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August 1, 2011

Best PCs for blogging (or working) on the go

If you’re a professional in any field you’ve probably had the join (pain?) of attending a conference or trade show. They’re a great place to learn, network and socialize, but they’re also hectic, harried, and rushed. It’s hard to stay productive on the go, particularly if you’re like me and you need to get a steady stream of posts up on the blog. Sure, you can keep up on email and other quick-hit stuff like Facebook and Twitter on your Windows Phone, but when it comes to long format writing, you need a PC.

And, of course, it’s more than just having a PC. It’s about having the right PC. If you have the right PC, life is good; you have enough battery power to last you all day, a light enough weight to keep your back un-broken, and a keyboard that’s comfortable enough to type on all day. Having the wrong PC at a conference is like going to a gunfight at the OK Corral without a sidearm. You’re just not going to last very long.

So to help you survive your next conference I wanted to share my thoughts on a few PCs that are perfect for a busy blogger:


The HP DM1Z was one of the first PCs on the market to include AMD’s new power saving E-350 APU, part of their Fusion series of processors. That little processor, combined with HP’s excellent hardware, makes the DM1z one of the longest-lasting PCs available today. You can get over 10 hours of battery life out of this little 11.6” PC, with enough horsepower to run even heavy-duty games like first person shooters.  Even better is that you can get a well spec-ed DM1z for under $400

If that’s not sweet enough, last week Verizon announced that they’re selling a 4G LTE (read: crazy-fast mobile broadband) enabled version of the dm1z for $599.  That version will get you the same great industrial design, powerful-battery sipping AMD E-350 APU, and download speeds of up to 12Mbps!

Samsung Series 9 (11”)

You’ve heard me talk about the 13” version of the Samsung 9 Series (the 3A) several times, and the 11” 1A model is very similar. It features a 1st-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB solid-state drive, all in a razor thin 11.6” package that weighs less than 3lbs. It’s not the kind of PC that you’d use as a full-time laptop, but for a travel PC it’s hard to beat. You can get one for $1199.

Lenovo ThinkPad X220

If you’re looking for a travel PC that’s great for blogging and basically bomb proof, you want the Lenovo ThinkPad X220. This PC that follows in the footsteps of generations of industrial grade ThinkPad laptops and offers many of the features that you’d expect; an amazingly comfortable, ergonomic keyboard with “TrackPoint” mouse, dust, water and shock resistance (yes, I said water resistance…you can knock a bottle of water over on this thing and it’ll just drain out the bottom), and a matte display that’s easily readable in bright sunlight. And with the optional battery slice, you can push the Lenovo x220 to nearly 24 hours of battery life! You can get one starting at $849. 

The photo below is my X220 fully laden with battery slice and 9-cell standard battery.  It’s a burly laptop (still under 5lbs, though) when configured like this…but it won’t let you down. 



Toshiba Portege r835

Over the last year I’ve been raving about the Toshiba Portege r705, which at the time was the lightest laptop with an optical drive ever built. This year Toshiba refreshed the lineup with the Portege r835, which has the same feather weight design (3.2lbs) and optical drive, but sports Intel’s second-generation of Core processors. In a nutshell that means faster performance, better battery life, and more powerful graphics, at the same price. That’s a win-win-win-win.  You can get one for $799.99.

Toshiba Portege R830_RSO


Last but not least is the Sony VAIO SA, which I reviewed on the blog last week. This PC has a 1600×900 HD+ display (read: better than a normal HD screen), which makes it perfect for any blogger who does a lot of photo or video work on the fly. And with the included sheet battery, you can stay running for over 15 hours.

I almost forgot to mention that we’re giving one away for free during this week’s Tech Tuesday Live Twitter Chat for those who are attending BlogHer’11? Hit Kristina’s blog post to get the details.

Do you blog from the road?  If so, what’s your weapon of choice?