So I’m on the road in Europe with a PlayBook, a Torch and a netbook. Which applications have proved the most compelling on each device? Our PlayBook Roaming series continues.
Choosing which device to use (or which devices to pack) is not unfamiliar territory for Lifehacker HQ. As well as extreme tactics such as No Luggage Week, we covered off the best ways to use laptops, phones and tablets as part of our recent Business Travel Week. So rather than repeating that advice, I’m going to look at what specifically I’ve been doing on this trip to Europe.
Some background detail: my BlackBerry SIM includes free email and data roaming worldwide, so I’ve been happy to use that when nothing else is available. That said, every airport and hotel I’ve visited has offered Wi-Fi, so I’ve tended to rely on that. This balance of uses also reflects my working life as a journalist: I’m sure other professions would have a different mix.
LAPTOP/NETBOOK: Because the core part of my job is writing words, using the laptop to do so remains the single biggest use of my time. I could do this on any of the devices, but there’s no doubt that the full-size keyboard makes it more pleasant and speedier than the smaller phone keyboard or the touchscreen option on the PlayBook. (The latter I find as good as any touchscreen I’ve used, but it’s still not the way I want to enter large amounts of data.)
BLACKBERRY TORCH: Mostly the obvious stuff: making calls and tracking emails. I tried to keep actual phoning at a minimum because of roaming charges, and stuck to texting instead. This is cheaper, and very straightforward given the BlackBerry’s superior keyboard. I also used the device fairly frequently for photography and image editing, and the BlackBerry Travel app continues to be super-useful.
PLAYBOOK: I’ve already mentioned that the PlayBook’s ability to sync via BlackBerry Bridge for viewing my calendar and email has been particularly handy for my endless schedule juggling.
The other task which I found myself using the PlayBook for a lot when in transit was keeping up-to-date with RSS. I have hundreds of RSS feeds I track for potential story ideas, and working through them during stopovers in Singapore, Heathrow and Oslo was much quicker on the PlayBook, since I wasn’t faced with long boot times. While there are apps that can do this, in practice I found the mobile version of Google Reader within the browser more effective.
Finally, there’s the entertainment possibilities. The PlayBook is really good for streaming video playback, which is great for when you want entertainment for the evening and don’t fancy anything that’s on offer on TV. It’s also a really good ebook reader, a point I’ll return to in tomorrow’s instalment.
Bonus PlayBook hint for the day: If you want to grab a screen capture on the PlayBook, hold down both volume buttons simultaneously.