I have traveled with laptops for years and still can’t find one that is perfect. But thanks to technology, it is getting closer.
First, the screen has to be a decent size. The 10” netbooks are cute but not large enough to open wide Excel spreadsheets or programs like Tweetdeck. Moreover, they are not loaded with enough power for full-time work.
At the other extreme, there are now 18” laptop screens. However, they are much too large – not to mention too heavy – for airline travel.
Weight is also an issue. Most laptops with 14” screens weigh over 6 lbs with some of the larger ones about 10 lbs. That’s fine for working at a desk but just too heavy to carry around for work, much less on a plane.
Battery life is another concern. Until recently, batteries were rated up to about only four hours. In reality, battery life begins to diminish immediately so only months into its use, the shortened life is noticeable. I consider a 4-hour battery to really be good for only about 2 hours, not nearly enough time for flying and work productivity.
So what’s my perfect travel laptop?
My perfect screen is about 13”, give or take maybe an inch. That is large enough to display wide programs and small enough to be operable on a plane.
The weight has to be less than 4 lbs, though 3 lbs would fit nicely in my perfect world. The battery’s rated life would be at least 8 hours. That way I would be pretty comfortable knowing I should get at least half that much time from it as the battery weakens.
And there are a few more things my perfect laptop would have. For example, it would run 64-bit Windows 7, have a fast i5/i7 CPU, full-size keyboard, at least 4Gb of memory, and a minimum 500Gb hard drive. Oh, and now I want support for 11n wireless and 3.0 USB. Also, it gets bonus points if it has a removable tablet.
Does this perfect laptop exist yet? No, but it’s getting close. My current laptop is just over 4 lbs, battery life of 6 hours, and most of the other goodies. Based on what I saw at CES last month, my perfect travel laptop could be available as early as this summer. Well, it will if they can figure out how to get the weight down.