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Is the iPad Fit for Travel?

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As part of an early-adaptor household that snagged an iPad the instant it hit shelves this month, I know it’s one thing to play Scrabble while you’re waiting on line for lattes at Starbucks, to burn through a few chapters of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter before bed, or to ogle and caress its sleek form in the privacy of one’s home, but how does this spring’s hottest must-have gadget fare on the road? For starters, at just 1.5 pounds it weighs far less than the average laptop, and airport security is not forcing owners to pull out their iPads for x-raying like they do computers, but there are some caveats (right now) to be sure.

If you’re interested in a full test drive of the insanely cool, game-changing e-reader (and happen to be killing time waiting for Apple's 3G version to come out), I recommend practical traveler’s Bob Tedeschi’s recent tire-kicking write-up in this weekend’s New York Times:

IF you plan on vacationing in the near future, you should be ready to share an airplane ride with at least a few preening iPad owners. Whether you should succumb to gadget envy or not depends on just what type of traveler you are.

I haven’t had the chance to road test the iPad while vacationing, but after two solid weeks spent testing it on a virtual vacation—a multi-continent jaunt through backwoods, beach and city without leaving my couch—here’s my verdict: if you have an extra $500 to $700 to spend on one, plus another $100 or so for some great apps, it’s worth the plunge.

And now the caveat. You will adore the iPad when you’re in transit and in the hotel room. You’ll have far less use for the thing when you head for the beach, or a city walking tour, or a roadside diner. But more on its weaknesses later. (Photo courtesy of Apple)

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