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Old 04.04.2011, 23:01
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Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

Last year I brought my laptop with me to Switzerland for the first time. The good news is that it was a blessing to have it; the bad news that it was a curse to carry the thing around on travel days with multiple train/bus changes.

My current laptop is big (over 6 lbs without the power supply). On the other hand, now that I have bought a desktop with a 22 inch screen as my main computer, the laptop's 15 inch or so screen suddenly seems puny

So I wonder; should I struggle with the extra weight of my current laptop, or buy a newer one (a real laptop, not a netbook) with a 10 inch screen? How happy will I be with the smaller screen for my six week stay in Switzerland?
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Old 04.04.2011, 23:16
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

No...!

I used to think that screen size was everything for a laptop.

A few years of travel and my laptop size is now dictated by the smallest laptop I can find with an internal CD-ROM drive (external stuff is just a pain). That's usually around the 11-13' mark, rather than the 10' netbooks.

Especially on EU trips (which I do a lot), you get shits who as soon as the light goes off, slam their seats back. With small laptops, you have less risk of a crunch as the screen gets caught between table and said seat. Clearly (business class) transatlantic/continental is less of an issue.

You also have more elbow room to type (vs. finger room) as the screen can be that much further away so that you don't feel you are typing under your chin.

You then have the weight advantage.

Small is best and if you can get solid state - even better...
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Old 04.04.2011, 23:21
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

You will find a 10 inch screen (and keyboard) to be very painful.

If you drop down to a 13 inch screen size (from the 15), you will gain a bit on the weight (just under 2 kg vs. 2.7 for your current machine) and you will still be able to see something.

If you really want to drop the weight, and if it is mostly for surfing in WiFi areas, you might be better off to go with the iPad 2. At least on the iPad, you can zoom in to see more detail on web pages. Typing emails won't be too bad with a hunt and peck approach.
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Old 04.04.2011, 23:28
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

I ditched my laptop and took my Ipad during my last vacation in Switzerland and Europe. Honestly, it was really perfect. The long battery life was also a bonus.
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Old 04.04.2011, 23:45
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

I wouldn't go with a 10 inch on to be honest...Maybe its because I have big hands but I find it hard to type on one of those. I'd say the ideal size for a laptop depends on what you are comfortable with. Go out and see some of them, try typing on them, reading off the screen and see if you'd be happy with it. I'd probably get a 13 inch one for traveling, but then there's the Ipad, if you are traveling a lot, its much more easier to carry around, wouldn't strain your eyes trying to read stuff (you could zoom in on a 10 inch laptop as well -- but that's just not practical).

For me it would be:

Too much traveling = Ipad
Traveling <5 times a year = 13 inch laptop.
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Old 05.04.2011, 00:07
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

...or something like an X201 tablet/notebook, perhaps?
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Old 06.04.2011, 07:13
ch-expat
 
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

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I wouldn't go with a 10 inch on to be honest...Maybe its because I have big hands but I find it hard to type on one of those. I'd say the ideal size for a laptop depends on what you are comfortable with. Go out and see some of them, try typing on them, reading off the screen and see if you'd be happy with it. I'd probably get a 13 inch one for traveling, but then there's the Ipad, if you are traveling a lot, its much more easier to carry around, wouldn't strain your eyes trying to read stuff (you could zoom in on a 10 inch laptop as well -- but that's just not practical).

For me it would be:

Too much traveling = Ipad
Traveling <5 times a year = 13 inch laptop.
The iPad screen is extremely bright and crisp. It really makes up for the small size.
I did not use to be an Apple fan, but the iPad won me over. It is the perfect size. You can comfortably watch movies, read ebooks, play games, respond to your emails etc...
I traveled for 5 weeks last summer and did not miss my laptop.
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Old 06.04.2011, 07:32
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

HP Envy 13. That's what I'd look at if I was shopping today.

I have a Dell XPS M1330 which is 13" - that's ok.
I have a ThinkPad x61 - that's even better but it's only 1024x768.
I have a Dell Mini 9 - which is too small for productive use but great for occasional use.

If you're just surfing, emailing and wanting to watch movies - tablet. If you're braver, an Android device....if you're cautious, an iPad.
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Old 06.04.2011, 17:32
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

Many thanks for the advice!

I do too much typing (blog plus long emails) for a tablet to be an attractive option, plus I need several "real" computer programs (editing GPS tracks amongst other things).

I had initially been thinking of an HP Pavillion dm1z (11.4" screen, not 10" as I wrote) but decided to increase the screen size to 13". Surfing led me to two excellent reviews of lightweight laptops, 8 Great Ultraportables from Laptop Magazine and Top Ultraportable Laptops from PCWorld. I eventually settled on the Toshiba Portege R835-P50X, available at a substantial discount from Best Buy.

13.3"screen, Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM and, almost alone in this category, an internal DVD drive, all weighing in at 3.2 lbs. I will pick it up from the store tomorrow
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Old 06.04.2011, 18:18
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

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almost alone in this category
...cough.... MacBook...

Seriously, up to 2.7 i7 now...
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Old 06.04.2011, 18:39
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

Sony VGN-TT11 - old, but still works a treat
Sony IMO make the best screens... (for PCs...) and usually have excellent battery power.
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Old 06.04.2011, 18:52
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

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Sony IMO make the best screens...
Agreed ... my main computer is a Sony Vaio, gorgeous screen:

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Old 06.04.2011, 19:13
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Re: Weight versus screen size in a travel laptop

You're looking for a macbook air
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