What is going to be my next computer?
Marvin Hlavac
What computer would you buy, if you had to make a quick decision today?

My current mobile setup is rather simple and inexpensive. It consists of a small, homemade, desktop computer I built some 4 or 5 years ago. The box (tower) sits on the floor of my truck, behind the passenger seat. An LCD monitor is mounted in front of the dashboard. It has served me well, but I'd like my future setup to be easily movable from one vehicle to another - something which is not possible with my present equipment.

My ideal setup would likely include a pocket-sized Windows Vista computer, such as OQO 2 or Sony UX, and a simple suction-cup mount for attaching the Ultra-Mobile PC to a windshield of any vehicle.

Before buying my next computer I would first check if www.ram-mount.com has a mount for it. RAM mounts are available for most popular laptops, TabletPCs and UMPCs, but the suction-cup types can only accommodate smaller/lighter devices.

Suction-cup RAM mounts are currently available for at least three PCs I've been considering: OQO 2, Sony UX, and Fujitsu Lifebook U810. Last week I read a user review of Fujitsu Lifebook P1620, I like what I read, and the Intel Core 2 Duo processor would provide more CPU power than the processors inside the OQO, Sony, or the U810, but while there are various RAM mounts for the P1620 available, there isn't one w/suction cup. Do I go for a more powerful, but larger unit, or should opt for more convenient, pocket-sized computer?

I'm glad a situation is not forcing me to make a quick buying decision today. I'm very much undecided what I would buy. In the mean time I will just read pages of GottaBeMobile.com to keep myself aware of what new laptops, TabletPC's and UMPCs are being released, which could potentially suit my needs. It seems in near future there may be many more choices for people looking for ultra portable computers.
I guess the first question is: do you want a computer that always sit in the vehicle, or do you want something that travels with you no matter where you are?

For pure vehicle use, your current setup is not bad at all. The only problem is there is no touchscreen, but you have the hot keys don't you

For an all-purpose computer, I would get a tablet PC. Make sure it has a touchscreen that can be operated by fingers.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi junkyard

Ha ha, well, that's my dilemma:

* My desktop is the least expensive solution I can think of
* It also provides the most CPU power for the dollar

But yes:

* But I cannot (easily) remove it from the vehicle

TabletPCs are nice. They offer quite good CPU power and relatively good price, too. I'd be tempted to get one if suction-cup RAM mounts were available for a TabletPC with fast enough CPU.

The pocket-sized UMPCs (OQO2, Sony UX) are I think just too expensive for me at the moment, and I'm not certain the CPU power they offer would satisfy me for long.

I'll sit on the fence for a while, and I'll watch what new comes to market. I'm in no rush .
Another benefit of the tabletPC is its large screen --- you get a much better view of the surrounding area and that's a big reason to use a laptop instead of PDA/AIO GPS.

On the other hand, a portable solution often means you *have to* take it with you. It's a easy target for theft. Think about all the carrying, mounting and cable plugging work!

Be careful with the suction cup idea --- a 2KG tablet PC falling down from the window can be exciting while driving...
Marvin Hlavac
Yeah, that's the reason suction cup mounts are available just for the smaller, lighter units . RAM actually sells suction cup mounts even for larger TabletPCs, but the mounts look quite large, consisting of two suction cups, and they are meant for aviation, I'm not sure if I could use it in a car or truck .
Gordon Kerr
The police all have laptops mounted and they don't seem to have a problem. Somewhere on the net I've seen skookum mounts that should do the job
I got a 17" laptop for its full size keyboard but it's so huge it would be like a drive in movie at night. Have been eyeing the HP 12" touch / swivel screen for vehicle mounting-
much smaller and lighter projectile and touch commands. Must learn voice commands on Vista!
Here's a video of my tablet PC setup:


I did absolutely nothing to mount it --- my vehicle has a center table between the two front seats, so I just put the laptop on it (with the laptop sleeve cushioned below to reduce shock). It is surprisingly stable and usable...
Marvin Hlavac
Gordon, yeah, 12" is a more reasonable size for a mobile setup, even though I currently use a 17"(!), too. I just wish my future equipment to be more movable from one vehicle to another. RAM sells mounts for police cars, too, and they are excellent.

junkyard, thanks much for sharing the video. It looks like you are running iNav iGuidance. What vehicle is it? A few years ago we rented GMC Yukon for a trip, and our laptop fitted there just perfectly, too, without any modification or without any mount.
It's a Odyssey 2008 minivan, but most minivans have a center table like this.
Gordon Kerr
Junkyards photos quite good but how does his laptopkeep cool. It looks like the mat underneath is quilted which can cover the vents. Mine gets quite hot - I use an inverter and 110V so my image is always it's brightest. Used to use an alumium cookie sheet upsige down on my ottoman to keep it cool. Now using a steel mesh laptop stand made by rolodex -Walmart $16.99 ) aluminum cookie sheet $25 - Zellers

Junkyard - how do you keep your laptop from sliding off @ turns or sudden stops?
I strap mine down to the console in my dodge PU which is time consuming, but it doesn't budge.
It is still winter here so heat is not a concern at the moment... I have a two power profiles (day/night) for vehicle use, so the CPU is always running at the lowest frequency and the computer barely gets warm. If heat becomes a concern in the summer, I should probably replace the laptop sleeve with some rubber stuff with holes.

Surprisingly, the laptop doesn't slide at all while I test drove the vehicle in all kinds of situations... The screen lid stops the laptop from moving forward in hard stops. There seem to be enough friction to stop side-to-side movement. The seats are slightly higher than the center table, so even the laptop moves to the side, it won't go very far. That said, I agree that some belts are needed to prevent the laptop from flying around in an accident.

I have an idea to modify the center table such that the center table will have the laptop embedded in itself: when the screen lid closed, it looks like a real table and it can be folded down as the stock center table... but when I lift the lid, a computer appears
Marvin Hlavac
Nice pictures! Thanks for posting them!
I bought one from a store on ebay almost 2 years ago and it has held up fine to heavy use. I use mine for work 5 days a week minimum.
Marvin Hlavac
Does it vibrate too much while driving?

P.S. If all goes well, soon anyone here at the forum will be able to have his/her own photo gallery. I'm looking forward seeing member's pictures of their mobile setups.
No vibration, I was directed to this auction seller year before last from a fellow driver due to the fact it acts as a shock absorber as you go over bumps etc.

I was very concerned about a mount that was rigid. That would of course resonate vibrations out the laptop.

It is durable but at the same time because of all those adjustment points on that arm it has some give.

They even sent me a longer post for my delivery van.
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