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Discussion: Cheap laptop for running o events

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 2, 2023 10:39 PM # 
I'd like our club to buy a couple of cheap laptops to lend out to event directors and course setters for local events. It would need to run OCAD, Purple Pen, Or/OE/Meos, SI-config.
I'm looking at something like this. Do y'all think this would work, or is there some reason I should look for something different?
Mar 2, 2023 10:42 PM # 
Whatever you do, don't buy an Acer Aspire 5 unless you want the keys to fall off. This happened to me only a few weeks after buying it and after twice sending it back for repair, I got sick of Acer wiping the hard drive to do so and now I just glue the keys back on but it's not a great solution.
Mar 2, 2023 11:01 PM # 
WCOC picked up the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 when the screen went on our old laptop. Same specs as that Acer and even cheaper (was $100) when we got it. Only been used at one event so far, but runs all the usual stuff. Haven't run PP on it, but no reason it shouldn't..
Mar 2, 2023 11:30 PM # 
I wonder what Navigation Games has for laptops, ask Barb, they must be pretty rugged, though not sure about PurplePen. But I remember their "computer tent" bags for rainy weather
Mar 3, 2023 12:33 AM # 
WCOC actually got two of those Lenovos, and UNO got one as well. We're primarily using Ór but I also have SI-config loaded. I just installed Purple Pen as well, and it certainly runs, though I ought to load a big map file to see if it's slow.
Mar 3, 2023 1:27 AM # 
Suggest you look at resale sites such as eBay.
When I needed a laptop for event timing I purchased a used Panasonic Toughbook for a song.
I've only used it for events. It handles SI Config and Or and shown no sign of giving up the ghost. 8 years adn still ticking. We actually have two Toughbooks now.
But I guess the market is hit and miss. Like Turby used to say, "sometimes you ride the elevator; sometimes you get the shaft."
Mar 3, 2023 8:58 AM # 
Fully agree with gord, look at refurbished laptops, preferably business models with non-glare displays (meaning not super-shiny, otherwise you won't see anything when working outside), plenty of USB-ports (think SI-reader, thermo-printer, larger printer, mouse), and also check for "spill-proof design" that some manufacturers have nowadays (against athletes spilling tea while downloading or just some rain falling).

Just for reference, I've got a bunch of Dell E6330, bought refurbished with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB solid state drives, they run Windows10 fine, come with matte display, spill-proof keyboard, 3 USB ports, I added "ExpressCard USB hub" cards for two more ports (albeit those are a little wobbly, but carefully pinching the metal shielding of the cards inwards improves that). If it does rain and the touch-pad doesn't recognize my fingers, they have touch-points too. Great!
Mar 3, 2023 12:07 PM # 
We got Bluetooth mice for ours. Much nicer than fiddling with touchpads, and doesn't take up a USB port.
Mar 3, 2023 12:19 PM # 
Uncle JiM:
^^^^^ Same
Mar 3, 2023 3:07 PM # 
I'll put in a plug for Lenovos in general, I have several and they seem well built, typically get the Think Pads.....but also will say Panasonic makes great stuff, so the Tough Books may be good too.
Mar 4, 2023 2:18 AM # 
Rugged PCs (e.g. Gordhun's Toughbooks - our club has a Dell, purchased in 2015 and still going strong) have the very real advantage of daylight-readable screens, plus being able to take more abuse than the average laptop.

If your budget is limited and you can't find a rugged laptop, a non-glare/anti-glare screen is a must-have feature.
Mar 4, 2023 9:43 PM # 
By the way, Amazon sells laptop shades to keep out glare and reflect the sun. I just ordered one.

I bought two HP laptops for BAOC a few years ago. They were a good price because I got an employee discount. We have more difficulty with printers than laptops. The full sheet printers just can't take a lot of abuse. We had one that would work fine at sea level but refused to work in Tahoe. That was an Epson, by the way.
The Epson receipt printers for splits are built like tanks, though.
Mar 5, 2023 3:16 AM # 
Backstreet Boy:
My 10 year old Toshiba still does OCAD, Kartapullautin, ePunch results...
Mar 5, 2023 7:32 AM # 
HP printers - at least the two we've owned - are total crud. I thought maybe we were just having issues with ours because we bought 'non-HP approved ink cartridges' but now the scanner (which has nothing to do with ink) doesn't work either. We gave our last one away to our neighbour (who we didn't really like) before we left Perth to move to Melbourne.
Mar 5, 2023 9:19 AM # 
I second tRicky's non-endorsement of HP printers. (Oddly enough, one of the roads on the boundary of today's South Australian Sprint Championships was Hewlett Packard Street - I'm guessing they may once have had a factory there?).
Mar 5, 2023 9:47 AM # 
Oh I thought HP stood for High Performance.
Mar 5, 2023 4:17 PM # 
At one point (decades ago), there was a survey that I read about where they asked people what they liked and didn't like among tech things. I remember that the software with the best rating was PKZip, and the hardware was HP printers.

This discussion thread is closed.