Whether you’re a road warrior or often find yourself leaving on a jet plane in the name of your career, you likely have an arsenal of gadgets you bring along in your carry-on luggage. But is that laptop really necessary, or could you save both space and weight by swapping it out for a tablet? It truly depends on the nature of your job.
A good rule of thumb is that if your job has you producing a large amount of content, you’re better off sticking with your trusty MacBook. However, if it’s more likely you’re just consuming content, then an iPad will certainly be sufficient.
Should there be any possibility you’ll be doing a lot of typing, having a MacBook will definitely make life easier. The touchscreen keyboard on the iPad is not conducive to working on larger documents or lengthier emails, despite the fact that the suite of iWork programs is available as a series of well-equipped iPad apps. Of course, you can also bring along a portable Bluetooth keyboard or use a case with one built in, but they still don’t compare to having a proper computer for document creation and editing.
A MacBook is also a better choice than an iPad if you’re delivering a Keynote presentation and aren’t entirely sure you can connect to the projector you’re using via Bluetooth. While the Keynote and Keynote Remote apps on iPad are great, that stunning presentation you spent hours on won’t be doing you any favors unless you can show it off.
You’ll be glad you have your MacBook handy in a variety of other situations as well. If there’s a chance you’ll be given information via a disc or thumb drive to review, you won’t have to figure out how to get it via email or the cloud instead. If you’re in one of the many hotels worldwide that still provide Wi-Fi only in the lobby and leave you limited by an Ethernet cord in your room, you’ll be glad for your MacBook. Furthermore, it’s a great charging station for your peripheral devices, reducing the number of cords you’ll have to pack and the need to search out enough plugs.
All that being said, there is definitely a lot of merit in taking an iPad along on your next business trip instead. Not only will it allow you to pack a smaller bag and save your back from the added weight, but it’s extremely portable and boasts a number of useful features.
If you’re mainly reading – emails, reports, blogs, you name it – then an iPad is ideal. It’s also more than sufficient for accessing your email, keeping your social media accounts up to date and tweaking a few documents via iWork. With the right app, it can allow you to go paperless, signing and emailing contracts right on it with the use of a stylus. You can also upload photographs with a simple camera adapter kit, and do a little more typing with one of the aforementioned options to bring a keyboard.
The iPad is a great option for anyone concerned with battery life and the possibility of not having anywhere to plug their MacBook in. So long as you have 3G or Wi-Fi, you’ll always be able to get online. And it’s ideal for situations where you have a limited amount of elbow room, like on an airplane or in a crowded press conference.
If you’re unsure of the situations you may find yourself in while traveling for business, taking your MacBook along is certainly a safer bet. It gives you the most options for completing your work, viewing files and connecting to the Internet. However, if you know exactly what you’re heading into and prefer to be extremely mobile, your iPad should certainly cover most of the bases for you.