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Old 07-27-2011, 07:02 PM
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
8,221 posts, read 11,021,214 times
Reputation: 8550


I own a desktop and a lap top. I have an old flip phone. I really use it for emergency use only and have a plan that includes 300 minutes that I never use. Now here is my dilemma.

I hate having to carry the large laptop when I travel which is maybe 3 -4 times per year. I mainly want to be able to access emails and surf the net for info, if I am in a new area and want to find restaurants, sights, etc.

I have considered a new phone with the bells and gongs and whistles but that means a data plan for maybe a total of 21 - 30 days usage.

I have considered a ipad or similar tablet but it seems like a huge outlay for a short time frame.

I really don't want to incur a data charge for the sake of convenience, it seems like an expensive toy, especially for such short term use.

I was told to get a notebook that is wifi enabled.

I am looking for some suggestions as to what the pros think my best solution is. I use my desktop for all communications and surfing. The lap top is only for vacations. I seriously doubt I will rely on the "New" item as I work from home and am always on the desktop. Once my work is over, I am not using the email for anything other than personal usage, so the main point is really convenience and little else.

My phone carrier is Verizon and I have enough credits to get a free phone with little to no cost other than an activation charge.

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Old 07-28-2011, 12:18 PM
28,631 posts, read 40,613,958 times
Reputation: 37316
Talk with Verizon and find out what the minimum data plan is, or maybe what size you would need to fit your requirements. Look into what a netbook will cost.

Subtract the amount you pay now for your cell service from the cost with the data plan and then divide the cost of the netbook by that. How many months will it take to break even? Does that make a difference in your decision?

i.e. Say your phone is $35/month. With a data plan that will have what you need that rises to $85/month. $50 a month difference. If a netbook will cost you $400 then payback is 8 months.

These numbers are imaginary and only for example.

Is the screen on a smart phone large enough to do what you want comfortably?
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:06 PM
7,376 posts, read 13,036,501 times
Reputation: 6974
Get a droid or iphone.

Internet, email, text, phone, GPS, camera, video recorder, notepad, games, online books all in the palm of your hand.

Not to mention you can cancel your home phone service and it will be cheaper than a laptop/computer.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:30 PM
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,666,385 times
Reputation: 1538
For such little usage of minutes, go with a prepaid phone plan instead. My emergency phone is T-mobile togo - 1000 minutes, $100, and it doesn't expire for a year. Add a $10 card before it expires, and the balance carries out for another year.

The thing is, having just wifi on a laptop won't cut it if you're in an area without an open signal. So if it's anything, look into a semi-smart phone and a prepaid plan that offers a data package too.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:30 PM
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,835 posts, read 13,971,314 times
Reputation: 8078
I would suggest a tablet: iPad or otherwise.
I would bet within a month you will find you use it more then just when on vacation.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:43 PM
3,743 posts, read 11,466,828 times
Reputation: 2754
I think if you get a wi-fi only tablet you will end up using it a lot more than you planned. As well, some carriers, (AT&T at least, Verizon used to and I can't imagine it doesn't anymore) offer an a la carte data plan if you have a 3G enabled device, so you'd only pay for the data service during the short time you use it.

A la carte data plans - AT&T's new DataConnect Pass plans serve up data a la carte -- Engadget

My advice: skip the notebook, get a tablet with or without 3G, contact Verizon and see what a la carte data plans options you have. As for your cell phone, like others have said, you might want to investigate dropping the home land line and just using a cell going forward.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:35 AM
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 9,059,350 times
Reputation: 3723
Smartphones make traveling a breeze. You can get flight information, maps (with GPS), public transportation routes and schedules, theater and other tickets, restaurant recommendations, etc., etc., etc. Plus it takes photos and gives you access to email!

Throw away your guide books and maps, stop lugging around your laptop, and get a smart phone. I love my iPhone (and there’s a new one coming out in September) but there are many other options available.

If it’s mainly for travel, where extreme portability and a data plan are important, I would get a smart phone over a tablet.

Regarding tablets, I agree that you’ll probably use it much more than you think.
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