Originally Posted by HappySeagull
..I like second-hand laptops. They often come with useful software, especially from another boater. I always sweep em with several anti-virus apps and they always need a new battery
, but they can be very cheap
and possibly come with the PrevOwner's goodwill and assistance.
against failure, Buy 2 laptops and/or an external hard-drive for backups of your stuff .
A terabyte USB backup drive is as little as $99. Kept in a drawer with dessicant inside bubble wrap, it's a good cheap policy.
I like ASUS netbooks. We have three, a 10 inch and two 12.1 inch screens, with Win 7 starter and Win 7 home versions. The one with 4 gigs could run Win 8. All have OpenCPN
on them plus puck-style GPS receivers
. So far, so good. They are $300-$400 each.
I would consider for offshore
the "transformer" form factor: a tablet with a detaching keyboard. About 200 bucks more, but incredible (15 hour) runtimes on battery.
Barring that, and acknowledging that nav programs like OpenCPN aren't really processor intensive, you could get surplus Pentium 4 based laptops for dirt-cheap and just ghost their drives and pack 'em away fully charged with conformal sprayed motherboards and contact to keep them daisy-fresh.
Netbook/notebook PCs are very reasonable these days, reasonable enough to consider them nearly expendable if you have good back up habits.