smallest, most robust, least battery-hungry notebook PC

I’m looking for a new subportable computer that I can take into and use in (ideally) rough outdoor conditions, or at least stick in a backpack and not worry about too much, hence the above criteria.

Are there computers built specifically with this in mind?

(Ideally, I would like a true PC with a harddrive which I could install Linux on, rather than a handheld with a keyboard)

Well, I use a PSION 3C, altho I also like the Psion 5 series (5 or 5MX).

They take AA batteries, and run FOREVER.

the 5 has a great keyboard.

Sub-Portable, the 5 is about as big as a Video Cassette Case. The 3’s are smaller.

Lots of accessories.

Cheap on Ebay. $100 us or so.

One drawback: They are not MSDOS/Windows machines. They do spreadsheets and word processing and stuff, and when transfered, THOSE files are compatible.

But you can’t play Minesweeper.

I’m using my Sony Picturebook right now. It’s a fully functional PC running WinXP, 384Mb RAM, internal 30Gb HD, and an external CDRW/DVD. It’s about an inch wider and 2 inches longer than a standard DVD case and weighs in at a whopping 995 grams.

The standard battery seems to last about 3 hours though, which isn’t spectacular. I could probably increase that a lot by turning down the brightness of the screen and not using the external drive.

I love it.

I use a Panasonic toughbook. Its better because it has a touchscreen, can run from the car battery, and is very robust. Also, it comes in its own slim case, so no need for a bag or thinks like that.

True. The 3c was a great machine, considering that it was released in what, 1996?
Unfortunatelly the successor has mechanical problems. I had a 5MX for two years, and broke the screen four times. It is a perfect PDA, but it is not designed to be dropped.

The 3c on the other hand is a lot sturdier, as is also the revo, which is basically a Psion 5MX without the CF port, with a minimal keyboard at half the size.

And the good news is that it’s (in theory at least) possible to run linux on it!

Oh, yes you can!!! There’s a minesweeper by default in the 5MX, with which I have spent a lot of time…

Okay… You can! I keep my 5 and 5mx as a “backup” and use the 3c all the time.

Very readable screen. That touchscreen nonsense on the 5’s really sucks.

Oh : And did I mention they have a backlight?

(Stay away from the 3a…)

Anyhow, I love 'em. I know 2 author friends who have written book drafts on them… (40 k limit for text files)

I couldn’t find any specs on battery life, but I’ve always kinda wanted a Toshiba Libretto. Toshibas tend to be fairly durable, and the last time I saw a Libretto it was not much larger than a VHS cassette. They don’t sell them directly to the US anymore, but the site I found those specs at will put an English OS on a Japanese model.