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New Travelling Companion Needed

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My travelling companion for the past four years is slowing down. Sluggish in the mornings and quick to tire in the afternoons, my Sony Vaio is not the machine it was. Not even a new battery has put a spring in its step. So it's time to find a new laptop. I want a 13.3in screen, a good battery life and an optical drive. I don't need much. No bells or whistles. I'll only be using it for word processing, surfing, organising contacts and storing music. Netbooks are too small - but I like their stripped-down functionality.

Any ideas on a decent machine that will withstand a bit of bumping around (I know the optical drive will pack up after a while - but they are useful when you are on the road and someone has a disc of pics etc) and costs less than £500?


Another journalist | March 4, 2010 12:28 PM | Reply

I was going to say a MacBook until I saw "...and costs less than £500?"

Then again, I myself live in Africa and I'm more than happy at all levels with my MacBook. I used to be PC user before this one and I dislike Steve Jobs but I must admit this is much more trustable and reliable a travelling companion than a PC laptop - and you may even find a good deal every now and then with refurbished MacBooks.

Good luck!

Jesse Krembs | March 4, 2010 2:46 PM | Reply

Have you looked at Dells recently state side the prices are very competitive

Peter | March 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Reply

I got an Acer mini for my last trip to Africa. It was handy and light, but the small keyboard was a nuisance. Dell has good deals: http://www.dell.com/home/laptops
But I don't know if you can put your hands on them there.

Rob Crilly replied to comment from Peter | March 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Reply

My problem with Macs is two-fold. I worry that servicing and repairs may be difficult in the places I tend to work. Also, I need pretty basic functions so why pay the extra for a Mac?

Peter, I agree that the small machines are too fiddly for serious (albeit two-fingered) typing.

That leaves me with 13.3 portable machines, which invariably puts me in the business segment - thus ramping up cost again.

I want a portable machine with a long battery so that I can work on the road, but with the most basic software and hardware. Does anyone spec anything like this? I don't need fancy chips and sound cards and so on. But the assumption is that if you are a road warrior (apologies for the silly jargon) then you need all the bells and whistles... So it might well be a Dell

Sara A | April 1, 2010 5:52 AM | Reply

This is probably coming late -- but I truly believe that you're paying for less of a headache with a Mac. The worries you have about it breaking down, and repairs etc.. is mostly probably because you're use to a PC. :] That said.. my vote is for a toshiba tablet (not to sure where that falls with your price line) but i've had one for 4-5 years and its been through thick and thin. Also-- Go Ravens!

Rob Crilly replied to comment from Sara A | April 1, 2010 9:47 AM | Reply

Too late. Had a lot of recommendations from people with Macs. In the end I went for one of a Thinkpad Edge. Seems a little sluggish, but overall I'm pretty happy with it

What do you think?