Tuesday, 13 September 2011

iPad 2: the perfect conference buddy

Today I gave my iPad it's first proper road test in a work environment. The (work) reason I wanted one was for conferences; I'd seen others with them before and thought they looked handy. Since getting one, however, I have had mixed view on the iPad versus a laptop for such things.

Pros: Excellent battery life; Instant Access; Great web browsing and PDF reading; Discreet;

Cons: Lack of real keyboard*; Lack of "proper" programs for doing stuff.

*I have a wireless keyboard, which I am using now and makes typing long documents much easier, but this is not really practical when sitting in a conference room.

The biggest concern was the lack of a real keyboard. Would I be able to make good notes?

Today, I attended a one day biofilm conference, and the answer is an emphatic yes! All the pros shone - the iPad is light, instantly on, very responsive, and the battery lasted all day and then some, even connected to WiFi for most of the day. None of the cons turned out to be a problem. I wasn't writing essays but I found the "keyboard" adequate for making conference notes (in "Office2 HD") that I could then email to myself or upload on Dropbox. At the same time, the "Idea Sketch" App was great for making visual representations of some of the key themes of the day. With WiFi, looking up things from talks online in real time was quicker, easier and more discreet than with the netbook that I previously used.

My verdict for anyone contemplating an iPad in place of a netbook or laptop for conferences and meetings: it's great! (Especially if the venue has WiFi.)

Location:Southampton, UK

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