Suppose you don't already have the equipment you plan to use on the road with Wi-Fi. In this case, what's the best that you can buy?
Here are my top choices as of today's writing for an Apple laptop, a Windows laptop, and a PDA.
For more information about buying an Apple or Windows laptop with Wi-Fi, see Chapter 5, "Buying a Wi-Fi Laptop." For more information about buying a Wi-Fi PDA, see Chapter 6, "Buying a Wi-Fi PDA."
Apple makes it easy because there are only a few models to choose from. I'd buy a PowerBook, the most expensive one I could afford, such as the one shown in Figure 10.1.
Figure 10.1. The Apple PowerBook makes a mighty fine tool for the road warrior.
In contrast to the world of Apple, there is, of course, a great deal of choice when it comes to buying a Windows laptop.
Be sure that the PowerBook you buy is listed in the specifications with AirPort Extreme built-in.
For the ultimate road warrior, I'd go with an ultra-light IBM ThinkPad model in the X series with integrated Wi-Fi. The easiest way to specify a ThinkPad is to use the IBM Web site, as shown in Figure 10.2.
Figure 10.2. You can use the IBM Web site to specify an ultra-light IBM ThinkPad in the X series with built-in Wi-Fi.
The IBM ThinkPad may not have a sexy form factor (in fact, the design of the case has been pretty static for quite a while), but it is an incredibly durable and lightweight machine with awesome capabilities.
It's a tough choice in PDAs, but if I could only go for one, I'd probably buy the Sony CLIE UX50 shown in Figure 10.3.
Figure 10.3. This Sony handheld PDA has it all…
This Sony handheld PDA has great wireless connectivity, a built-in camera, and even a keyboard. At almost half a pound, it is more like a really miniature computer than a PDA. The only real question is whether it is too heavy for you. A lighter choice might be something you are more likely to have with you when you need it. This is a matter of lifestyle choice.
Of course, you may not want to spring for the expense of this machine. At a retail price of $600, it is probably the most expensive of PDAs that can be equipped with Wi-Fi.
To Laptop or to PDA?
As someone smart once said, the advantages of the one are not the same as the disadvantages of the other.
You can have a heavier or a lighter laptop, and a heavier or lighter PDA. Both categories of equipment vary tremendously in cost. Both categories provide devices that have been very capably integrated with Wi-Fi.
So the best advice is to consider the way you work. As much as possible, try different kinds of machines before you settle on one.
Although some road warriors like to travel light, the truth is that others feel the need to bring both a PDA and a laptop. Perhaps they leave the laptop in the hotel room (but see Chapter 18) and use their PDA for "roaming."
Whatever your choice, you can be sure that by using Wi-Fi enabled computing devices, you'll make your time on the road more productive.