| | 11-29-2012, 11:54 PM Thread Author #1
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.
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.