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What kind of laptop to choose?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by jisincla, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. jisincla

    jisincla Guest

    Hello, I would appreciate any advice about what kind of laptop would be
    best for me. I am a disabled person who relies extensively on my
    computer at home, at school, and whenever any work happens to come my
    way. When I take a class or go out to see a client (I'm trying to
    finish up a degree in rehabilitation counseling), I have to bring the
    computer with me because I can barely write and have trouble reading
    without it. Whenever my computer breaks down, I am almost paralyzed in
    terms of being able to function academically or vocationally.

    My state vocational rehabilitation agency has provided me with a laptop
    computer. The current one is a Dell Inspiron 5150. It is a replacement
    for the previous Dell laptop that kept crashing until Dell finally
    replaced it. Before Dell I had a couple of Compaqs. I was not given any
    choice in the model of computer provided. The state agency just went
    with whatever company it had a contract with at the time.

    The problem I'm having is that I keep losing hard drives. I have yet to
    have one last longer than five months (that one was during a period
    when I was not taking classes and not traveling much, so it got to stay
    home most of the time, but crashed within a month of my starting back
    to class and internship); the first Compaq (which I had when I was
    going back and forth to class every day) rarely went longer than six
    *weeks* without a catastrophic crash. I have always transported them in
    carry cases designed for laptop computers. I have (miraculously, given
    my motor problems) managed never to drop one (yet).

    Still, the nature of my disability is such that my computer is
    subjected to more rough handling than would be desirable. When being
    transported (powered down and in its case), it gets jounced around
    riding on my wheelchair. When I'm handling it, it gets bumped and
    jostled due to my coordination problems. When I'm typing on it, I bang
    kind of hard on the keys due to mild spasticity. Last night it was
    sitting safely (I thought) on a stable surface, and I got up to get a
    disk I needed, and fell (also not an infrequent occurrence due to my
    disability), bumping into the surface the computer was on. The computer
    did not get knocked onto the floor, but it did get knocked a foot or
    so, while it was running. This is the kind of thing that happens to
    computers when I use them.

    So my question: Is there a laptop that's durable enough to work for me?
    I've heard about Panasonic Toughbooks: Are they really as good as they
    claim to be? Is there anything else that's rugged enough to survive
    being used by me? I have adaptive reading and writing software that
    only works on Windows, and I need file compatibility with Word and
    other Microsoft Office files, so I guess that rules out Apple laptops,
    even though I've heard good things about them. Suggestions, please?

    Jim Sinclair
    jisincla, Jan 16, 2006
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  2. jisincla

    eM eL Guest

    No idea why your hard drives crash so often - modern drives are very tough.

    As you noted, you might want to investigate a "ruggedized" machine
    (toughbook or similar) which are well made, tough, but often feature-poor
    and expensive. Or you can get a good business-class laptop, such as
    IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T-43. Thinkpads have a "cushioned" hard drive and are
    in general very good laptops (great displays, keyboards) that stand up very
    well to mild and not-so-mild abuse: I fly over 200 000 miles a year with 2
    Thinkpads with no major problems and as you know security checkers are often
    quite brutish.

    There's no place like
    eM eL, Jan 16, 2006
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  3. jisincla

    jisincla Guest

    What other machines would be "similar" to the Toughbook?
    I'll look into those. Thanks.

    Jim Sinclair
    jisincla, Jan 17, 2006
  4. jisincla

    eM eL Guest

    There are plenty. Panasonic CF series are the best known but there are also Gorilla
    Systems, Mitac, Rough Rider, Twinhead, Amrel, Itronix and many others made to "mil
    specs" or explicitly for the military, law enforcement, etc. (You know...your tax
    dollars at work :)))
    Nearly every laptop manufacturer makes at least one "semi-ruggedized" model for
    police, etc - but you gotta ask.
    "Grove giveth and Gates taketh away"
    --Bob Metcalfe
    eM eL, Jan 17, 2006
  5. jisincla

    jisincla Guest

    jisincla, Jan 19, 2006
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