Laptop recomendations

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by xilios, 11 Jun 2008.

  1. xilios

    xilios Über Member

    Maastricht, NL
    Hi all,
    After our last tour my wife and I are thinking about taking a laptop on tour but there are so many out there we do not know where to start. We are mainly concerned about road vibrations, as we've heard it can play havoc on those delicate machines. Also weight could be an issue because I've seen a couple that weight over 4kgs.
    We're thinking of using it to keep maps, photos, write journals, a couple films "optional" (for those rainy days traped in the tent), internet, etc...
    Has anyone out there been using one that they can recomend?
  2. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I think most people are buying those Eee PCs nowadays.
  3. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    I use a Packard Bell Easynote XS

    My only regret is that in order to maintain battery life and reduce heat it has a 900 MHz chip so it appears slow.

    However with areasonable hard drive and a good screen it is a worthwhile consideration.

    Mine has done several tours now and a lot of commuting so it is durable as well.

  4. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    A friend of mine has just bought one of these, and I was impressed by how lightweight it was compared to normal laptops. Would certainly be a good choice for a tour if you really want to take a laptop.

    The Eee Pcs also have solid state hard drives so there is not much that can get damaged by bumps and vibrations.
  5. Not a Dell. This is a Dell and the grammars rubbish.
  6. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Isn't it awkward charging all these gadgets(cameras,phones, laptops etc) when in a tent?
  7. Riding in Circles

    Riding in Circles Veteran

    Apple, the new Macbooks are great pieces of kit, my 5 year old powerbook goes backwards and forwards in the pannier no problems. Technically the part that gets messed up is the hard disk, so you could go solid state like the new Macbook Air, but is a lot of money to pay for a unit that needs an external DVD.

    When I tour I take the laptop and charge it either from solar or in pubs and the like.
  8. thePig

    thePig New Member

    Whatever you do don't get the packard bell. The trackpad is aweful and the screen is rubbish. Making it almost unusable.

    I have just bought an ASUS EEE PC for an upcoming 6 week bike tour - I need it to keep my blog going.

    I have installed everything you could possibly need, and it works perfectly.
    I bought the Linux version (which has a 20g drive) and then installed my own streamlined version of XP (using nLite).

    The drive is solid state so will not be the victim of excessive vibrations. The EEE PC is small so fits nicely in my Ortlieb Ultimate 5 bar bag. And it only weights 1kg.

    The keyboard is small, but once you are used to it is perfectly fine for typing.

    The one downside of this laptop is battery life. A full charge will last about 2 hours.
  9. Carwash

    Carwash Señor Member

    Vibrations are only likely to cause problems while the machine is switched on. I wouldn't be too concerned if you're just going to be going over some bumps with it in your pannier... but if you plan to be surfing the web and mountain biking at the same time, more serious thought is required! ;)

    In that case, something without moving parts is the way to go - something with a solid-state drive. Two alternatives spring to mind - the Eee PC from Asus, and the MacBook Air. Both are excellent machines and very portable, but reside at opposite ends of the price spectrum. It's up to you, I suppose. I wouldn't advise getting an Eee PC with XP on it though - pile of crap IMHO.
  10. yorkshiregoth

    yorkshiregoth Master of all he surveys

    I use my mac book air when I am on night shifts and travelling up north. Very nice piece of kit for what I need.
  11. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    I would suggest the Asus Eee 900 PC, get the Linux version for the larger hard drive (you can still install Win XP if you really must).

    Never quite understood why it is considered compulsory to use a tent while touring? What is wrong with staying at B&Bs, hostels or even hotels? I choose to use a bike because I enjoy it, not because I can't afford anything else...
  12. OP

    xilios Über Member

    Maastricht, NL
    Thanks for all the tips, we will have to go and check out the EEE 900pc but are concerned about the size. We would also like to use it at home on occasion not only on tour.
    Our budget is about 500 euros, we wouldn't like to take anything more expensive than that along on tour.
    So that leaves out the nicer toys like the Panasonic R6, Macbook Air, and a few others :sad:
  13. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush


    I tour with a tent because I enjoy it not because I'm skint! I like the freedom, the companionship etc. I also tour using B&B's sometimes but I can't recall ever saying that it's compusory to camp.
    Sometimes I stay in a hotel even if I've got a tent with me but don't tell anyone!
  14. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    I've only ever toured with a tent. I never have to travel for work so I have never got out of the student mindset that paying for accomodation is a scandalous waste of money, like paying for water.

    I need to investigate credit card touring, because I want, for instance, to do a circuit of Corsica which I would be pushed to get round in a week with full touring kit.

    Do we have a Wallet and Wheels FAQ?
  15. PaulSB

    PaulSB Guru

    I bought the Asus for a specific work function, to take stock at work on to a spreadsheet. I have the Linux version and being non-technical have not bothered to try and change to XP. The Open Office software supplied works very well, it's probably better than MS Office and any document you create can be converted to an MS file - though I have found Office 2007 is not very friendly towards Open Office - no surprise there!. I'm not a techie but I understand the Asus has been designed to work with Linux and Open Office and so wouldn't want to change this especially as XP has become so slow and cumbersome. The Linus / Open office seems much faster than XP /MS Office.

    On tour you may want to use the laptop under a wide variety of conditions, I'm using the Asus outside and in glasshouses across 12 acres of plant production and it performs well in all weathers. The screen is very readable in bright sun, unlike my expensive full size notebook. I walk around with it in my left hand all day without a problem. Using it for data entry is a bit like giant texting.

    In the office, in your case at home, it responds very well to plugging in a wireless mouse and keyboard and being hard-wired to a full size screen. Typing on the small keyboard takes getting used to but is OK. Plugging in a USB sim card gives you web access anywhere you can get a mobile signal. Flash drives are instantly recognised giving plenty of back up opportunities.

    Web connection is easy though the automatic interface set up (whatever that is!) is a bit slow. Once connected the connection is always very stable. The wireless connections are very quick.

    I would thoroughly recommend this machine for touring. It's true battery life is short - 2.5 hours on mine - but you can get an extended battery which lasts 4.5 hours. This battery only comes in white and looks a bit naff on my black Asus. it's also bulky and sticks out the back of the machine. Recharging the standard battery or the extended battery is fast. The extended battery is £50 and does take a bit of tracking down.

    Asus have stolen the lead in this area. Buy one, you won't be disappointed.
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