For those that require a PC: Laptop, desktop, or other on midsize MH...

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gfmucci

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For those who own and travel full time in a midsize (28' to 36') motor home, and who require a PC, whether for blogging, work, or some other hobby, what do you prefer?

Laptop
Desktop
Other

and why?
 

Tiercel

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Pennsylvania
I am just getting started with an older MH and have no intention to ever go full-time. However, I worked as a Computer Services Manager with the U.S. DOJ and taught "Computers for the Construction Trades" at a large technical school. I have iPads, Notebooks, and Desktops. I do travel about 850 miles to our other house (out in the GA woods) where I have to depend on a cellular hotspot for internet. I am there several months a year.

Much of the answer to your question depends on what you do, how many hours you do it, and personal preference. Typically (assuming you are not a Mac person) a person will find a 17" laptop PC with an i7 processor to be as capable and very similar to a PC Desktop. Even a large 17" laptop takes up little room slid into a padded backpack. You have the option of a standard screen or touch screen that functions like your phone. It is large enough that you can use it to view movies and stream content using a phone or dedicated hotspot.

The alternative is an iPad with a keyboard and mouse. They are somewhat smaller, operate as smooth as silk, and are not likely to lock up and need a reboot more than about once a year. You can get 4G built right in so streaming content or being connected to the internet is simple. They are also far less vulnerable to viruses. They are of course touch screen and fully functional without an add-on keyboard. You don't mention whether you want a small printer or will do without.
 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm a heavy computer user so always preferred a large display & desktop system in the coach, but that assumes there is room for it. One of the reasons we bumped up from 36 ft to a 40 was room for a computer desk. Prior to that, a 17" laptop was the more convenient choice, easy to fold and put away when not in use.
 

Tiercel

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PS: I am at a desktop now at my house. I love my desktop and sizeable roll-top desk workstation, but I would NEVER consider a desktop in an RV unless I worked as a graphic designer. They have no more power or capability than an i7 laptop. You sacrifice portability, having to secure monitors and keyboards with no gain. If you have a travel partner they can watch movies on it in the cab or elsewhere while you are driving.
 

Ex-Calif

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I started working from home in March of 2020 and never went back to an office.

Working I had a laptop and 3 screen setup. In January of this year I move into the RV and built a small desk below the 24 inch TV and turned things into a 2 screen system that worked fine.

Retired in June and still mostly use the same setup but often (as in the past) if I wanted to surf social media or eMail I would use my tablet and BT keyboard. It's a lot more flexible and easy to move around. I also use the tablet for streaming tv a lot and when traveling it runs google maps. Nice to have a big screen Navigator in the RV.

So basically it depends on the job. If I had to use only 1 thing it would be the laptop.
 

Larry N.

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but I would NEVER consider a desktop in an RV. They have no more power or capability than an i7 laptop.
That's dependent on what you do with the computer. For more or less general use that's pretty much true, but when it comes to flight simulators, video editing and processing, and certain other specific chores a properly configured desktop can outperform a laptop and has MUCH better connectivity choice with the availability of various card slots to accept accessories, and perhaps more USB and other types of connections, more drive storage, and other things.

So I'd not agree that a laptop is equal for all people or uses, only for some.
 

donn

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When we were camp hosting I started taking my lap top. After a couple of years and after getting a decent tablet the lap top stayed at home. During the last few years hosting it was phone and tablets. Way easier and it got done 95% of what I needed. Heck if you need to print etc, a small wireless printer will still get the job done.
 

Tiercel

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So I'd not agree that a laptop is equal for all people or uses, only for some.
Larry, there are laptops with as much processor power for gaming as any desktop you or I likely ever used. Certainly as powerful as any desktop I ever used in either the Department of Justice or teaching Auto CAD. There are Laptops that plug into modular workstations, essentially becoming a desktop. Laptops can have massive hard drives and even multiple external hard drives. You can hook as many large monitors to a laptop for video editing as you can a desktop, so I am just confused by that statement.

In addition, laptop hard drives are typically more rugged when it comes to surviving bumps and jolts while running.
 

Tiercel

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I agree with Donn. If I had to pick one single device other than my phone it would probably be an iPad Pro tablet with cellular connectivity and a keyboard and mouse. Again, it depends on what you are doing.
 

gfmucci

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My understanding is that for equivalent processing power and speed, a laptop would be roughly twice the cost as a desktop due to the increased cost of miniaturization for a high powered laptop.

Solid State Drives can be installed in a desktop as readily - if not more so - as in a laptop to overcome concerns about bumps and jiggles on a HD.

Ideally, I'd use all options. My desktop for its power and flexibility hooked up to a large display in the MH, the laptop for light work outside, and a tablet or phone mounted near the cockpit for navigation.
 

gfmucci

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I have always liked to use laptops with at lest one large display monitor.
Agree. A high-powered laptop hooked up to a large monitor (or two) is the simplest, most flexible solution for many. And probably not much more expensive than my desktop/laptop combo solution, unless these are already owned.

Evolution of new tech has really slowed down on these devices. Even on phones the most promoted advances are on their cameras with negligibly useful advances on their communications or computing functions.
 
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Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
I don't travel full time, but I do lean towards a laptop plus external keyboard, mouse, and second larger flat panel monitor. I recently had to replace a 24 inch monitor from my home office, and replaced it with a new 27 inch model. I was amazed at how much thinner and lighter this new monitor is compared to the 24 inch one which was just 4 or 5 years old. The new monitor weighs just over 7 pounds included the weighted base, and is less than 2 inches thick, making it small enough and light enough be easily stowed when not in use.
 

garyb1st

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We have an iMac that I prefer to use. It's a 27" model so we can use it to watch TV or movies. It's relatively heavy so we keep in on the bed when traveling. It also uses more power than our 12v refrigerator. We have a newer model at home so when we upgrade it will be with a Mac Mini and a large monitor. Hopefully the Mac Mini with its solid state drive will consume less power. From a viewing standpoint, the ability to move the monitor around will be a plus.
 

Lou Schneider

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I have always liked to use laptops with at least one large display monitor.
Agreed. That's how I use mine, along with a wireless USB keyboard and mouse. Plug in the monitor cable along with a USB dongle into one of the laptop's ports. Set the laptop off to the side and you won't know the difference between using it or a desktop PC.
 

ziplock

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I have always liked to use laptops with at least one large display monitor.
Does it take alot of work to roll up the rug and secure the furniture to move on to the next camping spot?

I drag a simple laptop along.
 

HueyPilotVN

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Actually the area rug was easy to roll up. It was given to me by my aunt who was like a Mother to me. She bought it in Spain and it was over 50 years old.

The furniture simply locked in place with the slides in.
 

Rob&Deryl

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I have a Mac mini in the cabinet above the tv along with 5 port HDMI switch and a Synology NAS server. I use the 43” tv as the monitor with a wireless keyboard & mouse from the recliner.
 

uchu

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Sep 9, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
I have some issues with Apple technology in general. However, I am a fan of the iPad concept. That's why I use a Microsoft Surface. Tablet size portability and the power of a capable laptop.
 

donn

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What I dont understand, other than those few that are working remotely why would a person need all this computer stuff? I thought the idea of RVing was to get away and enjoy the great outdoors?
 

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