Does it fit into your travel plans?
I’ve been packing
an iPad along on overnight rides for the last two years. My
wife, Ellen, and I stay at motels on our trips and use our iPads
(they are personal machines and we quickly upgraded to two) for
reading, browsing, and watching videos.
Tablets are often
referred to as a lean-back device compared to a lean-forward PC.
They work great for media consumption and will make do for
creation. For writing emails and a few paragraphs the on-screen
keyboard works fine. For more input you may want a keyboard such
as the well-reviewed Logitech Keyboard Cover. Ellen is a
secretary with excellent touch-typing skills and, yet, has no
interest in a dedicated keyboard.
The iPad Mini uses
the same number of pixels as the original iPad so all apps work
just the same other than being slightly smaller. The 7.9” screen
offers 40% more area than the physically similar size
Android-based tablets with 7” screens.
hadn’t planned to use it much as an e-reader but have found
myself buying books more often rather than waiting for it to
show up at the library. My AAA account allows me to download
PDFs of their travel books. I have PDF manuals for my Triumph,
video camera, and various catalogs. The regular iPad works well
as an e-reader in landscape mode. The Mini, in contrast, feels
perfect in portrait mode -- much like holding a paperback.
prefer internet browsing on an iPad over a PC. I’ve quickly come
around to double-tapping the screen to auto-zoom in to an
article or pinch-zooming a photo. I slightly prefer the
full-size iPad for browsing but it’s not a big difference. Our
original iPads included cellular capabilities which I used once;
it’s not something I need as most lodging includes free WiFi.
Occasionally we stay at places with only Ethernet and now bring
along an Airport Express to give us personal WiFi. If the room
includes both WiFi and Ethernet, I’ll still use the Airport
Express – it’s almost always faster than the overcrowded
hotel TVs allow us to hook up the iPad to the hotel TV and
watch our own shows but, more and more, the Video-In is locked
so the only choice is to watch what the hotel offers or watch my
show directly on the iPad. If I’m alone, the iPad viewing is
great and I become just as immersed in the show as if it was on
a larger TV screen.
Can it replace your
laptop? The iPad has replaced my need for a laptop in all but
one case. I still bring a laptop along on longer trips in case I
want to make adjustments to my Garmin GPS. I prefer routing on
the large PC screen vs. editing on the GPS device itself. Last
year I read a comment from a Garmin employee on their forum that
they were considering tablet options. When that day comes the
laptop will stay home.
Mini or MaxiPad?
(oh, ew ...) Ellen not just rides a variety of motorcycles, she
also bicycle commutes and the Mini slides into her bicycle bag
where the larger iPad was a pain to pack along. The size
difference hasn’t been so important in our motorcycle packing as
we can split all of our gear between two bikes. Riding solo it
might make a difference to you. I can fit the Mini in my small
Bags-Connection Daypack tank bag.
I thought I’d
prefer the larger iPad for day-to-day use but am finding I
prefer the lighter iPad Mini and will probably go with that in
the next replacement cycle. My travel plans? A smart phone only
on day rides, phone and iPad on 1-4 day trips, and on longer
trips I include the laptop.
Jim Palms/Fall 12