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Tablet vs. Netbook vs. Laptop. Which do you prefer and why?

Bye_Chance

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Location: Eugene, OR

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Tags: tablet, laptop, netbook
  • Added on: January 21st, 2013
Hi all. I am planning a trip around the world beginning February 2014. I will be taking either a tablet, netbook, or laptop depending on what will best suit my needs. To help me determine this, I would like to know from each person's experience, which one you prefer to take and why. Also, any downsides that should be noted as well. Thanks!

EMH

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  • Added on: January 21st, 2013
I've traveled with all three at one time or another and would recommend a netbook, unless for some reason you need the added functionality of a full-sized laptops. If not, laptops are just too heavy to be dragging around. And tablets just have such limited functionality compared to a netbook.

T.Sar

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Guidebook Dependent
 
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Joined: January 12th, 2013
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

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  • Added on: January 21st, 2013
Last year I travelled with a cheap netbook, a tiny point-and-shoot camera and an old, superseded smartphone.

Pros: lightweight, cheap (so I wasn't overly worried about possible theft), worked fine for web browsing and light photo editing with picasa, allowed me to use free wifi everywhere rather than having to hunt down internet cafes

Cons: really really slow (although it's not as though I had anything pressing to do, being an unemployed backpacker at the time), would not have been able to cope with larger sized photos from a DSLR, my phone's wifi broke along the way so it was only useful as a backup way to make really expensive calls home in an emergency (but it did make my mum feel better knowing she could call me if she had to), low quality photos

This year I'm planning on taking my MacBook Air, DSLR and iPhone 5. I am planning on travelling for a month or two and then hopefully settling somewhere and finding a job. If I was just travelling I don't think I'd want to take the expensive technology but I'm planning on living abroad for at least a year and doing some part-time online study so I want better technology. I also really regretted not taking my DSLR on my last trip so I'm looking for a setup that lets me edit larger photos.

Pros: MacBook Air is lightweight, everything runs faster, I'll be able to do more with this setup (study online, edit large photo files etc.), way better photos, iPhone 5 will work for wifi and half decent snapshots if I don't want to take the other stuff out with me, I've been shamelessly sucked-in to the Apple cult and this will allow me to keep up my membership :lol:

Cons: more expensive so theft is a bigger concern (although I will be insuring everything and not moving around that much), my DSLR is ridiculously heavy, risk of wasting too much time plugged in when I should be out appreciating where I am etc.

Ideologically I'd love to be completely unplugged and take nothing. Realistically I have concerned parents, an interest in photography, an online teaching degree I need to get through and a cliched gen-y addiction to social media.

Everyone has different needs depending on what they want to do. If you only want to write emails and update facebook I think you'd be fine with just a netbook, tablet or smartphone. If you have more complex stuff to do online and/or an interest in photography then you might want to look at something more than that.

CheersTerry

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Joined: October 31st, 2006

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  • Added on: January 23rd, 2013
"... my DSLR is ridiculously heavy, risk of wasting too much time plugged in when I should be out appreciating where I am etc..."

T. Sar, you should have a look at some of the micro four thirds cameras that are out there now. My Olympus OM-D E-M5 is taking some outrageous shots and it's minuscule compared to some of the DSLRs...

Great post, thanks for the chuckles.

Have fun.

Cheers,
Terry

T.Sar

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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

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  • Added on: January 23rd, 2013
Thanks for the tip Terry. I'm looking at the flickr group for your camera and there are some amazing shots there.

I think I'm just going to suck it up and carry my DSLR around this time though. I'd hardly call myself a photographer but I like taking pictures and I know my way around film and digital SLRs. I think I'd be able to improve my skills if I gave travel photography a go as a hobby. That and I kind of feel like I owe it to my Canon 50D to use it for something other than taking a million pictures of my cat :lol:

Bye_Chance

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Joined: January 9th, 2013
Location: Eugene, OR

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  • Added on: January 24th, 2013
Thanks EMH & T.Sar! Netbook sounds like a good option, since I will not be doing much other than communicating with family/friends and web browsing type stuff. That being said, I am enticed by the very thin laptops that are available now, except for the prices.

EMH

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  • Added on: January 24th, 2013
Yeah if you're just using it to communicate with family/friends and web surf, I'd say a net book is definitely your best option. Just make sure to get one that's sturdy and will hold up on the road. Enjoy your trip!

foodtravelandlife

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  • Added on: January 25th, 2013
To be fair an ipad/tablet is perfect for basic web browsing and communication using skype, facetime etc and this is what I bring if it's a short-ish trip.

For extended stays though, I need my laptop, but that's only because it's got a bigger screen and more power and flexible to deal with photo processing, web development and blog work. If you don't need to do that then tablets are the way to go!

If you have a DSLR you can even buy lightning to SD card adapters. They are fast becoming the future :)
Love food, love travel, love life!
http://www.foodtravelandlife.com

CheersTerry

Lost in Place
 
Posts: 61
Joined: October 31st, 2006

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  • Added on: January 25th, 2013
Another vote for laptop but only because I do photo/video post processing and no netbook or tablet is up to the job. For simple communication and browsing I'd likely just stick with my phone...

Cheers,
Terry

Jeanie99

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Joined: December 19th, 2007

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2013
I always think it's not a good idea to flaunt your wealth when traveling and apart from the fact someone can steel your belongings you could be mugged which is far worse.
Large cameras with lenses, think twice, apart from them being heavy and bulky there is the security issue.
I take a cannon camera with built in zoom with viewfinder which slips into my pocket.
The netbook I take is small and light and I can pack it into my small backpack. I use it for research, e-mail, and storing photographs, I also take a memory stick for for back up as well for photos.
Some people on a long trip would burn photos to disc and send home 2 copies I did this on my round the world trip but found it to be very expensive.
Jean

Jeanie99

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2013
Oh forgot, I also use the netbook for Skype for phone calls and video calls. phoning land lines is so much cheaper than using a mobile even phoning mobiles via Skype is less expensive.
Ive also done the buying sim cards for the different countries and this also works out more expensive than using Skype.

JasonT

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Joined: February 7th, 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2013
I travelled with a Samsung netbook for a couple years. It was the lightest option at the time, but was very slow; however, I stripped down the OS and was able to run photoshop and other resource intensive applications fairly well.

When the screen on it died the second time, I upgraded to a Toshiba Ultrabook. It weighs practically nothing, and is infinitely faster than my netbook, but still slower than a typical laptop. I can render HD videos in Adobe Premiere, so that keeps me happy.

I was worried about carrying around a more expensive laptop, but in the time I've been travelling, I haven't had any problems with theft. I have a laptop cable lock that I use in dorms that don't have a locker, otherwise I keep it secure in other ways. So my worries have faded away. Even so, I do keep everything backed up online, just in case...

CheersTerry

Lost in Place
 
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Joined: October 31st, 2006

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  • Added on: March 1st, 2013
Jason, I use one of these to keep everything safe:

http://pacsafe.com/travelsafe-12l-portable-safe

It rolls up quite small in my backpack, but it's big enough to easily handle my laptop, camera body and lenses, external hard drives and all my other important stuff. It's built well enough that it will easily stop all normal crimes of opportunity so it gives good peace of mind in hotel/hostel rooms...

Cheers
Terry

jlinFan

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Joined: May 25th, 2012

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  • Added on: April 5th, 2013
For traveling, I think the better choices are netbook and tablet since laptops are quite bulky and heavy. Between netbook and tablet, it depends on what functionality you need.

With a tablet, you can connect to the internet, communicate with your family and take and upload photos. It's really great for mobility.

A lot of a tablet's functionalities can also be found in a netbook. But with a tablet, you can do more especially if you need to work while traveling. But if you just want to enjoy your vacation and leave all the work behind, I thin tablet would be the better choice...

busman7

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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
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Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: El Salvador

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  • Added on: April 6th, 2013
Laptop too big
Tablet no USB port

The winner netbook! 8-)
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown


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