Would an iPad or an airbook be better for an extended trip that requires Internet and the ability to edit photos?

by on October 22, 2012

Q: I SO hope you can help me!:-)

I am in a LAST MINUTE jam as I have been going back and forth for months trying to decide what would be best for my trip…. and now I am suppose to leave in 5 days!

My scenario: going to be traveling around southeast asia and south pacific for 6 months.
I want the lightest laptop/tablet to travel with to be able to store and edit up to 12,000 photos (probably will not end up being more than 8,000 though). My average photo size is 5 mb or less (using point and shoot). Also want to be able to upload video from gopro and PNS camera as well…. probably no more than 12 hours total. I would also like to be able to watch video and use my comp during LONG plane rides.
Internet wise, is pretty basic and simple: email, SKYPE, social networking, google searching, etc….
I would REALLY like to be able to acces books online as well (size, style, and comfort wise I am good with either one for that, just not sure what my selection would be through an airbook?

I am torn between an ipad or an airbook (as I am already a macbook pro user…a very un-technilogical one mind you:-)… but familiar with the format none the less.
I REALLY don’t like the battery life in the air book, and have already ran into a number of SLOW and freezing problems in iphoto with the macbook pro I have currently… so hesitant about the airbook.
I am afraid I will not be able to store enough photo/video on a 64gb ipad though, and/or not be able to save the info to an external flash drive (as I have been told you can not)???
Is there a way to store photos from ipad to external hard drive???

What options might I have for storing photo/video online in either photo specific storage/share sites and/or cloud sites??? I am not familiar with this, as I have not used them before….
I realize are there are a ton of these sites out there but I want to know what ones I can edit photo/video on?
and MOST importantly, can I get a cd/dvd of the original high resolution pics back (that actually works) when I return home in 6 months? What sites do you suggest?

Another very important thing I have been going back and forth with is I really want to take the sony cybershot dscwx100 BUT when I tried to upload the pics (to my macbook pro) the video does not come up… the only way to get it on is a pain in the butt through imovie and then i can not share it on fb (as it says I am not allowed to upload video bc of infringement… whatever that means (I know what infringement means just don’t know what fb is talking about!?!). BUT when I tried uploading on an airbook they popped right up! (the sony cybershot video popped up in iPhoto ~ which sony themselves told me could not happen… but it did).
I want to know if the sony cybershot dscwx100 is compatable with IPHOTO on ipad? (I don’t want to have to do the videos through imovie, it is just not an option for me)
I have also heard that uploading video from San Disk extreme cards can be too much for an iPad?? I have only SanDisk Extreme sd cards in both 16 gb and 32 gb.
Will this work on an ipad?

If ipad will store enough and/or be able to off load onto external hard drive, and also work with the sony cybershot dscwx100 (video in iphoto and not imovie) then what case/keyboard is the lightest and offers the best protection?

One other thing of possible importance to note is the first half of my trip will be in VERY hot and humid climates (no electronics friend I know) though was wondering if one may be better suited than another for this type of climate?

Thank you so much!

7 Responses to “Would an iPad or an airbook be better for an extended trip that requires Internet and the ability to edit photos?”

    Put simply based on all your different needs there is no way an iPad is going to get the job done.

    The iPad can’t use any external storage, and doesn’t have an SD Card slot to interface with your camera.

    The Macbook Air will also allow you to take advantage of much better photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom, interface with external storage, and upload files to any service you want. The iPad is going to have very limited options.

    I’ve been using my Macbook Air for about a year, and have been quite happy with the battery life. Turn off the Wifi, bluetooth, quit programs you arne’t using and turn down the screen brightness will help extend battery life.

    If you want to watch 12 hours of movies non-stop on a plane you’re going to need to pony up for a seat with a power outlet (and bring the appropriate power adapters for where-ever life takes you).

    Bottom line is this, based on the needs you’ve stated here there is no way an iPad is going to meet your needs.

    To ensure that you get all the gear you’ll need, and to answer any follow up questions you have I suggest talking to a sales specialist from Apple. Additional warranty coverage might be useful as well given the extreme climates you’ll be dealing with. Make to see how/if the Macbook could get replaced if it is stolen/destroyed while you’re on travel.

    In terms of on-line storage you have a lot of options available to you. Personally, I’d suggest dropbox or Google Drive. They both have free tiers, so I suggest trying both to see which one you prefer. If you want DVDs of your data, simply re-download the data and burn it to disks yourself.


    Thank you for the super quick reply! I have talked to almost a dozen sales reps from apple and every other one suggests the opposite (one says ab, the other iPad). I decided to try the ab, and maybe I have gotten a lemon, but fresh out of the box… charging to 100% and then unplugging it got only 3 hours and 10 min. before it was drained down to 7 minutes left and only 4%. Also, I only actually used the computer less than 1.5 hours out of that time.
    The ipad has a camera kit and you can upload your pics right onto it very fast and easily. I just dont know how much it stores? (as I have heard everything between 4,000 and 100,000!) my guess is it can store about 10,000 with nothing else on the computer (aside from operating system and a few apps) BUT I really am trying to get a definitive answer on this… apple is no help with this either 🙁
    The battery life on this airbook I am currently using (11″ 128 gb) is just not going to cut it, and I am thinking I will return it tomorrow, and try the iPad…. SIGH…. back and forth, I still don’t know what to take and time is ticking to leave. Interestingly, I accidently found the solution to my problem with the sony… which is to route it in with a different camera (which is good to know but defeats the purpose of packing light and compact).

      Picked as best answer

      You are right that they make a few different iPad/iPod SD card readers although the only one I have used is the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (MC531ZM/A).

      Mark is correct in that you wont be able to do as much on the iPad as you will be able to on the MacBook Air. The thing I am shocked at, however, is that you got 3 hours of battery life. I have a MacBook pro, granted an older version, the first one with a built in battery, and I was able to get 7 hours out of it when it was new. Now I get 3 to 4 hours out of it so for you to get only 3 hours out of the MacBook Air sounds really weird to me. What were you doing with it exactly?

      At the end of the day your best bet might be to purchase an external battery pack no matter which product you decide to go with.

      It really sounds like you want to find a way to make the iPad work so if that is the case my suggestion would be to buy a few SD cards and just save your photos on the SD cards and access the SD card via the card reader to email or whatever else you want to do with with the pictures and videos. You can get the SD cards for like $10 per 16GB usually.


    New 4th Gen iPad was announced today. Looks like they’ve added an SD card slot.



    Thank you Matt! This info is very helpful, I was not previously aware of external battery packs. I see plenty for iPhone and ipad but none for a macbook pro or airbook to “fix” the battery issue with them??
    Yes, I believe I got a lemon for sure. Keep in mind this is the 11 inch ab, only estimated to get up to 5 hours brand new anyhow. Apple rep steered me wrong, as a 13 inch of the same configuration would have only been $100 more, and the 13 inch is said to get up to 7 hours of battery life, plus a built in sd slot.

    As for how I was using it… incredibly basic: 3 h. 10 m. life; lid open entire time; used only 1.5 h of that time for basic internet use and watched one 5 minute youtube video… that’s it! Crazy, I know!

    Honestly, I am so frustrated with both these products, I am going to try to attempt to get a new battery for my macbook pro, and reconfigure it with the original install disk and see what happens?


    If you have an older macbook pro with the removable battery then your best bet would be just to buy a few batteries and make sure to set the power settings to use the least amount of power, dim the screen after a minute or two of activity, shut the hard drive off when not in use, etc.

    As for external batteries/battery extenders for your MacBook Air they do make them but I have to warn you I have not used any so I would urge you to read lots of reviews before selecting the one you want to use. The prices range dramatically from $134 for Energizer XP18000 Universal AC Adapter with External Battery for Laptops to $430 for Quickertek Macbook Air External Battery.

    I am sorry you are not having a good experience. Unfortunately when you are doing something that no one else is doing there is always a learning curve.


    I did a little more looking and I found HyperJuice External Battery 222Wh for iPad/iPad 2 & MacBooks (MBP-222) but you need to realize it is over $400 but it claims you can get 45 hours out of your MacBook. It requires that you also get an Apple Magsafe Airline Power Adapter, which might be a requirement for most of these external batteries.

    Hopefully you find this information helpful.