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laptop computer for touring

Old 04-15-10, 08:40 PM
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KDC1956
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laptop computer for touring

What kind of laptop computer is best for touring.I am looking for one for my trip to Bangor Maine this spring this way I can keep in touch with my wife.And share some pics to her as well.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:47 PM
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I got a Lenovo netbook last spring and toured with it and it worked out great!

That said I am going to tour with just my iPhone this summer to see how that works out. Most of my electronic needs while touring are: phone calls, Facebooking, mapping my tours, blogging about my tours, and checking email... everything my iPhone can do and it can also take pictures. I'm even tempted to not bring my Nikon DSLR.

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Old 04-15-10, 08:49 PM
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I've never brought a laptop on a tour, I usually just stop at libraries when I need a computer. So that's one options.
Although I'm not sure how that would work out with the pictures.
Another option you could consider would be a netbook instead. They seem like they are a lot smaller and more suited than a laptop would be for travel.
Again, no experience on this, but I've considered it a bit too, and may look into a netbook in more detail for myself...
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Old 04-15-10, 10:11 PM
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There are a lot of options, but we went with an Acer netbook. The reason we choose the Acer was the solid state hard drive. While it "only" has a 16 gb hard drive, it has three USB ports which helps downloading to a thumb drive. We opted for the solid state because I thought it might be a little more durable than the conventional hard drives. It is compact and gets the job done. Not super fast, but I knew that when I bought it.

My wife "hard at work" on our Pacific Coast ride last September.
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Old 04-15-10, 10:56 PM
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I'd get a Netbook, they are so cheap now and so convenient that I'm considering getting one just to use when I don't want to sit at the desktop, and for once I start touring.
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Old 04-16-10, 01:30 AM
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I spent ages deliberating this one last year - in the end I opted for a netbook (Samsung NC10) - it's been the perfect choice....

Despite being in my pannier for over 10,000km - mostly on bumpy, dusty, African dirt tracks - it's still in good working order. So I really don't think a SSD is necessary.

I use it for email/web/Word/Excel, writing my blog and storing/managing my large collection of photos plus some editing too - admittedly the photo editing is a little slow, but perfectly do-able especially for minor edits (I use Faststone and also have downloaded GIMP) and ideally I'd like a larger screen, but I decided to forego that in preference to smaller size/weight.

It's 10" and will just fit in my ortlieb handlebar bag (diagonally) if I need to carry it into town. If I wasn't interested in the photo storage/editing I would have got a smaller 8-9" one which would fit in the handlebar bag properly.

If you're not planning on much typing / photography editing (I like having the near full-size keyboard) then you don't really need a netbook at all and a handheld / iphone would be preferable I think.

I also have an external harddrive for a backup of everything which I would recommend as they're small, light and cheap now.

The only thing the netbook doesn't really handle is video and it doesn't have a CD drive... I don't know if that's important for you.

The battery life on the Samsung (6-cell battery) is about 5 hours which I'm happy with. So - the NC10 netbook is great but seriously consider a handheld....
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Old 04-16-10, 03:36 AM
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I haven't toured with a computer in the past, but moving into the 21st century might just require it.

I have a 10" Dell netbook that should work. I can't go much smaller than that due to the keyboard and screen size (getting old is not for sissies!)

Another advantage to the SSD is lower power consumption and extended battery life.

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Old 04-16-10, 03:45 AM
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Old 04-16-10, 05:13 AM
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Personally I think a laptop or even a netbook is just not worth the extra weight. I do take a tiny Nokia N-800 internet tablet. It weighs about 7 ounces (it now used the same 2 ounce charger as my phone and camera so no extra weight there) and does WiFi. I updated my journal including uploading pictures with it last year and it worked out very well. It was nice that it takes the same memory cards as my Nikon S550 and that the S550 can create reduced size copies of photos. I was able to find an unlocked WiFi access point in most towns, even small ones.

Actually an email enabled phone is probably adequate for what you want to do.

A lot of folks rely on public library computers, but Tthat has not worked out very well for me. Small town libraries tend to have really reduced hours on limited days of the week. They never seem to be open when I want to use them. Larger town libraries tend to have a wait and a limit of usage time limit that is restrictive.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:33 AM
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+1 for the Asus Netbook, small, relatively lightweight and relatively inexpensive. ~$300 Most smart phones are in this price range these days and I don't have to type with my thumbs.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:35 AM
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You're kidding, nobody has suggested an iPad yet?
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Old 04-16-10, 05:51 AM
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I have used an Asus netbook on tour. It worked very well for email, photos and blogging, but all the associated cables were quite heavy and bulky so now I just use the iPhone. There's a WordPress ap for blogging and I like that I can use either 3G or WiFi to connect. Now that the keyboard is in landscape it's easy to write long blogs etc. I'm also looking at getting an Amzer solar backup battery for it. The only drawback is the iPhone camera which isn't very good.

Someone mentioned the iPad. I wouldn't take it because it doesn't have a camera or phone. Today there should be no need to take multiple electronic devices, unless you want to take really good photos, then I can see the argument for a good camera. There are some neew devices coming out soon that are like large smart phones. They have 5 inch multitouch screens and might be the perfect combination of size and functionality for touring. The Dell mini-5 seems to be the one with most buzz.
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Old 04-16-10, 07:02 AM
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I'd leave my netbook home on tours. I like it a lot, but a little paperback notebook, my pen, camera and phone are a lot more reasonable weight wise and in terms of cable hell. I am fine with typing up handwritten notes, and I can do it fairly quickly. I am not fine with the idea of my primary computer getting damaged or stolen on a tour. I have about 6-7 hours of battery life, so it would need charging unless the tour was a weekend or less.

I could probably save *weight* by switching to a camera/phone combo, but my camera is very small (4oz), very comfortable to use, and has about a 200 shot battery with the screen on. I can use it with the screen off and get a lot more battery life. The phone is as small and as stupid as I could find and runs for over a week on a charge, so the total package is about 6oz. Data service instead of pay as you go would mean my monthly phone bill rockets from about $20/mo to $60 or so per month. Not a good deal for me unless I'm touring for more than 3 weeks at a time. (unlike the netbook, spare batteries for the phone and camera are tiny and less than 1/4 the devices' weight, so it is lighter to carry spare batteries for really quite long trips)
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Old 04-16-10, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
You're kidding, nobody has suggested an iPad yet?
If it had more storage and the ability to save pictures from a camera and run regular OS with direct file access then perhaps. As it is iPad is a living room appliance.
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Old 04-16-10, 02:48 PM
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I don't bring a computer on tour, and I'm proud of myself for being able to cut the strings to the internet. I stay in touch with my wife with my cell phone. I take tons of pictures and dictate a journal into my mp3 player. I show people my pictures and compile my journal (on CrazyGuy) when I get home.

I don't like stopping at libraries to compute. It always seems to take me out of my way and burn a chunk of the best part of the riding day. However, occasionally I break down so that I can check my email. I guess I can't completely quit cold turkey.
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Old 04-16-10, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
If it had more storage and the ability to save pictures from a camera and run regular OS with direct file access then perhaps. As it is iPad is a living room appliance.
I don't mean to turn this into some sort of mac/pc flame war, but what are you doing with your computer on tour that is so much more demanding than what you'd do in your living room?
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Old 04-16-10, 03:44 PM
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I vote for a smartphone, preferably one with a built-in keyboard.

Most phones have a small camera built-in, and the ability to email the pictures. Smaller, lighter, longer battery life than even the lightest netbook.
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Old 04-16-10, 03:57 PM
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I researched netbooks for our upcoming x/c trip and chose an Asus. Low price, highly rated, big hard drive, fast, built in camera for skype:
https://www.amazon.com/Seashell-1005P...1454883&sr=8-5
An ipad was mentioned above, but I decided to wait til the next edition comes out. Too many limitations on the first ipad.
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Old 04-16-10, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I vote for a smartphone, preferably one with a built-in keyboard.

Most phones have a small camera built-in, and the ability to email the pictures. Smaller, lighter, longer battery life than even the lightest netbook.
Blackberry with wifi.
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Old 04-16-10, 11:43 PM
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I travel with a netbook and it is awesome. If I didn't play online poker as I travel I would probably just use an iphone or blackberry though
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Old 04-17-10, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
If it had more storage and the ability to save pictures from a camera and run regular OS with direct file access then perhaps. As it is iPad is a living room appliance.
You can buy an SD card reader or USB adaptor for importing photos from your camera. With all of the apps already available on it, the iPad is a perfect toy for the digitally-addicted tourist: music, movies, podcasts, books, blogging apps, photo editing apps, email, Skype calls. All of that in a super slim shell with 10-hour battery life.
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Old 04-17-10, 12:25 AM
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We bought an asus eee 901 with ssd a couple of years ago we took it on a small tour last year and its worked out well for us. I have installed ms mapoint (which I can use offline) and used pushpins to show all campsites and warmshower hosts on route. Even watched a film one rainy night.
Its quick, under a kg, battery life is great but even with a 16 gb sd I would love to have a bit more room.
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Old 04-17-10, 01:03 AM
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I think those new ipads with 3g could be cool. Almost a laptop/glorified iphone. Its pretty big for webrowsing, has a camera dock and isnt too too big. They are a bit spendy though.
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Old 04-17-10, 11:29 AM
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Last year I used a 9" Asus Eee PC with SSD. Survived just fine. However, I am not sure it really is worth its weight. This year I will rely on my BlackBerry Storm 2 phone and possibly a iPad or Kindle2.
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Old 04-17-10, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
I don't mean to turn this into some sort of mac/pc flame war, but what are you doing with your computer on tour that is so much more demanding than what you'd do in your living room?
I shoot RAW, several gigabytes a day. iPad doesn't have enough internal storage for my needs and I'm not aware of any RAW editors/converters for iPad. Maybe 3rd generation? I never buy anything 1st gen from Apple. I waited several years to get the the iPhone, I can wait for the iPad.

Since I already have a netbook and an iPhone, an iPad doesn't fit anywhere in my life.
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