Thanks wantahon! Glad my review helped you.
I just got home from my trip a few hours ago. My laptop sure needs a good charge now.
The m5500 handled the trip great.
I tried wi-fi at my hotel the first night, but it worked on and off and wouldn't stay on long enough for some web pages to even open. As this was my first time using wi-fi, it caused me to worry about the quality of my wireless card. The next day I took my laptop over to a friend's house, who happened to have wi-fi. After finally getting the security code for his connection correct, I was able to get it working. All my wi-fi worries are gone. The connection was perfect. Amazing speed and the connection never dropped. So I know my laptop's wireless works great and it's just the hotel's connection that was bad. I actually got the hotel connection running workably that night, though it still dropped it quite a bit.
While I was at my friend's house, we did a little gaming (Oblivion). We got maybe 30 minutes of wanton killing before the battery (6-cell) started beeping (6% power left). Since we played around with the laptop maybe 20 minutes before starting Oblivion, the battery hadn't started at 100%. After quitting Oblivion, I switched to the 9-cell battery (which was a Godsend to have). We were able to run it at least another hour playing with the wireless internet just using the integrated graphics card (and USB mouse) and only drained the battery (9-cell) maybe 30%.
The backpack was absolutely great for the trip. Fit right behind the passenger side of the seat in my truck. Easy to carry to and from the hotel and to my friend's house. Easily held everything I needed to take with me. It ended up containing: m5500 (with 6-cell), AC adapter, mouse, mouse pad, 9-cell battery, Oblivion DVD, cell phone, cell phone charger, iPod, iPod charger, digital camera, and cables to connect iPod and camera to the laptop. Even with all that stuff in it, there was a lot of empty space in the bag.
Now that I'm home, it's time to go charge my baby. It deserves it.
After that test trial, I'm really looking forward to using it at college this fall.