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Laptop or Tablet? What exactly is your setup for being plugged in?

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Laptop or Tablet? What exactly is your setup for being plugged in?

Old 07-28-19, 07:39 PM
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Bike Jedi
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Laptop or Tablet? What exactly is your setup for being plugged in?

I am trying to figure out the best communication device for my needs, and condense it all down to one device if possible. I know that I can't rely on a phone size screen long term for as many hours as I spend reading online, communicating, education, researching, planning, etc... A smart phone is out of the question for me when it comes to screen time. I need something bigger for my eyes and I need a keyboard. It's not something I am willing to sacrifice or be without. So the question "for me" is laptop or a tablet?


My experience is with Iphone's and PC's (laptops). My current laptop is on it's way out and for what it would cost to fix it, it's probably not worth it, and it's at tad on the heavy/bulky side. My iphone is dated. It's probably time to get everything down into one. I am tech savy, but don't keep up on the latest and greatest all the time. Usually a few generations back. So the iphone and laptop has to be replaced at the least. I also really don't want to be without a keyboard at all.


I know that there are tablets now with phones built into them. I plan on touring for a while and was thinking this might be my best option if I can come up with a keyboard solution. I prefer a big full, agronomic keyboard, but if I am touring, I can live with something like these if I have to. So that solves the keyboard option. The Ipad solves the weight problem for the most part, but the cost is quite high for the newer stuff, and I don't know enough about older tablets that much and what I will start to look at.


The nice thing about a laptop is that I can get a descent one for pretty cheap if I do it right. Maybe $200-$300 range. The laptop also resolves my "small screen" fears. Being on small screens for extended periods of time, when that is all you have, can be taxing on me. It also gives me a bigger keyboard to work with, which still isn't my preferred size, but much better than the ones listed above. If I go that route, then I have to get another Iphone to catch up and be able to stay current with the latest IOS. A cobination of iphone and laptop is probably the most affordable cost, still putting it probably cheaper than the cost of a descent tablet. I am putting a lot of money into a build right now, so I don't have a lot to put into electronics, but have to come up with some solution to stay connected while on the road. Mostly for youtube, google, and places like this. I would like the ability to utilize electronics to keep planning and researching ahead. I know this can be done on a cellphone just as well, but a bigger keyboard and screen is better for me, but then I have more weight and bulkier stuff to carry, and it also draws more attention for the size in general.


I guess in a more round about way, is there a tablet that will cover all these needs, that is affordable, that people use and like for being on the road, known for this fit and need, or are many folks carrying a smart phone and laptop still? I know some folks might say go without, but I don't want to. I know if I find a camp or a place I want to hang out for a bit in, and relax for a while, I am going to want descent screen time/size. If you are like that, what are you doing or using?


Suggestions?
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Old 07-28-19, 11:19 PM
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Carry a smart phone. Use PC at libraries and hotels. On tour I mostly use teh smart phone to access google maps (to supplement hard copy maps I carry) and get occasional info for where I will be visiting next. I would say 90% of my planning is done before hand, and I read for entertainment; don't want to drag any more electrical toys than I absolutely need that need charging and what not. But others love technology, the more the better. I don't begrudge them if that is what work for them.
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Old 07-29-19, 12:59 AM
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Whatever you decide, you will need to to consider how to charge your device(s).
Unless you have a top level, large powerbank your only option of charging a laptop is to plug it into a wall. Depending on your destination(s), that is not always easy.
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Old 07-29-19, 02:58 AM
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May I suggest a "prepaid" no contract smartphone cell service, specifically MetroPCS (they are owned by T-mobile, and are on the T-mobile network).

I think you will get a smart phone free as they always have such promotions.

Their "UNLIMITED" plan is $60 monthly.

The reason that I mention METRO PCS specifically is because they have the best WIFI-Hotspot useage of I think any provider............what I mean here is that you can simply the phone to provide a WIFI-Hotspot for your Laptop.....
...........You just go hit APPS and then hit SETTINGS and then within settings, you scroll to MOBILE HOTSPOT......................turn on mobile hotspot.....
..................that is all you have to do once you set your phone up to recognize your computer and the password JUST ONE TIME, and then it will recognize it immediately and you won't need to do anything else for that computer...........
...........................You'll need to turn ON the MobileHotSpot...................hit APPS, then hit SETTINGS then within settings see MOBILE HOTSPOT and change it from OFF to ON........................................you do that before you turn on your LAPTOP Computer and your Computer will automatically recognize the PHONE's WIFI HOTSPOT and you'll get all green bars on your Laptop......and the phone's wifi name will show up as the name of the wifi network.

You can use your phone to make and receive calls while visiting most websites and surfing.
It does use a lot of your phone's battery power. I RECOMMEND THAT YOU PLUG THE PHONE IN WHILE USING Mobile Hotspot, IF YOU HAVE AN AC OUTLET NEARBY.

Now, METRO PCS is one of the few, No Contract, PrePay, cell providers that ALLOW USING THE PHONE AS A MOBILE HOTSPOT.
Okay, how does it work?
You sign up at one of their stores , or maybe you can do it online too, see metropcs.com..............but I think the store is only where you'll find out about the Included FREE Phone, etc...... Typically they have given a free Android , most often a SAMSUNG smart phone with their medium $40 and $50 and $60unlimited plans.
Now, don't think that you can get the brand new SAMSUNG or perhaps other late model NEW phone by just signing up and using METRO for a month or two and then just keeping the phone to use with somebody else..............Yes, the phone is yours....no strings attached but they won't unlock it such that it won't be useful as a phone except with METRO........unless you're a tech geek that knows how to overcome that with parts changes, etc.
The UNLIMITED $60 plan offers the MOST GIGYBYTES if you'll do any video.............. The lower cost plans have WIFI HOTSPOT at the $40 and $50 plans but only the $50 plan has any useful GIG capacity and you may find that may not be enough....and you'll run out......................$60 unlimited plan would be the way I would go.....................................You can change, either upgrade to Unlimited or Downgrade to cheaper rate at the beginning of any new period, or you can cease the service at any time......................but doing so would cause you to lose that telephone number...
..........of course like any, you can either bring a number from an existing cell provider over, -OR- just begin service with a brand new cell number...

The way the PREPAY works with METRO is after you sign up and prepay for the first month,
You'll have the SAME DUE DATE each month............................you can ask them for whatever number day like the 21st or 12th or whatever you want, but if you don't do that, well then the number day that you signed on becomes your due date.....or maybe the day before........example if you began service on April 6th, then your PREPAYMENT for the following month WILL BE DUE ON OR BEFORE May 5th, or your service will Temporarily Suspended until payment is received and posted..............Wait too long and the Account and number will be de-activated.
-----You have several methods of PAYING your PREPAYMENT in advance....................unlike many carriers, you can even MAIL your payment by personal check to an address in Illinois......but unless you intend to mail it at least a week prior, being that Weather is bad in winter there and holidays and weekends will impact your Number day of the month that is the "due date". Like any utility, they recognize the payment when posted, as if received on Fri after 5 pm and Monday is in this example a federal holiday............your payment may not be posted until Tuesday afternoon or Wed in the AM...........if this is on or beyond the "due" date, you may not have useable cell service............................THOUGH THIS WOULD NEVER BE AN ISSUE IF YOU WERE TO MAIL IT IN WITH ENOUGH TIME TO SPARE.....................
You can also Pay at any METRO PCS location but they all charge an additional $3 convenience charge for doing so.
You can pay online direct and not incur any additional charge.

There are no taxes or regulatory fees or anything added to the Monthly $ plan that you select. The $60 unlimited plan is exactly $60 every month unless you pay your bill in person at a Metro PCS store and if you do that, there is the added $3 convenience charge.........

Because METRO PCS is the 2nd class citizen to T-MOBILE, if you're in a high use area like at the Masters in the parking lots outside the ANGC gate, you'll have fifty thousand people on cell phones at one time, because the Masters Tournament does not allow cell phones within the gates of ANGC at any time. You get the world's most important business executives who suddenly need to get back in touch......................in extreme cases such as this, METRO PCS will take perhaps longer to get a call that you dial to begin ringing.....as the T-Mobile customer will get priority.......................that type of condition is the only issue.
Like most all commodity providers expect customer service to be awful or worse so you won't be disappointed.
Other than that, expect the phone service to be equal to everyone else, assuming you don't have dead zones with lack of T-Mobile towers in your specific location.


That is how I would approach it simply because I'm old and I prefer the large screen of a Laptop to either a Tablet or a SMARTPHONE SCREEN.
If you're happy with your current cell service or you have a non-smartphone cell service that is good for you, then DON'T carry over your number........Just Consider Signing Up and Get A NEW NUMBER and Android smart phone for FREE TO USE WHILE YOU NEED A WIFI hotspot.
*** I would NOT consider signing up or changing to METRO PCS unless they did have an ongoing promotion where they are Offering the Android(SAMSUNG) phone for FREE with the medium and UNLIMITED plan.
I've been told by someone that METRO was offering a free phone and offering free Amazon Prime to everyone with the $60 Unlimited Plan.
The way the free Amazon Prime works is that you have it as long as you keep pre-paying the $60 each month for continued Metro PCS unlimited service.
If you drop back to a less expensive MetroPCS plan, the Amazon Prime goes away.

Many public places today offer free WIFI but as you know that can be a double edged sword if anti-virus/security concerns aren't attended to.
Wherever you go, you'll want to take note of where useable AC outlets may be.
For example inside a McDonalds in a booth near the windows, you might get lucky and find an AC outlet as they typically have them to vaccuum and polish the tiles, power the tv that is tuned to CNBC or CNN etc....but for liability reasons....children poking their fingers into the sockets.....most have moved or placed them in inaccessable locations. Sometimes if you ask, they might accomodate you, with an outlet for maybe 35 minutes while you're there.

Keeping your smartphone charged and your Laptop (or Tablet) charged will become a difficult task, as you begin to use them for lengthy periods without access to any AC outlet. You'll need to explore what can lessen that problem.
Carrying the bulk of a modern laptop on a bicycle today is a very minimal problem compared to how you'll keep those rechargeable batteries charged so that you can keep them operational. I don't have an answer for you about that.
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Old 07-29-19, 03:12 AM
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Several considerations.

1. A minimal setup will reduce cost and (perhaps) energy requirements. Before dismissing phones, look at large devices (phablets). Such as the Galaxy Note. They are still quite small if you have to do serious work, but they are surprisingly capable. Pair with a Bluetooth keyboard.

2. If you need to run a standard computer, well, we've lugged a MacBook Pro. A better alternative, if you live by Windows, would be the Surface Go. Diminutive, impressive computer. 6-9hrs on less than 4mAh battery.

3. iPad Pros are powerful machines. Nothing really comparable in the Android camp. But since an iPad + keyboard is roughly the same weight as a MacBook Pro, I'd go for a computer.

TL;DR - by all means try to do your thing on a phone. If really impossible, a Surface Go or a MacBook.

Last edited by gauvins; 07-29-19 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 07-29-19, 03:50 AM
  #6  
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For travel I quit carrying a laptop, I was too concerned about loss or damage. And laptops take a lot of power. Exception, if I am staying at a relatives home for holidays, the laptop will come with me if I drove there, but the laptop no longer goes on airplanes. My latest laptop is too big to easily handle in an airport.

For travel where I am spending overnights indoors and can carry a bit more weight and volume, I use a cheap 7 inch Android tablet, I think I paid $30 for it, brand is RCA for my current one. Over the years I have owned a half dozen 7 inch Android tablets, one of teh best bargains out there. It will not take a sim card and has no GPS so I also carry my phone. Where I have wifi I can use the tablet with Hangouts app and Hangouts Dialer app to make phone calls, but making a phone call with a 7 inch tablet held to my head, I am sure I look pretty stupid doing that. And receiving a phone call with a tablet where I do not have wifi, it is not going to happen.

And a bluetooth keyboard and a bluetooth mouse.
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/logitec...?skuId=4415400

Before I got my current smartphone (LG Phoenix II, $105 unlocked, two years ago, 5.5 inch screen), I carried a 7 inch Android tablet when bike touring. But now I use the Android phone. With a 5.5 inch screen it has as many pixels as my 7 inch Android tablet. I have configured my phone to work with the blue tooth keyboard and bluetooth mouse, but I do not carry these things with me when I am camping.

I am old enough that my eyes do not focus very well close up. I wear reading glasses when using phone or tablet or computer. I carry some extra strong reading glasses for when I want to use my 5.5 inch phone screen for any serious work that would involve holding it close.

Phone takes less power than my tablet. For bike touring that is important to me, but if I am living indoors and can plug in anywhere, that is unimportant. Thus, a 5.5 inch phone makes a lot more sense bike touring or camping than the 7 inch tablet.

Even the low end electronics that you can buy today is packed full of features, you do not need to buy a premium priced setup.
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Old 07-29-19, 04:13 AM
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Keep your intro post short.
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Old 07-29-19, 05:08 AM
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My idea of touring is to unplug. Ride most of the day, shower, swim, setup camp, eat, takes the rest usually. Laptop seems so much weight. Paper maps, phone and e trex for backup. Tablet maybe for less weight?
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Old 07-29-19, 06:32 AM
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I have found a smaller android tablet to be that happy balance of cost/weight/screen size that works well. My tablet doesnt have the phone thing, but I guess thats an option, although I know nothing of that aspect of them.
I used the tablet for what you are proposing--planning, researching, writing and relax time with wifi, and it worked well. Mine fit into my handlebar bag , with a hardcase cover on it, so that was a bonus, so maybe look into dimensions of bags and tablets , cuz its nice to always have valuables in the hbag to have with you always.
I could see how a light bluetooth keyboard would be nice, although it will take up some space in a pannier, it will be a lot lighter combined with a smaller tablet than a laptop perhaps--although there are those Chromebooks that are rather light, but I havent looked at them really.

totally off topic, but you've made it clear with your questions for setting up the Ogre and all other questions that you are all super keen to do a long extended trip, but consider perhaps before getting all the bells and whistles, to do some short trips to see if this whole bike touring thing is really your bag.


You havent mentioned (I dont think) if you have toured before, so perhaps space out your purchases a bit and see how it goes doing some test trips. At least with this electronic side of things, you could use what you have presently , and see with some test trips how much space you need for stuff, ie do you need to add a pack on top of your rear panniers, or reduce clothes, or whatever.
It is pretty hard to imagine this aspect of bike touring if you havent done it before, and then of course too the temperatures that you'll be encountering play a part in clothes, sleeping bag etc, and as we all know, budget comes into play and it makes sense to try to use the budget you have in the best way.

back to electronics.
for the budget side of things, I went with a very average tablet, I already had an android phone, I already had a point and shoot that I like and prefer to have a real camera for taking photos (as opposed to using phone or tablet) and also, I didnt want to spend a lot on a really nice tablet simply from a theft point of view.
Yes, a nicer newer tablet would have had a more powerful processor which would have been really nice for processing photos, which I do and is important to me, but again, I didnt want to be held up at gunpoint and lose a lot of money in a tablet (this last comment is specific to the trips I did, where I figured the chance of a holdup was possible, something I never would consider as a possibility in previous trips when travelling in N America or France or wherever--touch wood I guess)

anyway, so look into tablet sizes, weight , prices , tech aspect , storage space, and at the same time, think of what panniers you will have, and what handlebar bag for size considerations.
I personally have always kept all valuables in the hbag and bring it with me always, never leaving it on bike.
I also put an emphasis on waterproofness for panniers and hbag, so no concerns for wet electronics , which is worth it for me.
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Old 07-29-19, 06:43 AM
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Chromebooks are relatively cheap and you can find small ones. ASUS makes a 10.1 flip for example with around 9 hours of battery life.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
My idea of touring is to unplug.
Same here. I do now have an iPhone which is use to let me cat sitter/emergency contact know I am safe and to take and send/post occasional photos. For reading, I have a Kindle with a backlight. Got tired of burning through headlamp batteries trying to read books in the evening/night.

Have no idea what the OP means by education, research and planning. He hasn't toured as far as I can tell so I wonder if he has an unrealistic idea of how much free time he is going to have if he ever does actually make it out onto the road. Perhaps, before spending money on a new device, he should take a few tours and see what it's like.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
Whatever you decide, you will need to to consider how to charge your device(s).
Unless you have a top level, large powerbank your only option of charging a laptop is to plug it into a wall. Depending on your destination(s), that is not always easy.
I will carry a powerbank for the smaller stuff and dynamo hub long term. I don't suspect I need tons of screen time, but enough that a battery would cover me through each night. But sticking around somewhere each day to charge it will be a problem, and that's not something a dynamo hub is going to resolve. I can carry a spare battery if I really want for more screen time, but charging those will/can be an issue.

Now that I am thinking about it, I guess I am going to have same problems with tablet or laptop. With smartphone, I can use the battery bank and dynamo hub to always keep it charged. I didn't think completely through my power options/problems when it comes to charging the laptop or tablet. I need to spend more time thinking this through and see what other folks say they do.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
May I suggest a "prepaid" no contract smartphone cell service, specifically MetroPCS (they are owned by T-mobile, and are on the T-mobile network).
T-Mobile $40 bucks a month, for unlimited normal phone stuff, and 10 gigs of data. It's a tough price to beat the last I checked. I would never use anything but prepaid plans because of the rates. Anything else is a rip off.

As for service providers, if given a choice, it would be Verizon for sure. They have the best network hands down on coverage, and that's coming from a mountain state living. I have traveled all over the U.S. with different providers and coverage is the best on Verizon. If I was to go into a place for emergency's, and could only rely on one network service, it would be Verizon.

But for price and descent coverage, T-mobile is the second best choice if you are cost conscious.

I think you will get a smart phone free as they always have such promotions.
I will look at their stuff. From a quick glance, I see Iphone 6s for $80. I would rather an Iphone if given a choice. You can buy an Iphone 7 for $200'ish or less, and put it on a $40 a month plan. It's better than tying yourself into a contract anywhere. Stay a generation or two behind, and you can pick up phones that were $1k 2 years ago for $200 and have great technology, with great camera's.

I will check out what they have though. Thanks.

Keeping your smartphone charged and your Laptop (or Tablet) charged will become a difficult task, as you begin to use them for lengthy periods without access to any AC outlet. You'll need to explore what can lessen that problem.
Carrying the bulk of a modern laptop on a bicycle today is a very minimal problem compared to how you'll keep those rechargeable batteries charged so that you can keep them operational. I don't have an answer for you about that.
Yes...now putting this post up and thinking about it more, you are right. It's going to be a constant issue for me. I know with a smart phone, battery bank, and dynamo hub, it won't be an issue for me long term. But sitting on small screens constantly, for extended periods of times, drives me nuts. I am more worried about having a descent size screen with me during down time when I know I will have access to be able to plug in. Maybe a campground, hostel, or even temporary place I am staying in to explore the city more. During those times, I know I will want serious screen time. I spend a lot of time in front of the screen when I am not doing much, and I don't really want to change that, just bring it with me somehow. I am not worried about it when I am on the move a lot, tired at the end of days, and want to rest anyway. It's when I am staying put for a bit or resting is when I know the small screen on a phone will drive me nuts. And seeking out something or someone else's is not the alternative.

I need to think this through more.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Several considerations.

1. A minimal setup will reduce cost and (perhaps) energy requirements. Before dismissing phones, look at large devices (phablets). Such as the Galaxy Note. They are still quite small if you have to do serious work, but they are surprisingly capable. Pair with a Bluetooth keyboard.

2. If you need to run a standard computer, well, we've lugged a MacBook Pro. A better alternative, if you live by Windows, would be the Surface Go. Diminutive, impressive computer. 6-9hrs on less than 4mAh battery.

3. iPad Pros are powerful machines. Nothing really comparable in the Android camp. But since an iPad + keyboard is roughly the same weight as a MacBook Pro, I'd go for a computer.

TL;DR - by all means try to do your thing on a phone. If really impossible, a Surface Go or a MacBook.
Thank you. I am going to look into all this. I also wasn't aware you could bluetooth a keyboard into a cell phone like you suggested. That actually opens things up even more. Thanks!
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Old 07-29-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bike Jedi View Post
I will carry a powerbank for the smaller stuff and dynamo hub long term. I don't suspect I need tons of screen time, but enough that a battery would cover me through each night. But sticking around somewhere each day to charge it will be a problem, and that's not something a dynamo hub is going to resolve. I can carry a spare battery if I really want for more screen time, but charging those will/can be an issue.

Now that I am thinking about it, I guess I am going to have same problems with tablet or laptop. With smartphone, I can use the battery bank and dynamo hub to always keep it charged. I didn't think completely through my power options/problems when it comes to charging the laptop or tablet. I need to spend more time thinking this through and see what other folks say they do.
Research charging from a dyno hub and you will find that most people charge directly to a battery and use that to charge devices. Not the most efficient method, but with variable speeds, phones especially, can stop charging at a low speed and not start charging again at higher speeds.
Obviously your speed makes a difference to your charging ability. Slow days can mean no power.
You could supplement a dynohub with a solar panel to use around camp, or when you stop. Again, different panels have different characteristics.

You really need to sit down and estimate your daily usage. then work out if that is possible given speed, distances, converter efficiency and losses during charging.

I have gone 3 weeks, totally power independent, using a dynohub and 2 powerbanks (10K & 5k), powering a phone, kindle, tablet, Wahoo Elemnt, i-pod (hardly used) & battery charging. But I hardly use my phone on tour, similar with the tablet.

Earlier this year I investigated the option of a laptop/chromebook.
I decided against it on the basis that I could not justify the price nor size of a powerbank to power it. Plugging it in somewhere does not suit my style of touring. Instead a new Android tablet with a bluetooth keyboard is as good - for me.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:31 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
For travel I quit carrying a laptop, I was too concerned about loss or damage.

This is a concern of mine, plus drawing extra attention on gear. I never use high end laptops, and usually never pay more than $200-$300 for them, and usually get great deals on them, but other folks looking at them might not know they are not that expensive and feel differently about them and/or me. In some places I am a very rich man, in others, I am a very poor man. I don't want to advertise to my comrades in poverty that I am more than I am or draw unnecessary attention to myself for glowing somewhere in the dark with a big laptop and possibly suggesting there is more value among me then there really is. I am already worried enough about drawing attention to my bike and keep everything simple, black, etc... as it is. Part of this, which I didn't bring up in the intro, is that I would also like to take precautionary measures for security and theft into account in my planning and designing around this. I am a minimalist for the most part, and try to make decisions and choices based on what is best, most practical, and most bang for the buck constantly. I am not flashy, don't need the latest and greatest stuff, and also need to be conscious of how I appear to others while traveling around, alone, often between stretches of places where help won't be close by, and I am a little white guy that will be screaming "tourist" to others, instead of "survivalist" or "explorer" or "runner." I have to be real at the same time and take all variables into consideration.


I also don't want to go into this thinking it's going to be all roses and as easy as other's experiences or tales around it. Often folks talk most about the glory of things, instead of all the difficulties or the little annoying things they discovered, dealt with, or quite often don't share. I would like to figure those things out now instead of in the back country of Montana, where Amazon is not getting me 2 day prime, the next town might be hundreds of miles away, and I am still dealing with the fear of sleeping in the woods of foreign places trying to sound like a brave big boy in a very complex world, alone, zipping along to the next change of scenery. I don't want to completely disconnect and being able to communicate effectively and utilize online resources to plan ahead constantly and still feel like I am plugged into some type of life is important to me. Plus keeping my mind engaged with educational and learning resources is important to me. I would like to get to a point where I am self sufficient and can handle anything alone for the most part, and I can. But not keeping my mind enganged through my current online activity is not something I am looking to do while touring. Just looking to take my current life on the road with me the best I can.


For travel where I am spending overnights indoors and can carry a bit more weight and volume, I use a cheap 7 inch Android tablet, I think I paid $30 for it, brand is RCA for my current one. Over the years I have owned a half dozen 7 inch Android tablets, one of teh best bargains out there. It will not take a sim card and has no GPS so I also carry my phone. Where I have wifi I can use the tablet with Hangouts app and Hangouts Dialer app to make phone calls, but making a phone call with a 7 inch tablet held to my head, I am sure I look pretty stupid doing that. And receiving a phone call with a tablet where I do not have wifi, it is not going to happen.

Why not use a bluetooth ear piece to make calls rather than hold a tablet up or not use it? If I was to get a tablet with built in cellular, which I am still thinking might be my best option, especially since you showed me that key board below, I would get a Bluetooth earbud and really only talk that way. You can answer calls, talk, even use voice commands to make the calls, dial, etc... It's one of the main reasons I am leaning that way the most. I don't use my phone a lot for calls anyway, the few I make, I can use earbuds. Texting would be the biggest loss this way. Having to pull out a tablet to handle all texts would be an issue, but I don't have to live by texting either. Email, what is there, and earbud will do for sufficient communication if I had to make it work.


And a bluetooth keyboard and a bluetooth mouse.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/logitec...?skuId=4415400

Thanks for this. I am probably going to get one.


I am old enough that my eyes do not focus very well close up. I wear reading glasses when using phone or tablet or computer. I carry some extra strong reading glasses for when I want to use my 5.5 inch phone screen for any serious work that would involve holding it close.

Ditto


you do not need to buy a premium priced setup.

I 100% agree. Keeping costs down, getting the most bang for your buck, middle of the road is fine for me in most cases, unless you can really justify it and the upgrade truly makes a difference. With Moore's law on technology today anyway, it's kind of silly to stay Cutting edge, when bleeding edge is so much more practical and affordable now for what we have to work with. You can get Iphone 8's at time of posting in the mid $300's, on a T-Mobile prepay for $40 a month, and have a computer system that is still state of the art, better than what they had on the original space shuttles to get to space, and do everything you need just fine. And that might be my best play still (or an Iphone 7 for even cheaper), and even carrying a cheap tablet with me for the other stuff. I am not set in my thinking about anything, and I agree with you about a premium setup.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:32 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Bike Jedi View Post
Now that I am thinking about it, I guess I am going to have same problems with tablet or laptop. With smartphone, I can use the battery bank and dynamo hub to always keep it charged. I didn't think completely through my power options/problems when it comes to charging the laptop or tablet. I need to spend more time thinking this through and see what other folks say they do.
I often carry a small iPad, and I don't have too much of a problem keeping it charged. I also don't use it as often on a trip as I do at home. I have used a dynamo hub and a solar panel to keep a battery charged, and that battery has been sufficient to recharge my phone and tablet every night. On my most recent trip, I didn't charge with the dynamo, only solar, with a 20,000 mAh battery. Weather was lousy and the solar panel didn't provide a whole lot of extra power, but I did go for about a 5 day stretch without plugging in. With a dynamo solution I might have gone indefinitely. Tablets use a lot less power than laptops, in my experience, and you may find, as I did, that you use it a lot less than you think you will when touring.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:59 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Same here. I do now have an iPhone which is use to let me cat sitter/emergency contact know I am safe and to take and send/post occasional photos. For reading, I have a Kindle with a backlight. Got tired of burning through headlamp batteries trying to read books in the evening/night.

Touring for me is not the same, so we don't have the same hopes or end goals surrounding it.


Have no idea what the OP means by education, research and planning.
Education means just that. To continue educating myself. I utilize a lot of online resources, and sitting in front of a small screen to do that is not practical long term. I know this because I have tried. It's draining and taxing on the psyche.


He hasn't toured as far as I can tell so I wonder if he has an unrealistic idea of how much free time he is going to have

Well that would go without saying normally if your assumption is correct. Isn't that why there is access to a forum to ask lots of questions? Of course someone that hasn't done something before can have "unrealistic ideas". It's all imagination at this point. Nothing is real about it other than the education, research, and things I have learned from online resources and other folks experiences surrounding it all.


Am I completely "unrealistic?" No. I doubt there is anyone that rides more miles than myself when push comes to shove. The only real difference is I go home to a central place at the end of the day. All the things I am doing now, I can do in a hostel, room to rent, camp ground, warm showers, or anything else that I can connect to at the end of the day. I also have a couple of years of all your knowledge and experience in my head from "researching" so I know what to expect and not be completely ignorant to what to expect. So obviously there is a lot of "planning" that has gone into this, including asking questions right now. This would be "planning."

I am a minimalist now. I live day to day in supermarkets now. I hand wash my clothes now purposely so I know what to expect. I have my home rigged so there is no major appliances to use other than a shower to get by just like on the road. No microwave. I ride 50 miles at a shot, take a break, then ride in the evening for a while for fun, in some of the most difficult terrain in the world at times if I want, at 6000+ feet. I have read, listened to, watched videos, and kept my ear on the ground to the touring world for years now in many ways, and even know what many of you think and would say ahead of time on some things. So do I know what to expect? Sure theoretically. Do I expect to have the same experiences as the rest of you? Not at all. I expect it to be what it is going to be, which is nothing of what I expect anyway, and something else is in control of it all anyway, so putting expectations or assumptions on it at this point in my life is just plane silly. But I am more geared, ready, and physically and mentally capable and stronger than most of the other human beings you typically see coming in and asking general questions on the matter, and I am a lot closer to the door than you may think.

I could talk about this stuff like an expert in some ways for as knowledgeable as I am today on the topics. I could personally build and make bike recommendations with all the knowledge I have on the matter too, from listening to all of you for years now. I know what some of the best folks in the world in this arena have to say on these topics because I have watched hundreds of hours of them actively doing it, and have even reached out to some of them while actively doing it.

And there aren't many people that are more of a cyclist than I am. Maybe better. More miles. More equipped. Or just better opportunities and resources. But at this point in life, there aren't many folks on the planet that are much more into cycling than I am in many ways. Been riding the Rocky Mountains in Colorado back country and road riding for years now. There maybe wetter, sloppier, and even more challenging terrain, but if geared right, there aren't many folks that can go out and do what I can do on a bicycle consistently day in and day out. Only folks that are world touring would know better than me, and that's where I am heading next God willing.

I am also not saying that stuff to brag. I am just stating facts and if it helps others in giving advice instead of making assumptions, then take what you need in there, and leave the rest behind.


But I don't have the practical experience of getting rid of a home, living on my bike, and touring around the U.S. and the world like we are talking about. Do I know how to do it now? Yes. Could I do it? Yes. Do I want to do it? Yes. Can I talk about this subject better than and more than 99,9999% of the people on the planet? Yes. Do I know it like you do? No. Do I want out of it what you do? No. Is there things I can learn from you? Yes.


So help me rather than be dismissive. Even if I don't ever make it out to the road, everything I have learned to date has still been helpful and useful to me in my own life so far, and hopefully gets me out on the road in two weeks time.


While on the road, I would like to be able to continue the things I do now around education, research, and planning. They are important enough to me and part of my life that I don't want to go without. It's awesome that some of you get zen like and disconnect from the world, and that is some of my goals as well, but I am not interested in going without, so the advice for someone else to do the same it not needed, and anyone else needing to understand can simply ask why rather than be dismissive about it...


if he ever does actually make it out onto the road. Perhaps, before spending money on a new device, he should take a few tours and see what it's like.

That's dismissing someone. It's a forum to ask advice, to plan, and to understand from all perspectives so people can make choices about what is best for them..."IF" they even decide that this is something they want to do.


Since I also know what my current needs are, I am seeking information because those needs dictate that I need a new device anyway. Maybe you should ask someone if they have taken a few tours before you make assumptions and be dismissive of them first on the matter


Even if they have not, maybe just giving the advice asked for is best rather than coming in with dismissive assumptions don't you think?


I know what my needs are. OOOOOOOOOOOO....my bike frame just arrived!!!!! Later!

Last edited by Bike Jedi; 07-29-19 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:32 AM
  #19  
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all the best with your decisions and endeavours, you sound like you have enough biking experience to know what you are getting into, and the rest will work itself out by you as you see what your needs and expectations are.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:58 AM
  #20  
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You asked why I did not use a blue tooth earpiece when I made phone calls with my 7 inch tablet.

I only made phone calls with the tablet when my old flip phone did not have coverage, I can only think of a couple times I have done that. I could use my tablet to make phone calls using wifi and google voice on it, the tablet did not have a phone plan. Now, I can make phone calls on my 5.5 inch Android phone using wifi and google voice if my phone lacks coverage, so I do not anticipate ever using my tablet for that any more.
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Old 07-29-19, 12:00 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Bike Jedi View Post
I am trying to figure out the best communication device for my needs, and condense it all down to one device if possible. I know that I can't rely on a phone size screen long term for as many hours as I spend reading online, communicating, education, researching, planning, etc.

...

I know that there are tablets now with phones built into them. I plan on touring for a while and was thinking this might be my best option if I can come up with a keyboard solution.

...

I am putting a lot of money into a build right now, so I don't have a lot to put into electronics, but have to come up with some solution to stay connected while on the road. Mostly for youtube, google, and places like this. I would like the ability to utilize electronics to keep planning and researching ahead.
Color me confused. You're going to play with google and youtube for "many hours as I spend reading online, communicating, education, researching, planning, etc." You're going to be touring "for a while." It's apparently not for work, or for school, as you've not mentioned either of those.

Is this a homeless odyssey? Have the police asked you to leave town after you spent too much time in a grocery store? Or do you have the urge to travel, but you're afraid or unwilling to unplug to do it? What's the point of bicycle touring if all you're going to do is ride to a different location and spend your time surfing from there? I'm not trying to be offensive, I just don't understand your purpose.
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Old 07-29-19, 01:23 PM
  #22  
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I use a laptop because I want the flexibility in being able to easily modify my route each day. I don't want to nit pick where I place the dot on the map when I choose a point. Pretty much all the apps won't let you move lines around on the the screen, so you better nit pick your point placement when choosing a point. If you don't know the area then you better hope your right. I always move the lines around, because I can, because I use a laptop. I also want the laptop because I have several program that I use daily which I have written myself and the only place to get them is on my computer.

Yes, when I'm tripping, I'm riding 115-125 miles a day at 14.5-15 mph average speed. This still gives me 3-4 hours a day to plan out the route for the next day and do other surfing online.

Cell phones are way too limiting, and tablets aren't much better.

No I don't use the laptop for reading books. Mostly for checking the weather forecast so I can route myself around the weather so I can stay as high and dry while I am gone as possible. I also use it for staying in touch with family and friends. Some people won't let you get disconnected, unfortunately or I would go disconnected. Mostly I use it for route planning as my trip plans always blow up in my face right before I leave and I have to start over from scratch the second I leave from home, so I am always planning on the fly from one day to the next.
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Old 07-29-19, 01:34 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Color me confused.
+1.

My spidey senses are tingling. Time to bounce.
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Old 07-29-19, 11:50 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Is this a homeless odyssey?

I had to look up "odyssey" to be clear in answering your question. At first take, I was uncomfortable answering because there felt like shame in the possible answer. Then I looked up the word:


Definition of odyssey- 1 : a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune 2 : an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest

an odyssey of self-discovery; a spiritual odyssey from disbelief to faith


So the answer is, "yes" then.


Have the police asked you to leave town after you spent too much time in a grocery store?

No.



Or do you have the urge to travel, but you're afraid or unwilling to unplug to do it?

Yes to fear, no to unwilling.


What's the point of bicycle touring if all you're going to do is ride to a different location and spend your time surfing from there?

If I am going to sit at home and do that now, putting on tons of miles a day...why not just take the show on the road? What's the difference where I do screen time? If the scenery keeps changing, and I am constantly overloading my senses with new information, enviornments, scenery, cultures, whatever...why does it matter what I do when I stop at the end of the day? Besides, the more new stuff there is to see, the less screen time I will have theoretically anyway. But if I get some serious down time, I would like to be able to isolate and check out for a while on screen time rather than sit in a local pub kind of thing.


I'm not trying to be offensive, I just don't understand your purpose.

The purpose isn't important. I love being on my bike and exploring.


If I get on my bike to go, it will be wherever the wind blows me, and trying to survive doing it. "Odyssey" is a good word to sum it up.


I don't have an easy way to explain why I want to do what I want to do, but I just know I want to do it. I don't have a plan, and that would be the plan.
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Old 07-30-19, 12:01 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
I use a laptop because I want the flexibility in being able to easily modify my route each day. I don't want to nit pick where I place the dot on the map when I choose a point. Pretty much all the apps won't let you move lines around on the the screen, so you better nit pick your point placement when choosing a point. If you don't know the area then you better hope your right. I always move the lines around, because I can, because I use a laptop. I also want the laptop because I have several program that I use daily which I have written myself and the only place to get them is on my computer.

Yes, when I'm tripping, I'm riding 115-125 miles a day at 14.5-15 mph average speed. This still gives me 3-4 hours a day to plan out the route for the next day and do other surfing online.

Cell phones are way too limiting, and tablets aren't much better.

No I don't use the laptop for reading books. Mostly for checking the weather forecast so I can route myself around the weather so I can stay as high and dry while I am gone as possible. I also use it for staying in touch with family and friends. Some people won't let you get disconnected, unfortunately or I would go disconnected. Mostly I use it for route planning as my trip plans always blow up in my face right before I leave and I have to start over from scratch the second I leave from home, so I am always planning on the fly from one day to the next.
I will be honest, I am really struggling on this one. I am lost without at least a laptop for long periods of time. My laptop is hooked up to a 40" screen. Theoretically, I feel like if I can take my bike and laptop with me anywhere, I will be fine. Like everything else is secondary to those two things, and maybe I just answered my own question. I like having a laptop at the least because of how fast I can navigate a computer, type, etc... the most versus a smart phone or tablet. When voice recognition gets to a place where we no longer need keyboards at all, that's a different story, but for the most part, I hate being without a keyboard and regular mouse. What makes it worse is that I use an Ergonomic Keyboard no less and fumble a lot on regular keyboards. That's just getting too much to carry though, but that's my normal setup.

Part of touring to me, will be moving around touring and if I find a place I want to stay for a few weeks, months, whatever...then setup base camp for a while, explore the area in more depth, and then move on when done. I would like to figure out a compromise so that if I was in a place for a couple of weeks or in a tent at night, I am content with what I have. I don't plan on having a central place to return to so I will be indefinitely wandering so to speak. I don't have personal items that I am worried about losing, disposing, and starting over, but I would like to keep a core of electronics with me that I will be content with in all situations.
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