Tonight I tried out my chart/reporting software for the first time on my laptop. I thought it might be helpful to include first impressions in case anyone else is thinking of something similar:
1) Even with the screen display at its faintest, the battery charge did not last long enough for a night's session - and certainly not long enough for when the nights get longer!
2) The display was quite bright - but not bright enough to see the (black) keys on the laptop terribly well. Most data entry was done by feel!
3) However, the time spent in searching for the right keys - usually the number keys - probably offsets the time spent in coming back to paper charts, noting the time, writing the observations down, etc. The app automatically inserts the time and date onto the screen and thence in the report when the 'enter' button is hit. This familiarity with the keyboard will presumably increase speed and reliability with practice.
4) There is no coping with charts and notebook dewing up, being subjected to gusts of wind and so on. A huge plus. But the screen did tend to attract moths. Our local bats need to work harder.
5) A torch is unnecessary too.
The screen needs to be dimmer. Not sure how this could be done.
The charge needs to last for longer. The only way I can see this happening at the moment is to run the laptop off the mains (with the transformer outside. Not sure how safe that is). As they say in the RAF, per ardua ad astra...