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Old 28-07-2015, 05:35   #1
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Laptop size

I am buying a new laptop for the boat. I plan to use it for navigation,weather and taking on shore to wifi cafes. What size screen do people prefer?

Thanks for your input!!
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Old 28-07-2015, 05:41   #2
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Re: Laptop size

Now just me, anything over 15" is getting kinda big, but some I believe use rather large / high resolution screens and watch movies with it?
Then to be truthful, just for light chores, an Ipad is pretty useful as it has an App for my Watchmate and I can control my B&G plotter / Radar with it and fits well as it's rather small for it's screen size.
So I think there is no right answer, depends on usage?
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Old 28-07-2015, 05:50   #3
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Re: Laptop size

If you have enough in the budget, look at the ultra thin, light notebook computers with HD screens.

The ASUS Zenbook UX305 and the ACER Aspire S7 are examples. The 13.3" screen is more than adequate because of the high resolution display. Beats the 15" standard screen hands down. They come with solid state hard drives, which is a great feature for the boat, where it might get bumped around a bit.
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Old 28-07-2015, 05:53   #4
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Re: Laptop size

Since heading to the Caribbean in 2003 I have been through at least 6 different laptops. Used them for navigation for many years until I started using chart plotters which are much more robust and dependable. We only use our Apple MacBook) (first non PC) for storing photos and files we need and hopefully will be more dependable than the PC's we had. Also we used to use them to watch movies and videos often in the cockpit but now have a TV with a built in player. Now we mostly use our IPad for Internet aboard and with Garmin blu-chart installed it is awesome as a back-up chart plotter! Not so many uses for the laptop aboard any longer but that may not be the case for all.


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Old 28-07-2015, 06:10   #5
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Re: Laptop size

I have a 14" screen which is approx. 7" X 13". I was going to use it for navigation, however, my particular screen cannot be read in daylight.
My Standard Horizon GPS Chartplotter was OK for the Gulf of Mexico but absolutely useless on the inland waterways. I mean absolutely useless. Did I mention absolutely useless.
I just bought a Samsung 10" Tablet for under $300. The screen measures 8 X 10. Before I bought it a best Buy, I asked if I could take it outside to see how well it works in sunlight and it was just fine. I downloaded a Navionics program for either $9 or $13 a year, I don't remember which. Anyway, it worked GREAT. I'm kinda one of those old guys that have a hard time breaking habits so for my actual computer type stuff, I still prefer my laptop. I bought the Tablet expressly for the GPS.
One note I will add. When in direct sun all day, it did get HOT. When I tried to recharge it, a note came up on the screen saying that it was overheating and the charging function would not work. I let it cool down and all was OK.
The next day, I shoved a piece of cardboard behind it to act as a shade and since then, it performs remarkably well.
Anyway, the 10" Samsung turns out to be a good size for me.
Good luck on your quest for the latest technology.
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:37   #6
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Re: Laptop size

For a general purpose laptop I like a 15.4". My complaint with laptops is the screen is always in landscape mode and large print reference material doesn't fit.

I still use a standalone gps for actual navigation but the pc for route planning.

For a tablet I use a 12.2" screen. I use it primarily for large print sailing reference books because of 1) it's large size and 2) the ease of reading in portrait mode.

An article I read felt that the reason Microsoft is trying to change it's business model is that more and more developers are ignoring pc's and only writing apps for mobile devices like iPad, iPhone, and Android. So there may not be a pc's or iMac's in out future. :-)
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:56   #7
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Re: Laptop size

There will still be PC's and Mac's for the foreseeable future, if for nothing else than business users. A bigger issue for boaters is that more and more the software and data can't reside on the machine since the Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. model is to put everything on the "cloud". Meaning you won't be able to run many programs unless you are connected to the internet. I use Excel (on my Mac and PC) for boat stuff and I will really miss it if I can't use it locally on my machines without an internet connection (or glacial speed internet).

But I like bigger screens in general trading off whether you need to lug a device around or not. Small screens are OK for one person only but if two people want to watch a movie not so much. Real estate on the nav desk is primo space so that is an issue if that is where the machine has to live. And just moving a small machine around is easier on a boat. 17" PC's tend to run in to things on boats.
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Old 28-07-2015, 12:32   #8
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Re: Laptop size

I recently bought a Toshiba click 2 with a 13.3" scree and with a solid state drive for the same purpose you state. I wanted low consumption, hence the solid state drive and small detachable screen I can put in a bracket uder the hard dodger roof.
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:23   #9
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Re: Laptop size

We all find different ways of completing electronic navigation. For us we are using a 11 inch Gateway netbook with W7. It is linked to a 18 inch flat screen lcd monitor in the cockpit under the bimini. It is a 12VDC unit. Software for charting purposes are 3 distinct pieces : Sea Clear / Max Sea / OpnCpn. Use is dependant on location and the crew needs. For example, the Canadian strip charts are sketchy on OPN and are raster format. For redundancy we have a back up LCD moniter we can plug into the netbook via a usb port. In the nav station is a lowrance elite 5 which is the link to the VHF radio and provides MMSI continuity and there is a data readout on the Ram mic in the cockpit. If all that gear fails we have a Garmin 76CXS with lots of batteries and local cartography. This works for us.
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Old 28-07-2015, 17:12   #10
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Re: Laptop size

For basics, I'd second the tablet. Excellent low power consumption, good navigation (and other boating related) apps available and can't be beat for portability. And on the last point that's not just carting from boat to shore - try lying flat on your back and using your laptop! Of course tablets suck at data entry but even so there are convertible tablet/laptops available that fill dual roles.

Back on to screen size. It depends. Smaller = more portable and lower power consumption. Bigger is better from usability. If I was programming, CAD drawing, movie making etc onboard, I'd go for 17" screen. If I wanted ultimate portability, I'd go for a 12" or 13" screen. If I wanted a general all-rounder, I'd go with a 15" screen. Keep in mid that some screens have different resolutions for the size. On a tablet, the higher the resolution the better because the manufacturer will scale the display but on a PC, some resolutions are too high for the screen size if your eyesight isn't that flash because the lack of scaling will make items on screen too small in general.
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Old 28-07-2015, 19:06   #11
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Re: Laptop size

When we used a 10'' netbook, I found that great.

Now I am writing this on a 11'' one and I think it is great too.

I also use a 7'' tablet that is a great companion ashore for reading emails, downloading wx files, offroad trekking (gps built in) and you name it.

If buying a new then, I would take anything like 11' and upwards for the boat and 11' or less for commuting.

b.
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Old 28-07-2015, 19:42   #12
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Re: Laptop size

Currently running:

2014 MacBook Pro Retina 15; 2.6 Processor up-grade, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
Apple Magic Mouse
Apple SuperDrive External CD/DVD
Microsoft Office for MAC Home and Business


I really enjoy the 15" retina display. I also have a 13" Sony Vaio laptop, also loaded to the gills, yet the MacBook Pro will primarily live at my nav station below decks, and surely never leave the boat.


MacBook Pro Retina 15" ----- It's a beast! I highly recommend!
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Old 28-07-2015, 19:51   #13
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Re: Laptop size

A laptop for me is for CAD work and so I want lots of screen real estate. Second and third uses are for web browsing, email, and third is to run movies. Batteries seem weak and so the inverter is powering the laptop.

For serious movie watching we connect a flat panel monitor to the laptop. All navigation is done with designated marine devices. Laptop does not leave the cabin.
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Old 29-07-2015, 18:49   #14
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Re: Laptop size

The problem with most laptops is getting a reliable external GPS receiver and getting a software that works with it. You would find plenty of software that would work with an external GPS. But its not very reliable esp for long term use.

Make sure to get a laptop/tablet that has a built in GPS. Good luck with your search. Please do share what you decide to get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
I am buying a new laptop for the boat. I plan to use it for navigation,weather and taking on shore to wifi cafes. What size screen do people prefer?

Thanks for your input!!
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Old 29-07-2015, 23:53   #15
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Re: Laptop size

Quote:
Originally Posted by karle View Post
The problem with most laptops is getting a reliable external GPS receiver and getting a software that works with it. You would find plenty of software that would work with an external GPS. But its not very reliable esp for long term use.

Make sure to get a laptop/tablet that has a built in GPS. Good luck with your search. Please do share what you decide to get.
???
Lots and lots of boats use laptops for navigation, just connect the boat gps nmea feed via a usb/serial converter. Where's the problem? It's certainly better to spend a little more money on a usb/serial with ftdi chip but even the cheap prolific ones work ok, just keep it plugged into the same USB on the laptop.
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