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Do You Need A Laptop? Maybe, maybe not. For some road warriors, a Palm will take care of business.

By Robert J. McGarvey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Duh.sometimes the solution is as near as the palm of my hand, but I still don't see it. For many years, I've complained about the high cost of laptop computers but could never bring myself to not own one. I am increasingly tethered to e-mail-clients and friends alike expect me always to be within easy reach, so when I travel, I need a way to get online. You can probably relate.

But do I really need a laptop? Keep reading, because I'll tell you how to stay in touch with important contacts but only spend 25 percent of what a laptop would cost. In the process, you'll be doing your back a serious favor by lessening your load.

Ask yourself what you use a laptop for. If, like me, you use it primarily for e-mail, with perhaps a little word processing, you'll likely be fine with a low-priced handheld. How cheap can this get? Pretty much any Palm will do; figure around $250 for an entry-level model. (I use the Palm IIIx.) Add a modem (around $99). But don't stop there. With just those basics, a Palm theoretically will fetch and compose e-mail, but not well or comfortably. But buy a few more tools, and you'll genuinely transform a Palm into an e-mail machine:

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