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I Ditched My Laptop for an iPad for 30 Days in Vietnam: Did I Survive?

Experience the ultimate adventure: Ditching a laptop for an iPad in Vietnam for 30 days. Did it survive the test? Dive into the journey now!

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Lugging around a hefty 15-inch laptop when traveling can be tiring. Its weight and bulk add up, especially when navigating bustling airports and winding streets. So I thought, what if there’s a way to free yourself from this digital anchor? 

My desire for a lighter and more portable option came to light a few months before my Vietnam trip. I didn’t want to strain my shoulders or occupy half my backpack with my Lenovo laptop. A spark ignited, and I realized I needed a more portable machine.

Also Read: What Happens If You Replace Your Gaming Laptop with a Tablet

Why I Chose the iPad Air 5

iPad Air 5

As I was researching various options for the perfect travel replacement for my laptop, the iPad was starting to become a clear favorite. For one, I recently upgraded to an iPhone, and the seamless connectivity feels like it will make my digital life a lot easier.

Now, with three iPad variations to choose from, here are the reasons why I decided to get the iPad Air 5:

Also Read: Our Comprehensive iPad Air vs iPad Pro Comparison


The iPad Air 5 has a slim profile and lightweight design, making it an ideal companion. With 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 inches and a weight of 461g, it slips effortlessly into my bag. This leaves me room for other essentials, like my wife’s XPS 13. 

Battery Life  

In the race for endurance, the iPad Air 5 takes the lead. It has a 28.6-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery that ensures seamless usage from sunrise to sunset. During my trip, I marveled at its stamina: a single charge is more than enough for 8 hours of research and writing. I even have leftover juice to stream my favorite shows and movies.

M1 Chip

The main reason I chose the iPad Air 5 is the M1 Chip. The powerhouse processor brings desktop-class performance at my fingertips. It handled whatever I threw its way effortlessly. Multitasking was child’s play, and photo-video editing was smooth as silk. Plus, I was able to play several games from casual puzzle games to epic quests

The iPad Air 5 adapted to my whims. It morphed from a productivity powerhouse to my leisure accomplice. 

Apple iPad Air 5 fingerprint scanner

My Planned Workflows

When I got my iPad Air 5, I was excited about how it will transform my digital life. It held promises of productivity and creativity. And so, with anticipation humming in my veins, I charted my workflows. Here’s how I intended to use the device during my escapade:

Writing on the Go

The iPad Air 5 could transform any place into a writer’s haven. We went to the airport 10 hours before our flight, and I managed to squeeze in a few hours of work while waiting. I also used the downtime to see maps and travel guides. It made me not only a traveling writer but an informed explorer.   

Read More: If You Want to Ditch Your Laptop, Here Are The Best Tablets with Keyboards

Here’s how my writing workflow unfolded:

  • Note Taking: I frequently used the pre-installed Note App on the iPad during our trip. I wrote down our itinerary and pasted photos. Since it syncs seamlessly across my iPhone, it kept pace even during guided tours when I left it at the hotel.     
  • Writing Apps: Google Docs is my canvas. I installed it on my iPad before the trip. Combined with a tactile keyboard cover, I wove sentences into paragraphs. The Air 5 became my portable writing nook, while Google Docs cradled my prose.    

At the end of each day, I’d save my work, and these digital pages held not just words but memories of working in a distant land. 


The iPad Air 5 isn’t just a productivity powerhouse. It also bridges the gap between work and leisure. I’m a multitasker, so I used it as a conduit between my deadlines and adventures. 

  • Gmail App: While my iPad has a pre-installed Mail App, I downloaded a Gmail App to ensure my words traverse cyberspace. It syncs seamlessly with my account, so I was able to access my inbox – whether it was for urgent client correspondence or travel updates. 

So, there I was, drinking a Longan fruit tea and replying to client emails while gazing at the busy roads of Saigon. The split-screen magic also helped make work and wanderlust co-exist harmoniously. 

Using the iPad Air 5

Read More: If You’re Looking for Android Alternatives, Here Are The Best Ones

Games and Entertainment  

The iPad Air 5 isn’t all work. It is also a portal to joy. So, when inspiration failed to strike, I played games on it. The retina display immersed me whether I was launching Angry Birds or solving mysteries. And every time I completed a level, the victory always felt real.  

During our time in Vietnam, the iPad became our private theater. When Netflix introduced its new sci-fi show, my wife and I binged-watch the series. As the speakers hummed and the pixels glowed, we pondered our own three-body problem: the past, present, and future. 

Also Read: We Reviewed the Best Gaming Tablets So You Don’t Have To

Photo and Video Editing

Finally, the iPad Air 5 moonlighted as my creative studio. I downloaded and installed Lightroom from the App Store to edit photos. With a touch, I’d adjust exposure, tweak hues, and coax hidden details from raw captures.

I also installed Davinci Resolve for iPad, and I marveled at the power and versatility of both the device and software. Honestly, I even prefer editing videos on the iPad compared to my Lenovo Laptop.

Video Editing on the iPad

Also Read: The Best Tablets for Video Editing

Gearing for Productivity and Leisure

I got my iPad Air 5 a week before we left for Vietnam and set everything up. I bought the Logitech Folio Touch with it to serve as my keyboard and case. It came with a charger to stay powered, and my wife’s aunt gave her a stylus to be my creative compass. Unfortunately, the stylus didn’t meet my expectations. Perhaps I should get the Apple Pencil

Finally, before embarking on my adventure, I double-checked: Are my usual work apps available on the iPad? My office suite comprises Notion, Google Docs, Gmail, and Calendar. The hotel comes with free WiFi that I used to download other apps and research information. With these tools in hand, I’m ready!

Also Read: Best iPad Alternatives: These Tablets Beat Apple (At Some Things)

Exploring Vietnam and Pumping My Productivity

The iPad Air 5 currently sits at the heart of my digital universe. I ditched my laptop for it to bridge work and leisure. But for me to fully harness its potential, I needed the following accessories in tow:

Working on the iPad while waiting for my flight
  • Logitech Folio Touch – Whether I’m drafting emails or crafting articles, this keyboard case transforms my iPad into a mobile workstation. It’s been my bridge between coffee shops and my hotel. I love how it provides excellent protection to my device and works flawlessly. Plus, it instantly pairs with the iPad via the Smart Connectors, so it doesn’t need batteries.  
  • USB-C Charger – Since I’m using the iPhone 15 Pro Max, I’ve made a conscious choice: one charger. This pocket-sized lifeline powers both my devices – a minimalist approach on my part. And, when the battery falls under 30 percent, I know I can reach for that singular charger to fuel my conversations and creative bursts.  
  • Split-screen – This multitasking feature has been my friend during my travels. It allowed me to work on one side and open my email or messenger on another. It also let me toggle between maps and travel guides. All these, without missing a beat. 

In addition, I arranged my apps based on priority, placing frequently used applications on the home screen for quick access. I also created folders to organize similar apps. 

Read More: iPad Accessories and Smart Connectors

My Vietnam Adventures and How my iPad Air Integrates into Them

Vietnam wasn’t just a destination; it was an immersive experience. Here’s a glimpse of how my iPad Air 5 wove itself into the fabric of my adventures:

Vietnam pictures
  • Pho and Banh Mi Quest: Armed with my iPad, I embarked on a pho and Banh Mi pilgrimage. Safari and Maps open, I searched for the best noodles and sandwiches in Saigon. When I found them, I immortalized the steaming bowls and split baguettes in pixels with the camera.  
  • City Sights: Ho Chi Minh City is a symphony of sights, and my iPad became my silent conductor. I was supposed to marvel at the gothic architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in Saigon. Unfortunately, they’re renovating it, so I mostly saw scaffolding.
  • Hustle and Bustle: I also documented the beautiful chaos of the Ben Thanh market and the neoclassical facade of the Saigon Opera House. But, what impressed me most was the charm of the Saigon Central Post Office. 
  • Cu Chi Tunnels: Even on my journey underground, my iPad was my confidante. While my iPhone captured narrow passages and hidden trapdoors, my iPad helped illuminate the past. I edited photos of the tunnels and weapons, capturing the raw emotions of Vietnam’s struggles. 
  • Mekong Delta River Tour: Along narrow canals, my iPhone also framed the coconut palms. But, it was my iPad that transformed those snapshots into captivating memories.  
Vietnam adventures

Successes and Challenges of Using the iPad Air 5

The iPad Air 5 made my stay in Saigon fun and easy. With my device resting on the table, the Logitech Folio Touch attached, I was able to work at a cozy cafe, sipping a latte. At my hotel, it transitioned effortlessly from the living area to the bedroom. 

Waiting at the airport gate, the Air 5 didn’t flinch either. Its battery life outlasted my layover in Singapore. I was able to edit photos, catch up on emails, and even play a few games – all without worrying about outlets. Onboard, it became my in-flight companion. I organized my notes and wrote a couple of drafts.

The only thing I missed about my laptop at home is how easy it made multitasking look. The Alt-tab, split-screen, and multiple windows are like its second nature. Whereas the iPad Air 5’s multitasking gesture takes practice. But during my time in Vietnam, I’ve mastered Split View and Slide Over. Now, I toggled between Safari and Google Docs with a flick of a finger. 

Also Read: Here’s Our Full Review of the Apple iPad Air 5

Reflections and Key Takeaways

I’ve learned that minimalism always wins. The iPad Air 5 taught me to declutter – to focus on essential apps. It also allowed me to adapt anywhere, whether in a bustling cafe or a cramped airplane seat. While it isn’t as powerful as my laptop, it was a capable companion that complimented my journey.

Because of this, I made adjustments to it to fine-tune my workflow. I’ve created shortcuts for repetitive tasks and arranged the apps I frequently use on the home screen. I’ve set a Pomodoro timer to focus, pause, and let my creativity breathe. Plus, I got iCloud to keep my files in sync, allowing me to organize my projects into folders and access them anywhere. 

Working on the iPad Air 5

So, Did I Survive? 

Yes, I did! The iPad Air 5 proved its mettle as a laptop replacement. It seamlessly integrated into my workflow, making sure I work smarter, not harder. 

The Air 5 is compact and lightweight. It didn’t take up much space in my backpack. Battery-wise, it even outlasts most laptops, giving me more time to work, whether at cafes, in my hotel, or at the airport. Plus, the Logitech Folio Touch I bought with it really helped transform my typing experience. 

Read More: If You’re Looking for a More Powerful iPad, Here’s Our Apple iPad Pro M2 Review

However, the iPad can’t fully replace heavyweight tools like Adobe Photoshop. If you’re a casual video editor, the iPad with Davinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro is more than enough. However, for hardcore editors, a Macbook Pro should give you more flexibility.

In the case of editing photos, I learned to embrace Lightroom Mobile, which is highly capable by itself. However, comparing it to the desktop version, you’re going to be missing out on more advanced tools.

Here are other adjustments you can make to take full advantage of the iPad:

  • Upgrade your cloud storage for seamless access across your devices. 
  • Purchase external SSDs or wireless drives to overcome the iPad’s storage limitations.  
  • Invest in a quality dock to expand your connectivity options and connect your device to an external monitor for a dual-screen setup.
  • Get a Bluetooth keyboard to turn your iPad into a mini laptop. 
  • Pair it with a mouse for precise navigation. 
Apps installed on my iPad Air 5

Yes, the iPad itself is cost-effective. However, accessories add up. The keyboard isn’t cheap and set me back for $200. It’s worth the investment, though. Overall, the benefits outweigh the costs. And, the freedom to work from anywhere is priceless.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Mit iPad statt Laptop für 30 Tage ins Ausland: Meine Erfahrung | Tablet Blog

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