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  1. brianatbb's Avatar
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    Default Travelling with a PB

    I just returned from a five-week trip to Asia, equipped with my Playbook tablet and an Android phone. Here's my findings on how they each, especially the PB, handled my needs.

    I was travelling for pleasure, so I needed a phone for occasional use, and a device to access travel plans, email, the Internet, a camera (still and video), and reading books.

    Pros for PB:
    1. Video, often taken from the front seat of the van I had for a trip through Rajasthan, was better than the Android, which also had a five meg HD video. The Android phone often had trouble holding focus while the PB video worked well.
    2. Screen size. Seven inches will always beat 3.7 inches.
    3. Print to Go. Had all my travel docs saved to it so they were always easily accessible and legible.
    4. Keeping a diary was much easier on the larger screen/keyboard.

    Cons for the PB

    1. Battery life sucked. The phone easily lasted a day of use while I'd be lucky to get half a day of use out of the PB. I had one charger for both and it wouldn't charge the PB in the van.
    2. Photos/videos. No camera flash. No easy way to upload pics and video to email or cloud services, or to crop them. So when I wanted to send people pictures, I had to do it from what was on the phone.
    3. Wifi often not available so the PB was frequently relegated to ebook status and taking videos.
    4. No useable mapping apps. And I have MapApp, MapSearch Free, Bing Maps, Maps free and Osmand. None of them worked at all.
    5. Even with a good wifi connection, the TripAdvisor app was next to useless. I could get everything I wanted on my android's TA app long before PB's version got up and running. A real disappointment.
    6. No Skype. 'Nuff said.
    7. I was keeping a travel journal but there was no easy way to share it via email or cloud. That meant copy-and-paste to keep people up to date, which isn't all that easy on the PB when the document gets long.

    Android phone pros

    1. Good battery life.
    2. Very portable, so it became my de facto camera.
    3. Lots of picture options, including sharing.
    4. Great map apps. Navigator worked well but tended to crash when not on the screen. But Maps With Me worked very well except when I was unable to download a Hong Kong map (China) over hotel wifi and had to resort to Navigator. I also had apps to track my movements so I could wander India's congested cities without worrying about getting lost. And they generally picked up a GPS signal within seconds. Extremely useful.
    5. AirBnb, CX Mobile, TripAdvisor, Tripit, Skype and Kayak, among others, all worked well on Android.
    6. Cheap data on 3G. How cheap? 350 minutes talk time and one gig of data for $13 in India. In Thailand, Bangkok Airways handed out free sim cards for phone calls worth 35 bhat to my wife and I. Was plenty for our eight days there.

    Android phone cons

    1. Video had trouble holding focus when shot from moving vehicle.
    2. No HDMI output for viewing videos. Not a real problem while travelling as we seldom had access to a TV capable of HDMI.

    Conclusions

    The two devices complemented each other. The phone did pretty much all you could ask of a 3.7-inch screen. The PB fell down with its lousy GPS (why no assisted GPS?), poor apps (tripadvisor useless), and lack of photo/video options. With wifi, it was good for web browsing and email. Both devices were pretty stable to use. And no, you do not need to take it out of your bag when going through airport security. At least, I never did and it was never an issue on 10 flights. The trip highlighted the advantage of having a 3g/4g option on a tablet. If you travel a lot, consider getting one with it. Overall, I was satisfied with how each performed, with the exception of some of the PB's apps. Having the phone map apps, I didn't really regret the PB's lack of functional map apps.

    Since I don't have a Blackberry phone, I have no idea if it could replicate all the Android did.
    Acer Asprie S755-6832, Playbook, Samsung SII HD LTE, HTC One v
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    seamonky (11-30-2012) 
  2. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianatbb View Post
    Since I don't have a Blackberry phone, I have no idea if it could replicate all the Android did.
    Seems like some of the issues you had with the PB were generic to any wifi-only tablet and might have been resolved had you been carrying a BB phone (for bridge) or at least tethering to your Android phone. Also, have you tried Google Maps running in the Android player? Never have a problem with GPS on my PB, and the ability to cache regions for offline use mitigates the lack of a data connection somewhat.

    Regardless, sounds like a fun trip. Haven't been to India since 1997 when I spent three weeks rumbling through the south in a Tata "Sumo" with the wife and in-laws. Beautiful scenery - Mysore Palace was amazing - and I lost 20 pounds in three weeks! Best diet EVAR!

    RCK
  3. #3  

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    Nice review.

    I would love to find such cheap phone/data when I'm in Italy next January but I doubt it. Also, I'm not sure if using a foreign sim in a bbphone will allow the phone's browser to work (hmm, that's a question I will have to ask in the bb phone forum) or whether I would need a BB plan of some sort. Also, email would probably have to be via web access (if I can find a browser that works) since the email I now get is through bb-bis (private account).
  4. pacoman03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianatbb View Post
    2. Photos/videos. No camera flash. No easy way to upload pics and video to email or cloud services, or to crop them. So when I wanted to send people pictures, I had to do it from what was on the phone.
    If you use X-Plore or ES File Explorer, both of which need to be sideloaded, it's easy to upload pics or vids to the cloud or to attach them to an email.
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    brianatbb (11-30-2012) 
  5. johnny_larue's Avatar
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    I have travelled with my PlayBook as well and I liked it. The battery life isn't great. That's my only gripe.
  6. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling with a PB

    Quote Originally Posted by pacoman03 View Post
    If you use X-Plore or ES File Explorer, both of which need to be sideloaded, it's easy to upload pics or vids to the cloud or to attach them to an email.
    Likewise, Files & Folders supports a number of cloud services - and it's a native app.

    RCK

    Sent from my BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps using Tapatalk 2
  7. pacoman03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    Likewise, Files & Folders supports a number of cloud services - and it's a native app.
    Even though it's native, the wierd thing is that it's not integrated with the native Messages app, while the android apps X-Plore and ES are. They'll both allow you to attach multiple pics to an outgoing email in Messages.
  8. cjenniti's Avatar
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    Hi, been to Italy frequently with work and I use a local pay as you go MIFI from 3 Mobile, cost about 40 euros but came with 3gb pre loaded, had no trouble using it for a month in total for email and browsing, most hotels also have free Internet too. Signal was always good and I have not needed to top up yet. Will use it again next time I visit in a few weeks
    Tim, BB convert from Nokia although still love my N900, Torch, Curve 2 PB 32 & 64GB

    Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.
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    F2 (11-30-2012) 
  9. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling with a PB

    Quote Originally Posted by pacoman03 View Post
    Even though it's native, the wierd thing is that it's not integrated with the native Messages app, while the android apps X-Plore and ES are. They'll both allow you to attach multiple pics to an outgoing email in Messages.
    Really? I didn't know that! Can you walk me through the steps with ES?

    Also, I sometimes use F&F's built-in mail function to send files, so that's another option. Still, I wish the PB supported 3rd party file managers for handling attachment selection like Android does with ES, etc. Anything is better than that awful file selection dialog. :-(

    RCK

    Sent from my A200 using Tapatalk 2
  10. MilnerR's Avatar
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    The PB can't use assisted GPS as it has no cellular network to consult (wifi only versions).
  11. seamonky's Avatar
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    Thanks for this review. I will be travelling with mine shortly so gives me a good idea of what to expect and what to get to help make it more suitable
  12. slparry's Avatar
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    #12  

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianatbb View Post
    I just returned from a five-week trip to Asia, equipped with my Playbook tablet and an Android phone. Here's my findings on how they each, especially the PB, handled my needs.

    I was travelling for pleasure, so I needed a phone for occasional use, and a device to access travel plans, email, the Internet, a camera (still and video), and reading books.

    Pros for PB:
    1. Video, often taken from the front seat of the van I had for a trip through Rajasthan, was better than the Android, which also had a five meg HD video. The Android phone often had trouble holding focus while the PB video worked well.
    2. Screen size. Seven inches will always beat 3.7 inches.
    3. Print to Go. Had all my travel docs saved to it so they were always easily accessible and legible.
    4. Keeping a diary was much easier on the larger screen/keyboard.

    Cons for the PB

    1. Battery life sucked. The phone easily lasted a day of use while I'd be lucky to get half a day of use out of the PB. I had one charger for both and it wouldn't charge the PB in the van.
    2. Photos/videos. No camera flash. No easy way to upload pics and video to email or cloud services, or to crop them. So when I wanted to send people pictures, I had to do it from what was on the phone.
    3. Wifi often not available so the PB was frequently relegated to ebook status and taking videos.
    4. No useable mapping apps. And I have MapApp, MapSearch Free, Bing Maps, Maps free and Osmand. None of them worked at all.
    5. Even with a good wifi connection, the TripAdvisor app was next to useless. I could get everything I wanted on my android's TA app long before PB's version got up and running. A real disappointment.
    6. No Skype. 'Nuff said.
    7. I was keeping a travel journal but there was no easy way to share it via email or cloud. That meant copy-and-paste to keep people up to date, which isn't all that easy on the PB when the document gets long.

    Android phone pros

    1. Good battery life.
    2. Very portable, so it became my de facto camera.
    3. Lots of picture options, including sharing.
    4. Great map apps. Navigator worked well but tended to crash when not on the screen. But Maps With Me worked very well except when I was unable to download a Hong Kong map (China) over hotel wifi and had to resort to Navigator. I also had apps to track my movements so I could wander India's congested cities without worrying about getting lost. And they generally picked up a GPS signal within seconds. Extremely useful.
    5. AirBnb, CX Mobile, TripAdvisor, Tripit, Skype and Kayak, among others, all worked well on Android.
    6. Cheap data on 3G. How cheap? 350 minutes talk time and one gig of data for $13 in India. In Thailand, Bangkok Airways handed out free sim cards for phone calls worth 35 bhat to my wife and I. Was plenty for our eight days there.

    Android phone cons

    1. Video had trouble holding focus when shot from moving vehicle.
    2. No HDMI output for viewing videos. Not a real problem while travelling as we seldom had access to a TV capable of HDMI.

    Conclusions

    The two devices complemented each other. The phone did pretty much all you could ask of a 3.7-inch screen. The PB fell down with its lousy GPS (why no assisted GPS?), poor apps (tripadvisor useless), and lack of photo/video options. With wifi, it was good for web browsing and email. Both devices were pretty stable to use. And no, you do not need to take it out of your bag when going through airport security. At least, I never did and it was never an issue on 10 flights. The trip highlighted the advantage of having a 3g/4g option on a tablet. If you travel a lot, consider getting one with it. Overall, I was satisfied with how each performed, with the exception of some of the PB's apps. Having the phone map apps, I didn't really regret the PB's lack of functional map apps.

    Since I don't have a Blackberry phone, I have no idea if it could replicate all the Android did.
    could you not tether your pb to your phone? my nokia n8 works very well as a 3g modem for my pb's data needs
  13. reschp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seamonky View Post
    Thanks for this review. I will be travelling with mine shortly so gives me a good idea of what to expect and what to get to help make it more suitable
    Get a car charger with at least 1800mA (1.8Amps) and try it before you go on your trip. Just because a charger fits does not mean it has the output power to charge the PB. Have a great trip & be safe.
    I used to be indecisive, now I'm not so sure.
  14. pacoman03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    Really? I didn't know that! Can you walk me through the steps with ES?

    Also, I sometimes use F&F's built-in mail function to send files, so that's another option. Still, I wish the PB supported 3rd party file managers for handling attachment selection like Android does with ES, etc. Anything is better than that awful file selection dialog
    F&F can be used to send emails, the only problems are that you can only send one attachment at a time and that the sent message does not show up on your email providers server as a sent email. With ES, you can send multiple attachments and the email will show on your providers servers. The only caveat is that all files to be attached need to be in the same PB folder, which is typically not a problem sending Pics from the PB since they're usually located in the PB's Camera folder. To send multiple pics/files from ES, first navigate (in ES) to the PB folder (Camera) where the files reside. Then tap the "Select" button on the top toolbar, and choose the files you want to attach. The names of the selected files will turn yellow. Then tap and hold on any one of the selected files- an "Operations" dialogue will pop up. Scroll down in this dialogue and choose "Share". Another dialogue will pop up entitled "Share Via"- choose "Messages". After doing this, the Messages app will open up and go to the Compose view with the selected files attached to the message. The procedure using X-Plore is similar, and it also can be done using Ghost Commander, only Ghost is limited to attaching one file per message.
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  15. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacoman03 View Post
    F&F can be used to send emails, the only problems are that you can only send one attachment at a time and that the sent message does not show up on your email providers server as a sent email. With ES, you can send multiple attachments and the email will show on your providers servers. The only caveat is that all files to be attached need to be in the same PB folder, which is typically not a problem sending Pics from the PB since they're usually located in the PB's Camera folder. To send multiple pics/files from ES, first navigate (in ES) to the PB folder (Camera) where the files reside. Then tap the "Select" button on the top toolbar, and choose the files you want to attach. The names of the selected files will turn yellow. Then tap and hold on any one of the selected files- an "Operations" dialogue will pop up. Scroll down in this dialogue and choose "Share". Another dialogue will pop up entitled "Share Via"- choose "Messages". After doing this, the Messages app will open up and go to the Compose view with the selected files attached to the message. The procedure using X-Plore is similar, and it also can be done using Ghost Commander, only Ghost is limited to attaching one file per message.
    Awesome tip! I never would have figured this out just by poking around...thanks!

    RCK
  16. #16  

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    Pacoman - another thanks. I just tested it. Does X-plorer allow files from different folders? Not a biggie, just curious.
  17. pacoman03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F2 View Post
    Pacoman - another thanks. I just tested it. Does X-plorer allow files from different folders? Not a biggie, just curious.
    No, all files need to be in the same folder in X-Plore also. But, since it's a dual pane file explorer, it's easy enough to create a new folder with X-Plore, then copy files from different folders into that new folder, then attach them from there. You can then delete this folder if desired.
  18. brianatbb's Avatar
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    Yes, and I have it. And I used Box and Dropbox. But they are no substitute for a sharing function right in the photo app that can even be set to automatically upload photos to the cloud, or to email them from within the app.
    Acer Asprie S755-6832, Playbook, Samsung SII HD LTE, HTC One v
  19. brianatbb's Avatar
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    Yes, I could have used the phone as a hotspot for the PB but usually found it just as easy to use the phone alone for email and the few times I needed to go online. The phone was always on my hip whereas the PB tended to be in my daypack.
    Acer Asprie S755-6832, Playbook, Samsung SII HD LTE, HTC One v
  20. brianatbb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reschp View Post
    Get a car charger with at least 1800mA (1.8Amps) and try it before you go on your trip. Just because a charger fits does not mean it has the output power to charge the PB. Have a great trip & be safe.
    That means one more gadget. I opted for one charger for both and so had to wait till I got to a hotel to recharge the PB. An inconvenience but not a significant one, and better, in my case, than hauling around one more gadget.
    Acer Asprie S755-6832, Playbook, Samsung SII HD LTE, HTC One v
  21. pacoman03's Avatar
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    #21  

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianatbb View Post
    Yes, and I have it. And I used Box and Dropbox. But they are no substitute for a sharing function right in the photo app that can even be set to automatically upload photos to the cloud, or to email them from within the app.
    The sideloaded Dropbox app can be set to automatically upload photos to the cloud. You have to go into settings to turn this function on, and it won't actually upload photos untill you open the app. Also, android Camera, which is part of the PB's android runtime, will allow you to email photos taken from within the app. I did a write up on this a while back.
  22. bay1902's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling with a PB

    for otg wifi thru android phones you could have installed foxfi on your phone. this then creates a virtual wifi service thru your 3g data which the pb connects to for browser, cloud, even video chat. I use this quite a lot in the uk and overseas whilst on business
    I own a Playbook - who says men can't multitask!
  23. Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes's Avatar
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    I was in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore in August/September for three weeks. The bold 9900 and my playbook were a dream combo using bridge. Right now I am in the middle of a two month trip in Europe. Once again the bold 9900 and playbook is a dream combo.
    Phones: Nokia 5110>Nokia 3360>Siemens C56>Moto RAZR>LG Chocolate>Pearl 8100>Bold 9000 >Pearl 9100 + Bold 9900 > iPhone 4S + Z10 + Bold 9000
    Tablets: 16GB Playbook > Playbook 32GB
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