The first two iGaming Conferences of the year are about to kick off in London, and I’m left with a rather techy dilemma: I have decided – for reasons I am trying to justify to myself, never mind to anyone else – that my current laptop is too big, heavy and cumbersome for taking travelling and using at conferences. It’s an ASUS K70I0 (now discontinued, so that’s a link to the newer model): a 17.3″ widescreen beast, with decent processing power, storage and memory, as well as a sturdy enough GPU for good quality movie playback and gaming (of which I do very little), but probably, in hindsight, overkill for my needs. Also, whipping the thing out at meetings (and we all know how sparse meeting space is at these conferences) takes up considerable space on a table, never mind on a knee when you’ve managed to find a sofa or pair of stools to sit on and have a chat. This is after we take into consideration the 4.74kg of your handluggage allowance it takes up (no, I don’t like putting my laptop in the hold)! All in all, it’s just not the right tool for this particular job.
Laptops at a conference?
I decided on my trip to Budapest last year, to do – in my opinion – the unthinkable… I left my laptop at home. I planned for it and had everything I could conceivably think of needing hosted somewhere or duplicated in Google Docs. I had email access on my phone (Gmail and work accounts). I had internet access for checking anything I needed. I had Google Maps to find a hotel, or the restaurant that a client dinner had been booked at. I even considered buying the LogMeIn app for Android just in case I needed to get onto the laptop or PC I had left running at home… neither of which I needed access to in the end. But I felt naked. Like something very important was missing. Reverting to manually written note-taking was not the best experience, forgetting the likes of cramp, ink stains on hands, etc, but my handwriting is slow and messy on the verge of illegible at the best of times (don’t make me scan in some evidence)… I’m far more efficient at typing something up, and try as I might on my phone, it wasn’t working.
Netbooks at a conference?
In my search for a beast-replacement, I started off on the netbook train of thought initially… quickly dispelling many options, but considering the likes of the new SeaShell EEE PC or the Samsung N series. They’re not the most powerful of machines, but come with your standard connectivity requirements (802.11n primarily) and enough storage space to get by with. The costs vary on model, etc, between £250 and £400, but for that amount of money, I could get a 11″-15″ laptop, smaller than the current beast, half its weight, but a lot more powerful that any netbook, with a full sized keyboard, latest 64bit OS, etc. The list of laptops in this bracket could probably circumnavigate the globe a few times, but do I really need or want a second laptop?
What about a tablet?
Being a self confessed, gadget loving geek, of course the tablet solution crossed my mind – justifying buying one of the year’s must have “toys” as business expense – Who wouldn’t consider it? The choice was very quickly whittled down to only one, and I must admit, even without being an extensive Apple user (I have a 3rd Gen iPod Shuffle, that’s it) it’s the best out there at the minute. I love the Android OS on my phone, coupled with HTC’s Sense UI, it’s brilliant. But, until version 3 of the OS hits the airwaves, it’s simply that, a phone OS, and not designed with Tablets specifically in mind. Even with that, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has been getting rave reviews, but it’s quite a bit smaller than the iPad (7″ screen compared to almost 10″). Some say this is a good thing, many disagree. However, after reading this post by Christina Warren, I’m leaning more towards the fact that the 9.6″ iPad would be the Tablet I would buy, if I were to get one.
Any recommendations – first, second or third-hand, I don’t mind – greatly appreciated.