Have Tablet, Will Travel!

Author: 
Meghan Brennan

Alas, my beloved Kindle has reached the end of its natural life. Sad for me, but lucky for you – because now I get to research new tablets and e-readers to figure out which one to buy next! And, since I do a lot of traveling, I decided to specifically focus on the ones that would be best for those of us who use our gadgets on the road, in the air, by the ocean, or wherever else your travels may take you! So, without further ado, your three top choices for tablets to travel with.

Apple iPad

The device that created the very idea of tablets is still the best one available. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive, with prices for the fourth generation of the tablet still starting around $500. Still, there’s something to be said for having the “real thing.”

 

Traveling with Apple iPad

But how does it travel?

Well, let’s get one thing out of the way pretty early – tablets aren’t made for toughness, so don’t plan on taking it anywhere until you’ve got a case for that thing. That said, whether or not you’ll feel comfortable using it once you arrive is another issue. If you’re in a city, carrying one can make you a target just as much a nice watch might. In the sun, the screen is subject to a pretty brutal glare. Also, when it comes to using it to check in to flights, you have to be sure that the airline’s site doesn’t use Adobe Flash – even after four generations, the iPad and Flash don’t play nice together. All the same, it’s great on the plane or in your room, so if that’s what you’re looking for, and you have no qualms about paying top-dollar for it, the iconic iPad might be right for you.

Amazon Kindle

This pretty much depends on which Kindle you’re thinking of – the traditional e-ink or Kindle Fire. The old-school Kindles are fairly basic e-readers, though there are also some games you can play on them. They run anywhere from $69 to $179. A Kindle Fire, depending on exactly which specifications you want, will cost from $159 to $499. Yes, that’s a very wide gap, but they have very different screen sizes and capabilities.

Amazon Kindle for Travel

But how does it travel?

You remember the part where I’m replacing mine, right? The thing about the Kindle – at least, the more basic ones – is that their screens don’t stand up well to pressure. It won’t crack like a glass screen, but one solid hit is all it takes for the screen to fully or partially freeze. Depending on where this happens, it can be a minor inconvenience or completely trash your device. That said, the basic Kindles (the ones that don’t play movies, etc.) don’t have a glare in the sunlight, and are remarkably light and compact, making them great for travel – as long as you don’t hit it or want it to be anything more than a source of entertainment. If you want something a little more practical, you’re going to have to go for the Kindle Fire, and those have pretty much the same issues as the iPad.

Google Nexus 7

This is a much smaller tablet, which can make it great for travel. It’s also the best of the compact tablets – out of the way, iPad Mini – and I can say from experience that it’s great for playing all sorts of games. It’s also good for younger kids, as their smaller hands won’t struggle to hold it. None of its specs are going to win it any major awards, but for what it is it can’t be beaten for price ($199).

Traveling and reading with a tablet

But how does it travel?

A pretty big concern about traveling with this device will be its battery life – if you’re going somewhere you won’t have fairly regular access to an outlet, you could be in trouble. That said, it’s a great travel device, leaving aside all the issues with the screen that it shares with its competitors – glare and breakability, mostly. Its size certainly gives it a huge boost, with its compactness making it a great option no matter where you’re traveling.

So there you have it, three of the best tablets for travel! I’m still not completely convinced about which one I should buy, but hopefully I’ve helped you make up your mind! Do you have a tablet that you rely on while traveling? If not, what’s your favorite travel device? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Note: This post was written back in January 2013 and is due to be revised very soon!

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