We’ve just returned from an anniversary-worthy cruise to Acapulco with the elegant French line, Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, on Le Boreal (sister ship to L’Austral, which we toured a few months ago in Vancouver). We celebrated our anniversary (but we’re not telling which one!) – and we’ll be writing about our trip in future posts.
But what I really want to tell you about is my terrific new travel laptop, which made this trip so much easier for me (especially our subsequent extension to Mexico City). I just think it’s the best travel laptop!
Before I do, know that this is my own personal gushing here.
I paid full price for my laptop, and I haven’t been paid by the manufacturer (or anyone!) to write this. And if you click on any of the links below, be assured they are simply here for your benefit.
Best travel laptop
Now that we have that out of the way, I can share that my new laptop is a Dell XPS 13 (9343). It came out earlier this year in January. And it’s the best travel laptop!
It’s said to be the PC equivalent of the MacBook Air – maybe even better?
(I started out years ago with IBM clones and my desktop is a PC with Word for Windows, so I needed a similar laptop for synchronicity.)
My father, who is the technical genius in our family, scoped this laptop out for me. Thanks Dad!
Previously, I’d been lugging around a 13-inch Asus. It was great when I first got it and had the power to handle a Photoshop program for editing images. It sometimes also had better Internet receptivity than George’s iPad (when traveling where Internet isn’t the fastest, I could sometimes connect with my Asus, when George couldn’t). But over the years, my trusty old Asus just seemed to get heavier and heavier to carry in a backpack.
Why I love my new travel laptop
- It’s super light – about 2 lbs lighter than my old Asus. And that makes all the difference when carrying a computer on your back through airports and from taxi to hotel reception to your room.
- It’s powerful – it blasts through Photoshop Elements (for image editing) and I can quickly multi-task on several programs simultaneously like Facebook, Google searches (Chrome is my preferred browser now), email, Photoshop, etc. (My poor old Asus was slow to switch windows and process everything at once.)
- It has a backlit keyboard – very helpful when typing away in dim light (I often like to work at dusk outside after catching the sunset).
- It’s the perfect size – the full dimensions are 12 x 8 inches. It’s small enough to pack around anywhere (just a little bigger than an iPad). And the keyboard is large enough for typing comfortably (I use my laptop a lot for writing travel articles and posts). But the really cool feature is that the screen size is 13 inches (measured diagonally). There’s virtually no border around the screen (it’s incredibly slim). So I get a bigger screen packed into the size (more or less) of an 11-inch laptop. And it’s super thin too.
- It displays beautifully – the matte, high-res screen displays a lovely bright white color (easy on the eyes).
- It has Windows 10 – this is a good and bad thing right now. Mostly good. But because Windows 10 is still working out bugs, you might run into some issues. I ran into a big issue the last week of our trip – Windows 10 cut off my Internet connectivity. Not good! I only got that fixed after returning home and phoning Dell.
Tip: pay less than the advertised price
Check out the specs online, then call Dell before buying.
By phoning, you may get a lower price than what’s quoted on Dell’s website.
Because I had called with a specific question (and waited 15 or so minutes to talk with someone about it), the customer service rep offered to shave $50 off the online price. Then when I discovered the price had dropped in the few weeks since I had bought my laptop, I called Dell again and received a refund equal to the price drop.
I’d call that pretty good customer service, wouldn’t you?
My total price (after adding in Microsoft Office Home and Student, which gives me Word) ended up being $1,477 CDN (this includes all our crazy sales and other taxes), or about $1,150 USD.
You can probably buy it for less now, as I imagine the price has come down even more in the few months since I got mine.
While you’re checking out travel laptops, you should think too about laptop backpacks for travel. After all, you’ll need something to carry your new laptop in!
- Laptop: Dell XPS 13 (9343)
- Technical specs: You can choose various options; this is what I chose:
⇒ Intel Core i5 (how fast the computer performs)
⇒ 13.3 inch (1921 x 1080) infinity-edge display
⇒ 8 GB RAM (the computer’s working memory)
⇒ 128 GB storage (how much storage space there is on your computer for images, files, etc.)
⇒ 2.6 lbs (dropping 2 lbs makes a huge difference!)
⇒ Windows 10
⇒ No touch screen (you can pay extra if you want your laptop to work like a touch-screen smart phone)