OK....so I got a work term in Hawaii (w00t) but I'll be needing a laptop, cuz I ain't lugging my desktop over there. While I have about 5 desktops kicking around here, and I like building/tampering with them, I've never had a laptop and I don't know much about them.
I've never owned a Mac, though I have nothing against them. I'd like a system that can run Linux happily (dual boot, probably). I've done dual boot with Ubuntu & XP before, I can handle that.
I have about $1500 to spend, might be willing to go upwards of $2000 for the right system (Canadian). My astronomy buddies are all saying get a Macbook, but they seem very tiny to me.
What I'm looking for is very GENERAL advice (not which laptop to buy, but things to think about, consider, etc). Your help would be greatly appreciated!
Well, my dad lent me his Dell laptop for school this semester, and it's absolutely killing my back. AFAIK Macbooks are fairly light for their size (I wouldn't mind one myself -- a pro).
Also, make sure you compare battery life or think about getting an extended battery. This laptop can't surf the internet for more than half an hour without needing to plug into a socket. A straight ethernet connection (when you can) might help out with that though. If you're a power user like I am, I know you'll appreciate not having to lug around power cords/adapters all day.
I also bring around an optical USB mouse, since it's painful to use the touchpad and tiny click buttons for more than an hour. The Macbook and other laptops might be more ergonomical though.
Lastly, a 1GB+ USB thumb drive is a must since there are things you'll want to sync between your laptop and PC, and it's much easier to use a stick than fool around with crossover cables, Samba, etc.
im a very happy macbook owner. Its light, and the battery is amazing, if I work with low light and no wifi, I can get 6 hours out of it. Dual booting ubuntu will be easy on it with bootcamp.
If you go the PC (as opposed to Mac) route, I like Toshiba and Lenovo/IBM laptops. I used to be a big Dell laptop fan, but their quality has declined to the point of being below Toshiba and Lenovo. I love my Toshiba that I bought in February, and will probably buy another one soon. I run Ubuntu on it, btw.