Trade-offs for portability are less power and sometimes fewer connections.
Laptops with faster CPUs run hotter and burn through batteries. So the
story isn't just their specs. If you are going out and about, I really
suggest something that is light and efficient. There are some great choices
for either platform these days. If portability is the main concern you
should compare how the smallest MAC
compares with the Fujitsu PC ultra-portables.
They are both great machines- each with their stregnths and weaknesses. I
misread your comment about "no institutional problems" as being open to
either platform. So if you are sure you want to work with MAC you can
ignore the rest of this post...
Althought they are popular in Europe and Japan, currently there are only
two ultra-portable PCs released for US consumption: a Fujitsu P series and
a Sony. I brought the Fujitsu P5020D over the comparable Sony based a some
secondary features (non-propietary memory slots and tech support).
It has wireless LAN, firewire, and USB 2.0. The coolest factor is the wide
aspect ratio screen. The screen is technically a 10.5 inch screen, but it
runs at 1280 x 768 and feel much bigger. Its 16:9 shape allows the
designing of a computer that sits atop a piece of printer paper with a half
inch margin visible on all sides. Your battery life will run from 5 hours
to 11 hours depending on whether you opt for a 2nd battery. (I would) The
CPU is 1 gig. memory is 1 GB. I strongly reccomend the upgrade to the hard
drive to a 7200rpm drive.
I got a great deal here:
I found the LeoG discussion group after I brought the unit, but it would
have been useful before the fact. Apparently Fujitsu is poised to release
the next model, a P7000 in late June. Depending on the timing of your trip,
you might want to wait till then to nail a slightly faster version. There
is a comparison of the models offered/pending 3/4 of the ways down this
Have fun up there.
> I will spend two months this summer at the Toolik Field Station on the
>North Slope of Alaska, just outside the western boundary of the Arctic
>National Wildlife Refuge. In previous years, I have done in-stream field
>work on the tundra, in support of Arctic fisheries studies, for two-week
>intervals. This two-month stint will be a long, challenging experience, but
>is also one of those life experiences that you just can't pass up.
> The trip provides a good excuse to buy my first laptop, and also get
>into Mac OSX. I am seeking advice on what to buy that will give the maximum
>result at minimal cost and smallest size of laptop (portability/weight is
>important). I also seek advice on optimal software choices.
> Being far from home, I of course want e-mail and Internet access.
>Toolik Field Station workers use both Macs and PCs, so there should be no
> I want to be able to document the summer work using plenty of digital
>photos that I can modify and send via e-mail to others. I will be writing
>newspaper articles about the field work, and want to be able to send text
>and images. I also want to be able to store the text and images on CDs. A
>laptop that can accomodate Microsoft Office and the Adobe Design Collection
>would be wonderful, although for actual field work I suppose that having
>Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop Elements would fill the bill. I have not
>used Photoshop Elements before, but I am assuming that it would do the job
>of optimizing my images sufficiently for newspaper publication. After the
>summer, back home again, I could use Photoshop on my home Mac to work up the
>images further, and use as reference for traditional drawings and paintings.
> Toolik Field Station workers use both Macs and PCs, so there should be
>no institutional problems. You can see what the field station experience is
>like, at http://www.uaf.edu/toolik/
> All advice, comments, and cautions will be gratefully received.
>Robert Jon Golder
>164 Maxfield Street [log in to unmask]
>New Bedford, MA 02740 (508) 999-2486 voice