This is not strictly boat gear
, but still and essential item on most cruising boats, including for navigation
I'm an extremely "early adopter" where laptops are concerned -- bought my first one in 1984, a Sharp PC5000. It ran DOS 1.0 and had "magnetic bubble memory" cartridges, which cost, IIRC, $1200 for 64kB of storage
. Those were the days! It cost -- I remember well -- $4500, in 1984 dollars, more than half of what I had just paid for the nice BMW I was driving at the time.
Since about 2000, I have been using the very expensive Sony Vaio ultrabooks, TT, TZ, finally Z2, often paying $3000 or more for them.
My last Z2 was destroyed in my knockdown in the North Sea last summer (fortunately the only damage), and after much, much research
, this fall I replaced it with -- an Asus UX305.
This thing is the absolute t*ts. It has a slow processor -- Skylake "M" chip. I took a big risk with that. But the new OS (Win 8.1) is so much lighter, and the new platform so much more efficient, that it runs considerably better than the old Z2 with the i7 processor. So the gamble really paid off -- the upside of the "M" CPU is that it uses so little power, that the machine doesn't even need a fan.
So -- and this is highly relevant to cruisers -- it means I get 7 or 8 real hours of battery
life, more than the Z2 even with its extra battery
slice attached. Another big benefit is that the 45 watt charger
is TINY -- the DC one actually fits down inside the cigarette lighter adapter (!), and the real power consumption
is at least 3x less than the Z2. And with no noticeable loss of performance. Since you don't lug the machine much without its power supply, the volume and weight of the power supply are just as important as that of the machine itself. My uber-expensive Z2 came with two
power supplies -- one for the desk, and one for travel, but even the travel one is about 3x the volume and mass of the Asus one.
Everything else is all good, too. The screen
is gorgeous (it's an IPS panel, 1080p native resolution), it has three USB 3.0 ports
, it has 256 gig SSD drives, and it is razor thin (thinner than a Macbook Air) and made of very solid metal.
Now all this is quite excellent by itself, but here is the absolute hammer -- the damned thing only cost $550, or about 6x (!) cheaper than my Z2 cost me in 2011. For a real quality feeling metal device, more solid than the expensive Z2.
Most delightful computer hardware purchase
I've made in a long time; just thought I would share. Incidentally, when I was in Singapore
, I spent some time with an Internet
billionaire, friend of my host, who had the same machine, and was raving about it. For $550!