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?
14 replies for this story:
Honza wrote: Display
With small notebooks, it's the display what matters most for me. I saw one of the Apple MacBooks (13"), which I would never consider on the specs alone. Thanks to pretty good display, I really liked it. I have no idea how these two (ASUS and MSI) compare, though.
Yenyo co to resis jak nejaka sekretarka, jsi predci chlap od IT a mel bys vedet ze na linux jen a pouze (IBM) Lenovo ThinkPad ! :)
If everything goes well, I should have EEE 1000 at FUDCon, so you can check whether 10" option isn't what you want.
Yenya wrote: Re: Adelton
Well, 10" definitely does not hold two 80-column xterms side-by-side. And for only one xterm, I have n810.
Yenya wrote: Re: Booran
Noone has ever been fired for buying IBM, isn't it? No, I do not buy into this kind of FUD. Choosing only ThinkPad and not considering other possibilites is exactly the "approach of a secretary" (or a manager) you criticize. Besides, thinkpads below 20,000 CZK do not have a webcam, look ugly (like every other IBM hardware), and it is not possible to buy them without Windows. I was satisfied with Linux on my ASUS M6R, so for Linux laptops there are definitely other vendors than Lenovo.
With regard to ThinkPad and Windows license the article below is quite interesting reading: http://www.abclinuxu.cz/blog/kamil_paral/2008/8/vraceni-licence-windows-u-lenovo-cr
Yenya wrote: Re: Lumir
I know about it, but it is unusable for me in case the laptop is paid by my employer.
Miroslav Suchý wrote: Czechcomputer.cz
http://www.czechcomputer.cz/product_search.jsp?doc=DF0B721BD0CFAD51C1256DE5007C99C0 you can use operators = != and like. And you can either choose from predefined list or write your own term.
To Miroslav Suchý: =, != and like is not enought to say NOT LIKE "Windows%"
Milan Zamazal wrote:
I've got one of the MSI things (bigger one, 15" I think). It satisfies most of your requirements except for battery life (I'd say at most 2 hours with powernowd). My observations (especially in comparison with my old HP notebook): Big, relativelly light, excellent price, many peripherals, feels cheeply built, good keyboard layout including real numeric keypad, but not very pleasant to touch, poor screen (glossy, even worse than my 6 years old HP, but I'm afraid you won't find anything better in your price range), unsupported graphics card (fglrx needed), unsupported wifi card (my colleagues can run it with ndiswrapper, I couldn't), poor sound, very poor sound input even with external microphone, no idea about camera (what is it good for?). Basically you get what you pay for. Overall the equipment and performance are very good considering the price, Linux runs on it although non-free drivers may be needed, you don't pay for Windows, quality is IMHO inferior (but it's possible to buy extended warranty for reasonable price).
Yenya wrote: Thinkpad note
You Lenovo fanboys may find the following blogpost interesting: http://pavelmachek.livejournal.com/60867.html
I saw one really cheap with good processor (T8300) 320 GB HDD 2 GB RAM and also asus.. this all in 15.4" design for 16k CZK..the only disadvantage from my point of view is that it has glazy display.. I have HP 6510b in 14.1" design.. I like more that design and also battery is from different level (more than 3.5 h) but it has not camera in lid and I had to delete that recovery jehoVista partition :) HP: http://hewlettpackard.mironet.cz/hp-6510b--t8300--ke132ea--2gb--160gb--dvdrw-141quot--vibs+dp82940/ ASUS: http://asus.mironet.cz/asus-f3eap367-t8300--2gb--320gb--dvdrw--154quot--bt+dp85291/ there is also priority service certificate in mironet :) ^^^ comparing price/performance this is my winner and one more think consider: the type of display (4:3/16:9). When writting code for example this widescreens are absolutelly useless.. but I have 20" 4:3 desktop LCS :) HOWGH
Just a side note: having my n810, I don't need another ultraportable like ASUS eee or HP 2133. Anyway, I have ordered an ASUS F3E.