We've covered the iPad's usefulness as a digital sketchbook in some depth, but how does it stack up for the rest of the tasks you'll want to do on the move -- from client presentations to day-to-day admin tasks?


Using the iPad as my main computer wasn't all bad. The device has its strengths too.

Lightweight and convenient at airports and in the air
The iPad weighs just over half a kilo, and it's smaller than a large A4 notepad.

In comparison, the 15in MacBook Pro is 3.75 times heavier than the iPad, and it's bigger and bulkier too.

The iPad is easy to carry through the airport.

Because it's so small and light, and starts up immediately, it's easy to just whip it out and do a little work when you have a few minutes of downtime.

With a laptop computer, you have to find a place to sit and wait for it to boot up, but with the iPad, you're good to go in seconds.

The iPad is more comfortable than a laptop to use at the airport. I've never really liked balancing a notebook on my lap, but with an iPad, it seems natural.

It also fits on the tray table at your airplane seat much more easily than a full-size laptop does.

Also, when it's time to shut down and put away your electronic devices, you can do that in less than a second with the iPad.

Fantastic battery life and reliable connectivity
My travel took me halfway across the country, from San Diego to Iowa.

After 11 hours of hard (but not continuous) use on the trip out, including watching quite a bit of video, my iPad's battery still had a 36 percent charge on it.

A laptop computer would have been completely dead in half that time.

Although I don't have 3G connectivity on my iPad - I didn't find connectivity to be a problem.

I spent just about all of my time using the iPad on the trip in offices, hotels and airports, where you can count on finding Wi-Fi.

Still, I do recommend that if you want an iPad and haven't gotten one already, opt for the 3G model. But even us Wi-Fi-only users will be happy.

Amazingly, I was able to watch an entire streaming movie on Netflix on the plane ride home, using onboard Wi-Fi.

It was a Delta flight, and the 90 minute movie paused only twice, for a few seconds each time.