I will soon be purchasing a laptop. I will be using the laptop to take on my photo journeys all over the world. I will have LR and PS on it to review my photos while I am traveling so I can see what I am doing wrong (or right), but my primary computer for photo processing is a desktop at home.
I have pretty much decided on the brand and configuration of the laptop. I am only unsure of the size I should buy. I can get a 13" screen (2.67 lbs) or a 15.6" screen (4 lbs.)
From you experience/knowledge, which size do you think would be better for the purpose I intend to use it? Thanks!
Because of my weekly writing submissions and deadlines (newspaper columnist), I’ve traveled extensively with a laptop for the last 30 years. And I’ve tried most sizes.
You’ll never find me buying another larger than 13". Maybe not the best for photo processing, but the savings in weight and bulk are priceless when it’s basically an appendage to most everything you do and everywhere you go.
For travelling I agree go for light weight. My Lenovo is 2.45 pounds with a 14 inch screen on a 13 inch frame and a small bezel. It has a 1 TB drive a late model i7 processor and 16 Gig of RAM. Love it. I also use LR and PS, but just catalog and cull images on trips and do serious editing at home.
For international travel, I agree that the 13" screen is preferable, especially with the continually decreasing weight allowances. I have a 17" for RV travel within the US and Canada. I really dislike editing on the small screens.
I’ve spent a bit more time reflecting on things that affected my computer choice and happiness. The trade-offs for me in addition to size were features. In order to save weight while extending battery life, I went with a model having an SSD drive and only a couple of USB ports, but a built-in SD card reader.
The prolonged battery life and SD card reader have proven to be valuable features for travel. Having only 2 USB ports has proven okay most times, but I find myself using a USB wall plug adapter more often than with prior laptops. That would be a consideration for international travel and charging things in addition to the laptop.
I popped for a 500GB drive because that was the biggest available at the time. It doesn’t take long to fill it with RAW files at busy shooting venues. Read between the lines and plan for portable drives and open USB ports to use them, a consideration if you’re using Lightroom for file management. The capacity of portable drives keeps going up as the price drops (I just picked up a 2TB from Costco for not much over $100), but at some point you end up carrying lots. I have 6 with me on this trip, the total weight approaching that of the laptop.
It might sound “minor” but also consider how you’ll carry the laptop along with your camera gear. Most of my camera bags have slots for laptops, but I find them terribly inconvenient for air travel or computer use in general. Pretty quick you have computer gear scattered all through your camera bag, and it’s always in the overhead bin when you need it. Now the laptop slots on my camera bags are lairs for paperwork, cords and small accessories while all things computer related live in a compact messenger bag which I keep in the space under the seat in front of me. Much more convenient for airplane use, but also for hotel rooms and cars.
Hank, Ed & Bill - Thanks so much for your responses. I’ll be getting a 13"!
I use a 15" laptop when traveling. I like to process my images asap after shooting them while their intended look is still fresh in my mind. Trying to interpret them weeks or months later doesn’t work for me. I find the 13" screen pretty much unworkable for processing.
I also have a Windows 15" but with a matte screen. Lots more real-estate than a 13", and the matte screen really reduces glare.