Best Single Machine Laptop for a Traveler

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by gleff, Jun 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I'm asking this question too late, on Friday I just agreed to my IT department's suggestion for the new machine that they're going to get me.

    I've been using a Lenovo x200s for a couple of years. I'm an absolute idiot, I cracked the case that houses the screen. Well, the missing piece from the case is currently covered in duct tape, and it's about to become IT's problem whether to fix/replace or do whatever with it...

    I use one machine. A laptop that is my desktop and that I carry with me -- between my two offices, home with me, and on travel.

    They've ordered me a new Samsung Series 9. Hard drive is a bit small (128mb) but I'm picking up a 1TB portable hard drive which I won't really ever carry with me. Need to have them grab me 3 extra power adapters (so I have one in each office, one at home, and one for travel).

    My only real concern is the 13.1" screen. Now, the laptop is light enough at 2.8lbs but the screen is bigger than I've been using. My concern? It's great for flying up front but what happens -- as is often the case -- when I grab a US Airways flight out of DCA, I'm not a US Airways elite but they're plenty convenient to me for a hop down to CLT, FLL, etc. So I'm in back, and someone in front of me reclines, my x200s has been wonderful in this case.

    I also haven't seen a power tip for my Kensington adapter for UA flights where I need empower...

    So have I made a big mistake?

    What's your current take on best single-machine laptop for a frequent flyer?
     
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  2. SC Flier
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    You might want to seriously consider upgrading that hard drive. My Droid smartphone has 4x that! ;)
     
  3. gleff
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    Sorry -- 128gb! :p And I don't think it can be upgraded.

    Hey, I remember when 10mb hard drives ran close to $10,000....
     
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  4. SC Flier
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    It has a slightly hefty price (compared to an ordinary drive), but a solid state hard drive can be worth the investment for extended battery time. One of the most important characteristics of a travel laptop for me is a long battery life and/or spare batteries.

    An integrated slot for a memory card is nice -- especially if it accepts whatever type of card your digital camera uses. On my Dell, I like that the SD card doesn't stick out at all after it's inserted -- a problem with using USB memory sticks and some other card slots.
     
  5. SC Flier
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    In 1997, I bought a Mac with a 2.1 GB hard drive for around $1700. A few months later, I took a tour of our local NCR facility and saw a computer system which was about to be retired for scrap. Included was a water-cooled 2GB hard drive larger and heavier than a refrigerator. I forgot what its original price was.
     
  6. gleff
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    In 1987 I ran a bulletin board off a Commodore 64 and (2) 1541 floppy drives. Amazing how far the world has come.
     
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  7. SC Flier
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    Then maybe you should consider one of these.

    My first computer was a Commodore 64.
     
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  8. gleff
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    Hah, my first computer was a Commodore Vic 20!
     
  9. gleff
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    I also had an Atari 800 and an 8086.. :p
     
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  10. Sean Colahan
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    Back to topic...I would recommend a 11" or 13" MacBook air.
     
  11. JSpira
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    I travel with a Lenovo ThinkPad X301 with a 13" display. I recently flew in main cabin on a flight (gasp) and it was fine.

    Nonetheless, when just browsing/reading/surfing, I prefer the iPad 2 (esp. because battery life is excellent). For anything I have to write (and nothing I write is just a few words, for better or worse), I pull out the ThinkPad.

    I recognize you are looking at the one-laptop question but the iPad might still serve to augment the laptop. (My review of the new iPad 2 might be helpful because it's point of departure is business travel.)
     
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  12. gomike
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    Stick with the thinkpad X line, get the 3 or 4 year warranty, it is the best travel laptop money can buy
     
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  13. iolaire
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    I'm a Mac guy but at my PC based place of employment more and more upper level folks are moving to MacBooks to run Windows due to the size.
     
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I'd agree (typing this on my MB Air with 256 MB flash drive). And Samsung seems to agree, too. Given the size, 128 GB, I suspected that it was a flash drive, and this page seems to confirm it:

    http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/laptops/NP900X3A-A03US

    Can't help with the original question, though. While my MacBook Air has a 13" screen, I have never used it in coach (and if I did, it would most likely be on UA in E+ anyway). I prefer to use an iPad in such cramped quarters. Admittedly, I don't have to work on flights since they are all leisure and I just use the time to keep up with movies, TV shows, RSS feeds or news -- all on my iPad 2.
     
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  15. SC Flier
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    Remaining off topic: My parents got us some sort of off-brand (if there was such a thing) Pong console in the early 80's by attending a timeshare presentation. I have no idea what happened to it.
     
  16. JetsettingEric
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    I would also take a look at the Thinkpad X1. Amazing construction, battery only takes 30 min to charge to 80%. It also powers on very quickly. It was JUST launched - so it might not have been available when your IT department researched replacements.

    The Samsung S9 looks amazing. The Solid State Hard Drive (available on the X1 and S9) is smaller in size, but much better. It is basically a flash drive. It doesn't spin, so if you drop it you won't need to worry about losing data. It also is faster to access data and restart your computer.

    It might get a bit uncomfortable due to the larger size, but the faster boot times will more than make it up on the short-hops
     
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  17. gleff
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    To be clear, the Atari 800 was a computer as opposed to the Atari 2600 game system :)
     
  18. SC Flier
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    Yes, but our Pong game system was thanks to a travel promo.
     
  19. Infinite1K
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    Another vote for a MacBook Air. I have the 13" screen, but if you are concerned about that screen being too big, you can order the 11" model. Both still give you 1440 x 900 resolution. It also has a SD card slot.

    And you can configure the MacBook Air with a 256GB solid state drive which will be double the size of the Samsung and will be wicked fast.

    The Macs also have terrific battery life compared to the PC laptops out there.
     
  20. dildooba44

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    Any 13" laptop in coach is not fun which is why I prefer my iPhone. If you opt for your lap then they get too hot. My iPad 2 is perfect for coach as I've never had it get hot. Ever. And a long battery life. The 11" Macbook Air, which I don't have, is gorgeous and smaller footprint for coach. Once I didn't bring my iPad and my iPhone was a great substitute for entertainment, email, and messages.
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I believe only the 13" model has the SD card slot.
     
  22. Lufthansa Flyer
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    I still have my old PONG unit. It can toggle between pong, tennis and squash. Classic.
     
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  23. bakedpatato
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    I'm a fan of the HP Elitebook 2560p(I found one for a friend and it as $600, it was an open box).
    Plus the Elitebook has some cool features:
    It's 12.1 inches(1366x768), most(some models come with a battery or hard drive in lieu) models come with the DVD drive, SD slot,has an Expresscard 34 port,a Core i5 processor(which is much more powerful and power efficient than the Core 2 Duo in the Macbook Air) and can optionally come with a built in cell data(both HSPDA and EVDO) radio.And you don't have to carry around a mini-Display Port to VGA adapter for presentations.
    The Macbook has a higher resolution screen and has a much more powerful graphics card(the Elitebook has Intel HD 3000 graphics), but I don't think OP plays games :D

    The S9 feels great ,but yes is very pricey. Plus Samsung SSDs(there is obviously a Samsung SSD in it) are neither reliable like a Intel SSD nor fast like a Sandforce equipped drive. While this is a minor nitpick, I do have a Sandforce SSD in my current laptop( a 13 inch Vaio S) and it boots up faster than even other non Sandforce SSD's :D
     
  24. Infinite1K
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    You are correct! My bad.
     
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  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    No, Apple's bad! I think it's really a bad choice to omit the SD slot on that perfect little travel machine. It would have made it more likely that I would have bought it. That said, I am very happy with my 13" MB Air and I think the larger screen is actually quite helpful. That and the battery life is better, too, if I recall correctly.

    (I do have a 10.x inch screen netbook that's smaller than my MBA, but it's not left my home office since I got the MBA)
     
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