Fri, 03 May 2013
I've got my laptop, ASUS F3E, in September 2008. So maybe it's time for a new laptop. Last year I have briefly considered buying a new one, but I have found that after upgrading F3E to 4 GB of RAM, 9-cell battery, and a fast solid-state disk (OCZ Vertex 2), then-current models provided no significant improvement compared to my F3E. Is this year's offer better?
There are several problems with my F3E:
- Glossy display (no explanation needed, I think)
- Plastic chassis, which is already broken in two corners
- Slightly slower CPU than needed (I had problems playing full-HD video without frame dropping once or twice, but I am not sure whether mplayer can use both CPU cores)
- The WiFi interface supports 2.4 GHz band, not 5 GHz one
What parameters should my hypothetical new laptop have? Of course, it would need to be better than my upgraded F3E in every aspect, and meet the following criteria:
- Size: less than 16", preferably not smaller than 14"
- OS: sold without Windows (I don't want to pay the Microsoft tax)
- Display: matte, at least 1280x800, possibly with touch input
- RAM: at least 4 GB
- Graphics: supported in Linux using open source drivers, including 3D acceleration (so most probably I don't want nVidia)
- HDD: preferably SSD, but I can reuse the SSD from F3E
- CD/DVD/...: preferably none
- Battery: at least 4 hours with moderate usage
- Keyboard: with long backspace, double-height enter, inverse-T arrow keys, and preferably without separate numeric keypad; backlit if possible
- Chassis: aluminium or similar, definitely not plastic
Does such a laptop exist, my dear lazyweb? Or shall I stay with my upgraded ASUS F3E for another year?
10 replies for this story:
Some time ago I bought Lenovo X230 and I'm ok with it. It has (or can have) everything you described above except of the screen size, which is less than 14", and MS tax. I believe it can be equipped with a 3-band antenna which allows 5Ghz wifi, but in this case you wouldn't have the webcam. Check the specs to be sure. Optionally you can have a backlit keyboard or thinklight. I have even managed to squeeze in a 16GB of RAM and an msata SSD, along with a regular HDD. Battery life is about 5-7 hours with 6-cell battery, but I suspect that the power management in my system sucks. In windows it's much better.
I forgot - you may also check out Lenovo X1 Carbon, it has similar specs to X230, but the screen is larger with higher resolution I think. You can cut your vegetables with it :-).
Peter Kruty wrote:
You are describing mac book air in your criteria :). (If I can take the liberty of ignoring 'preferably not smaller than 14"'.
Yenya wrote: Re: Macbook Air
Is it really supported in Linux with open source drivers, or have you took the liberty of ignoring this requirement as well?
@Peter Kruty: How is paying the Apple tax better than Microsoft tax? You can at least fight that one, I bet there is no chance to get your OS money back from Apple. @Yenya: Why do you have so small requirements for the display? Every other _phone_ has better resolution these days.
Peter Kruty wrote: mac book air
@Yenya: Oh, somehow I assumed this is solved problem for Intel graphics (not really watching this closely). So, yes I took the liberty too. In general looks like so called ultrabooks are matching most of your requirements. @honzah: Yenya was mentioning not willing to pay MS tax (nothing about Apple). Regarding Apple Tax: I believe this is different situation Apple HW and SW are designed for each other and from same vendor. I don't blame Apple for that, because it works very well for usability. Variety of generic laptop vendors are locking their hw to windows, while we can hardly talk about same tight integration for a user's benefit (and I mean a generic computer user, not someone like Yenya with very specific requirements).
Yenya wrote: Re: Macbook Air
Well, I didn't know that Apple uses Intel graphics - this is actually well supported under Linux. That said, even though I did not mention it explicitly, Honzah is right that for me, Apple tax is almost the same as Microsoft tax. Why would I buy a hardware from a vendor which explicitly does not want me to use it with Linux?
Basically, you can have a generic crap with some disastrous 1366x768 display (it doesn't matter if glossy or matte, it doesn't, it doesn't, it'll have faded vomitty colors anyway), they are all absolutely same. Or you can have something more decent, but then, it's either the macbook, or perhaps some more high-end-ish ultrabook.
Peter Kruty wrote: Dell XPS 13
Quite expensive, but you are paying for your specific requirements :) http://www.zive.cz/bleskovky/dell-xps-13-linuxovy-ultrabook-s-ubuntu-dostane-full-hd-displej/sc-4-a-167668/default.aspx
Yenya wrote: Re: Dell XPS 13
Looks interesting, thanks. The specs (even on the Dell site) are shallow, though. No mention whether it has matte display, and how exactly the keyboard looks like. Also, no SD card reader, but I guess this is the price for being so thin. OTOH, I am ok with the cost. But according to zive.cz, it is not (yet?) sold in CZ.