Using the iPad as a spare battery. Any tablet?

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I could write about five different iPad reviews – all on different aspects of the machine. For example – how the iPad inveigled its way into my wife’s affections with a game of Sodoku. But I wanted to say a little about the amazing battery life of the iPad.

Like my founding partner Stephen – I find the constant scurrying for plugs at conferences (and kvetching when there aren’t any) to be a real drag. So his talk of long battery life on the Android-based Motorola Xoom was compelling. Unlike Stephen however, I am not looking to replace my laptop as a note-taking device any time soon. But when Adobe gave me an iPad ( seriously! so I could keep tabs on their tooling for IoS) I started taking it to conferences to augment my ancient, creaking, two hour on a charge Thinkpad. I’d be sitting in a session taking notes when suddenly the Thinkpad shut down. When that happened I just pulled out the iPad and carried on taking notes. The cloud-based Evernote note-taking software is really helpful in this regard (thought not auto-saving on IoS sucks, and caught me out a couple of times).

As I travelled with the iPad I kept expecting it to run out of charge, but it never did. I would go away on Sunday, and still have juice left for a few games of Angry Birds on the flight home Thursday afternoon. Thing is with the iPad is that at rest, if its not registered on a wifi network, it just doesn’t draw any power. Taking a device on a trip without needing a charger – its like going back to the Nokia 6310i.

I explained here why the Dell Streak’s limited battery life is a deal breaker; so while Ian Lynch argues in a comment on that post that this won’t be the case for Android tablets in general I haven’t had any hands on experience yet. My HTC Desire phone is certainly power hungry, for example – and perhaps surprisingly Google Docs background sync is a big part of the problem there. Protip- turn off background updates when you’re travelling for better Android battery life.

To be fair, Android tablet reviews indicate power consumption on tablets is not a show stopper.

However in summary Рthe iPad basically won me over through the simple expedient of having really good power usage. When I took the iPad on holiday to Greece, and we had power cuts, my son could still have ten minutes of digital entertainment.  And so on.

Am I still in the market for an Android tablet? At some point sure. I am an Android. But the family has certainly taken to the iPad, and it sure makes a great spare battery.






One comment

  1. I like my tablets like my cars – with a great power:weight ratio. The iPad(2) is FTW here; my Galaxy Tab less so (though the new models promise to be better). That said, the Tab usually makes it through a typical day without needing juice (using it as a hot spot or watching too much video are the killers).

    With a BT keyboard and some remote access tools I've now ditched the laptop from my travel bag (and its associated power bricks and need to hunt for outlets).

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