Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Penobscot Bay, Maine
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Re: Notebook computer for cruising
I've been happy with a Dell Latitude. They were designed for business travellers, so are more rugged than most laptops--metal case, metal hinges, shock absorbtion around the hard drive, and a membrane under the keyboard to resist spills. Not as rugged as Toughbooks, but you can buy two for less than you'd pay for one of those. Or buy an extra hard drive for $50 or so, since that's what's most likely to be damaged if it drops.
I got a refurbished D-620 on e-bay.
Make sure you buy from a lisenced refurbisher, so your Windows software is lisenced. Otherwise, you have to buy new Windows in order to keep it updated. Also be sure to get the Windows software with it so you can reload it if/when your hard drive dies.