Friday, April 10, 2009

10 things to look in a laptop

My PC is now completely redundant and it's that time again to hunt for another one which will be left equally outdated even before I walk out out that store.
So one important question comes to my mind : Desktop or Laptop. If it weren't for a few quirks with laptops, I would never go in for a desktop ever again. So here's my wish list for 10 things to look in a laptop : ( I, of course am looking for a complete desktop replacement laptop with a high degree of functionality, but I guess everyone's requirements change with their need ) 

1. Out with the wide screens
  The only time a windscreen's going to be of any use whatsoever is when I'm watching a movie. But when it comes to coding or doing spreadsheets or during wordprocessing, the more number of lines I can see the better, the width is not really of much relevance. And any time I need more desk-space, I just hook up another screen. Plus its more likely that my presentations are going to be of the 4:3 aspect ratio

2. No more front positioned audio jacks
  Seriously. Why would anyone ever think of something like this? Audio jacks should strictly be on the sides. The one's on the front just add to hindrance whenever I place the laptop on my lap. They also tend to break off the connected jacks easily.

3. No more glossy screens
  Glossy screens are great when I want to watch videos in the dark of the night, but I really like taking my laptop out on the college steps or on the park bench trying to freshen my mind as I trying to get my IE code working in  Firefox or the other way around. But in broad daylight, these screens reflect too much light to be readable.

4. Where are the navigation / pointing sticks?
  About a decade back navigational sticks were the de facto pointing devices in Laptops until they were replaced by the now-prominent touch pads. As cool as they are, they simply cannot provide the precision and speed provided by the humble navigational stick. Plus, I really use like using the middle mouse button. Many people with touch pads buy external mice any ways. On the other hand, I even take my IBM R50e to LAN parties and kick many asses with it, people are even more surprised that I use only the provided navigational stick.

5. I need my Home/End keys
  For some reasons laptop manufacturer's under estimate the Home, End, Insert, Delete and the Page Up/Down keys. I am highly dependent on those keys to navigate my way around my documents. Not only do many manufacturer's decide to move them around at their will, some actually require me to press some key in addition with the Function key to get the job done. ( I'm looking at you ACER ) Also, it's totally uncool to switch the position of the left ctrl key with your function key.

6. Ability to upgrade
  People use desktop PCs for years but laptops become outdated very quickly because they cannot be upgraded. Other than the hard disk, RAM and CD drive, nothing else in a laptop can be changed easily or at all even. We need the ability to upgrade our laptops!!

7. Drivers, drivers, drivers
  Most manufacturers provide drivers only for the OS the laptop shipped with. But I may need to change the OS from Vista to XP. Or I may even need to install Linux. But the driver support for them is non-existent. It would be great if such drivers were made available of the manufacturer's website.

8. Hard disk speed
  Anyone who knows his way around a laptop will tell you that the #1 bottleneck in optimizing the performance of a laptop is the hard disk speed. Until solid state drives reach an affordable price range, we'll just have to keep wishing for faster harddisks. ( In earlier times high noise levels, vibration, heat and power requirements kept laptop makers away from high RPM drives, but newer drives overcome many of those pitfalls)

9. Separate OS Installation Disk
  Many laptops are available only with a certain OS.
May be I don't wan to use windows on your laptop, I will be using Linux instead. I should be provided with a windows installation CD so that I could use it on some other machine , after all I've already paid for the license, why should I waste it?

10. Bigger is better
  Most laptop manufacturers are now aiming towards smaller and smaller screens. Its okay if all you plan to do is give presentations hooking your laptop to a projector. But I don't give presentations on the go, I make presentations on the go and a smaller screen is just a hindrance. I'm not talking 17 or 19 inch screens, but anything smaller than 14 inch just doesn't jig with me.


Chill it..
  Heat!!! The number one enemy. Cooling a laptop is significantly difficult than cooling desktop because of size constraints, but I personally don't mind carrying a *slightly* larger laptop if it means it can cool more efficiently.

That's if from me. Let me know your opinions via comments