light capable laptop suggestion

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Rick Helmke, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Evening all,

    I'm still planning a long road trip now scheduled for this year since I couldn't go last year. I've got more gear than I could possibly need and most of it won't be going but one thing keeps nagging at me. Since I'm taking a digital as well as film I'd like to find a laptop that I can use to download images along the way and clear space on the memory cards. I could just take a lot of cards but that can get confusing. I'm planning a camera bag with a place for a laptop but want a machine that is relatively lightweight in this category. I may do more hiking than I expect and don't want to get bogged down. I use laptops most of the time now but don't want to carry any of them along. Decent storage space and good battery life but doesn't need to be all that fast or fancy. Just a place to store image files. Not a Mac as I'm dedicated to Windows anymore. I've found a few that are inexpensive but were just crap and didn't last long simply failing completely just sitting at home. Lightweight, compact and decent basic performance. is all I'm after. What is anyone else using? Thanks.

    Rick H.
  2. Any laptop touted as thin and lightweight will come at a premium. Something with a 13" screen is large enough to be useful yet relatively easy to carry. I find Lenovo laptops offer good performance and have an excellent keyboard. I used several of them over the years before switching to a MacBookPro 13". The touchpad alone is worth the switch, but it doesn't hurt to get excellent performance with external USB attachments, and freedom from "Upgrade to Windows 10" nagware. (Upgrade to High Sierra is bad, but not quite as intrusive.)
  3. A suggestion. If you buy a Windows laptop with a solid state drive, pay the price and get a big one. I recently bought a Dell XPS laptop (13" screen, as Mr. Ingold suggested) and a 128 GB SSD. With not that much software and data on-board -- I do have a moderate number of ~ 70 mb radiographs on it -- there wasn't enough room for Windows to update itself. I replaced the SSD with a 500GBer and all's well.
  4. to generalize, buy a lightweight, smaller screen laptop, add 1Terabyte or larger compact HD(s)--such as the Western Digital "My Passport" drives. With the latter, you won't need to worry about filling up the relatively small solid-state HD built into most portable laptops. Those "My Passport" drives are about the size of a deck of cards.
  5. Probably not what you have in mind but I have been using netbooks since they came out. They don't call them that anymore, but the Dell 11 is a two-in-one of similar size and capability. I have one with 4Gb memory, 500 Gb drive, 11" screen. It's fine, small, light, $350 or so. I run Photoshop on mine if I need to. If that's too trashy for you, the Dell XPS two-in-one is about the same size, a little bigger 13" screen, but the other end of the scale. There's one of those with 16Gb of memory, and all the bells and whistles, around $1500, but the simple ones are half that. My wife just bought the fancy one, and it's nifty. Mine's plastic, hers is metal. I like to buy cheap, and dump them when they fail. She goes expensive and manages 6 years or more out of hers.

    Mine doesn't have an SSD, but hers does, and man, do those start up FAST!
    Best Buy has models that Dell doesn't list.
  6. An external SSD (such as the SanDisk Extreme 510) is thin and light, and much less expensive than buying a notebook with a large internal SSD. Plus you can buy additional drives as your storage needs expand.
  7. All very interesting and very informative, thanks everyone! I'd forgotten to mention I do have a Passport already to backup my current laptop. Another one or two will be coming soon. My interest in a low budget machine is that it be smaller and lighter, less to carry around if I take it out in the camera bag. I'd use it primarily to download cards while on the road, maybe have some sort of Photoshop or Lightroom on it. I could also figure out what this cloud thing is and upload to that while traveling.

    Rick H.
  8. Many application require working space on the home drive, and most must be installed there. A 500 GB drive is almost required for use over a 3 year period or more, consid, to accommodate larger and more applications. I avoid loading the home drive with images as much as possible. I carry a 1 TB SSD on the road, and have an adapter for internal HD and SSD drives without the bulk and expense of self-contained packaging. A major drawback of a MCB is that neither the drive nor memory can be upgraded.
  9. At the risk of showing how out of date I am, what does the term SSD stand for? MCB I guess is MacBook.

    Rick H.
  10. Rick SSD means Solid State Drive these are faster than a normal Hard Disc because of no moving parts.
  11. MCB = MacBook Pro.

    Don't be afraid to ask. I do, because I'm not up on the latest jargon either.
  12. There are stand alone hard drives with a built in card reader that you can upload your images to. Much smaller footprint. No need to buy a laptop unless you want one to use. Do some research, there are solutions out there that are much less expensive than laptops and take up less space. Good luck.
  13. My suggestion: buy an OTG cable and a card reader and load your stuff onto the cloud via your phone. You'd only want to do it at places with wifi unless you have unlimited data. I travel around Central America. Every night I upload RAW files one at a time before going to bed. If you're not on a deadline nothing has to be edited right now.

    I wrote about this here.

  14. I love my Dell 5510 Xeon 15" 4k touchscreen. I don't both photo and 4k video so having a powerful laptop is more important than just having a small laptop. although powerful it is still very light and is considered a workstation not a laptop because it has two hard drives and two video cards.
  15. If you have internet access, uploading to the cloud would be the easiest, just using one of your laptops. I usually just upload to Amazon Drive (part of Amazon Prime membership) and/or to my website.

    If you do NOT need to do heavy processing while on the road and basically need a laptop as a "pass thru" device so you can load images to your WD Passport or the cloud, then just get a Chromebook for $300 (and up) from Dell, Asus, Acer, etc... and download a free Chrome photo editor for lightweight editing. If you need full Photoshop functionality, then a Chromebook won't work. You need a Windows laptop.

    When I travel, I alternate between an Acer chromebook and a 4 yr-old Dell XPS 13 laptop.

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