Ann Emmert Abbott
It all depends (and this is from someone who has never owned a laptop, FWIW, but is giving the notion careful consideration). It all depends on what you want to do with the computer.
If you’re only going to capture text of interviews, get an Alphasmart Neo (I think that’s the name). But that seems a waste of energy and money to me. You could record the interviews, capturing lots more info in the same amount of time.
If you want to check email, upload files, pay bills and generally work online, that’s entirely different. I’ve been thinking about computing/travel, too, and thusfar I’ve decided I’ll need a mobile (phone) and computer with broadband access as well as a dialup, lots of memory and storage capacity for all the power-hungry programs necessary to live on the Internet. I’ve been waiting for years until the phone was integrated into the laptop, and now maybe that’s possible with broadband and Skype Internet call service. If a satellite ISP still exists, I’ll look into that, too, for optimum access.
Anyway, what I advise is:
- Research models/services online until you have a good idea of what you need (cheap is NOT an option, sorry)
- Try to find the model you want in a physical store so that you can examine it for real
- Try to find a store that specializes in laptops to get better advice
- When you’ve decided on a model and features search both online and in stores (haggle there) to find the best deal.
- Maybe you can find what you need used, but don’t buy one from eBay.
P.S. If I were doing this traveling on a bike, I would carefully consider getting one of the heavier but rugged models like the military uses. I think IBM used to make one for consumers.