January 10th, 2006



Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming

This cheap Dell laptop I bought a little over a year ago has taken a beating. My constant use of it, particularly in a truck which is bouncing down the interstate has taken its toll. A few months ago, I began having trouble with the monitor lid. The wire running from the body of the laptop to the lid had developed a short from the constant jarring. I discovered that the hinge cover was pinching the wire, so I broke off the hinge cover and that fixed it... for a while. The short got worse and I later resorted to rigging it with a piece of plastic strap to pull the wire away from whatever it was shorting against. I'm able to use the laptop, but the slightest movement of the machine will 'cause it to short and the computer to crash. There is no apparent way to get inside the lid where the short resides and my fear is if I go tinkering in there I may damage it beyond all hope.

So I've been in the market for a laptop... a durable one.

I was at first drawn to the Panasonic Toughbook line. You can drop them, spill your coffee on them and they keep running. They also come with a three year warranty. The cheapest they have in the line however is $1800... a bit more than I'm prepared to plunk down for a notebook.

Then I discovered Durabook, which operates under the same principle; industrial-strength casing for laptops used in "rugged" environments.

Newegg has one at a $1050 price tag. In addition to a more durable laptop, I would be getting a considerable upgrade; 2.5 times the hard disk space, twice the memory, and a DVD writer. I'd be taking a slight hit in processor oomph but not much... and it's not like I do any super-duty computing on the road anyway. A cool grand is still a bit pricey for me, hence my hesitation, but I'm going to have to do something and soon, before my current laptop gives up the ghost. The bottom-line is, I can't be replacing laptops once a year at any price. I'm leaning toward this as a solution to that.