Saturday, October 27, 2012

Neo or Tablet

I posses both an Alphasmart Neo and an iPad 2, and a rooted Nook Touch. Here is my quandary, though "quandary" is perhaps an exaggeration: which to use when traveling. The Alphasmart is rather bulky, but it has a better keyboard than any Tablet. One of the reasons why I think about this is this post about the Neo 2. But the keyboard on some tablets is very good.

I bought the Alphasmart Neo many years ago. Whether I would buy it now for $169.00, while there are perfectly good tablets available for $199.00 (like the Galaxy Tab 2) is a moot question. I wouldn't! But since I have one already I think I will use at home, away from my main computer as a "distraction-free" writing machine. We'll see.


JWS02459 said...

I had a similar "quandary" during a recent trip from Boston to New York (where I was planning on spending some time in the manuscript library at Columbia, albeit one involving products at a considerably higher price-point: the iPad3 vs. a MacBook Air. I wound up opting for the iPad, but would never have opted to bring it were I not already an owner of an Apple Bluetooth keyboard.

Since the Bluetooth keyboard is the same, if not slightly better, than the keyboard on the Air, there was no compromise when it came to keyboarding with the iPad (obviously, if I had to rely on the iPad's on screen keyboard for protracted typing, I wouldn't have bothered). So my main concern was software, which turned out to be no concern at all: I was able to read and annotate the finding aids that I downloaded from the library's website in GoodReader and took notes on the documents I was reading using Byword. Since my iPad has LTE capabilities (which the Air lacks), all my Byword notes were being backed up to iCloud in case there were any later mishaps. The iPad also had an additional benefit as a research tool (though one I didn't use on this trip): Columbia allows researchers to photograph documents, which I did using a Canon digital camera. But the iPad3's camera works very nicely with ScannerPro, a scanning program that allows me to create multipage pdfs of documents. I've not been that happy with the way ScannerPro deals with books (its edge detection capacities are sometimes confused by books), but it is terrific for sheets of paper. The fact that it uploads to DropBox is also a bit plus.

This was the first research trip that I've done using an iPad rather than a laptop and the only loss was an inability to go back and look at the various research notes that I'd been keeping in MacJournal (I've been leery of trying to use their iPad app). But since I've been moving my notes out of MacJournal and into nvAlt and then syncing nvAlt with SimpleNote, that will become less of an issue in the future.

Of course, an LTE iPad and an Apple bluetooth keyboard cost quite a bit more than a Neo. But I suspect that most iPad owners probably have a bluetooth keyboard kicking around somewhere.

MK said...