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Advice Wanted: Small Lightweight Travel Computer

Advice Wanted: Small Lightweight Travel Computer

Old Aug 23, 06, 4:04 am
  #1  
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Advice Wanted: Small Lightweight Travel Computer

Hey Folks,

I need a travel computer and there's too many choices so I would like opinions from you folks. I don't trust on line reviews as they don't put the miles on these things that we do. I've searched the forums and I guess I didn't use the right words as I didn't see what I was looking for.

So... I want a small, light weight, basic computer, nothing fancy just a simple thing. I have a big 17 inch screen laptop that I love and use all the time but there are some simple trips I just want excel / word / DVD / internet / email etc... Just the basics, nothing fancy and the 17 inch laptop is just too big for the simple trips. As I live overseas and travel overseas the computer should be rugged and be able to take some abuse so no fragile computers or tempermental systems, and that's about all I ask.

Makes / models / opinions would surely be appreciated as you folks travel more then the dang reviewers do and I've had great success going with the general opinions from FTalker's in past purchases. Thanks ^
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Old Aug 23, 06, 5:17 am
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Sounds like an Averatec would be a good bet.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 6:05 am
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Originally Posted by KMHT FF
Sounds like an Averatec would be a good bet.
Thanks, never used them. I'm assuming you say they are good? I looked at the 1150-EW1 and it got some bad ratings on line such the reason I'm not all trusting of on line rating systems.

I guess I should mention I'm not going for lowest cost, I mean if I can get one for 1300 or so then great but if I have to go up to 2K to get what I want then OK. My 17 inch laptop is an HP (DV8000 series) but I have also used Fujitsu notebooks and sony notebooks which are now passed down to the kids and I still have/use my old Panasonic Toughbook. I'm not a computer genius but I don't think of myself as a computer idiot either, just too many choices and everything I purchase needs to be done online so I can't walk in a store and test drive these things.

Was looking at a Sony TX3 series or a Panasonic Toughbook-W4 (2.8lbs, 12.1" screen, 10.6 x 1.8 x 8.3) just based on my past experiences with these brands. But am happy with the HP laptop and that was a FTalker suggestion so I will take whatever folks think the most of and works for them. Thanks
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Old Aug 23, 06, 7:14 am
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I do not own one myself but if my criterion were as you stated it I would get one.

No sense in overspending on a tinkerer.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 8:37 am
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I was having neck problems lugging my old Dell through the airport each week. I switched to the IBM X41. I has been great as a lightweight. I kept the docking station at my desk and the remainder weighed around 2 pounds. Made all the difference. I realize this might be at the higher end of your price range but I throw it out there.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 8:49 am
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Problem is that your recommendation does not match the requirements listed by the original poster. The OP wants DVD. The X41 only offers it in a docking station so is not a viable option.

I would personally burn the DVDs to my hard drive and use the X41, but it is a bit of a pain.

I would look at the small Sonys with built-in DVD drives.

Originally Posted by ghia74
I was having neck problems lugging my old Dell through the airport each week. I switched to the IBM X41. I has been great as a lightweight. I kept the docking station at my desk and the remainder weighed around 2 pounds. Made all the difference. I realize this might be at the higher end of your price range but I throw it out there.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 9:28 am
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I love my Sony Vaio TR3. I posted a question in this forum 2 years ago on 4 ultralights I was considering. kanebear and ScottC helped me make my decision to buy the TR3 and have I ever been happy with it.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 9:32 am
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You didn't say what OS you want but a refurb MacBook, 13" wide screen, full new computer guarantee, is $949 on apple.com. If you're using Windows now it'll run that too and has gotten excellent reviews for that purpose, though if you just want to use it for that you might prefer a laptop that was designed for Windows from the get-go.

Only downside is, if you want to go native Mac (my recommendation) and your copy of Office is now the Windows version, you'll have to get another. If you can get educational pricing it won't cost much.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 9:36 am
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I have a colleague who has a Thinkpad of the X series and she loves it. I envy her ablility to travel so light.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 10:12 am
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I have the same needs while travelling & wound up selecting a Compaq V2000 series laptop. It's not as rugged as the IBM T43 I normally use but it's also about 1/3 of the price. The basic model is available on www.hp.com for about $400 but I would opt for the upgraded video card (not for video, but it includes a built in flash reader for SD/MS/MMC/SM/XD), wireless B/G, and perhaps the TrueBright screen. This brings the price up to about $500. It weighs 5 pounds and comes with a 14" screen. The Compaqs/HPs don't have a great reputation for being rugged, but mine has treated me well to four continents.

Another reason for going cheap is the new regulation on some trips the laptop has to be checked and just heard a news report that BA "misplaced" over 10K pieces of checked luggage since the last LHR scare.

Let us know what you wind up with & please please set a DriveLock password in the bios before travelling (/me proselytizes). Good luck!
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Old Aug 23, 06, 10:18 am
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FWIW, and as noted above re: the DVD issue, I use a Thinkpad X60 and use it not just as a travel computer but as my primary computer (since I hate having multiple devices). Works just fine as a desktop for my purposes and travel with it everywhere undocked.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 10:21 am
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>So... I want a small, light weight, basic computer

I recently travelled with a colleague who packed a PocketPC-based PDA. I was pretty impressed with his configuration. When he wanted to type he had a fold-out keyboard and the device had IE, Outlook and Office built-in. It had WiFi so when we were in the coffee shop he was checking his email. When we got in the rental car he plugged in a GPS module and we had a scrolling map and voice directions to our destination.

Although he didn't watch a movie he said it was a pretty simple process - He simply ripped movies to flash cards and plugged them in.

The best part was he just toseed the whole kit and kaboodle straight into his satchel.

Cheers,
Geoff Glave
Vancouver, Canada
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Old Aug 23, 06, 10:37 am
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I have an IBM (it'll be Lenovo now) Thinkpad X41. It doesn't have a built-in DVD drive but it's so light you could carry a USB-powered external one. It's very thin and very light.

I would rip the DVDs to the hard disk as already suggested. Not only is this quicker once ripped, but spinning the HD uses less battery than reading from DVD.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 11:11 am
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Have been very happy with the Sony Vaio tr series. (I'm not sure if they make the tr's anymore, but they have the same form factor which is 7" x 11" closed.) It has built in dvd with a small form factor that can survive a full recline in front of you in a short pitch coach cabin. Very easy to pack and get through security. A real work horse. (My only problem in 3 years is that my on board camera went on the fritz, but I never used it anyway.)

Good luck with your decision.
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Old Aug 23, 06, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by gglave
I recently travelled with a colleague who packed a PocketPC-based PDA.
Thanks everyone ! I appreciate the back and forth sharing here.

As far as PDA's go, I used to use a jordana then moved to a PDA and use a Treo currently. It's OK but it's not what I need to do, I need a little more then that and even have a portable keyboard for the treo phone.

The IBM's I've never used since 20 years ago, for the suggestion of the Compaq I don't mind compaq and like the HP I have but it's looking like the Sony series are getting good reviews from folks here. So now it seems to me that it's still down to the Sony but the compaq might be worth looking at as an alternative. IBM is now run out of China isn't it? That might not be a bad thing as I'm in China more then I'm in the USA.

Knowing me I'll probably end up with another Sony, all my desktops are Sony Media's and I don't run Mac, sorry but years ago I did when I was doing digital video and photo and there was no good software for Windows but since 10 years ago I haven't touched a mac and not sure I want to anymore. Not saying that Windows is all that great either.

Kulo Ma Lulap (Thank you)
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