Andrew working away

We Spent a Cool 3,000,000 on a New Laptop!

That’s right, it’s not a typo, but since we bought our new laptop in Indonesia, it was IDR 3,000,000 which is roughly £200. Before we started this trip we spent a long time deciding on which travel laptop to get. Eventually we settled on the Acer Aspire V5-171; at 11.6” – it’s a neat little machine that can cope with pretty much everything we throw at it. So why do we need a new laptop?

We found that travelling with just one laptop between two of us just wasn’t good enough. Although we have an iPhone too, it’s only suitable for browsing, not completing freelance work assignments or writing this blog so ultimately, we both ended up arguing over who gets to use the laptop. Therefore, out of a number of tasks to do while we were in Jakarta, buying a new laptop was high on the list.

Andrew and the Acer Aspire One

How we Chose our New Laptop for Travel

We were on the lookout for a laptop that was the same or very similar to our Acer Aspire V5-171 with the following criteria:

  • Size: It needed to be small, ideally no larger than the one we already have (11.6”) and certainly no heavier (1.3kg).
  • Power: we needed something decent enough to handle some video editing and word processing amongst other things, so again, more powerful than a notebook but no super-powers.
  • Memory: we have a few different back-ups of our pictures and work, so we didn’t need a massive amount of memory but enough to keep our data comfortably.
  • Battery life: enough so that we can work for a few hours, multitasking and so that we know we wouldn’t need to charge it up every hour.
  • Price: as little as possible, our last travel laptop cost £300 so we expected to pay no more than that for this one.

Our New Travel Laptop is…

We couldn’t actually find the Acer Aspire V5-171, even when looking through countless Acer stores in the shopping malls of Jakarta. So, from the electronics section of a Carrefour supermarket in Jakarta, we eventually chose the Acer Aspire One Q1VZC, this is very similar to our Acer Aspire V5-171 with some subtle differences, for example:

  • Our new Acer laptop is a little less powerful
  • It doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port (so some backing up of data to our hard drive is a little slower)
  • It’s a different colour
  • Most annoyingly, the keyboard doesn’t have a ‘£’ sign

New Laptop Acer Aspire One

Here are the specs for our Acer Aspire One Q1VZC:

  • Screen size – 11.1 inches
  • Weight – 1.3 kilos
  • Processor – Intel Celeron CPU847
  • Memory – 2GB RAM, 320GB hard drive
  • Battery life – up to five hours
  • Other features – three USB2.0 ports, two in one memory card reader to suit our camera, 1.3 MP HD webcam
  • Price – IDR 3,000,000 or £200 from Carrefour, Jakarta

Even better, we got a free laptop sleeve with this new laptop and it all fits into our current laptop case with our original laptop too!

What gadgets do you use when travelling? Are you travelling as a couple? If so do you have your own devices or do you share?

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11 Comments
  • Heather
    Posted at 23:50h, 28 June Reply

    Hey Amy,
    Little tip with the new laptop.
    Since you can touch type anyway just change the language setting from US (which would be the standard setting) to UK. The £ and @ keys will be in the same place as a standard UK keyboard. I did it for months in the UK when I first arrived from Aus. Just don’t look at the keys when you type and you will not know the difference

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:33h, 29 June Reply

      Hey Heather, thanks for that, Andrew has sorted it out now. It’s so nice not to have to fight over our old laptop anymore! Hope you’re well and things are good in London; sounds like you’ve been busy with the office move x

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 04:12h, 29 June Reply

    Great decision guys, and one we came to as well. We started our trip with one Macbook Air, which was meant to be primarily Tony’s as he does the photo editing and still was freelancing for his old company as a graphic designer, so clearly the ipad wouldn’t cut it. Alas, the ipad was pretty much an exercise in frustration for me when it came time to do anything more than play games or read books—we have a 1st gen, so even browsing the internet was annoying as Safari would often crash and everything loaded so slowly. I was able to write posts as we had picked up a bluetooth keyboard for our ipad, but it still wasn’t as enjoyable as writing on the laptop. It took us about 9 months to finally reach our breaking point, but when we had to send our MBA in for repairs while in Phnom Penh, we decided to finally just bite the bullet and get a second computer. For better or for worse, we are a diehard Apple household, so we wound up getting me a smaller MBA, which definitely took a substantial chunk out of our travel savings, but ultimately we are so glad we made the decision to get a second laptop. It has made our lives so much easier and definitely reduced crabbiness and the number of fights we have had!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 06:32h, 29 June Reply

      We’re glad we’re not the only ones who had problems sharing! We (I) was looking at Macbook Airs quite a bit when thinking about a new laptop but we couldn’t justify the expense, since we weren’t doing such laborious tasks. What’s more is that it would kill us if we had a MBA and it got stolen or something, of course we would get it covered insurance-wise. Since we don’t edit our photos much (at all) we didn’t need such a powerful machine either. Well done for managing 9 months on the iPad though!

  • Jo
    Posted at 19:46h, 01 July Reply

    Hey, this comes as very timely advice. I’ve made the decision to take a backpack out to Thailand, (old suitcase/backpack dilemma), which will mean getting a much lighter laptop/notebook. Will bear the above in mind. Glad you’ve taken something good away with you from Jakarta! Have also found your packing post very useful.

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:25h, 03 July Reply

      Hey Jo, good choice on the backpack – just make sure you try plenty on before you buy to be sure that it’s a good fit. Shop around for the laptop too to get the cheapest price, a notebook is a great option if you just want to browse the internet and do a lot of writing (which you’ll be doing plenty of in Thailand hopefully!). Can’t wait to see you in Thailand!

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