Help me find an inexpensive, durable computer to run in a tropical environment.
December 12, 2003 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend models of computers which are designed to work for extended periods in tropical (a few degrees south of the equator) outdoor environments. Besides durability, power usage and price are important considerations.

I'm going to be starting fieldwork soon and was reluctant to budget for a computer because I didn't know if I could justify a "ruggedized" laptop. But since I'm only going to be using the machine for typing notes, I thought people might know about some alternatives.
posted by rschram to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
If you're really only using it to type notes, why not just opt for a PDA with a keyboard? They're cheap enough (relative to a full computer) that even if you burn one out, you can replace it rather easily.
posted by jpoulos at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2003

I agree with jpoulos. Get one of these and a palm pilot. Just make sure you do some research on what the screen is like, specifically in outdoors/sunshine.
posted by dobbs at 12:53 PM on December 12, 2003

Agreed! Popping a keyboard on my Palm V did fantastic for a couple years before I really needed to get a laptop. Plus, it's super compact.
posted by ao4047 at 1:10 PM on December 12, 2003

Response by poster: PDA+keyboard is a good idea. I know at least one person who did this recently and was happy with it. I have a Palm III and a keyboard and use the standard Palm notepad software—very inconvenient. I suppose there's other PDA software/hardware that might be better. My dream machine is a Psion (Mako) with a CompactFlash card running a stripped down Emacs. I'd be curious to hear other suggestions. Are basic (sub)notebooks going to be able to withstand high humidity?
posted by rschram at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2003

rschram, you might want to contact Dynamism as I believe they ship laptops all over the world and may have some experience with customers in the climes you're talking about.
posted by dobbs at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2003

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