New Electronics Acquisition for Travel

It is a rare time for us here at Living the Dream.  We are about ready to undertake our once every half-decade upgrade of our electronic arsenal!  Yes, you read that right.  We do not update our electronics collection very often.  In fact, most of the work we do for this site is on a computer that is over 10 years old and still kicking.  It is not that we do not want the most up-to-date gadget on the market, but rather than update every year like many people do, we want to spend that money on things like travel and more travel.

But with all things, our electronics die.  My dive camera bit the bucket while in Thailand in 2010 and I never had a reason to replace it until now.  One netbook was always good for me when traveling solo, but alas Angie is now apart of the team (yay!) and we need two computers and more computing power.  So, with that, our collection needs to expand and we are about to go on a shopping spree.

This is our tentative purchase list and we are looking to you to let us know if we are making the right choice!

Acer Aspire One 722-0022

Now that Angie and I are traveling together as a couple, it is time to add a second potable computer into our collection for trips abroad.  The first netbook we purchased, an older model Acer Aspire netbook was significantly underpowered for the work that we wanted to perform on it.  Great as a Skype and Facebook machine, but not else. In our next addition, we are still considering an Acer Aspire netbook as our old one has held up to the most rough conditions (and they are on the cheaper end of <$400).  Where we are going differently in this newer model computer is simple - the power.  Rather than having a small hard drive (250 GB) and 1 GB of RAM, we will be going full force.  The newest acquisition to our travel arsenal will have 500 GB of storage for plenty of photos and movies, and more importantly 4 GB of RAM to run, hopefully, like lightning.  Maybe now we'll actually be able to run a photo editing software without losing system functionality in the process.

Spec List:
  • Screen size: 11.6 inches
  • Processor: 1 GHz AMD C Series
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 500 GB HDD 5400 rpm
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds
Sony Cyber-Shot HX20V

A more technical addition to our arsenal is a point and shoot camera.  Currently Angie's camera runs on AA batteries which is completely unacceptable for vacations as the batteries die within just a few days.  Not missing a chance to get the best and the brightest, a lot of research was put into our decision to jump ship on Canon and Nikon for the new camera and instead look at the Sony Cyber-Shot HX20V.  A comparable model, the HX30V, is also available which has wifi to upload to mobile devices; however, does not seem worth the extra $20 in our opinion so we will go with the wifi-less model.




Spec List:
  • 18.2 Megapixels
  • 20x Optical Zoom
  • Internal GPS to record shot location
  • 1080/60p HD video
  • 3D Still Imaging
  • Multiple Special Shooting Modes
  • Weight: 1 lb
Canon PowerShot D10 or D20

Okay fine, we're buying a second camera but for one specific purpose: scuba diving.  In any other case, I would have probably bought a comprehensive dive casing for the Sony camera we mentioned above.  But there is one problem - an official Sony case does not exist!  The closest case for this model camera is a terrifying $400! When the cost of the case is more than the camera itself, it is time to consider other options.  So lets work it out logically.

You can buy a case for $400.  If it leaks, you're out a case (likely) and an expensive point and shoot camera ($350).  That would be nearly $750 worth of equipment.  Buying a cheaper dive camera, which based on our experiences has led to an early death, costs a mere $250 to $275 for popular models such as the Canon D10 or newer D20.  If it leaks, you are just out a camera and still have another camera as back up.  For the cost difference, you can still buy a whole new dive camera for a total cost of $500 to $550, much better than the possibility of losing $750 worth of equipment in one bad day!

But why Canon?  Well, the following are a few great specs to start.

Spec List (D20 only):
  • 12.1 Megapixels
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Dive Rated to 33 ft
  • Shock and Temperature Resistant
  • 1080p HD Video at 24 fps.  720p HD at 30 fps.
  • Internal GPS to record shot location
  • 28mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Designed for Underwater Shooting and Land Shooting
Now, you may be wondering based on the above list "why are they getting this much new equipment" or "why does Jeremy need a new dive camera if he hasn't been diving in over a year."  Well, to you inquisitive minds I say good questions!  But unfortunately those must be answered another day.

Check back soon for full reviews of the gear we buy and our take on if it is worth getting for your next trip out! Do you own any of these items we mention above or an older model?  Comment below and let us know what you think about it!  You still have time to talk us into getting another model that you think is better.

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Today's Post was brought to you in part by our friends at Craigdon Mountain Sports.  When you are planning your next trip out, be sure your packing is is covered with all gear that you need whether it is gloves, hiking gear, or more!   

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  1. If you want a good underwater camera for scuba diving, you should look into a GoPro, they're good and they're cheap, they come with a case and you can buy different mounts and straps for different applications. We love ours.
    As far as point and shoot, I think you could probably do better than the Sony cybershot. I had an older model and didn't like it at all. I recently got a 3/4ths, Sony NEX 5r, best purchase I've made in a long time. So much easier to travel with than the big pro camera and multiple lenses and it's wifi capabilities mean you can transfer images from the camera to your iphone or ipad without having to plug it in.

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  2. Sony is making some serious inroads with their digital cameras in the past few years. I've used the older model of the one you're picking up, and it was surprisingly good. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

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  3. @Dustin - Thanks for the insight! I've heard a lot of comments like that on the older model Sonys. If you would have asked me 3 years ago what I would be buying as my next P&S (well, Angie's next P&S) I would have been 100% committed to Nikon or Canon. My how things have changed.

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  4. I'm going through a similar upgrade process. I chose the Acer AO756 and so far (2+ months) I am very happy with it. I just checked and it seems to no longer be available at Amazon so I don't know what the story is for that model, but I think it is similar to the one you are looking at, but a bit cheaper.

    I also just bought a new camera. I went with the Lumix DMC-ZS20 (http://www.lengthytravel.com/the-best-digital-camera-a-buying-guide/) but in my research the Sony came up as better in some ways while the Lumix was better in others. I don't know about current prices, but a when I bought mine about a month ago the Lumix was quite a bit cheaper so I went with it. I haven't committed to getting an underwater camera yet, but I do want one. I'll definitely check out the Canon.

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  5. Hi!

    My choice for the rugged camera would be the Nikon AW100. It has virtually the same specs as the Canon D20, except it's a 16 MP and the GPS feature is up a notch with showing maps on the screen in real time, with a compass, acting as a GPS device.

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