine a few very specific scenarios where I'd want a laptop over my iPad, and so many more scenarios where the reverse is true.

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    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    laptop has more functions than the ipad beside all the game apps, plus you can use adobe and a mouse.
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd say neither. I'd just take the smart phone of your choice.

    That and use a computer when available, like at a hosts home on a public library.

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    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexaschwanden View Post
    laptop has more functions than the ipad beside all the game apps, plus you can use adobe and a mouse.
    BUT-> ipad has Photoshop express + touchscreen

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    BUT-> ipad has Photoshop express + touchscreen
    I prefer Photogene on the iPad.. Like many others I found that I no longer want a laptop, I find the iPad far more useful. I now us the CloudOn app to access an account on Dropbox. I now have full use of Word & Excel on the iPad. My music/games/videos/Netflix/etc are all there. I don't have a cell phone, I can text message directly to those that do, I can Facetime call others, and its all in a very easy to use package. I've been in IT for a long time dealing with Microsoft, and now finally dealing with a great product as a consumer is very refreshing. I still cringe when using my desktop PC because there always seems to be some issue with new software when installing it or other issues. Nice to be getting beyond that. Depending on how long the tour, I might bring my iPod Touch, most of the same features in a smaller package. But no laptop in my future.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

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    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscalia View Post
    Which would you take on a bike tour, IPAD or laptop? If laptop which one?
    Have you considered leaving all of those toys at home? I have nearly 20,000 touring miles behind me and have never found a need for any of that stuff. My digital camera has a 32GB card that will hold 12,000 5m images or 7000 12m shots. Then I still have to haul a charger and a couple spare batteries to feed the camera. I guess my camera is about the same size as an iPhone but has a ton more features for taking good photos.

    Part of the joy of touring is being out of touch. The experience will be more rewarding if you get "lost" a couple of times too.

    Just a thought.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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    Senior Member liamof's Avatar
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    My ipod is perfect for touring. Weighs nothing and takse up little space and with wifi at state parks here in Californina it is really nice to check my emails and connect with friends and surf the web.. Same as the iphone but without the expensve monthly smart phone bill!
    Liam

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    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post

    Part of the joy of touring is being out of touch. The experience will be more rewarding if you get "lost" a couple of times too.

    Just a thought.
    First off...I really miss your videos Joey. Secondly only he who dreams what it is can define what the it that he is after is...just sayin

    BTW go record some great NOLA riding please

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    I've toured with PC laptops, Macbook Airs, and iPads.

    The key thing for me is how much I'm going to be a consumer of information or the creator of information. If all I want to do is browse, check maps, do light email, watch a movie, etc., the iPad is perfect. But as soon as I start wanting to do any significant photo editing, writing, long emails, create routes on maps, etc., it breaks down - it can be made to work, but you're better off with a laptop.

    - Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    My digital camera has a 32GB card that will hold 12,000 5m images or 7000 12m shots.
    Ouch! Careful not to lose that card

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    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I think if I were going to bring a gadjet with me, I'd bring something in-between an ipad and iphone... if they made a 7" version, I might bite. I like my 7" Galaxy tab, it's big enough to work on, small enough to fit in a jeans pocket.

    Though, Joey does have a good point. You might want to tour to get away from technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistercharlie View Post
    Ouch! Careful not to lose that card
    Pray that the camera doesn't corrupt the filesystem either. I have a buddy who is a semi-pro photographer. After having a camera corrupt one of his larger cards, causing him to lose important even photos from several events, he now uses multiple smaller cards and swaps cards after each event (if not more frequently).

  19. #19
    Charles Ramsey
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    Touring is very hard on laptops I have been carrying one since 2006. Expect dust to choke your fan and scratch your screen. If you have the money get a solid state drive for your laptop spend as little money as possible there is a good chance it will fail. My first one failed after I was hit by a truck. As for a tablet there is a chance a glass screen will break. There is an alternative gorilla glass is much tougher and available on some tablets.

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    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I take a Asus eePC R051PX Netbook which weighs in at 1.24 kg.

    Andrew

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Depends where you are going( will your smart phone work?), what you want to do with it, and how much you are willing to carry. We use a light weight netbook loaded with programs we use quite often on extended trips, e.g., Photoshop, Garmin Maps, etc. We got rid of our solid state drive netbook. It was too slow and not much capacity. Our little Toshiba, the same one I'm posting this with, has gone about 3900 miles in my wife's rear pannier. Never had a problem with dust or moisture. Another plus for Ortlieb panniers.

    I think it is the left one.



    Travelling with no electronics seems ideal, but sometimes bills need to be paid on extended tours, post to your blog site, cell phones don't work where you are or are really expensive, and you want to down load and backup 9000 high quality pictures (RAW).
    Last edited by Doug64; 02-08-12 at 07:30 PM.

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    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Pray that the camera doesn't corrupt the filesystem either. I have a buddy who is a semi-pro photographer. After having a camera corrupt one of his larger cards, causing him to lose important even photos from several events, he now uses multiple smaller cards and swaps cards after each event (if not more frequently).
    I used to worry about that. Ten years and 30,000 photos later without a single problem I happily put all my eggs in one basket. There are services available to recover most images from a corrupted memory card - expensive, but in a pinch the images are not all lost by any means. In the past I would take my card to a Target photo lab and back them up on a CD/DVD to send to my wife back home for viewing while I am on the road. Target ditched the labs several years ago. Finding a new friend in a coffee house to burn a disk for a free latte is probably not too difficult these days. Or transferring to a thumb drive for backup. I spend zero time worrying or praying about the card tho. Modern high-end cards are pretty tough, so long as you follow protocol when disconnecting from any MAC/PC/TV. Don't just yank the data cable to disconnect. That's begging for problems.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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    I have never used an Ipad but I have some relatives and friends that love theirs. One has an external keyboard, the others save their tasks that need typing for later when they have access to a real computer. I gave a silicone back to offer some padding to one of them at christmas, if I bought an Ipad I would buy that same cover for myself. I bought it from a ebay vendor in China.

    I have carried a 10 inch netbook (Lenovo S10) and it came in quite handy when I had wi fi to check out where to stay for the next several days, make phone calls using Google Chat, etc. Netbook is hiding in the background in this photo.

    reIMGP2226.jpg

    I do not have a smart phone, my phone is so old it does not even have a camera. Also, it has terrible coverage in rural areas where I want to tour. I would rather avoid the dataplan fees, thus I just use wi fi when available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I used to worry about that. Ten years and 30,000 photos later without a single problem I happily put all my eggs in one basket. There are services available to recover most images from a corrupted memory card - expensive, but in a pinch the images are not all lost by any means.
    I'd get some quotes for the cost of recovery before you decide to rely on a data-recovery service. I've used a data-recovery service once, to retrieve files from a dead computer drive. I forget the exact cost, but it was in the $2000-3000 range. We got back around 75% of the files that were on the drive... but most of them were applications and system files that we didn't need. A significant portion of the critical research data was lost, unfortunately.

    Modern high-end cards are pretty tough, so long as you follow protocol when disconnecting from any MAC/PC/TV. Don't just yank the data cable to disconnect. That's begging for problems.
    The cards themselves are highly reliable. In my buddy's case, it was firmware on the camera that corrupted the files on the memory card. His high-end camera eventually got a firmware update that fixed the problem; an entry-level camera might not be so lucky. If all your files are on one card, it only takes one glitch to ruin your entire trip...

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    I went cross country on the Northern Tier with an iPad and loved it. I wrote a blog entry, complete with pictures imported from my camera, each night in my tent and uploaded it the next day whenever I found WiFi. My extended stays in Glacier and North Cascades NPs were the only times I couldn't find free Wifi for the uploads.

    For me, the iPad was a good balance of usability, durability and power requirements. I got ALL of the power I needed for the iPad, my camera and phone from my hub generator.

    That said, you've ultimately got to decide what matters the most to you... there's no universally correct answer to your question.

    If interested, here's the blog (keep in mind that it was written entirely on an iPad in a tent!):
    Last edited by Derailed; 02-09-12 at 11:56 AM.

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