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Travel laptop

Discussion in 'Reality Check' started by Gordon S., Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Gordon S.

    Gordon S.
    New Member

    Jun 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Middle Sackville, NS
    I'm shopping for a laptop to do light photo work on the road, I've already got the list narrowed down but I figured I'd throw it out there for suggestions...

    Right now I've got a Dell XPS M1530 as a work laptop but I tend to prefer to avoid using it for personal stuff, particularly personal travel. Its a good machine though, the LED backlit screen is excellent.

    What I want are...

    13" screen - 15 is just too big for comfortable travel
    3-4GB RAM (Can always be upgraded later)
    C2D 2.0 GHz+
    A decent screen - LED backlighting definitely preferred.
    The ability to do at least a reasonable amount of Lightroom work, RAW conversion, light post processing. This basically counts out anything Atom based. They're apparently fine when working with JPGs but as soon as you put RAWs in the mix they're unusable.

    So far I've narrowed it down to three choices...

    Dell Studio XPS 13 - Their newest machine. When you spec it out with the LED screen it comes in a hair under $1500 all taxed for the sale thats on this weekend, but I'm not buying it tonight unless I totally snap so it would have to wait for the next sale. :) (Edit: Looks like I already missed the sale. :) ) The 13" XPSes tend to run a bit hot but so far people seem to be happy with these.

    HP 3510NR - I know, I know, but this one reviews actually pretty well. Its a custom job exclusive to BestBuy but it has a nice feature set. 4GB, 13" screen (Not LED though) eSATA port, HDMI, the downside is its ugly as sin and not particularly compact. Comes in at $1350 after tax.

    MacBook 13" - I could go plastic with one of these for anywhere from $1000-1300 depending on the spec or one of the aluminium ones for $1700 but I just can't talk myself into it, the screens apparently aren't that hot on the regular MacBook and a pro just isn't in the cards. The lack of eSATA/ExpressCard slot isn't the end of the world but since both of the other laptops have them its definitely a con. I like the IDEA of the machine but just can't justify the execution. Maybe if I find one used.

    So far I'm definitely leaning towards the Dell. I should probably stop being so bent on getting a 13" since the market opens up a whole lot more in the 15" range but there's nothing I hate more than a gigantic laptop thats a pain to travel with. It totally defeats the purpose.

    As I read this back to myself I don't know what I hope to accomplish, its not like anyone can conjure a cheap 13" laptop that meets my specs, just figured I'd throw it out there for comment, what do you folks use, if anything?
  2. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

    Mar 12, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Halifax, NS
    Hey Gord,

    I carry a 15.4" and it fits nicely into my Lowepro CompuDayTrekker camera bag along with my 70-200/2.8, an 18-50/2.8 a flash or two and my main body. I just find the resolution available on most 13" screens is restrictive.

    Good Luck!
  3. Arod

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stratford, PE
    I am no help Gord. I went in to a store to buy a travel laptop and left with an 18.4" lappy.

    Out of what you have listed I would go with the dell. I have had nothing but great experiences with dell thus far!
  4. N / A

    Active Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    get the mac
  5. tracker


    May 12, 2005
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