Tue, 19 Aug 2008
New Laptop: Is Bigger Better?
I am considering buying a new laptop instead of my old ASUS M6R. The biggest problem is that I don't know whether I want a big or small one (see below). My requirements for a laptop are:
- No preinstalled Windows - I don't want to pay a Microsoft tax.
- No nVidia graphics. I want it to be as much open-specs as possible, so either Intel or ATI (even shared-memory one, as I don't need much 3D power).
- Long battery life (but I don't know what does it mean today).
- Bluetooth, 2+ USB ports, built-in camera.
- Under 20,000 CZK (about 800 Euro).
- At least 2 GB RAM. For my workload RAM is what matters most.
- SD and possibly CF card reader would be nice.
- Three or four mouse buttons would be nice, but apparently these times laptops instead of two scrolling buttons which could be easily configured as middle mouse button, tend to have a fingerprint reader.
- Probably a dual-core CPU around 2 GHz (my Pentium M 1.5 GHz is mostly able to play HD video, so in fact I don't need much more CPU power).
When one wants to go shopping for the above specs, it becomes obvious how badly designed various computer e-shops are, not even speaking about the vendor pages: for example ASUS Czech has its laptop section divided into the following subsections: Business, Digital home, New concept, Personal entertainment centre, Portability, Perfect mobility, and Display size. How TF am I supposed to know whether I want a "New concept" notebook or a "Perfect mobility" one, when my most important feature is "No Windows"? There are only two exceptions: Mironet and Alza. Their e-shops allow to filter laptops according to various criteria, including "No OS". The only problem is with graphics card - the "no nVidia" is impossible to choose - user would need to enable all other graphics cards (not vendors) one-by-one.
Anyway, the filtering gave me the following two laptops: ASUS F3E (15.4", Core2 duo 2.4 GHz, Intel graphics and WiFi, up to 3 hours on battery, not sure how good is its Linux support), and MSI PR210X (12.1", Turion X2 2 GHz, ATI integrated graphics, Atheros WiFi, 4 hours on battery, works with Linux). I am surprised that I am still not sure whether I want a 15.4" laptop or 12.1" one. Having a small laptop would definitely be nice, but strictly speaking, I don't need it: when I want to be ultra-portable, I have my Nokia n810. Any suggestions, my dear lazyweb?