It's holiday season in Australia. Summer holidays have just finished, there are public holidays every other week and the long break over Easter is fast approaching. It's also school holidays (what again!) and if you are like me, you are wondering what to do with the kids. I have two active young boys and we love being outdoors so this school holidays we are heading up to the mountains for four days over the break. I'm already thinking what to bring: bikes, food, clothes etc But also how do I keep the kids entertained at night? Sure we will play board games and cards, but sometimes you just want to chill or God forbid, catch up on some work. So do I pack my tablet, the laptop or both? What's the best all in one holiday screen for kids and myself?
Let me start by saying that we have a bunch of different types of screens at home, probably like most families:
- My eldest has his own mini iPad, the youngest borrows his mum's tablet,
- I have a work laptop and smart phone,
- At home we have a laptop for the kids (the Lenovo 900) and we have a home tablet (Lenovo Yoga 2).
I am lucky to be an ambassador for Lenovo so get to test out their cool new equipment when it comes out, however that makes packing even harder with more choice!
I also run my own business, Social Star, which specialises in creating and leveraging Personal Brands for individuals and businesses. Being a small business I often have to catch up one work whilst on holiday - I actually quite enjoy it (gasp all those who work for companies!).
Therefore, over the trip I need a computer I can use for work (Google Apps, Xero, Squarespace), one that has enough entertainment for the kids (games, Netflix, YouTube etc) and communication (Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom) without carrying a whole IT store around. It's not just the devices it's all the cables and power supplies too.
Some parents will tisk tisk about taking a screen at all. The purpose of the trip is to enjoy the outdoors, but let's be realistic a screen can be handy at times! Especially as a single parent. Plus the lodge we are staying in is shared rooms with no TV so if the kids and I want to relax together over a movie we need a solution. So the question is.
What devices do I take away on holidays?
Here is my thought process on what to take and what to leave behind.
Phone: Of course you take your phone! How could you not. But when out all day hiking or mountain biking it's an important safety device for phone reception and maps so I don't want the battery drained with kids playing games before we leave. Sure that 'shouldn't happen' but with two crafty boys anything can happen! So something dedicated for the kids is required so keep my phone battery full.
Result = take away
Work laptop: I'm blessed to love my job, but I also want to spend quality time with the kids so don't want my work computer with me. It's an energy thing about leaving it at home that is quite freeing. That said, I do need something in case of emergencies or I get some amazing ideas I want to blog about. I can use my phone, but for website changes, blogs or LinkedIn updates I need a big screen.
Result = leave home
Kids iPad: Hudson loves having his own devise. He plays games, chats to his friends and takes pictures and videos. We have to limit the time he spends on it, but it's a useful tool. Plus he is learning important digital skills that are mandatory for the next generation. The issue is his brother doesn't have one, which can be the cause of tension. For the trip one family devise would be much better.
Result = leave home
Home laptop: This is where it get's tricky. The Lenovo Yoga 900 is an awesome machine. The thinnest and lightest PC/tablet on the market, touch screen and with the most techy hinge you have ever seen! The entire screen folds around to make an A frame movie devise or completely flat to make a tablet. I can work on it, kids can play games. Perfect!
That said, kids are tough on equipment and with my youngest being only 6 and a history of dropping things, I'm a bit concerned with letting them have this important (and expensive to replace) device. It's great but best left at home for when I really need it.
Result = leave home
Home tablet: Finally we get to the Yoga 2 tablet. It's a huge tablet compared to the kids one. It's purposefully large as the battery lasts all day and has one of the best features I have ever seen - a built in projector! Yes you heard me. Right in the spine is a mini Pico projector which displays the screen on the nearest wall at the touch of a button. Sure it has to be pretty dark for it to work, but that's expected in something so tiny. The sound is awesome and very user friendly. The kids use it to watch Netflix all the time.
For me, this is the clear winner. We can watch movies at night projected on the wall. The kids can play games and it's durable and big enough to share. It has the screen size that I can use it for work if required. Plus it has a cute kick-stand that folds flat into the device, which allows it to stand at any angle. You can even hang it from a hook! Great for the kitchen to keep it clean.
If you are looking for an all around workhorse for your next family trip you should check out the Lenovo Yoga Tablet range with the built in projectors. I know the smaller tablets are great personal devices, but that separates people rather than brings them together.
Let's hope for sunshine and lots of outdoor time these holidays, we might not need any devices. However, fortune favours the prepared and if it rains, we have an injury or dad needs a break to cook dinner I will be very grateful I packed the Yoga 2 projector tablet!
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