Macbook Air 11 vs iPad: Which is Better for Travel?

Macbook Air 11 vs iPad: Which is Better for Travel? July 18, 2015
MBA 11 and iPad 1. Mine is an iPad 3 or 4, I forget which. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Paul Hudson
MBA 11 and iPad 1. Mine is an iPad 3 or 4, I forget which. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Paul Hudson

I’m going to the Catholic Writers Convention next week.

Or, I suppose I might say that I’m running away for the week. I’m leaving Mama in the care of my husband and sons. They’re apprehensive that she’s going to be downright rebellious about it. Me? I’m a mix of shared apprehension and giddy anticipation of freedom from diaper changing.

I really do feel like an escapee of sorts, leaving my 90-year-old baby behind and all. I am worried, big time worried, about how it will be, with me gone. Nobody else can calm her down and keep her going the way I can.

I’m praying it works out.

In the meantime, I’ve been pondering just what technology (if any) to take with me.

The iPhone goes. No question there.

The desktop stays behind.

The remaining question is whether to take my Macbook Air, or iPad, or nuthin’.

Nuthin’ only applies if I decide that I am not going to do any writing at all while I’m there. I actually did put together a short post on my iPhone, and (Surprise!) it is do-able. But, you know, using a paintbrush to write a post on buffalo hide is do-able also. I’m just not inclined.

Maybe if I ever replace my itty-bitty iPhone 4s with a phablet, that will change. I can sorta see me carting around a keyboard and a phablet, especially when Scrivener (I’m the eternal optimist about this, folks. I think they’re eventually gonna do it.) comes to IOS.

But for today, right now, this weekend, I’ve gotta decide between iPad and Macbook Air.

The MBA is the 11 inch model, and yes, it does fit in my purse. (I carry a messenger bag when I travel, but let’s just call it a purse.) It’s slightly heavier than the iPad, but not all that much.

The big reason for all the hemming and hawing — and also why I’m unlikely to go with just the iPhone, no matter what — is that when I travel to conventions and such, I really enjoy going back to my hotel room at night and watching movies. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime and I relish the alone time (which I don’t have at home) when I can just kick back and enjoy myself.

The MBA is a much better machine for doing stuff. Any kind of writing, even an email, is better on the MBA. Since Scrivener for iPad is still the vaporware that writers dream about, the MBA is the best way to keep the flow going on my book.

However, the iPad ain’t totally shabby for that. If I drag a keyboard along, I can write with it and then move what I’ve written back to Scrivener. I won’t have access to all the Scrivener goodness, including my research files, but I can write straight narrative.

As for blogging, don’t hold your breath. I may take the whole week off. In fact, I’m kind of planning that. If something happens that I just can’t resist blogging about, I will do it. I’d do that if all I had was an iPhone. But, to be honest, I don’t much want to try to conventioneer and blog, both at once.

So … which is it?

iPad and better movie watching, or MBA and better writing?

I can’t seem to make up my mind. I mean that. I may not know what I’m going to do until I pick up one or the other and shove it in my bag.

What would you do?

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7 responses to “Macbook Air 11 vs iPad: Which is Better for Travel?”

  1. Enjoy your time away! I could use some but right now it isn’t possible. Your Mom will be fine—in good hands! As for what to take–afraid I’m no help there. 🙂

  2. Although I have never traveled with a MacBook air, I have started traveling with just an iPad and a keyboard. It seemed more than sufficient for writing straightforward narrative text — I would not use it for prepress work, or even anything I wanted to present formally (such as a resume or even business letter) but for text entry, totally adequate.

    Enjoy your conference!

  3. Take the iPad but buy a keyboard which goes with it. The two together don’t weigh as much as the MBA and the iPad is easier to use if you like to watch a movie sitting up in bed. I prefer the iPad to the MBA for reading using the Kindle app.

  4. It’s Sunday, so I doubt you’ll read this before you leave. But if you do…leave everything behind, except the iPhone. Which you should have on silence during the conference. De-stress, Rebecca. Enjoy being in the company of other Catholic writers. Relax. Pray. Breathe deeply and slowly. Don’t worry Mama, don’t worry about writing, don’t worry about your next blog post or your book. Take this opportunity to rejuvenate. If you discover you absolutely have to have your wired life in order to relax, they can be express shipped to you. But if you take them you’ll find yourself using them.

  5. Having tried both I recommend the iPad – can take it to presentations, at least mine holds its charge longer then MBA – I have a cover with keyboard build in and find I can write just as well – also I use dropbox so I can take my research with me. Just my thoughts – enjoy your time.