First thing....tablets are hardly a joke. They will take the place of laptops eventually and unless you are a big gamer, the old box on the floor with lots of cards in it is going be taken over by the all in one workstations with touch screens (just a big tablet) as well. I install workstations, point of sale, which is tablet based and I set up a lot of tablet aps. I happen to be typing this on a Win 7 tablet with a docking usb keyboard.(gives me a full operating laptop) I also have an Asus Transformer Tab, as does my wife, along with her Kindle and two HTC droid phones. All of this travels with us. I can access my pc at home just as if I were sitting at my desk, from my tablet. We also carry a high powered cell repeater, but that is a subject for a different thread.
Secondly, if the public wi-fi you are using has client security enabled, you are just as safe using it for anything that you use at home while on your own network.(I know, because I install WiFi for large public areas) You should always ask if that feature is working. If the campground or public site can't verify that....then turn your file and print sharing off and/or set your network access for public, not home or work.
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My wife has an ipad and I have a SonyTablet S. And we have a computer at home. We seldom touch the computer. In the last 6ish months, Ive only used it a few times: to do our taxes with TurboTax software (could do online...leftover habit from dialup days); used it to lookup GM service manual that software only works on a computer; and to update a medical history that we keep in Excel. If it breaks, Ill probably replace it with something simple and cheap but Its getting rarer and rarer that we use it so we could probably do without it.
We carry a couple of laptops, a net book, 2 iPads, a KFire Kindle, an ereader Kindle and use all of them on our travels. I have found some of my financial apps for the iPad are different than the laptop program from the same bank. My iPad app won't allow me to use the electronic bill pay function so I use my laptop for that.
This is being typed in an iPad going through my iPhone hot spot, then through my Wilson Sleek signal amplifier to a roof top Wilson antenna. I do all my financial work through my cell phone hot spot. We are camped in western Colorado where we have a very weak cell signal and no WiFi available.
To me, one size fits all, just doesn't work with electronics any better than with motor vehicles. My Jeep and my one ton truck both do what I bought them to do, but neither will replace the other. The same with computers, tablets, etc. I just drove into the nearest town to do our laundry, so I stuffed my K Fire in so that I could read while the clothes got clean and dried.
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
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"Without challenge, adventure is impossible".
We bring them all: iPad, iPhone, iMac, iPod, etc. They're all essential for any camping trip for us now...
Sad times they are if these items are 'essential' for camping.
Sad yes but " camping " is hardly what we are doing ... After all this is the motorhome forum ;-) camping is (in my mind ) a tent on the ground with no facilities. .. We are rving .. Hardly roughing it .. Bed, Fridge electric lights, heater, ac it's not a far stretch to computer ;-)
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My wife's desktop hasn't been touched since I bought her an Ipad for Christmas, the other night she said if the Ipad broke that night, she'd have another one before the next day was over. It's great for doing readding books, emails, web surfing, bill paying etc while at home or on the road. One thing to consider if you buy a tablet, try to get one that is 3g capable, you can go month to month with the 3g plan and only activate it when away from a wifi signal.
PS. as far as printing with a tablet like the Ipad, all you need is a hundred dollar printer that has the Iprint feature. I can also pay bills using the tablets' web browser or an app from my bank if an app is available.