Portability, networkability, and connectivity: with the latest laptops, it’s definitely about ability. Although, when it comes to travelling, there is still more to consider. So we have put together the top 10 Travel Laptops for 2010 to help you choose the right machine for the job.
Travel Laptops: What to consider
Airlines are strict on weight limits and some of their baggage charges are stratospheric: so weight is a factor. And there’s survivability, too.
Not all the machines in this list are designed to survive the wildest of windstorms, still we have included a couple of purpose-built mud-pluggers for the explorers out there. As well as laptops, we feature three netbooks – diminutive, web-ready, micro-machines that have ditched their CD drives but are still packed with power- three laptops, a pair of custom heavyweights and of course, a ringer.
Top 10 Travel Laptops for 2010
So if you can’t face being without Facebook and a larger screen, and your mobile just doesn’t have the processing power, look no further than our top 10 travel laptops for 2010.
HP Mini 311
Not waterproof, not even splash proof, this Hewlett-Packard model was not developed for extreme sports. However, it is extremely well designed and tips the scales at just 3.3lb (1.49Kg). Closed, its 11.4-inch (28.95cm) screen fits snuggly to its body, within which you’ll find the popular Intel Atom N270/1.6GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM.
With a 160 GB hard drive you should have plenty space for your favourite music, and the NVIDIA Ion graphics processor won’t struggle with your top movie clips. As with most netbooks, there is no CD/DVD drive, although connectivity is guaranteed thanks to Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking.
Asus Eee PC 1001P
Asus has made its name with netbooks. This PC 1001P packs a lot of features into a very small price tag, and on battery life alone it is surely worth a mention. Tiny, just 10.3 (26.14cm) x 7-inches (17.78cm) and light, only 2.8lb (1.27Kg), this netbook can slip into a rucksack or daysack with ease.
A white keyboard distinguishes this model from most competitors and there’s also a multi-function touchpad. Connectivity is helped with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and three USB ports. Ethernet, car reader and microphone jack prove useful, too. Memory is again 1 GB, but upgradeable to 2 GB, hard drive is also 160 GB and the Asus comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition. And that battery life? It’s a whopping eight hours.
Always known for build quality and functionality, Sony makes them strong. While sharing a similar spec with many of its rivals, this model should prove a favourite with travellers – I say should, it’s only just released and very hard to find but one of the top 10 travel laptops for 2010
The familiar Intel Atom N450/1.66GHz processor returns, as does Windows 7 Starter and 1 GB of RAM. This Sony has a very competitive 250 GB hard drive and a 10.1inch (25.65cm) screen, which looks well protected. Sony has yet to officially launch this model, so keep your eyes peeled. If earlier efforts are anything to go by, expect top connectivity and plenty of ports.
“Laptops, they’re so last year!” Well, in some ways the trend has been toward smaller, less spec’d netbooks. But if it’s processing power, full screen immersion, and DVD drives you need, there are still plenty of larger models to choose from.
When PCs went smaller, Apple went on a diet. Boasting a 13.3-inch (33.78cm) screen, but at just 0.4cm (0.15 inches) to 1.9cm thin (0.74 inches), this svelte aluminium beauty will slip easily into your travel gear. Expensive? Yes, but Mac owners know why: No viruses, intuitive operating systems that lead where Microsoft can only follow, and true longevity.
Power too. In top spec the MacBook Air boasts a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM and either 120 GB hard drive or a 128 GB solid-state drive. CD/DVD drive? No chance, but you do get the best Wi-Fi (based on 802.11n draft specification) and enhanced Bluetooth connectivity. Its supermodel waistline leaves only enough space for one USB, but with a full-size keyboard and top environmental credentials, it has to be a contender.
HP ProBook 5310m
This made the grade thanks to its ultra-portability. With a whopping 2.3GHz Inter Core 2 Duo processor, 13.3-inch screen (33.78cm) up to 320 GB hard drive and plethora of ports, it’s the best spec’d machine so far. All this power adds weight – at 3.8lb (1.72kg) it is the lardiest of competitors so far, but the extra uumph needed to lug it around soon pays off. Its 802.11n wireless set up helps for fast connections and all manner of media can be hooked up via three USB ports.
While no looker, this HP does have functionality on its side. It also hides the weight well, at just 2.35cm thick (less than one inch). Optical drives are again extra. Decent chipset and graphics cards, a useful 2MP built-in webcam, and a card reader further help this HP into our top 10 Travel Laptops for 2010.
Pricey, very pricey. This is one expensive laptop. But if you are fortunate enough to have lots of money to spare, it’s a great choice. The Sony’s 13.1-inch (33.27cm) screen is a useful size, and as with this brand’s other products, build quality is a given. It’s underneath its case where the investment can be seen. Specifications vary depending on what you want, but the all-singing, all-dancing model is stacked.
Twin 128 GB solid-state hard drives (SSDs), a 2.53GHz processor, 4 GB of Ram, dedicated Ge Force graphics card, slots for Express Card, SD card, Memory Stick and two further media ports are also shoe-horned in. However, at more than 4lbs (1.81kg), this Sony is on the weight limit, as well as past some travellers’ price limit.
Acer laptops (TravelMate Timeline 8371-733G32n)
All Acer’s products are worth considering, thanks in part to the company offering a one-year international travel warranty. A bonus when looking at the top 10 Travel Laptops!
Acer laptops are now covered against hardware failures just about anywhere you care to take them. Pick of the laptops is perhaps the TravelMate Timeline 8371-733G32n . Its eight-hour battery life and 13.3-inch (33.27cm) screen, will help on those long connecting flights. It’s also pretty trim, at less than one inch thick. Surprisingly, this Acer crams in 3 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive and a high definition graphics card.
Connectivity is equal to that of its rivals, although its 3MP integrated camera is a little lacking in the power stakes. Running the latest Microsoft software (Vista Business) and with the back up of the tried and tested Intel Core 2 Duo processor, it should rarely be found wanting.
Panasonic Toughbook C1 Field
A proper explorer’s laptop: Bombproof. Panasonic is one of the few mainstream electronics companies to build laptops suited for the needs of adventure sports travellers. Shock-mounted hard drives, spill-resistance, drop ratings, the spec on these specialised boxes reads like a Land Rover options list.
The C1 is perhaps the most progressive model in its design. It has a 12-inch (30.48cm) screen that swivels, turning it into a tablet PC – handy. Decent power from its Intel Core processors, and batteries that are “hot-swappable” means you can keep up with the most demanding of tasks, without stopping to charge – great when you are away from base camp for longer periods.
Panasonic Toughbook H1 Field
If the C1 is a 4×4, the Panasonic H1 is a tank. This fully-sealed, military specification, magnesium alloy, all-round tough cookie can survive. Whatever the weather, the H1 should stay connected thanks to its Gobi mobile broadband option.
Data should stay safe as it is written to a 64 GB reinforced solid-state drive (SSD) – not the largest in the sector, but possibly the safest. Power again is by Intel (Atom Z540,1.86GHz) and while the screen is just 10.4-inches (26.41cm) across, it is an anti-glare touch-screen and completely protected. Further useful details include its 2MP camera, GPS receiver and hot-swappable batteries.
Some manufacturers claim their products can survive the rough and tumble of everyday life. This Toughbook is certified to bounce back to life from a six-foot drop: Solid.
The Ringer: Apple iPad
By building up the iPod Touch, Apple has again moved the goal posts. Not made to deflect savannah rains or desert dust, this tablet Mac is however the new kid on the block, and is turning heads. Imagine a Touch or iPhone, make it almost ten inches (25.5cm) square and there you have it.
Running up to ten hours without a charge, just 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg) light and (1.27 cm) 0.5- inches thin, this is a jet-setters dream. Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, running from Apple’s own A4 chip and with up to 64 GB of flash memory, it should prove more than a match for any traveller’s needs.
Back from your adventures, you can always connect the screen directly to a designated keyboard. And it runs Apple’s 150,000 Apps, too. Clever and compact, just how adventure sports travellers like their technology.
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