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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, smart phones - how to connect, use, which one, and intercom/radio systems.
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Old 11 Mar 2004
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Is a Dell up to the job?

I am in a state of retail paralysis over which laptop to buy (current one knackered . . ) - wondered if anyone knew how tough Dells are . . . .


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Old 12 Mar 2004
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I've never taken my Dell Lattitude on a long trip but did commute 35 miles each way with in a rucsack in my AT's Givi topbox most of last year. Only problem was screws coming loose on the bottom/rear of the case and keyboard rubbing against screen.
Steve Lee
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Old 12 Mar 2004
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There's been a few laptop threads with a lot of response on the ADV Riders site - follow the link:


My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 14 Mar 2004
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I bought a Dell Inspiron 8500 (£1400) in november 2003 with the intention of using it for gps and mapping in the desert as well as for home and business use. I wish I hadn't - it's caused a lot of problems and was non functioning for 7 weeks. It's excellent when it works, but reliability is suspect and Dell's technical support, at least the set up in Telford, Shropshire is a total nightmare. I wish I had bought a panasonic toughbook and to hell with the expense. it would have been cheaper in terms of mental stability.

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Old 14 Mar 2004
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I used to work in IT and have yet to find a better built laptop than a Thinkpad. IBM may be a bunch of old bores but they know how to screw things together and the prices are actually OK.
If a thing is worth doing, it\'s worth doing to extremes.
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Old 16 Mar 2004
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We've had great success with our Toshiba's, but the Panasonic Tough Books also have a great rep. and are purpose built for nasty useage.

Do a search on this site for laptop, toshiba, etc and you will find some great threads on how to travel with a laptop.

Finally, if it's for a trip, seriously rethink whether you really need it - there's a few million internet cafes out there, three in every tiny little burg it seems. It's easier to find an internet cafe in the third world than it is at home, whether it's Europe, Canada / USA, Australia/New Zealand etc, by far.

Grant Johnson

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Old 16 Mar 2004
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I can recommend Compaq Evo laptops, I work as an IT engineer and handle quite a lot of them. Main points of failure are screens from being dropped (don't drop them!) and, most frequent by far, hard-drives from general mechanical wear. IBM and Fujitsu drives seem to fail more often than Hitachis (these are the 3 we use).

You can minimize HDD damage by not moving it or subjecting it to vibrations whilst it's running, eg. using it on a bumpy car journey - I know it's supopsed to be mobile by nature but bear in mind that the mechanical parts are very delicate so it's just a case of common sense.

I would recommend using something like Norton Ghost to burn an image of your HDD on CD to take with you, or maybe even buy a spare HDD, so that incase of any failure you can rebuild/repair your machine quickly. Maybe take a CD writer with you (can buy one to replace the Evo's standard drive) to backup your data?

I've got a Compaq Evo N600C, which is not exactly treated with kid gloves, lives in my rucksack while I'm on the road and used all day every day. Never let me down yet.

Lastly, HP/Compaq's support is very good on the internet.

Hope this helps. And no, I don't work for Compaq BTW

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Old 26 Sep 2004
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Hi All

I'm just thinking about replacing my laptop Dell Inspiron 8100 and was just looking through this thread to see what other peoples views are on other laptops.

Personally, I would never touch a Dell again, I have had so many things go wrong with this machine. I have operating errors all the time and seem to have compatibility problems with every piece of software I have loaded.

Have run it on all operating system to see if I could make it more reliable but it still has problems. The hard disk died when I was in Cape Town, The engineer out there was prepared to swap it for a new one without any problems.

Apparently my cover only extended to Europe so had a knackered laptop when I was meant to be demonstrating my software.

I spoke to customer service in the UK and explained my predicament but they refused to help. They really have a don't give a toss attitude, as basically they are making so much money for corporate clients that they have lost sight of other customers.

The support which is located in India (although they pretend it is not when you speak to them for some reason) is substandard and have never been able to solve my problems with the machine. All they do is just dispatch a hardware component that they think is broken.

I wouldn't bother returning the system to them unless it is totally knackered as the turn around time is ridiculous.

The old dell laptop I had before this was bullet proof, I took it travelling numerous times, dropped it etc and never even had to rebuild it once.

Don't know what has gone wrong with them but would stay clear.

Thinking of either an IBM or Toshiba at the moment. I like the idea of the heavy duty ones that are available but they are low spec for the cost. Would like to cut down on the weight and size to make it easier to carry/store when travelling. So trawling through the models available at the moment.


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Old 8 Oct 2004
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Following my posting/moaning about my Dell 8500 laoptop, above, readers may or may not be interested to know that I have now sold my computer. It is on it's way to Moscow for a new and probably short life with a physicist. I am £900 short but it's out of my life, praise the Lord.

After it was eventually fixed (see above) I did actaully take it to Morocco where it did'nt actually break down, but needed charging every 5 minutes or so it seemed, just looking at maps on TTQV.

You can buy a secondhand laptop for use with mapping, the Toughbook CF27, for £300ish from the laptopshop.co.uk .That's what I shall be doing next time I need one.

As the last post says Dell have lost the plot with ordinary customers. I will never EVER buy another computer, apart from the cheap toughbook by mail order, rather I will get one from a shop where you can stuff it in their faces when/if it goes tits up.

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