I'm the kind of guy who's so dependent on his laptop that it makes sense to always have the best one for my needs. I'm willing to go to extraordinary lengths for a good laptop, because it's probably the one item I own that directly impacts my productivity.
I've had my trusty Sony Vaio Z12 for two years now, which is a personal record for laptop longevity. Until very recently, no other laptop existed that was so powerful and light that also had a full 1920x1080 high-gamut panel (for non-nerds, that's a really amazing screen). However, ever since Asus announced their UX31A and UX21A, I've been ready to switch. The UX31A is similar to what I have now, but slightly less powerful and way thinner. The UX21A is a lot more exciting to me because it's an 11.6" screen model, which means that it's 15% lighter than what I have now, half the thickness, and can be kept in my backpack when I go through airport security.
For those of you who were linked here, or who are new to my blog this year, every year I write a gear post which contains every single item I travel with. Despite being minimal, the set of gear is fully functional, allowing me to be comfortable and productive everywhere from the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the ski mountains of Tahoe.
This year I thought I'd start off by sharing some of the principles behind my gear selection. You can use these principles to guide your own gear search, or simply to evaluate whether my choices match your own needs.
The overriding priority in my search is functionality. I will always choose function over form, even if the difference in form is large and the difference in function is minor. I've simply found that my productivity is not improved when a device I use is prettier, and that my enjoyment of travel is not affected by the style of my clothing. This is why my clothes tend not to be from mainstream brands and why Apple products very rarely make it to my gear list.
Functionality may be my overriding priority, but size and weight are close. Unlike fashion, I have found that having a lighter pack allows me more flexibility and enjoyment. There's a huge difference between having to check in to a hotel to drop off luggage and being able to go straight from a train to a mountain to climb. I also really like stretching out layovers to be a half or full day instead of two hours, so having a light pack allows me to do whatever I want without having to find somewhere to leave my luggage.