[ros-users] Selecting appropriate Laptop for ROS

Benoit Larochelle Benoit.Larochelle at dfki.de
Mon Feb 7 08:38:37 UTC 2011

Hello Amir,

I am working on a project with an outside robot that has a pan-tilt-zoom cam, an omni-cam, and a laser. We tried a couple of laptops in-field, and I can assure you that Apple products were the worst. We tested with a fairly old 13" MacBook and a more recent 15" MacBook Pro. The main problems were the number and proximity of the ports, the battery life, the opening angle and viewing angle of the monitor, and the lack of some keys (like Print Screen).

My current MacBook Pro has only 2 USB ports, but they are so close to one another that I can really use only one. Thus, I must attach a powered USB hub, which is problematic on the robot. I also noticed recently that it has no serial port, and that our laser and robot's micro-controller work with a serial port. My MacBook Pro also lacks a microphone jack, which you may or may not need. I noticed also in field experiments that my laptop does not open wide enough, and that the glossy screen make it unusable in many situations.

What I would recommend, especially if you have the budget for a MacBook Pro, is to look at Panasonic's Toughbook series. We tried 3 models for our project, and we loved them. One was too slow, but the others were very fast and the batteries lasted forever. Just ensure that they have the right ports for you, because some models are fairly limited.

Benoit Larochelle, B.Eng., M.Sc.
Software Engineer

Language Technology Lab
Campus D3 1, Room +1.12
Stuhlsatzenhausweg 3
66123 Saarbrücken, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)681-857-75-5287
Email:  Benoit.Larochelle at dfki.de
Web:    http://www.dfki.de/~blaroche

From: Amir H. Soltanzadeh 
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2011 10:06 AM
To: User discussions 
Subject: [ros-users] Selecting appropriate Laptop for ROS

Dear all,

Sorry again for another general question!

I want to buy a laptop to run ROS on our custom made robot (which has 2 hokuyo LRF, 1 Xsens IMU, 1 Vedere STOC, 12 Devantech SRF08 UR and an onboard 2 GHz Pentium M) for autonomous navigation/manipulation in rough terrain. But, I'm not sure if I should buy Macbook Pro core i7 or something else!

I'll appreciate it, if you advice me to choose the proper one.


Amir Hossein Soltanzadeh
ME @ R&D Dep. in ISOP Int. Co.
RA @ Robotics lab in IAUCTB
Fax: +98 (21) 883 19 902
Tel: +98 (21) 888 10 817
Cel: +98 (912) 20 60 429
ICQ: 434884650
Skype: amirhst
email: amirhst at isop-co.com
web: www.isop-co.com
blog: amirhst.blogspot.com


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