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For roughly the price of an ipad, you can get a decent 11.6inch laptop.
I have the previous version of the Lenovo x131e here, and it's plenty fast enough for processing RAW files (Windows Experience rating of 5.1 for the processor, so about equivalent to a high end laptop from a year or three ago) on the move and the battery can last up to 6-7hours with the right power settings. If you order the laptops via quidco, you get 4% cashback too. As it's a proper laptop, but wiht a smaller screen, it'sf fully upgradeable to 8GB RAM and there are options for mobile internet too. If you've a capable smartphone, you could always tether that for internet on the go though. As the standard HDD is 320GB, you wouldn't be running short of space either.
Size and weight wise, it's only a little larger than an ipad with one of those fancy Bluetooth keyboard cases on it.
A pacsafe mesh lock, like this, can be used to secure a bag to an immovable object, and stop folks from getting to valuables within.
I hope this helps, as it looks like an avenue you may not have considered.
EDIT, forgot to mention I'm talking about the Intel x131e...
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Love my iPad and its so easy to carry around.. Also such a perfect tool to transfer photos to and then look at them.
Just to be clear on the file copying thing, moving/copying files does not degrade quality in any way. You can lose quality if you open a jpeg and save it again, e.g. via 'save as' because the image is being decompressed and recompressed again but not simply by transferring the file. For anything important, remember that any device, no matter how new or old can fail at any time, so backups are important.
I think your current thinking of a netbook for this is wise. iPads are great machines but my feeling is the storage they provide is too close to typical flash card sizes to be right for what you have in mind.
If you think that microSD cards get corrupted less often than compact flash cards, they don't. Ipads, tablets and netbooks all go wrong sometimes (often, in fact).
In my experience, for travel you want a backup system that you can just forget about, especially if you're travelling with others. Nothing kills the mood of a holiday more than spending hours in the hotel room reviewing photos. Even if you're alone: you want to maximize the amount of time you are out there taking photos, and minimize the amount of time you are fiddling around. You have only 16 days, after all.
If it's just for backup, I'd say buy two large compact flash cards and a high quality hard drive such as the 'photosafe', which reads CF cards eliminating the need for a PC (If one goes wrong, you'll still have the other one). It'll take you three minutes a day to back up: sorted. Leave wading through the photos until you are back home.
Cloud is always the safest backup, but with the volume of photos your taking (and taking in to account my experience of hotel internet connections) it won't be possible to upload everything you take during your trip.
Don't waste your holiday staring at an iPad screen. I have a tablet PC, I love it to death, but you wouldn't catch me using it to 'backup' my photos!
Addendum: I should note that I've been travelling for about 4 years now, I own a photosafe hard drive and it's probably the best accessory I've ever bought. I usually leave it in my guesthouse room apart from when I'm staying in dorms without lockers, in which case I leave it behind reception. Seriously, it has saved me eons worth of time not having to find and use a PC every time I backup (which is often twice a day, because its so damn easy).
That said, in four years I haven't had either of my memory cards fail on me either. But I did have my camera stolen!
@onetrickpony Thank you very much for your insight to the problem. Very much appreciated.
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