Don’t buy a big laptop. Buy two computers instead

I’d mentioned this in the Mac vs PC thread, but I wanted to expand on it a bit: if you’re considering an expensive laptop, you might be making a mistake. If you need a desktop replacement because you’ve no room for a desktop, or because you’ll be using your computer in a different place every day, or because you’re a laptop techno boffin who’ll be using it on stage, then by all means go ahead. But if you want a laptop for travelling, the big one might not be the best buy.

Many laptops, such as the MacBook Pro, are real desktop alternatives. But they also cost an awful lot of money, and they’re hefty things to carry around. Any time I’ve used a laptop when travelling – on planes, on trains, on ferries – I’ve wished I had a smaller computer (particularly on planes, where you get less room than a veal calf). Unless you need serious horsepower from a mobile PC, a top-end laptop is a daft buy: even the titchiest machine is perfectly capable of DVD playback, office applications and anything else you might need on your travels.

Instead of spending £2,000 on a desktop replacement, spend £1000 on a desktop and £750 on a small laptop. The desktop will be at least equal to the spec of a high-end laptop, it’ll have a bigger screen, and it’s better from an ergonomic point of view. The little laptop will be smaller, lighter and therefore more portable than a big beast of a machine – and you’ll be less upset if it gets broken, nicked or blown up by terrorists because you’ll still have a working machine at home. Best of all, you’ll have saved enough cash to treat yourself to a top-end iPod.