Utility of using a non-Classmate driver station

At our meeting tonight we were discussing the pros and cons of using a different laptop for the driver station. Pros included better battery life, more screen space, more connectivity options, and better performance for compiling and vision processing. Cons are potentially higher weight, less compatibility with FRC software (the driver station is a fixed height/width, IIRC).

Has your team considered using a non-Classmate driver station? Which ones have you looked at? What was your final decision?

We used a non-Classmate driver station last year. We mainly went with it for better performance processing vision.

We used a 15.6" Toshiba laptop that was on sale at Best Buy last year. We would have liked something smaller, but it was hard to beat the price.

While the driver station only covered 2/3 of the bottom of the screen, we expanded the dashboard to make use of the extra space.

Unless you get a laptop with a very good battery, it’s probably not worth it. A classmate can be plugged in at the field, so battery management isn’t important. We kept the laptop plugged in whenever we were in the pit, which was find for qualification. During Eliminations, we were down to 15% by the end.