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Ask Slashdot: Instead of a Laptop, a Tiny Computer and Projector?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the trade-off-is-convenience dept.

Displays 339

rover42 writes "I travel a lot, usually on a tight budget and often on airlines with tight luggage weight restrictions and high fees for going over, so traveling light is very important to me. So is connecting to the net when traveling, which creates a conflict. I do not trust machines in Internet cafes and my laptop adds significant weight & bulk to my luggage. I could buy a small netbook or a MacBook Air, but is there another choice? There are quite a few tiny computers available, Raspberry Pi and the like. Alone, they don't solve my problem because you need a screen and that is at least as heavy as a laptop. However, there are also quite a few tiny projectors. Would a tiny computer plus a tiny projector do the trick? Which ones? All I need for software is some open source Unix (any *BSD or Linux distro should be fine, or even Minix), a browser and an editor. I don't need large storage or a fast CPU. Has anyone done something like this? Does anyone have a recommendation for either the computer or the projector?"

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This is a terrible idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353095)

A computer is more than a cpu and a screen. It's also a keyboard, and mouse. Do you plan to cart those around? If you want a projector, just buy the Air or other ultrabook, and buy a projector.

Re:This is a terrible idea (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353223)

There's always the idea of having a projected touch screen interface. That's a little bit in the future but not that far really.

Before too long, your phone will be able to do that.

Re:This is a terrible idea (4, Informative)

Indras (515472) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353475)

How about a projected keyboard? Already exists: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/e722/ [thinkgeek.com]

Re:This is a terrible idea (3, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353571)

I've used one of those. They're slightly worse than a smartphone soft keyboard. I'd have to be really trying to travel light to even consider one of those.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353633)

Holy crap, I didn't know they had these already!

Someone needs to roll this together with a pen and a projector so you can have a bite-sized full-function computer everywhere you go.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353573)

Microvision's 720p laser projector engine is capable of touch interfacing, the module is real and exists and works but has yet to be put into a consumer projector, eta end of this year/early next year.

Re:This is a terrible idea (5, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353263)

Not to mention that, when traveling, you'd most often be in places where this is totally and completely impractical. You can't break this crap out at the airport (well, you technically could, but most airports I go through are pretty bright places and besides, what a pain in the ass compared to opening a freaking laptop), so you're effectively cutting yourself off from the net anytime you're not parked in a hotel room. Seems like more than I'd be willing to sacrifice even if it did free up some space.

My little ASUS netbook weighs like 3 pounds or something and is the size of a thin hardcover book. If that's considered a lot of space then I'd hate to see what you're wearing when you travel.

Re:This is a terrible idea (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353329)

This. I can hardly imagine how terrible it would be.

1) Projectors don't work in daylight so you won't be able to see your screen.
2) Projectors need a nice flat white surface... good luck finding one.
3) Keyboards and Mice are huge and unwieldy.
4) What do you use to power it? I've made home-made auxiliary batteries and they're messy ugly and a PITA.

Just buy a cheap ultrabook or netbook.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

jpate (1356395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353417)

I recently got an asus transformer tf101 with keyboard dock for exactly this purpose, and it works wonderfully. After rooting it to change the "back" key to an "escape" key (I use vim) and install cyanogenmod, it's ideal for getting writing done on my thrice weekly train commute and on the airplane. Now if only I could get latex installed...

Re:This is a terrible idea (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353435)

I cannot believe someone such demotivational thing and gets 4, insightful!

The question even border the obvious: how many of us didn't think of the same and are just waiting for it to happen? The guy just got tired of waiting and asks "Are we there yet?"

I guess that other dude who wrote "I hate programmers" was right after all; also, don't make fetch that quote about asking "why not" instead of "why".

Maybe some people are too afraid of cheap computers... get over it, your hour is coming M$... ever thought about growing corn or raising cattle?

Re:This is a terrible idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353529)

No, the issue is that while this is possible to do, it's a terrible idea. If we do get projection touch control stuff, and we do get better projectors, then this may be workable. But today? No, it's not, and he's just asking for a difficult time to trying to manage it. He'd be lugging around 4 pieces of equipment minimum that he'd need to connect together, just to avoid a super lightweight and small laptop? Really?

Re:This is a terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353547)

As someone who is impartial to this debate either way, I just wanted to say that your rambling was very hard to read or follow.

Re:This is a terrible idea (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353559)

your hour is coming M$... ever thought about growing corn or raising cattle?

God I hope not.

Windows Genuine Advantage Corn products - We hook it up to your piehole and your cornhole to make sure it is real corn.. for your own good. Trust us.

Remember, Open Source Corn products are known to cause cancer!

Milk went up 2000% in price when it was announced that 1/3 of all cows mysteriously continue to BSOD after the latest service pack. MS is working on a fix and predicts it will come out soon.

30 MS software engineers were taking into custody today for a top secret research project on chickens, which MS predicts as a hot new market, for what authorities are saying was, "Just not right", "Crimes against poultry", "Will haunt my dreams".

Re:This is a terrible idea (3, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353497)

Yep, touchscreen phones and tablets are largely commuter toys, I needs me a keyboard to get any work done.

Re:This is a terrible idea (4, Insightful)

DocJohn (81319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353637)

It's an example of a person over-thinking the problem, considering the multiple solutions already available --

- Netbook or Air
- Tablet or iPad
- Smartphone
- Small and light laptop

Seriously, once you add in all the miscellaneous nonsense you'll need to deal with in getting such a homebrew solution to work, it just isn't worth it. Because, after all, isn't your time worth something? Great, take your hourly rate and times it by how much you're spending researching homebrew solutions and then actually getting something to work to your satisfaction.

Any business traveler who doesn't know how to pack light should instead invest in some time learning how to pack light. I carry a netbook and carry-on internationally and it's never been a problem, weight-wise or otherwise.

Go further: do it on a phone? (2, Interesting)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353115)

For once, a great Ask /. question.

For extra bonus points: any way we can do this off a currently available phone? For discussion purposes, I'll scale back the reqs to merely a browser and a text editor.

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (5, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353133)

Does the Galaxy Beam qualify?

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353373)

The Beam launches next month, so technically no. But a useful post - first I'd heard of it.

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (2)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353493)

I've been considering a Galaxy Note, but I also need LaTeX, and I haven't explored the Galaxy ecosystem (or its cyanogenmod equivalent). And I hadn't heard of the Beam either, thank you.

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353549)

LaTeX won't work on ARM because the whole thing is just a pile of dirty hacks and a million dependencies. However, there is http://docs.latexlab.org which is an online LaTeX editor and compiler. It's not amazing (I've had trouble with some packages) and it's not being actively maintained (last commit was 2 years ago) but it's a start.

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (2)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353545)

The resolution is 640x360. Good for playing the original Wolfenstein... That is just about the only use I can think of. I suppose video would work, if you don't make the "screen" larger than 12" or so. Web browsing is not particularly realistic. You are better off just ignoring the projector and sticking with the 4" 800x480 screen on the phone.

Re:Go further: do it on a phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353177)

Nokia N900 or N9, both have composite out which you can connect to your Pico Projector. Proper multitasking and all that shit. Xterm, firefox, ssh, vi, etc.. BT keyboards work.

This made me make a slashdot account (4, Informative)

trdtaylor (2664195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353229)

You seem to be a perfect fit for any android phone that supports a mini-HDMI connection or one of those new-fangled MHL connection. The Samsung Galaxy s3 does this, has a quadcore 1.4Ghz ARM, a gig of ram. You can wireless connect a keyboard and mouse to the bluetooth if you want. Data will go on the 3g/4g connection, which will perfectly accompany you if you have an unlimited verizon plan still.

Re:This made me make a slashdot account (5, Informative)

lessthan (977374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353261)

Plus, why a projector? They sell video glasses for any phone, at a couple of different transparencies. Seems like that would be more effective than a projector.

Re:This made me make a slashdot account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353325)

Are you from the future? No, seriously, that exists? Where? How much does it cost? :)

Re:This made me make a slashdot account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353507)

I just went looking, myself. All the glasses I've been able to find are composite or analog VGA only.

If HDMI-based glasses exist, I haven't seen them in any reasonable price range.

Re:This made me make a slashdot account (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353287)

None of the quad core phones are quad core in the US when put onto a network that uses LTE. That is to say, on your unlimited Verizon plan, you are sporting a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4.

Samsung Galaxy Note / Thinkpad X300 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353505)

The Galaxy Note is a nice and practical phone, large enough so you can even type on it, great high-res screen, relatively big battery, stylus.

But, typing on a touchscreen is not as comfortable and quick as on a bigger mechanical keyboard. Looking at a 5.3" screen is not as comfortable as a 13.3" one, etc. - therefore i would not want it as my only computing device. I use a Thinkpad X300 for doing real work (the "Thinkpad Air", haha).

Re:Samsung Galaxy Note / Thinkpad X300 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353639)

for saving weight (and also reducing "managment overhead"), you have also to think about multi-purpose usages of a device (and save the weight of N other devices you don't need any more).

i use the Galaxy Note for:
internet browsing
email reading / short email writing
twitter / google+
youtube
calendar
music (mp3 / internet radio)
camera
ssh
(short) note taking
drawings (e.g. software design ideas)
torch (LED or screen)
alarm clock
games
ebook reader (rarely)
navigation
wlan phone (together with a fritzbox)
"geiger counter" (really: radioactivitycounter app)
wifi analyzer
oh, and as mobile phone :)

You'll regret it (5, Insightful)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353121)

It'll break, you won't be able to fix it, the ergonomics will be terrible, you'll get hassled in airport security. This is a recipe for you getting pissed. Just get a MacBook air: built to last, lightweight and usable.

Re:You'll regret it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353151)

And the most expensive option. And if it breaks, you won't be able to fix it. Definitely a good choice.

Re:You'll regret it (4, Funny)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353163)

But an Apple genius might.

Re:You'll regret it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353367)

If you are referring to one of the children who work at the apple store "repairing" computers you are a laugh riot.

I've never met one of those "Geniuses" who could repair his way out of a wet paper sack.

Re:You'll regret it (4, Informative)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353443)

Difficult to say. If you've got AppleCare, it should be easy (and fast) to get a replacement or recover your data. I think my point was that a Raspberry Pi will break (I've got one and it and it's associated peripherals don't exactly fill me with confidence: mine gets upset if I try to use both a mouse and an ethernet connection and likes to reboot randomly). A MacBook air, on the other hand, is a very well engineered machine: all solid state storage, aluminum unibody case and LED backlight (more reliable than CCFL) should mean that it'll run for many, many years without fault. My plastic cased MacBook is six years old has put up with all kinds of abuse but still runs like new. From what I hear, this isn't the exception to the rule.

Re:You'll regret it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353321)

I have an old MacBook Air. Statistically, they don't break.

Re:You'll regret it (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353397)

Statistically, 1 out of 1 people didn't have their Macbook Air break after 12 months. This means that the Macbook Air has a 0% fault rate.

Statistically, small sample sizes for statistics are misleading 100% of the time. This is based on a sample size of 1.

Re:You'll regret it (2)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353543)

I don't think those two thoughts were meant to be connected. I think it's safe to say that the Macbook Air failure rate is pretty low, or we'd hear people screaming from the roof tops. Just look at Antennagate. People LOVE to hate Apple.

Re:You'll regret it (5, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353361)

And the most expensive option. And if it breaks, you won't be able to fix it. Definitely a good choice.

Please tell me WHAT computer you can fix yourself WHILE TRAVELING?

Idiot.

Just get an Air, and forget about the "fixing it" part; because it is highly unlikely to break anyway; whereas a cobbled-up bit, involving multiple cables and whatnot, assembled out of the cheapest-possible stuff, is just as likely TO break.

And as I said, both are unlikely to be fixed by YOU on the road; but at least with the Air, there is the possibility of having an Apple Store in the area, where it CAN be fixed.

Seriously, AC, look at ALL of the requirements; not just the ones that would apply in your Mom's basement.

Re:You'll regret it (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353289)

you won't be able to fix it

Just get a MacBook air

How can you make these two statements in a single post?

Re:You'll regret it (2)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353383)

Apple tech support is genuinely excellent. Raspberry Pi tech support doesn't exist and I doubt that getting a (surprisingly) expensive projector fixed at short notice is much easier. My day-to-day machine is a beat up six year old MacBook. Bits are breaking off the case, it's been dropped, had a bottle of ink spilled on the keyboard, gotten wet and been through all kinds of abuse but it still works as well as the day I got it. A MacBook air with a unibodied aluminum case, LED backlight and all solid state storage should last a lifetime.

Re:You'll regret it (3, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353323)

For traveling overseas, I use a crappy $299 netbook. It's about the size and weight of a hardback book and is not so expensive that I can't leave it in my hotel room when I'm out.

Re:You'll regret it (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353461)

It's about the size and weight of a hardback book and is not so expensive that I can't leave it in my hotel room when I'm out.

I can't remember the last time I was in a hotel room that didn't have an in-room safe large enough to accommodate a laptop.

Re:You'll regret it (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353539)

Last time I was in a hotel with an in room safe, I was pretty sure that every employee in the hotel had access to it.

Not that I would expect them to steal anything, but I'd go for cheap and ugly as opposed to a MacAnything if I were worried about theft.

Re:You'll regret it (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353635)

Last time I was in a hotel with an in room safe, I was pretty sure that every employee in the hotel had access to it.

What made you "pretty sure" of that? On every hotel safe I can remember seeing, you set the password yourself. Plus, if you came back to your locked room and your locked safe was empty, it would be a pretty sure bet who stole from it. I can't imagine a more clear-cut liability case.

There is a Galaxy phone with a built in projector (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353123)

It also comes with android, you all your requirements are satisfied

800x600 res? Forget about it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353125)

Pico projectors peak out at about 800x600 resolution, poor brightness and contrast, and limited battery life. Go with a laptop.

Not Worth It (1)

Rtarara (1806850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353127)

I can't see how it would be worth it. You'd have to carry a mouse and a keyboard, as well as the tiny PC and projector. That's a lot of things to have to take. Additionally, it would be underpowered and you'd have to find a place to project whenever you wanted to use it. Just get a small macbook air or similar windows ultrabook (netbooks are okay, but I've never liked on i've used). Even a kindle fire or iPad would get you online. Heck - you can even browse on a smartphone in a pinch. It'd go with a simpler solution and save yourself the headache.

Just get a netbook (5, Insightful)

redmid17 (1217076) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353129)

It sounds more like this would be a hobby solution. The amount of effort you'll spend getting it to work as well as a netbook isn't going to be a good payout

Re:Just get a netbook (4, Insightful)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353313)

It sounds more like this would be a hobby solution.

You do realize this was posted to Slashdot on a Sunday afternoon, right?

Re:Just get a netbook (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353469)

True. And it was a stupid question too - or most likely a poor attempt at trolling. A Macbook Air, a Lenovo X series machine or an ultrabook and you are done. Asking about using something like a raspberry pi or the like was not a smooth move.

Seconded (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353377)

Unless you plan everything perfectly, at some point you're going to need a keyboard; and carrying a keyboard eliminates all the advantages of having a smaller PC. Use an ultraslim laptop or netbook.

Alternatively, make someone at the presentation site provide a PC or laptop, and carry all the data and an installer for the display prog on a USB key.

Raspberry Pi + projector + keyboard + mouse (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353145)

Does not sound very compact or light. Just get a very light weight laptop like a Let's Note (Toughbook). Leave the battery at home if it makes that much difference.

iPad + 3G , 4G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353147)

There also keyboards that can attach to them in case you don't want to use that touch screen "keyboard". A bunch of road warriors I know use that and a cell phone and they've been happier.

Re:iPad + 3G , 4G (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353463)

"A bunch of road warriors I know use that and a cell phone and they've been happier."

How much happier? ;)

Your problem SOLVED.... Eee PC (4, Informative)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353165)

Get one of these ------ http://usa.asus.com/Eee/Eee_PC/Eee_PC_1001PX_Seashell/#overview [asus.com] ------- its cheap, light (1300 grams), 9 hour battery life. I have one that I use to write a 400 page book when I'm on the go. Its very usable. As for your Raspberry + Project idea... It will give you nothing but problems, problems, problems... ----

Re:Your problem SOLVED.... Eee PC (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353335)

Pretty much the same one I've got. I have to agree, it's a great netbook, once you rip that Windows 7 Starter Edition bullshit off there...

Don't waste your time (1)

kinarduk (734762) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353167)

It's going to be a pain, I promise. Don't waste your time. Get an Air or Chromebook and save yourself loads of trouble.

PicoProjector+Pi+CubeLaser=Fun Hobby solution (3, Interesting)

duckgod (2664193) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353175)

You aren't going to come close to the ergomonics of a laptop so lets assume you are thinking hobby solution. I have long wanted to combine a Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard, Pico Projector, Raspberry pi like computer to make some sort of laser cube of awesomeness. So do it and post about that because I would like to see results without spending the $600 myself.

A 7" Tablet is a better solution (4, Informative)

frank249 (100528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353179)

I used to lug a laptop on business trips but now I can get by with just my Blackberry and Playbook. The Playbook has HDMI out so I can use a big screen TV at the other end to show my presentations and videos using my blackberry as a remote. The Playbook fits in my inside jacket pocket so it is ideal for these kind of trips.

Tablet is probably best, but.... (1)

dugjohnson (920519) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353183)

A tablet will probably do most of what you want in a small enough form factor. That said, I've been looking into building a computer such as you describe but more to get great performance, knowing that I will have a screen and keyboard at the other end. I work for an overseas company. When I get there I have an office. When I am at home I have an office. But I don't like the performance on my laptop, so I was looking into building a small box that has SSD drive for boot, lots of RAM, good sized HD..knowing that would have a screen on the other end. The idea isn't as far fetched as some are indicating. In the pre-9/11 days I used to travel with a full computer/keyboard/monitor that fit into a roll-on bag. That's back when laptops were VERY expensive to get any performance. I did get to have lots of nice conversations with the security guys, but I'm not sure it'd be taken as well now.

Re:Tablet is probably best, but.... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353375)

Yeah, but without a bunch of peripherals a tablet has nowhere near the utility of a netbook and an order of magnitude less storage and costs just as much if not more.

Your phone? (2)

vinn (4370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353185)

If this is truly important to you, why don't you see if you can get by using a phone? Get a phone that has HDMI out and then get a cable so you can plug it into the TV at your hotel, or maybe carry on of those small pico projectors (the projector idea sounds annoying.) Maybe get one of these keyboard projectors? http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/e722/ [thinkgeek.com]

Zenbook. (1)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353187)

Get the Asus Zenbook. Better specs than a Macbook Air, at the same price and with a bit better build quality, to boot.
Otherwise, ThinkPad ultrabook. Aluminum's the worst material to use in a laptop, anyway.

Re:Zenbook. (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353439)

Why is aluminum is worst material for a laptop? I have tried several netbooks and I have been very disappointed with performance and especially the cheap, often too small keyboards. The Air has been the first really useful Ultra-book I've used. It is very fast, super thin, and well built. With the new prices, it can hardly be beat. Yes, you can get something less expensive, and I have 3 times, but 11.6 Air is just so light, thin and usable. You don't have too use OSX (I do), It is dead easy to install Windows or your favorite Linux distribution.

Re:Zenbook. (3, Informative)

Indras (515472) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353537)

Get the Asus Zenbook ... Aluminum's the worst material to use in a laptop, anyway.

Um, what? Quoted from the Asus Zenbook website:

There are several advantages to the finely crafted aluminum used in ASUS ZENBOOK construction. In addition to its gorgeous appearance, aluminum offers a lighter Ultrabook that’s easier to carry, while retaining strength and durability. To accomplish a sleek and smooth metallic look, ASUS developed new mounting methods that reduce screw usage by 12%, taking inspiration from hand-crafted luxury wrist watches.

Re:Zenbook. (3, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353619)

Get the Asus Zenbook. Better specs than a Macbook Air, at the same price and with a bit better build quality, to boot. Otherwise, ThinkPad ultrabook. Aluminum's the worst material to use in a laptop, anyway.

Yeah, because the hard plastics that have been traditionally used are so much better. And you of course don't mention WHY Aluminum is the WORST (not just a bad, but the WORST) material to use in a laptop.

And I don't know what you call "better build quality". Unibody Apple laptops are pretty much universally accepted as having the best build quality in the industry.

And ASUS having better build quality that Apple?!? That's a laugh riot!

From what I can tell, it's a Macbook Air ripoff through and through [anandtech.com] , but with a shitty TN panel (except for the one that costs as much, or MORE THAN an Air), and a dodgy trackpad, for not a whole lot less than an Air [computerworld.com] , and in the case of the one with an IPS panel, MORE. And as far as build quality goes, ask anyone who has owned an Asus laptop. By the way, if not Aluminum, what exactly is the Zenbook made of? Asus seems to think it's made of... wait for it...

ALUMINUM Which they explicitly say was the best material out of the many that they tried [asus.com] .

But unlike Apple, who MILLS the case out of a SOLID BLOCK of aluminum (a quite time-consuming and expensive process compared with stamping a body out of SHEET aluminum like Asus does), the Zenbook uses only enough aluminum to make it LOOK like a Macbook; but without the structural integrity of a one-piece chassis.

Idiot. Try not to LIE so badly next time.

Tablet + Keyboard (2)

mykelalvis (181032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353189)

I manage to do fairly well with a mid-level tablet (in my case a Toshiba Thrive) and a logitech bluetooth keyboard. Both fit in a pocket on my carry-on.

Re:Tablet + Keyboard (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353411)

Something like this is what I was thinking as well. As long as you have a way to stand your tablet, the ergonomics are probably better than a laptop or netbook anyway.

Let's face it: despite claims here to the contrary, the ergonomics of most laptops leaves much to be desired. Even though my main machine is a laptop with a full-sized keyboard, I use a bluetooth keyboard so that I can put the screen at the proper distance.

Galaxy Nexus + Dock + BT Key/Mouse (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353201)

I use Galaxy Nexus for such stuff. GN has pretty large screen for on the go, but when i get at home, GN dock + Bluetooth Keyboard + mouse + 24" monitor gives me decent working environment.

you can carry all (except monitor) anywhere where you go and then use dock with hotel room TV (if it has hdmi port).

I'm happy with my Galaxy Nexus :)

Alex

Re:Galaxy Nexus + Dock + BT Key/Mouse (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353519)

I'm actually reading this on almost that exact setup. For added joy ditch the mouse for a multi touch trackpad. I use the Apple one myself. You get punch zoom etc. Highly recommended.

Samsung Galaxy Beam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353219)

I'm not sure I'd use it as my primary phone, but since it's GSM you can always swap SIMs as needed. Hook up a Bluetooth pointing device or keyboard and you've got a decent soup-to-nuts solution:
Samsung Galaxy Beam [samsung.com]

Battery (2)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353225)

If you get a tiny computer and a projector, you basically can't do anything without a power outlet. Just get a small laptop. I'm not a huge fan of Apple, but I've found my Macbook Air to be pretty rugged and portable.

don't the put the laptop in cheacked bags (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353237)

don't the put the laptop in checkered bags easy way for it to get lost, broken, or stolen

Re:don't the put the laptop in cheacked bags (2)

deoxyribonucleose (993319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353363)

don't the put the laptop in checkered bags easy way for it to get lost, broken, or stolen

Yep, the lst plaid suitcase I had got stomped on by an irate baggage handler. Apparently, they prefer stripes.

Re:don't the put the laptop in cheacked bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353605)

Yea seriously. I don't understand his problem. Who puts laptops in luggage? I carry my laptop onto the plane. Carry it in a laptop bag, a messenger bag / purse, or a backpack. These things count as personal items, not even carry on luggage. I put a full carryon sized rollerboard in the overhead compartment. It's generally full of clothes and stuff. Important things, like laptops, electronics, money, gift cards, passport, snacks, etc, get put in a TSA approved laptop backpack. Anything you might want while still on the plane or would be likely to be stolen should be brought in a small bag like a backpack. They won't make you gate check those. If the overhead bins are full, you can fit the backpack under your seat. If the overhead bins are not full, you can put it up there with your other luggage. Your personal items like backpacks are not weighed.

A TSA checkpoint friendly backpack is great. You don't have to take the laptop out. It butterflys. The laptop goes in one side, everything else goes in the other side. Mine had holders for IDs, water bottles, etc. It has a pouch thing so that it can slide over the handle of rolling luggage, so you don't have to carry it on your back if you don't want to and have rolling luggage with you. I only fly about 4-6 times per year, expecting to increase that some in the future. I only use my TSA backpack while flying, I use my other backpacks for other activities. However, it's still worth it. By the end of the life of the bag, it would have cost maybe $1 or $2 per trip, maybe a lot less. That is very very worth it. Mine was a gift, but if I had known how great it was, I would definitely have bought myself one. If something happens to my current bag, I will buy myself one just like it. I pity all the people at the airport who haven't bought TSA checkpoint friendly bags. Just not having to take the laptop out of the bag alone is worth $1 per flight to me. If they don't want a backpack for whatever reason, at least get a TSA checkpoint friendly laptop bag.

smartphone -- droid 4 works great (2)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353247)

at $550 usd it's not 'cheap' if you buy it without a contract... but with a contract but only $99 for new customers. it's got a qwerty physical keyboard 16 gb stock with a sdmicro supporting 32 gb add on (in the battery housing) and debian supports the hardware just fine. the screen is a bit small but it has a micro hdmi output that will mirror the screen for use with projectors. just a small list of feature, wifi connection to avoid wasting plan gbs, ability to connect to 5 wifi devices to act as a mobile hotspot. full support of google play apps as well as carrier apps, dual core 1.2ghz processor, 1 gb of ram, 8 megapixel camera on rear and 1.4 megapixel cam on front (for skype, etc)
depending on how many apps you have running the battery lasts all day, and will charge from usb ports. if it's supported in debian the micro hdmi out means ethernet over hdmi support..
netflix works great on it, though i output to a hdtv to netflix since the screen is not the top grade. it will record video clips in 1080p not sure how many minutes, as i haven't needed to test that yet. it plays back mp3s but i had troubles with mp3 identification when i tried to sync (only on the carriers os) it is a 4g lte phone but works fine on 3g and voice protocols.

facelook (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353249)

i like it
www.facelook16.com
www.toko-games.blogspot.com

Cool Idea (1)

_0x783czar (2516522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353251)

The ergonomics may be less than desirable, and it will be more inconvenient than a good NetBook or MacBook Air. However the idea of combining a Raspberry Pi with a Pico Projector is really fascinating. I might even build a little Lego case that would hold the Raspberry Pi and the projector. The only major problem is what to do for a keyboard and mouse. That could be cumbersome. But it'd be fun to try. Maybe use a projected keyboard as well. Again, the ergonomics would be terrible, but it's be interesting to try.

Re:Cool Idea (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353349)

Thinking about the mouse, there are some mini-mice available. However, since most of a mouse is empty space, then how about a wireless mouse that is worn on the end of your index and middle fingers like a thimble (the click switches moved to be on the fingertips). Not sure if it's been done before.

For the keyboard, there keep being articles about foldable / rollable keyboards coming "Real Soon Now". Or go down the projected virtual one.

As someone else had commented, instead of a projector, projector glasses might work.

All in all, an interesting "back to basics" hardware project

Projectors cost more than a Netbook... (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353265)

A good picoprojector will cost you as much if not more than a perfect good netbook ($200-250). Its hard to beat a netbook for 1) universality of software (i.e. you can run most anything), 2) all that you need in a ultraportable package (screen, keyboard, mouse, CPU/mem, disk, etc, 3) battery life -- be sure to get a netbook with a 6-cell battery (6-12 hours). ASUS is still tops, last year's model will be cheaper. Acer also decent.

Its silly to mess with anything else -- a tablet will be terrible for software development and *product*ivity, its good for consumpion not production....

Buy a netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353283)

You could build something out of rpi, a displaying device, a keyboard etc. Or you could by a damn netbook for 300 bucks with 6-8 hours battery live. I bought myself an Samsung nc10 plus. And I am very happy with it. Why waste time on a patched together device?

I travel a lot and I know the baggage limit stuff on planes. But there is also no space for a big screen device. The same applies to trains. So go and get a netbook. They were designed for those purposes. They are cheap and my Ubuntu runs perfectly on my Samsung device.

Tablets and Phones and You're Doing it Wrong (1)

Aphonia (1315785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353291)

A rooted android device or even an ipad + 3g (possibly rooted) would fulfil this with a keyboard case.

Motorola atrix is also another option, but your main concern when traveling is room and you cant fit an ultralight laptop (thinkpad x series, macbook air, netbook, etc.) you probably need a bigger bag or to talk to other business travelers on how they're packing (cause you're doing it wrong)

Just buy a mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353295)

Or a tablet. What do you need the computer for??

A projector as a substitute for the screen? Jeez... Well, at least I guess you don't watch porn at the airports...

Eee Keyboard (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353301)

The Eee Keyboard comes first to mind for this - it's an all-in-one except for the screen (except it does have a screen, it's just really small). You don't gain anything though by going this route, the keyboard isn't significantly smaller or lighter than a small laptop and it's a little more awkward and, most of all, there are more pieces to juggle.

Don't underestimate the importance of having everything in a single package for portability - I've been really disappointed with the route that Apple has been going with this, offloading more and more things to a myriad of dongles. I'm hoping they don't get too many imitators in that respect. Like everyone else in this thread, I would recommend a traditional laptop.

Motorola Atrix + Dock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353311)

I have tried out the PicoProjectors and did not find the results to be worthwhile. Low resolution, a very faint image, requiring darkened surroundings, and the need to have a space to project the image make this a very limited solution. I know someone who pairs a PicoProjector with a 13" Mac when he teaches internationally in remote areas, but that is for a very specific purpose. Your needs sound more general.

To that end I recommend a Motorola Atrix and the docking station. I personally have one and use it on the go for moderate computing, using Google docs as my office suite. I don't know what the current specials are, but I picked up an Atrix 4g (1st gen) and the dock for $300 at an AT&T store. The dock is thin, light, and fits easily into a small backpack or large purse. Battery life is advertised at 8 hours and after a year of usage I'm can still get 6+hrs of use including mixed internet browsing including video, around 7 if I'm just plugging away on some documents. As my wife and I have the same phones, we swap the doc back and forth as a portable solution. Include a 32GB SD card in your phone and you have over 40gb of on the go storage as well. The dock also includes 2 usb ports so you can plug in some accessories as needed.

Hope this helps.

vaio P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353315)

If you go the laptop route and you need a physical keyboard, I'd recommend a Sony Vaio P. It is a netbook, but it is very small and light (it weights like an ipad at about 650 g.), and has a reasonably good keyboard for its size, along with with a 1600x768 8" screen. Usually a tablet+keyboard weight the same or more, and are more cumbersome to use. Even cheap and tiny 7" 800x480 ARM mini laptops, which also come with a keyboard, are heavier. Plus it's easier to install linux in the vaio than in ARM tablets or mini laptops, which usually come with Android.
The screen is quite small if you compare it with a projector, but you have everything (battery, computer, screen) in a very light and compact package.
Cons: It's quite expensive, and you might not like the fact that Sony sells it.

not going to he happy... (1)

xlsior (524145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353339)

Downsides: - you still need a keyboard, mouse - you'll likely need ac power outlet nearby at all times - the tiny projectors typically have horrible brightness, meaning you'll need a darkened room to use it - you'll need a flat projection surface, which either meqns lugging around a screen, or having a hard time finding a suitable wall. Overall, it would be a MUCH more flexible approach to simply get a netbook, or even a tablet like the iPad or Samsung galaxy Tab...

Practical drawbacks to a projector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353341)

I like the idea of Raspberry Pi just as much as the next geek, but think about the times you use a laptop. For me, a lot of it is on public transit, or waiting for my plane, or even these days with the in-flight wifi, on the plane itself. In these instances, how the hell are you going to use a projector? The fact that a laptop is an all-in-one package with a keyboard, mouse, and LCD really pays off in these circumstances.

Hmm (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353353)

Why not use a smartphone? Get a Mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, as well as a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. Use the built-in wifi connector, and use a 'Remote Desktop' client to connect to a machine with more power.

Sure, it limits your options to hotels with LCD screens and WiFi Hotspots, but that shouldn't be too much of a burden.

My solution - I feel your pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353385)

I've been traveling overseas for a decade. My job demands a computer for connectivity, but not for much real-work. It is a surfing, email, entertainment and remote access device for me.

I've carried a 10lb IBM laptop to Japan.
I've carried a half lb Nokia N800 to South America.
I've carried a 15", 5.6lb laptop all around the USA.
I've carried a 10" dual-Atom Netbook all around the USA and on cruise ships.
I've carried a 10" Acer A500 Android tablet all over Europe.

I have both bluetooth and USB keyboards. Bluetooth looses keystrokes, USB doesn't.

The Android tablet could be ideal - it is light, supports a USB keyboard, and has most of the necessary functions, but I've learned that it lacks universal compatibility. It doesn't have an ethernet port, so you'll need a travel wifi router with you - I was amazed at the number of hotels that still only offer wired ethernet in the rooms, but wifi in the lobby. Android wifi connections don't always work with hotel networks either. I don't know why, just that out of the last 7 hotels I've stayed at - some in the USA, some in Europe - only 2 worked with android.

I tried to get Debian ARM to work on my tablet, but didn't have time to try more dangerous methods. I was able to get a BT5 Ubuntu-based chroot running under Android on a rooted tablet, but it was a huge paid to get started up, then using VNC to connect to a local GUI running inside the same device. As you can imagine, this worked, but is less than ideal.

So, I'm tired to traveling and having not internet.

* When I drive, I take a 15" Core i5 laptop. It is my daily driver and works fantastic.
* When I fly, I'll take a dual-core Atom Netbook - an Asus Eee. It is about 3 lbs and runs both Ubuntu and WinXP (tho XP hasn't been booted in over a year). At home, this same netbook is a full time XBMC device for non-HiDef content. That means it is a fun entertainment device when traveling.

SixthSense (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353387)

Basically that was the idea of that project: cpu, projector and a camera for input. Check here [pranavmistry.com]

Glasses? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353393)

Forget the projector. Does anyone make glasses with a suitable HUD?

I Googled and found Vuzix [vuzix.com] . These appear to be designed mainly for video use, so the resolution might not be great. But if you are going to be projecting an image on any old surface, how much worse can these be?

Tablet (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353453)

You sound like you need a tablet.

Open Pandora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353465)

What about the Pandora Handheld? http://openpandora.org/

iPhone + BT keyboard + HDMI/DVI adapter (2)

rockmuelle (575982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353501)

I've been using that combo more often for conferences and business meetings. If you want more screen, an iPad or galaxy tablet would work.

I like the iPhone approach since it limits me to a single device for everything (except coding). Keynote works great for presenting (I usually author in PowerPoint).

-Chris

zenbook (1)

Pugwash69 (1134259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353527)

I bought an Asus Zenbook, as it's all the advantages of a macbook air sized device, but half the price. If travelling very light, I take a Xoom tablet or just my smart phone. There's plenty of choices before you go nuts on pico projectors etc!

The clear solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40353579)

Use an iPhone or iPod Touch of cource which checks all your boxes and has a vast ecosystem of projectors available from full size to portable.

http://www.projectorpeople.com

http://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+projector&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns

http://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+projector&hl=en&safe=on&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=vzPeT9i-Icex6wG5wvC0Cw&ved=0CKUBELAE&biw=1231&bih=618

JJ

Two options (2)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353609)

If you're cheap or on a serious budget, get an atom powered netbook, preferrably used, for about $50-$200 off eBay.

If you want a device that meets your criteria and is actually really nice to use, get a Macbook Air. Fantastic display, great keyboard, great trackpad, awesome battery life, super light and very durable. Plus OS X is actually really nice if you prefer a unix-ish environment.

a Chromebook is ideal for your use case (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40353613)

For as much dislike as I've seen for them here on /., a Chromebook w/ 3G is ideal for your scenario.

I was on a very tight budget last summer, had been relegated to only using my Android phone for a computer for a few weeks, and finally picked up a first generation Samsung Series 5. (It came with 2 years of minimal 3G connectivity; if you factored that into the price it was cheaper than anything else I could find.) It's tiny, light, the battery lasts longer than anything I've had, and you have a real keyboard and screen. It has been the perfect travel computing device: because it's so small and light it's not just easy to carry but easy to use (even while standing in line), and because it's based on the concept of remote storage the wireless connectivity is a focus of the OS. It's cheap enough that its destruction or theft won't completely wipe you out; the secure computing chip and remote storage focus mean you won't risk losing critical data just because you lose the hardware. Get an USB ethernet adapter for when a wireless network isn't available.

A few years before I picked up the Chromebook I tried using an Asus EEE Netbook for the same scenario, and I've found the Chromebook is much more suited to being an on-the-go travel device.
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