Which tablet or Laptop?

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Schake

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Advocate III

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Ellicott City, MD, USA
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I am planning to pick up a new tablet or 2-in1 computer. I have been an Android smartphone user and all computers have been Windows OS

Based on your experiences, what suggestions do you have for overlanding use? Here are some criteria that I wonder about

Screen size?
Android vs Apple?
Tablet vs 2-in-1?
Need to be Ruggedized?
How much Memory?
How much RAM?
Reliability?
Other factors?
 

James Deaton

Rank V

Traveler I

My whole family is embedded in the Apple universe, so it's an easy choice for me. We have an iPad Air2 128GB that we use for overland maps (Gaia, etc). It also holds about 50 iTunes movies on it, and our entire music library. We can play movies or music directly from it while using mapping software, and audio is routed into the car's stereo. It's an all-in-one device with a separate keyboard that can go in and out of the SUV at will. It is also our main home computer. It is flawless in how it operates, never has viruses, and hasn't slowed down in 4 years. That's the beauty of Apple iOS devices vs windows. (I can't speak for Android)

For ruggedization we all use (only) Otterbox Defender cases. I use their clip-on case mount/stand in the SUV as a mounting point, so it clips in and out. Very easy, low cost, and excellent protection.

I like that fact that I don't have a keyboard in the SUV. Less places for dust/dirt to get in. I don't type when underway usually, and if I do the iPad's on-screen keyboard works just fine.

I see people spend hundreds of dollars on mounts, but I'm a value person. I keep it simple and clean and inexpensive. That can be hard to do, but I've found the iPad/Otterbox Defender case/stand allows me to do it.

The new iPads and iPad Pros are bigger and faster, but ours has no problem doing anything we ask of it.

I'm sure the Android universe has something similar, I just don't live in that world, and don't want to form an uneducated opinion.
 

Plasmajab

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Let me try that one again. The original was pretty badly written.

Android has lots of offerings out there, from tons of different manufaturers. Theres a tablet for every budget and need. This is a good thing. And a bad thing.

The good thing about apples is aftermarket support. If you look up an ipad mode, like a mini air 2 for example, theres dozens of rugged cases and ram mounts for them.

The android world has so many variants that sometimes getting a good rugged case and mount can be difficult. For example I have a Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4 because it is waterproof. Can't get an otterbox for that. Or a hard mount.

So i guess the first thing is, how big do you want and whats the budget?

I had a dell venue pro 5850 touchscreen windows 10 tablet, but that had its own problems. For example, its designed as a tablet. To sit on a desk. Or in someones hand. Try typing a destination in a cramped vehicle and it just doesnt work. Expecially if the vehicle is moving.
 
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James Deaton

Rank V

Traveler I

My Android loving friend has a saying:

Android: You can find an Android phone/tablet for any budget. Some are so terrible that you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy... and some are good.

Apple: Apple only sells excellence. Even their lower tier is excellent. Their top tier is just more excellent.

That is coming from my anti-Apple friend...

James
 

Schake

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Another question: I was told by someone at the apple store that Apple tablets lack GPS connectivity on their own, and must have cellular capability, like my smartphone. Is that correct?
 

v_man

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Redwood City
Wifi only iPads do not have GPS. iPads that can access a cellular network do have GPS. But you do not need to have cellular network service to use your iPads GPS. If your iPad has GPS, it will work without cell service. You WILL need to download or cache a map of the area you're in though, otherwise you'll just be looking at a blue arrow on a blank screen.

And I love my Samsung 10 inch tablet. It has GPS, 1080 screen resolution, 128 GB expandable memory, and it runs GAIA fine.
 

m_lars

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I’m another vote for the iPad. I switched from PC/Android years ago and have never looked back for many of the reasons already mentioned. PC/Android are the way to go if you love to tweak and fiddle with that stuff. Apple is what you get if you just want it to work. I’m on an antique iPad 2 with a Dual Bluetooth GPS puck, primarily running GAIA.
 
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sabjku

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I've had Apple products since the first Iphone. I'm not a very techy person when it comes to electronics, in particular, computers, but do really like Apple's IOS system and how well everything integrates. I've been thinking of getting a new Ipad Mini recently to handle on board GPS/Gaia, but haven't pulled the trigger just yet as I landed a brand new, free Galaxy Tab S2, 9.7" screen and 32gb memory. I downloaded Gaia on it and may try to incorporate it into my Apple family, but I'm thinking of still getting an Ipad Mini. I'm just imagining it's going to be much easier do deal with just one operating system on all devices.
 

m_lars

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I had understood that GAIA was executed in full only on PC, it seems that the information was wrong.
Could be, but I’ve never had issues or features I couldn’t use on the iPad. I know I don’t use it to it’s full potential, so I’m not a major authority. I’m pretty sure when they did the last major app revamp it was out on iOS first. On the home computer I use it through the web browser, so it makes little difference there.
 
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m_lars

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We also have only Apple device, the problem arises with GAIA GPS, I think it is preferably designed for PC and also Ham Radio software are only for PC.
If there is someone who has a novelty about this please tell me but I will have to, unfortunately, choose to buy a tablet that is PC.
I’ve never run into functionality issues on iOS.

Can you run HAM software on an android tablet, or are you talking about the Windows hybrid type tablets? Is that something you use in the vehicle? I’ve imagined using that on the home computer but I haven’t gotten that far in my HAM journey yet.
 
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titicaca

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Calgary
Other factors?
1. Power Supply! Traditional laptops running off a brick from mains electricity (110V) wouldn't be a good choice because inverting power is expensive (both cost and efficiency). Tablets/phones running 5V USB from 12V makes it easier.

2. Replaceable batteries. Not as important when you are driving but for me, while backpacking or hiking, huge plus to carry a spare battery or two and being able to replace it. Phones with this option are becoming less common but still available.

3. Freedom! Anti-Apple rant: Apple's ecosystem walled garden is beautiful but when you look behind the fern tree you see a barbed wire fence. Support community based maps projects by using and improving Open Street Map and software that allows you to be free in how the data and software is used.
 
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m_lars

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3. Freedom! Anti-Apple rant: Apple's ecosystem walled garden is beautiful but when you look behind the fern tree you see a barbed wire fence.
I used to think this way as well.

I made my own PCs, rooted my galaxy S, had a friend I would constantly tease as an Apple fanboy, etc. Then, 8+ years ago, I tried an iPhone. I realized I couldn't customize it to the same extent as the Android, but it actually worked as advertised. I didn't have to constantly dick with it to keep it working right, or root it to get rid of the bloatware installed. Even the apps were nicer in iOS, even though they were supposed to be the same app. An iTunes backup was a complete copy of my phone. So if something happened, like a broken screen that they can't fix it because they don't have replacement screens for that version of your Galaxy S phone so they'll have to ship you a new one, you can get your contacts back. Next I got an iMac, I'm typing on it now even though it's nearly 10 years old, took some getting used to but I liked it. No constant fussing to keep it working and free from PC based hi-jinxery. Finally I got an AppleTV, then I was really sold on the walled garden ecosystem. My phone, desktop and streaming device all talked to each other, automatically.

That was a long time ago, ancient history in terms of tech, so I'm sure things have improved. But, at the time, there was a lot of hype in the android world that didn't hold true for me. I realized I had too many hobbies, so I gave up on fiddling with my devices. Except for building one Hackintosh as a media server.

Apple's not for everyone, but I like it because it just plain works.
 
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m_lars

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Actually the software that I use is very simple and the most useful, is the one that the Yeasu radios bring.
You put the frequencies and you name each one of them, it's very easy because you use the keyboard and not the multi functions of the radio keys.
You can also add or clone the list on all Yaesu equipment you have.
That's why it works for me and works very well. I only enter the data one time.
Do you use it on a tablet, or PC?
 

Fozzy325

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I have an android and iPad, however for the vehicle it’s android.

To run Gaia and torque is the only thing it needs to run. I use my phone to be a hotspot to download maps.

What more do you need to use your vehicle tablet for?
 
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JourneyMan

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Depending on your desired screen size, I've found that an old iPhone Plus works fine too, used just for GPS, without cellular turned on. I always hold on to an old one as a back up for when next time my kid drops or destroys theirs!
 
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KarmaSeoul

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I've been using my iPhone 7 plus for everything and has worked fine so far. Picked up an android tablet with GPS for offline maps as a backup, being that if I need the phone as a phone or looking for alternative routes on the go. I would have liked to stick with Apple as I have had better luck in the past but for the price you can't beat the android tablets.
 

overland_squirrel

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I was an Apple holdout for a long time. Then I went to an iPhone, lost my pro surface 4 and switched to a MacBook Pro, and just yesterday, switched to an iPad mini 2 for navigation and music storage. I can’t vouch for Gaia on an iPad but from the countless YouTube videos, it’ll do what I need it to.

And, like many others have said, everything works...most of the time.