Lightweight, portable, and durable, you can’t beat these travel laptops.

A self-admitted computer geek, I need computer access even while traveling. Since internet cafes aren’t always available, I’ve had to drag my laptop on more than a few adventures.


Photo by Scott Ableman

My laptop helps me stay in contact with people back home, write, and keeps me entertained when I can’t sleep during those long haul flights.

When picking a laptop, look for one that’s light enough for traveling, durable, and with a good battery life.

1. ASUS Eee PC 904HA


Price: $348.99 | BUY

This laptop is a little heavier than many of the ultra portables available. It makes the list however because it is cheap.

Retailing at $348.99, it is one of the most affordable laptops on this list, and let’s face it, money matters to the budget traveler.

It doesn’t have a DVD drive, which may be a deal breaker for some travelers who like to watch movies on their laptop, although I usually find traveling with DVDs precarious.

It’s one more thing to carry, and they scratch and break easily.

However, the Eee PC has a whopping 160GB hard drive giving lots of space to store music and movies while you’re gone, and three USB ports, so you can store or transfer your movies easily.

It comes with the Atom processor which uses less power and produces less heat – and ASUS claims that the casing is scratch resistant, which is always a plus.

Specifications

Windows XP Operating System; 8.9 inch display screen; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor; 160GB hard drive; 1GB Ram; High Speed Wireless Connectivity with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g. Weight: 5 lb.

2. Apple MacBook MB061LL/B


Price: $964.99 | BUY

Like the ASUS, this is a heavier laptop but it has many pros going for it too.

This is a nice basic MacBook. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that the MacBook Pro has, but my feeling is that bells and whistles are for when you’re back home, not experiencing other cultures.

I love the AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi connectivity in this model. Pretty much if there’s a Wi-Fi signal around, you’ll find it.

The screen’s a nice size for a travel laptop. Not as small as the Eee PC, but some people prefer the larger screen.

It has a built in iSight camera, great for keeping in touch with loved ones back home, and the battery life is about 3+ hours, so you won’t have to keep trying to find places to charge it.

Specifications

Mac OS X V10.5 Leopard operating system; 13.3 inch display; 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor with 4 MB shared L2 Cache; 80 GB hard drive; 1GB Ram, built in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi. Weight: 8.6 pounds.

3. Toshiba Satellite Pro U400-S1001X


Price: $799.00 | BUY

If I had one word to describe this laptop, it would be sturdy.

It has solid hinges making it more durable for travel.

Also, it has a “sleep and charge” feature, so that even while your laptop is hibernating or switched off but plugged into an outlet, you can charge USB devices like an iPod.

The only real downside for this Toshiba is that its speakers aren’t fantastic. Since I always travel with a decent set of noise canceling headphones, this is not a problem.

Specifications

Windows XP Operating System; 13.3 inch display; Intel Core 2 Duo T8100/2.1 GHz; 160 GB hard drive; 1 GB Ram; High Speed Wireless Connectivity with Wi-Fi 802.11a, 802.11b 802.11 g. Weight: 4.6 lb.

4. HP Mini 1000


Price: $699.98 | BUY

Finally we come to the smallest laptop on our list. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds and with a screen size of 10 inches, this is a tiny Netbook.

However, unlike many other Netbooks on the market, this one doesn’t compromise with keyboard size.

HP expanded the keys to the edges of the keyboard, making for much larger keys and a more comfortable typing experience.

Unlike the ASUS which has a 6 cell battery, the HP Mini only has a 3 cell battery.

However, according to CNET, the HP Mini 1000 battery lasted almost 3 hours during testing, before needing to charge, so most users shouldn’t have problems with battery life.

Its processor is comparable to the Eee PC but it does have a smaller hard drive. If you want light and portable, the HP Mini 1000 is certainly worth considering.

Specifications

Windows XP Operating System; 10.2 inch display; 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270; 60GB hard drive; 1GB Ram; High Speed Wireless Connectivity with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g. Weight: 2.5 lb.

Editor’s Note: For more options of lightweight travel laptops, check out Amazon’s catalog.

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