Durable Reliable Laptop for Travelling

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 18:57
ThreadID: 122709 Views:4503 Replies:8 FollowUps:0
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Hi All,

As we prepare for living aboard fulltime and travelling extensively, one of the tasks on our ‘to do’ list is switching to a laptop computer. We plan to manage our affairs via the internet and also use the l/top for photo editing etc.

Whilst we’d appreciate any tips, the primary reason for this post is to ascertain which makes are more durable and reliable than others. Naturally, we’ll be sticking with a well-known brand, to ensure any backup/support is as widespread as possible. We’ll probably purchase from a major chain to help with any warranty issues. We’ve heard favourable comments about HP reliability; has anybody had any experience with phone backup re Dell or others?

If laptop users on the road fulltime could respond with brief details of


How long in use in this environment

Any problems encountered

Service/support experience

it would help us to sift the wheat from the chaff in an area where we are novices.


Stephen & Deborah

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:21

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:21
I give my Laptop a HIDING! It travels every day, lives in my truck. We have had Toshiba Satellites for years, but have switched to Dell for the last year...

On minor set up problems and such, we have had EXCELLENT Sevice and backup from Dell, above and beyond what you would expect.. Regards, Ranger.
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Luvntravln - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:28

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:28
Timing is everything!

I have been a Toshiba person for more years than I can count including crashing them across the pacific 24/7 as they steered my vessel.

Last night had dinner with Peter and Carol (they have lived in their BT for four years). Peter is, among other things, a MS Systems Engineer. We got to talking about robust computers as I have had three "blue" screens crossing this vast land.

He, surprisingly, had a conversation with a senior Toshiba person who indicated that Dell was the strongest computer.

I will next get a Dell!

Cheers, Luvntravln

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Reply By: Rockgoc - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:46

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:46
I have been using my Hyundai Image Quest whilst on the road full time for the last 4 years with no probs. However, the support from the computer shop I purchased it online from (Adelaide) is non existant....in that they have never returned any emails I have sent with enquiries. I had a major whoops when I managed to plant a great big thumb print on the LCD screen, causing massive pixel death, and this meant I had to buy another screen and fit it. Found a place in Texas USA and had the screen in under a week, and Easy and I very very carefully fitted it ourselves using the colour page instructions supplied by the screen firm. It also pays to have a friend who is right into IT stuff, whom you can call and ask questions of.
Regards, Jan O
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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 03:05

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 03:05

5 years with our Fujitsu Lifebook, no trouble whatsoever. Great help from Fujitsu when trying to get a tv card working. Don't know if I could resist the temptation of the new accers. $1600 buys 1.6gig processor, 100 gig hard drive,512mb ram, DVD burner and this was 12 months ago! Look reasonably well put together but worth a try at that price I think.

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 07:10

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 07:10
I know everyone knock the ACER as a cheap computer, but we have a 2001 model, (rather slow now) that has Track Ranger mapping on it, and it has travelled almost 200,000 km in our previous Landcruiser and now F250, operating on rough roads while stuck to centre consol.
We bought a new ACER earlier this year with 2Gig speed, 1Gig RAM and 100Gig hard drive with CD/DVD burner and it processes large Photo files quickly in Photo Shop. It cost less than $2000.

We have had NO Problems with both of these computers.
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Reply By: Motley - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 08:09

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 08:09
I have a Sony VAIO Notebook. We have just finished a 17,000km trip including some of the roughest corrugations (about 2,500km) we have experienced. We had other failures, notably the battery charger, but our Notebook PC didn't suffer despite spending its life in the Van.

We used an Aircard (supplied by Telstra) which provided Internet access when even CDMA phone acceess was marginal.

Also, make sure that whatever notebook you buy, it has Wireless Access. We found that McDonalds Restaurants, even in out of the way locations, offer Wireless Access. Just pull up out the front and start up your PC. Provided you have a Telstra Mobile Account, you have instant Internet Access. You get a web page where you enter your Telstra Mobile Phone Nuimber and the next thing, you get an SMS on your phone giving you an Access Code. The rates are very reasonable for short term access for collecting email

Hope this helps.


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Reply By: jandm - Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:53

Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:53
I run the greenie department at a major mine in PNG. We use Panasonic Toughbooks which cop a hiding throughout a river system 1,000 km long in hot, humid and wet, wet, wet conditions. The Toughbooks are in and out of choppers, 4WD vehicles, research vessel and tinnies. They have daylight screens, are shockproof, dust proof and water resistent. They have functioned faultlessly for more than two years. BUT ... they are a lot more expensive than your run-of-the-mill laptops; AND ... the other brands that previous respondents have referred to also seem to hack the pace.

Happy decision making - at least there seems to be a range for you to choose from.

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Reply By: Freewheelers - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 03:31

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 03:31
Thankyou all for your very helpful input.

We settled on a Toshiba Satellite P100 series 17” screen and took advantage of a special offer from Harvey Norman, which saw a host of other things included in the deal.

Lets hope it lives up to it’s maker’s reputation and gives us many trouble-free hours of use.


Stephen & Deborah

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