My week on the road in Europe with a PlayBook for the PlayBook Roaming experiment has proved fairly productive. Here are my top tips for getting the maximum value from a tablet on the road.
Do some planning and prep work. If you’re going to travel with just a single device, then it’s essential to make sure that you have the relevant apps Even if (as I was) you have multiple devices on hand, thinking about how you want to use them and planning accordingly will pay dividends. For instance, one of my key uses for the PlayBook was as a research tool for reading ebooks, and having those loaded before I left was a useful preparatory task. Even if you’re mainly browsing, setting up bookmarks will save time and hassle.
Carry a dedicated charger. The PlayBook uses the same micro USB charger as my BlackBerry torch, so if I wanted to minimise the amount of luggage I had, I could have taken just a single device. However, I’d already decided to follow my standard practice and travel with an Australian powerboard, to ensure I could charge multiple devices (and serve as a de facto extension cord in locations where the power outlet wasn’t convenient). As such, having a separate charger for each device made sense, since it meant I could charge both overnight if needed.
Suit the device to the task. I’ve already outlined my own strategy for doing this. The tasks you want to perform might differ, but having a clear strategy (tablet for reading and consumption, notebook for writing, phone for talking) lets you get better value from all your devices.
Clean the screen regularly. I can’t claim to be the world’s most conscientious screen cleaner, and on my laptop I rarely care. However, I did find the tablet notably more readable if I remembered to give the screen a proper wipe-down at least once a day.
Use the sleeve or a carry case. For similar reasons, it also makes sense to keep your device in a proper case or sleeve when you’re not using it, to ensure the screen doesn’t get scratched when you pop it into your hand luggage. I’m perfectly happy with the basic stretchy case that came with the PlayBook, but there are plenty of more stylish options available.