Author Topic: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet  (Read 22720 times)


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Re: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 09:06:53 pm »

Regarding a case for your Samsung Galaxy S4, I went with the Seidio Obex:
It is thoroughly waterproof. Before using the case Seidio recommends testing it before putting the phone
into it by placing some paper in the case then submerging it for 15 minutes. I used tissue paper and it came out bone dry.

The case does add quite a bit of bulk to the width of the phone but for the protection given I am more than happy to accept that.
For an additional cost you can add a holster and a bike mount, which I am considering - I should have got them with my original
purchase, as the shipping price to New Zealand was quite high.

I have hiked and cycled with the phone in my pocket in rain without concern. Sometimes the screen isn't responsive when
wet, but the phone inside the case remains dry, so a wipe of the protector screen is required, however any running apps (GPS tracking software in my case) continue to work fine.

I haven't dropped the phone (with the case fitted ) on it's front face yet, so I can't vouch for its sturdiness, but all other sections of the case are very sturdy.


il padrone

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Re: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 11:55:12 pm »
I went with the Android-based GS4 'cos it has a field-replaceable battery


Important as my S2 battery died abruptly in Sicily and I was able to get it replaced for not too much coin. IPhones are no doubt not immune to battery failure and I'd hate to then face getting a complete new phone.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 11:57:20 pm by il padrone »


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Re: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2014, 06:46:39 am »
Regarding a case for your Samsung Galaxy S4, I went with the Seidio Obex
Hi Tony!I so appreciate your suggestion and wish I had asked here as well as doing my own research.

A case is an essential part of getting mobile computing to work with cycle-touring, whether one uses a laptop or a smartphone. Water and shock resistance are both important in terms of helping the devices last over time and work reliably when needed. For my netbook, I took a formed hard-foam zippered case covered in Cordura nylon. It worked well to protect the netbook strapped and suspended inside and was lightweight.

I came very close to getting the Seidio Obex for my S4, and really liked its water/dust-proofness and build quality. In the end, I demurred out of concern over reports of muted sound due to the speaker baffles and when I checked the Seidio website, found it was rated for 1.2m/4ft. drops and I feared I might need more crashworthiness; my hands are usually toast after riding rough roads for 15-17 hours and I can't count on not dropping things by the end of the day. A wrist strap isn't a bad idea when using a phone as a camera while riding.

In the end, I decided I could achieve reasonable water/dust-proofness by carrying the cased phone in my Ortlieb handlebar bag, inside a zip-top freezer bag if necessary.

There were several really good-sounding candidates that promised drop-resistance to military specs, but those specs are wide-ranging and sometimes spoke only to the case surviving...not the contents. The Samsung Galaxy S4 appears to be slightly less robust than an iPhone (plastic shell, thinner, larger screen, glass closer to edge), so cases that give stellar results with the iPhone sometimes don't work so well for GS4s. Really rigid cases seem to prevent the bending that can kill GS4s, so I looked for something with good torsional stiffness and parts that would hold up to high temperatures in my bags.

I decided to check to see what was available in Asia and came across the Chinese "Love Mei 'Powerful'" case and sent for a couple on eBay for just under USD$24 ppd from central China. Only time will tell if I made the right choice, but the case looks very sturdy for bike touring in terms of materials and design and certainly in terms of a creative marketing video with strategic edits and cuts. I certainly haven't seen anyone spike a cellphone like an American football before (bottom of page at this link): They look pretty snazzy, and I got the black with red port-cover for myself and a white with black trim for the other phone. I figure I'll have to open up the audio ports for good sound quality, but it seems worth a try. Full discussion here, with uneven results (some are fakes, mine are promised to be genuine):

I ordered last evening and received my shipping notice tonight; the cases are expected in Oregon sometime between 28Jan and 5Feb, so I won't have to wait too long to find out how they work. Summary report to follow after I play with them awhile.

Any additional tough-case suggestions are surely welcome in case the Love Mei "Powerfuls" prove to be a little ehm, "weak".



il padrone

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Re: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2014, 08:34:44 am »
I have toured all over the place, in a wide variety of climatic conditions for the past 2 years with my smartphone. It travels in a leatherette flip-case that also holds all my important cards and cash needed on a day-to-day basis. In short, it has become my wallet. I see no value in carrying a phone and wallet seperately as I don't like the added nuisance, pocket-space, and risk of keeping close track of two crucial valuables.

When it rains the phone stays in the driest pocket available (under my rainjacket), or in the handlebar bag if it is really bad weather. I have never had any grief or troubling dampness from this strategy. Before I got the smartphone, with the n-2 generation flip-phone, I did once drop into a creek to cool off on a very hot day.... only to remember "Oh no, the phone.... in my pocket!!" That was a tragic disaster and irreparable. I learned greater care after that.

I really do not regard the case as a necessity for safe secure use of the phone. Nice idea, safe, certainly waterproof/resistant, but not essential. And by using one I could not use the flip-case as my wallet, a convenience I greatly value.

On another aspect - I am intrigued by this OTG card reader. I have got a card reader and a USB connetion that plugs into the iPad.

Like these ones

I considered using these when going to Italy. However while the card reader would work, the USB connector would not function to link to a portable hard drive, not even solid state versions. The iPad just registers "The attached accessory uses too much power". As well as this, the iPad only has a 16Gb memory so I felt this may mean uploading several thousand photos would probably be impossible. Because of this I thus took the netbook on the tour and it was just as well, as in Italy I found that the phone company only sold USB modems, not cards for my wireless hotspot.

How will your OTG reader function with your phone to upload photos to a portable hard-drive? Have you confirmed that this can be done without some other power source? My experience is that USB connections (USB memory sticks, USB modems, portable HDDs) function to transfer files with a netbook/laptop but not with low powered units like an iPad or smartphone. I suspect you will be able to download photos from a camera to your phone with it (the camera has it's own power), but not to upload data from the phone to an un-powered device like a USB stick or a HDD.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 08:47:36 am by il padrone »


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Re: Netbook vs iPad/Tablet
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2014, 12:47:42 pm »

I agree that a tablet or smartphone is great for consuming, but not for producing.  Lack of a real keyboard is a big minus on tablet and smartphones with my fat fingers.  But computer or netbook has power requirements and weight that puts it in a different category of useability.

I have toured with a netbook, a 7 Inch Tablet or a Smartphone.

Netbook (Lenovo S10, XP).  I use this on trips where I will often or primarily be indoors at night where there is a power outlet.  I have used it on a 300 mile bike tour where we frequently camped, but that was before I bought a tablet or smartphone so it was my only e-mail option at that time.  Since then the netbook has not been on any bike trips where I carry it in panniers.  It is my understanding that you have to be in USA to get a Google Voice account, that enables the netbook to be used as a VOIP speaker phone (I use a plug in headset with it) on wifi, I called to USA from Budapest with the netbook at no cost with Google Voice, but to call from USA to foreign countries has a low cost.  I bought a battery that lasts over 8 hours, if I am flying I take the big battery for use on the plane.  The big battery lasted from New York to Prague, which is a long flight.  My next bike tour will be vehicle supported, bringing the Netbook for that trip.  See photo.  I use a Netbook as my home computer, but at home with a 20 inch monitor and full size keyboard and regular mouse plugged into it.  I have three of these netbooks, one has a bad fan bearing so that one is dedicated to travel only.  The 2nd gb of RAM was easily plugged in, only took a few minutes.
7 Inch Tablet (cheap Chinese generic brand, Android 4.0, no GPS chip).  I bought this for a three week bike tour where I would have two train rides of over 24 hours each so that I could read a bunch of files that I had that I wanted to read.  It is a great wifi device and I can read e-mails quite well, but for typing a message it is less than desirable.  Big selling point is low power consumption and ability to charge with a USB circuit which I eventually will have for my dynohub.  It also weighs less than the big battery for my Netbook, so very convenient for travel.  The particular one I have can use a regular mouse, this is not a common feature however.  At this time, it is permanently stored in my gym bag, I use it to read the news on an exercise bike at the health club where they have wifi, one of the bikes they have even has a USB charging port so I do not need to charge it at home.  At one time I had it configured so that I could use it with Google Voice as a phone where I had a wifi connection, but holding a 7 inch tablet to the side of your head is pushing the size limit for convenience.

Smartphone (4.7 inch screen, cheap Chinese generic brand looks like a Galaxy S3 but lower quality components, Android 4.1, GPS chip, Dual SIM capability).  On my last tour, this was my wifi device for e-mail, I do not use it as a phone, have not gotten a SIM card for it.  I initially bought this to use as a GPS with downloadedmaps.  But have also found that it can do almost everything that my tablet can do, just smaller screen so need better glasses.  I also have configured this to use Google Voice so I can use it as a phone where I have wifi.  The GPS apps that I use on it are MapsWithMe (free version) and Russian Military Maps where I use the Open Streets Cycling map layer (paid version, $11 USD).  I also have some dedicated GPS devices, so the Smartphone is not used for heavy duty GPS tasks.

Cellphone (10 year old flip phone that I use in USA, no camera, needs a special charger as it was built before USB chargers became the norm).  My cell plan does not work outside USA.  I do not upgrade because my cell plan is a very affordable $80 USD per year with this phone.  I do not know how to text, so the keyboard is perfectly adequate for dialing numbers.

Very happy with the above collection, have no plans to change.