What Apple to pick – or: reduce weight while traveling

No, this blog post is not about a diet based on apples, it’s rather about which financial diet to take after buying an Apple; the technical product that is.

As most of you are well aware of, part of my job is to travel a lot. And traveling most of the time means spending an awfull lot of time being transported from A to B or waiting for this to happen. Hence I want to use this time wisely by catching up with E-Mail, blog posts and the latest MKV files that have found their way to me.

It’s about Video MKV playback, reading eBooks, dealing with the occasional E-Mail, maybe being able to show a PowerPoint (converted) presentation every now and then), surf the web and maybe having a Skype call with Inka.

Of course I can do that with my notebook right now, but this device has some disadvantages; mainly size and weight. The 15″ display is too large to fit in every Enconomy class seat, especially when the plane is fully booked and the device is quite heavy, weighting more than 2kg. It has an okay battery lifetime with 4 or so hours and can play MKV smoothlessly + has a built in camera and a SIM card slot.

But, it lacks the sexyness other devices with an apple have plus it’s heavy and large in size.

So I am looking for a hand luggage sized device that is not too much of a drawback. Options are an iPad / tablet device or a very small but powerful notebook – maybe a Macbook Air.

As I am not very sure which way to go, I’d like to present the options as I see them and ask for advice. I’ll promise to not listen to it 🙂

iPad

  • Pro: sexy, light, long battery life time, good display, 3G support, WiFi, good media player, nice form factor, tons of digital magazines and books, touch display, Flash storage only
  • Con: no camera, large frame around the display (wasted space?), have to convert MKV, limited set of applications

Macbook Air:

  • Pro: camera, hardware keyboard, rather light, okay battery life time, WiFi, good media player, not have to convert MKV (though might be slow), “real OS”, Outlook, Powerpoint and Word available, Flash storage only
  • Con: no 3G, no LAN, hardware keyboard, no touch display, not as sexy, battery life not significantly longer than with my current notebook, no trackpoint

Of course there are other SSD notebooks (like the Thinkpad X100e or X200), but they are heavier (at least I haven’t found one with ~ 1kg weight) and of course there are other tablets (even with Windows 7), but sometimes they have fans built in or don’t have the extended battery lifetime an iPad can bring to the table.

So if you were in my situation, what would you do? Wait for the iPad 2? Hope for a Macbook Air with 3G? Wait for Android based alternatives?

7 Replies to “What Apple to pick – or: reduce weight while traveling”

  1. I’d go for the MacAir. I’m not a traveler, but am quite happy with it.

    You actually can get a LAN adaptor. And I’d buy a MiFi/mobile wifi hotspot so that you can share 3G across multiple devices. Not too much to carry around.

    IMHO the great touchpad does weigh in for the lack of touchscreen, which is for gaming all the more, though.

    If you can wait, definitely hang on for the specs of the ipad2 and its weight/resolution. That won’t change the fact though, that you simply cannot do productive work on the ipad, it’s a consumation device.

    And now some more text so that your blog antispam plugin gives me a second chance.

  2. Hey dude!
    Choose the 13″ MacBook Air. (my Choice too)
    For I-Net –> tethering

    The MBA is pretty fast and has a Res of 1440×900 ( the 13″)

  3. Funny. I was thinking the same some days ago. But I don’t need much computing power, since i don’t watch movies. I tend to write a lot, so an EEE 1015ha with its 10h battery life and around 150Eur price seems extremely attractive.

    On the other hand I really really like those sexy iPads, as you mentioned. You’re right about the frame around the display, its really ugly and I don’t like it, too. You’re right about the OS, also. Another major drawback: No flash! I guess thats why I don’t have one, yet (and bc I’m an Apple racist). Looking forward to 2011. Maybe the iPad 2 or some Android device will finally fit all purposes.

    Regarding the Air: I don’t like the Air because its too expensive, basically has no connectivity unless you carry a bunch of adapters with you and because it gets quite warm (I feel uncomfortable with that).

    So my conclusion is: No solution currently on the market will make me happy.

    Written on my damn old, damn slow but small Thinkpad X31

    PS: Get a 14″ business Laptop. Switched my T61 15″ for a 14″. The difference is significant!

  4. Oh, I just noticed, I do have a 14″ display. But, the beast is still to warm (Dell, crappy heat management)and too heavy. Plus the form factor is not what I am looking for.

  5. Hi Christian, I will give you also my comments.
    First of all, some additions to your pro/cons:
    iPad: Large frame: Try to held it without the frame and you will know 😉 Camera will on next Gen. If you want it for “production”, you can add a stand/case and a wireless apple keyboard to it. But you should first search the store for the apps that would fit your needs. It will not be the same as a notebook, but you can get quite near. Big point is, you can use the iPad as a secondary display! Even with a windows system! Personally I would prefer one without 3G. Save the 100,- and buy MiFi device, or find out which phones offer this.
    MBA: If you need network, buy an USB to Ethernet device(29,-). Battery life on the 11″ is only 5 hours, but compare the weight size 😉 May be there will be additional batteries from third partys? The 13″ has 7 hours, and is more near to a full notebook.

    Additional, for hotel with only wired network, get an Airport Express and make your own wireless network. Works with both good. But only software for Mac. No App up to now.

    I would generally assume the following:
    – For an “short trip” device with limitied “production” capabilities, but to use on “long trips” as additonal to a full notebook: Get an iPad.
    – As a most “sexy” replacement for the notebook: Get the 13″ MBA (11″ with restrictions)

    Btw.: I have the 13″ black MB (Äh, since yesterday also an 15″ MBP 😉 ) and an iPad. Great combination!

    Regards

    Stephan

    (Written on iPad)

  6. Two additions:
    – If you ever work with a Apple touchpad, you will never miss a trackpoint 😉
    – I assume, there will not be a 3G MB in the next years.

    Sent by iPhone 😉

  7. Thanks everybody for the feedback so far. I have however forgotten a small use case for the device that came to my head while being in the Gym yesterday: an iPad perfectly fits on the Technogym screen and wouldn’t cause any irritations when reading my mail there. A Macbook Air however would look a bit stranger than that.

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