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Compact (12" +/-) Laptops and their Battery Life
Thread poster: William Pairman

William Pairman  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Mar 10, 2008

I'm having to do a bit of train travel so I've decided to buy a compact laptop to make use of the traveling time when I need to
Are they comfortable to work on?

From what I've seen, the specs are relatively similar (Core Duo/2GIG ram/120GB+ HD, wireless card etc), so a key area will be battery life. I have used Acer a lot in the past with no problems but they seem quite poor on battery life - 2 hours or less,(plus the new design for small laptops looks cheesy) which will obviously be very important. Any ideas?

A brief look thru the forum sees people complain about Dells getting too hot to have on your lap, Toshibas shutting off all the time...


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:33
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not a direct answer ... Mar 10, 2008

... but whenever travelling on the trains here in Portugal or back in the UK, I always book online in advance and get a seat with a table, next to a plug. Battery life doesn't come into play (because like you I find they only seem to last 2-3 hours max., no matter what the make)

Just mentioning it, in case you didn't realise this can be done in most places. The website here in Portugal, for example, allows you to choose the exact seat you want, with seating plans showing you which have tables, plugs etc. And it's about 10% cheaper than buying your ticket at the station.

It normally means having to travel first class, but it's worth the extra. Less noise, less cramped, you can normally get far more done and make up the difference. Anyhow, if the travel is business-related, you should be able to deduct some/all of it for tax.

I have the 12 inch Acer, specifically for working on trains/away from the office, and have no problems working on it at all in terms of its size. It's "comfortable enough", put it that way. I wouldn't go smaller though.

Wouldn't like to have to use it every day - which is why I have a 17 inch Toshiba at the office, connected to a docking station with peripherals such as a normal mouse and keyboard - but certainly fine for a 3-4 hour train trip.

Another good option for train travel is mobile Internet. Just check beforehand that your package includes nationwide use (i.e. that you're not charged extra once you leave home) and that you can actually get cover on your intended routes.




[Edited at 2008-03-10 17:15]


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William Pairman  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
These are commuter trains unfortunately Mar 10, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
... I always book online in advance and get a seat with a table, next to a plug. Battery life doesn't come into play (because like you I find they only seem to last 2-3 hours max., no matter what the make) ...


Thats not going to be possible, these are Madrid "Cercanias" local trains - no tables, no plugs. Thanks for the rest of your input tho, esp the news that 12" is a viable working screen size



[Edited at 2008-03-10 17:17]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:33
English to Czech
+ ...
Hi William Mar 10, 2008

I can only recommend not buying an Acer again. My collegues have excellent experience with Sony Vaio, but these are rather expensive.
Two months ago I bought an MSI 12" (widescreen) with the following specs:
Intel Core Duo 2x1.5 GHz
2 GB RAM
160 GB HDD
Weight 2.1 kg
8-cell battery life around 5 hours
Price: CZK 24.000 (around $1.500)

The best thing about it is that it is sold with the FreeDOS OS, so you can choose between WinXP and Vista.


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Roberto Tokuda  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
Extra battery Mar 11, 2008

All laptops comes with they "standard battery", that gives about 2 to 4 hours with normal use.
Also, many of manufacturer offers "large battery" with 2 to 3 times of capacity than standard battery.
So, my suggestion is to buy one spare battery (large capacity), take a full charge on both batteries and replace it aboard.


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Tatiana Lammers  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Toshiba Mar 11, 2008

My Toshiba has been working great for me ever since 2003! No shutting off or anything! I love it!
Just have a spare battery and that should be enough.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Get a child's keyboard Mar 12, 2008

William Pairman wrote:
I'm having to do a bit of train travel so I've decided to buy a compact laptop to make use of the traveling time when I need to. Are they comfortable to work on?


That's easy to tell... buy yourself a child's keyboard and type on it for a few hours. By "child's keyboard" I mean one with slightly smaller keys, on which the keys under your pinkies are actually closer to each other than on a normal sized keyboard (some keyboards are "compact" but they are really the same size as a normal keyboard).

What I would want is a laptop with the screen located on top of the keyboard, with the screen in a horizontal position, so that you look down onto the screen, with your hands underneath the screen (we all do blind typing anyway, don't we?). This would be ideal for small spaces where the seat in front of you is just that little bit too close.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:33
English to Czech
+ ...
Good choice Mar 15, 2008

Tatiana Lammers wrote:

My Toshiba has been working great for me ever since 2003! No shutting off or anything! I love it!
Just have a spare battery and that should be enough.


Indeed


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