iPad vs Macbook Air for weary traveler

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Emma1, May 9, 2010.

  1. Emma1 macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2010
    I own a Macbook Pro 15" - it's just too heavy for to carry through airports. (I have a shoulder injury) So I thought I would get an Macbook Air. I just bought the iPad seduced by the 1.5 lbs weight and promise it could run basic stuff I need. The techs at Apple tell me to be patient that all the apps I need will be coming out soon but simple things like printing, storing documents, uploading files all seem difficult in the iPad. I love it and I am really trying to make it work - I'm self employed and have my own consulting business - what would you do? iPad or Airbook? Thanks
  2. pondie84 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2008
    Probably the Air. I don't think the iPad is at the stage to be a laptop or work computer replacement yet.

    Unless you try out the iPad and if it doesn't work for you you can just sell it.
  3. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    New apps are coming out all the time that are slowly increasing the usability of the iPad, but it's not a notebook replacement at this time. It MAY approach that in the future, but that's not a given. For me, it's way too clunky to do much for work, other than email and some very light document editing.
  4. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    The physical keyboard on the air makes it possible to type with all different angles, but with the iPad's small size and on screen keyboard it is difficult to type for more than 5 minutes at a time
  5. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I would not buy an Air under any current circumstances. Maybe if they lowered the price $500. As-is it's not enough bang for the buck.

    I too got tired of carrying around my 15" MBP so I bought a 13" and put a Corsair P128 SSD in it. It's a fantastic travel machine. Love it to death. It has everything I need, light enough, great battery life, and it comfortably fits on a coach seat tray.

    Of course, then I bought an iPad. It's irresistible to not take too, but I don't want to be burdened with two machines. So I take the iPad on short trips (a day or two) where I know I won't be printing, or I can use a hotel printer, and the MBP on longer trips when I don't really know what circumstances I'll run into.

    I also heartily recommend buying a TSA-friendly bag for the MBP/MBA. That alone will make you dread going to the airport a little less.
  6. Emma1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2010
    Thanks I agree the iPad could work on short business trips and presentations.
    Wish I had the 13" instead of the 15" because of the weight.
    Has anyone had any luck saving documents, editing PDFs? I am using Pages
    and PDF reader Pro. good printing app you like? Just bought the Logmein app? any ideas and success using the iPad for business please pass along.
  7. ScottFitz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2007
    If you want entertainment, watching movies, YouTube, just about any video... My Air overheats quickly. It sucks in that regard. It's underpowered and I wish I had just gotten a MacBook pro. But now vie got the iPad, currently traveling with it. Couldn't do a couple of things but logged back into my iMac and got it done.
  8. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    I bought a 13" pro because of the weight and it's a good balance.

    The best thing about it is that I can keep it on my lap in Hotel bed for extended periods without it being uncomfortable.

    The 13" pro weighs 4 lbs, and the Air weighs 3lbs, but 4lbs is fine.

    The Air has compromises, not for weight but for style, I believe, which is something to consider.
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    The MBA is by far the best laptop I have ever owned (and I have owned about 20). There is no laptop in 2nd place... including the MBP. Of course there are a few things I would like changed... but there are fewer things on the MBA that I would want changed over any other laptop I've owned.

    Having said that... while on he actual plane... I greatly prefer the iPad. This is primarily because I do not generate much content on a flight. Instead I consume content.

    For me that seems to be the deciding factor... production or consumption of content. For production... the MBA is my laptop of choice. For consumption it is the iPad.

    For heavy duty use, where a large screen is desirable, I use my 27" iMac. My MBP almost never gets used anymore.

    My wife is lusting after my MBA... and wants me to buy a new one for myself as soon as it is upgraded... so she could inherit my existing rev C MBA w/SSD. Then she will abandon her MBP as well.

  10. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    As a consultant who travels frequently and who has an iPad, MBA, and a 15" MBP, I love the MBA/iPad combo for travel. I rarely take the MBA out of my pack on the plane anymore instead using the iPad exclusively. However, onsite the MBA gets used exclusively for work (with the occasional use of the iPad for note taking). At home or when I need to use a heavier-duty machine on travel it's the MBP. But for travel, it's hard to beat the MBA and iPad combo.
  11. DKatri macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    Birmingham, UK
    If you want to get some proper work done then I think you'd be better off with the Air. Means you can run pretty much any programme you need to and not worry about the limitations.
  12. Dolorian macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    I think the iPad leaves very little reason to own a MacBook Air. If you need a full portable computer, you are better off with a MacBook Pro, if not, then it is the iPad.
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    I agree with you there. The only thing is can the OP stay with his current solution till maybe the end of the year for App developers and hotels to catch up with the iPad as a business tool?
  14. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Jul 31, 2007
    I completely disagree with that. You just need to get use to typing with it. I can type just as fast on the iPad as I can on the keyboard. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    P.s. I wrote this post with my Ipad
  15. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    The MBA is a fantastic travel laptop that's comfortable to use all day long. It's the best travel laptop I have ever owned and have used one as my primary machine for years.

    While many could use a MBA as their only machine it's capacity limitations (ram and ssd space) do not allow it to be my only machine. So I have a 13" MB too with more memory and storage. It might not seem like much but the extra pound and a half and half inch thinkness makes a LOT of difference when traveling so I much preferred the MBA for that purpose.

    Oddly since I've gotten an iPad I travel with my MB which stays in my carry on while traveling and on my desk when in a office and I typically use the iPad whenever I'm away from my desk. That combination has been working great. Without the iPad I would definitely be using my MBA though.
  16. danpass macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    without any more detail of your specific needs I would remote in to my desktop using my iPad.

    Printing would be a big issue though if that was a necessity.
  17. FlashHead macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2010
    The capabilities and limitations are pretty well known for the iPad at this point. If it can handle what you need to get done, I would say go with it. It's an amazing device. It will also likely improve in pretty short order as new apps and 4.0 are released. It's already made my life far more convenient.
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    The iPad is not ready to replace a laptop yet. That may change in the future... but for most people, it is not a laptop replacement today... so for most people who travel to any significant degree, they will still carry a laptop in addition to an iPad.

    The critical decision then boils down to buying an MBA, or a different laptop (presumably a MBP). To help with that analysis, it is useful to look at the satisfaction owners have with their machines. Clearly many more people buy MBPs... and the vast majority of them enjoy their machines. However... that in itself is a misleading indicator.

    I think it is more accurate to look at people who have owned both, and switched from one platform to the other. There are only a few (very few) people who have owned a MBA and later switched to a MBP out of choice. However... I know virtually nobody (only a few exist) who have switched to a MBA and have not been delighted. In other words:

    1) Almost all owners of a MBP love their machine
    2) Almost all owners of a MBA love their machine
    3) Almost nobody who has owned both a MBA and a MBP would choose a MBP over a MBA... but you will be able to find them if you look... and also a post like this will have the few crawling out of the woodwork.

  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    I was one of those that sat on the fence after the iPad release weighing the MBA vs the iPad. I broke down and got the iPad. So far my use, I never knew how little I used the power of my MBP or my iMac.

    Right now I am using my iMac to burn some DVD's I own for use on the iPad. Otherwise I would be sitting on the couch or in bed browsing the MR with the iPad. Have an Apple BT keyboard for those times I might need a better keyboard. But as another poster said the virtual keyboard is not bad - at least in horizontal mode.

    For the OP he could pack the BT keyboard in his checked bags, and make due with the virtual keyboard till he got to his hotel.
  20. flyingturtle macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    Like the other poster has mentioned, you can buy BlueTooth keyboard to use with the iPad.

    I have the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the smaller version without the keypad, and I love it's size. It's great for portability since the keys aren't tall so it makes the keyboard thin.

    I think for most things you'll be able to get by with the iPad.

    If it doesn't, bring your MBP and put it in with your luggage and not your carry-on, as back up or when you need the extra horsepower.

    Or, just buy a VNC or RDP application on your iPad, and access your home/work computer remotely from your iPad, and you can leave your MPB at home. Great for those moments that I must use Microsoft Office, see a flash video, I'll just VNC or RDP to my computer, view or work on there and if I need files, I'll download the file to my iPad via DropBox, FTP, or even just email myself from the remote computer to my iPad.

    In my opinion, iPad will cover your bases, and for those area that it won't, use a VNC or RDP to connect to a computer that can.
  21. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I would strongly recommend against the above bolded advice.

  22. lavrishevo macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2007
    Although I do love the iPad, it does not replace a netbook let alone a laptop.
  23. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    It replaced my netbook. Haven't turned it on in a month.
  24. wombat888 macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2008
    Really depends on the buyer's needs. Many people assume they need a lot more power and flexibility than they really do.
  25. rkulpajr macrumors member


    Sep 27, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I bought a 32 GB iPad on launch day and was planning on using it as a supplement to my MBA when I traveled. However, After using the iPad for a few weeks, I decided to sell the MBA, buy a 3G iPad and give the WiFi ipad to my wife.

    There is nothing that I would use my MBA for that I have not been able to use my iPad for and with the flexibility of having built in 3G -- I know I will have Internet access no matter where I am.

    I have found that the iPad is a good device to surf the internet, email, take notes in meetings, and play games on. I have even done a few presentation using keynote, but there is very limited flexibility there.

    All in all, I have not regretted selling my MBA and in fact came out of it a little ahead of the game--with a little extra money in my pocket.

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