Buying New Laptop – What Is the Best to Travel Overseas With?

Painful laptop theft has opened my eyes and made me realize a number of things I didn’t take into account when I was buying my first laptop for travel. Samsung Q320 was a beautiful machine and it worked like a charm. I loved absolutely everything about it and it would have been my day to day companion for a very long time had it not been stolen. Fact of a matter is, when I was buying it, I took into an account everything but the fact that I will be traveling through the third world countries with it and once you spend an extended period of time in a country where 80% of people who see you are looking for an opportunity to steal from you, it only becomes a question of time before someone succeeds. You cannot be 100% alert and suspicious all the time. And what’s worse, people in third world countries will use the fact that this is where they live so they will portray themselves as extremely disadvantaged to make you want to help them and when you do that, you set yourself up cause that’s when you’re most vulnerable.

Samsung Q320 was the best laptop available on Canadian market at the time of purchase. It was also the best value for money and an insane powerhouse which would allow me to do any kind of work wherever in the world I would be. That’s why I bought it – I went for power, for a machine with which I could do absolutely anything while still keeping the size at around 13″. However, even though Q320 was an amazing value for money, the price tag was at $1,299 CAD. That is a lot of money to lose and that’s what I didn’t add to the equation. Laptops are slick, easy to grab items with narrow profiles which make them easy to hide. There is no wonder that there is one laptop stolen every 53 seconds in the USA alone. What it is on a worldwide scale I’m afraid to imagine. Laptops are plain and simple easy to steal and high demand makes them easy to sell. What better motivation could seasoned or opportunistic thieves need?

You can count on the fact that 90% of people in the third world countries who will see you using a laptop will have all kind of thoughts running through their heads. This one slick, easy to steal product could make them more money even if heavily undersold than they can make in 6 months of daily employment. Cell phones are as attractive, but their worth is lesser than that of a laptop which makes laptops so much more desirable. A thief would have to make 5 or more successful cell phone pulls to make the money equal to one successful laptop pull. If I were a thief, I’d specialize in laptops too.

This is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new laptop. If you are going to travel overseas with it, especially if you are intending to visit third world countries, take into account the possibility that your laptop could get stolen. This possibility is real, very real. Once again, you can’t be 100% alert 100% of the time and with so many people waiting around for an opportunity to steal something, one of them is going to succeed sooner or later. Look at me, I had my laptop stolen by a hitchhiker I offered a ride to because she would have been stuck without one. I offered help to a person in need and she used it to steal from me. Previously I would not even as much as not strap my laptop bag over my head and across the shoulder, but all it takes is that one moment you let your guards down and bam – laptop is gone.

From this point on, I knew that I’m only gonna buy an inexpensive netbook for travel overseas. Netbooks are lighter and smaller and should mine get stolen, direct financial loss will go into hundreds of dollars rather than thousands. Yes, I will be limited as to the use and capabilities, but unless there would be a secured financial prospect that requires more processing power, memory and larger screen, I will stick with a netbook for up to $400. On top of $1,299 + tax I lost with my stolen laptop, I also lost $300 I spent on extended warranty. This pushed the loss to more than $1,600. This is not the loss I can ever afford again. However for as long as I’m traveling through third world countries, the possibility of having my property stolen remains high. If you stay in a third world country long enough, it will not be a question of whether you will get something stolen from you, it will be a question of when.

In my home country of Canada, 90% of worries that you could be a victim of theft are unfounded. However once as a foreigner you enter a third world country, 90% of beliefs that no one will steal from you are unfounded. Don’t be a fool. I had to learn my lesson the hard way and am still suffering from painful consequences. Don’t buy a laptop worth thousands of dollars to take with you on the road overseas. Go with as cheap as possible one. If it gets the job done, it’s fine. In order to keep your blog updated, download and upload images, do basic image editing and maintain your MP3 player, all you need is the cheapest netbook you can find. That’s the best laptop to buy to travel overseas with, that’s what you need to keep in mind when buying new portable computer.

Buying a Laptop for Dummies

I was only two weeks away from my booked departure to Cambodia and I still needed to purchase a few essential electronic devices to make sure I am able to document my journey around the world and maintain my positive cash flow while I’m on the road. The absolutely most essential piece of equipment was a powerful and reliable laptop. Throughout my life, I have owned and worked on several laptops so I really didn’t need the buying a laptop for dummies guide. I purchased a top of the line SONY laptop a few years ago, but the screen on it died shortly after a year of moderate use. I sent it in to SONY authorized service centre and was told that whole screen needed to be replaced which would incur the cost of $1,400. Given that I paid $3,500 for this machine just a year ago (it was the most powerful and advanced laptop at the time), I was not impressed with the quote. I did not pay this much money to have to pay an additional $1,400 to keep this expensive piece of machinery usable after one year. But because it was shortly after one year of ownership, the warranty on the laptop was expired so SONY was not willing to assist. I was basically left with the extremely expensive piece of laptop I paid a lot of money for but could not use it. Needless to say, this was the last time I have purchased anything made by SONY.

I also had another laptop. It was an old Toshiba I bought back in 1999. It still have Windows 98 Millennium Edition installed on it, it was ridiculously old and slow, but still worked like a charm. This laptop went through hell with me yet it has never let me down. I purchased the above mentioned SONY laptop in order to replace this old Toshiba because it was old and no longer matched modern criteria for computer use. I could still use it as everything on it worked like new despite extensive use for almost a decade, but it was simply too slow so I needed a new one.

After SONY let me down and burned $3,500 out of my pocket, I fell back to using a desktop which is what I was on at the time of making all of these arrangements to start the worldwide travel. I could not take the desktop with me. I needed a new laptop. I simply had no way around it. It’s impossible to haul the desktop around when travelling, Toshiba laptop was too slow and SONY didn’t work because it’s a piece of junk. So I brushed off my buying laptop for dummies guide and started to look around to see what there was for laptops at the moment so I could buy one.

One thing I have learned after purchasing the SONY laptop was that when buying a laptop, go for as small a screen as you can read. The SONY laptop had a 16.9″ screen. I thought it was awesome cause I was gonna get this nicely large viewing area along with super-powered components inside, but it proved to be the worst decision ever. Case in point is – if you want large screen, get yourself one for the desktop. When buying a laptop, go for light weight and small size. Even if you’re not a traveler, you will want to take your laptop with you when leaving your house for a variety of reasons and the bigger a laptop, the heavier and larger a chunk you will have to haul around with you. 17″ screen laptops are near impossible to use onboard a plane or in a car. They are simply so big that you can’t even open it on your lap. Plus you will need a rather large case to fit it in making your carryon luggage chunky and heavy. Lightweight laptops are the only way to go, whether you travel a lot or not.

So I went out to look for a laptop to buy but was discouraged by low availability of quality machines. I looked at Toshibas because the one I have still works and it’s more than 10 years old, but Toshiba seemed to have fallen asleep in 2009. Their laptops were underpowered and overpriced. The processors were from 2008. Memory was insufficient, hard drive space not much – plain and simple no where up to par with 2009 laptops. And these machines were priced at the same level as other brands which were equipped with superior processors, twice as much memory, larger hard drives, better video cards and all other components. It made no sense buying any Toshibas in mid 2009.

After ditching Toshiba laptops, I had very few options left. I only had a couple of weeks till departure so I really needed to get the laptop asap so I can load it up with necessary software and all files I need to have instant access to. But the quest to find a machine I’d be comfortable with was failing. Mid 2009 was also the time when Microsoft announced the release of Windows 7 operating system which would mean that one would want to wait until laptops loaded up with this new operating system are available (#2 rule from the Buying Laptop for Dummies guide), but I simply could not wait. I was leaving in two weeks so even though the laptop purchased now would come with operating system that’s becoming obsolete, I had to buy it.