Ask LH: What's A Good Tablet Choice For A Travelling Developer?

Dear Lifehacker, I am travelling in Europe later this year for 3 to 5 months. I run several WordPress and Joomla websites and would like to know the best tablet (and accessories) to buy so I can continue to run these websites overseas. Any suggestions? Thanks, Content Goes Mobile

Tablet picture from Shutterstock

Dear CGM,

The key question here is whether you're simply planning to add new content to those sites, or whether you also intend to do active maintenance and make larger-scale changes to them.

If the former, you should be able to perform most of the tasks directly from the existing browser interface for your sites, which is a task that any modern tablet should be able to handle. I'd recommend double-checking that your specific interfaces work on the tablet you choose — in the past, I've found that customised WordPress sites don't always behave well on tablet browsers.

Presuming you're also taking a mobile phone, life may be a little simpler if you stick with the one platform (iOS, Android or Windows Phone/Windows) across both devices — that will make it easier to sync photos or text from your phone if you want to use them. A Bluetooth keyboard is also a good idea if you're planning to produce lots of content, as it makes the task of writing faster and easier.

If you're expecting to do more active development work, I'd be inclined to recommend the Surface Pro (2 or 3). That gives you a tablet for casual use, but also the ability to run full-blown development tools and do more aggressive file management if you need to. (The original Surface is less useful in this respect as you can only run "Modern" apps for the most part.) If you're firmly in the Apple camp, a MacBook Air is probably a better choice than an iPad in this kind of scenario.

That's our take, but we'd love to hear ideas from readers in the comments. Enjoy your trip!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Surface would probably be a first choice if there's specific software you want to run, but battery life on the Surface is not fantastic, and they're also fairly pricey.

    Depending on budget / requirements you might want at look at something like the ASUS T100, or the 8 inch Lenovo Miix2 & Toshiba Encore are really good value at the moment.

    Dell Venue Pro 8? I have yet to use one but they look pretty impressive for something so portable. I am an apple guy usually but I will be picking a Surface 3 later in the year.

    Surface 3 seems like a solid choice. Asus transformer book T300 has good specs (for good money)

    Safer to stick with a Windows tablet or laptop if you're doing more than just adding content. Tablets & mobiles don't render websites the same way - one obvious example is Flash. I'd suggest you don't stick with one O/S and have at least 2 to check your work.

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