I typically upgrade my computer around every two years. I always buy laptops (I can’t even remember the last time I owned a desktop) and when I’m at home, I use a desktop monitor, extending the screen onto my laptop.
My husband and I like the RV lifestyle, and I’m used to taking my writing on the road. Have laptop, will travel! With this in mind, when I upgraded a couple of years ago, I opted for a big gaming laptop with a 17″ screen and 1.5 terabytes of storage. It was fast and it was power-hungry. So power-hungry, in fact, that we were not able to charge it from an off-road power pack. Furthermore, it weighed a ton: it was not comfortable on a lap, and was a chore to lug around if I wanted to take it to a cafe.
The battery life for this monster was only around an hour and a half, and it took forever to power up and power down.
With a longish trip coming up later this year, I decided to go completely in the other direction and bought a super lightweight UltraBook, weighing less than 1.2 kg. It has 256 GB of solid-state storage, of which 6 GB is allocated to RAM. It is ready for work 6 seconds after I press the ‘start’ button; powers down in around 4 seconds, and the battery lasts four times longer than my previous laptop.
It’s so light that when I’m sitting with it on my lap, I tend to forget that it’s there!
I’m delighted with it. I did buy an external optical drive so I can read or burn content to DVDs, but judging on the use the optical drive got in my last laptop, it will rarely be used. I also bought a pocket drive with 1.5 GB of storage, and I’ll keep all my old files (and iTunes) on that. Not to mention movies, photos, etc etc.
I did contemplate buying a laptop that had a touch screen, but decided against it for this round. The technology is still quite new (for laptops) and I’d rather wait until it’s tried and tested.
Finally, I bought a small, lightweight backpack to tote around the Ultrabook and external drives when we travel. This is perfect; easy to store, and just big enough for the ‘extras’.
If you’re in the market for a new laptop, it’s worth taking a look at the UltraBooks – especially if you carry your computer around with you a lot. Team it with a desktop monitor when you’re at home, and you’ll find it a pleasure to use.