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Ryan Needs a New Laptop

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. My laptop, I am sad to report, has officially given up the ghost. Those of you familiar with Kleinoscope probably know that I have already performed surgery on it several times to replace a broken power plug:

Open-laptop surgery

Also, the keyboard’s enter key got stuck down, and in my attempts to fix that I broke it, so it kinda flops around and occasionally falls off these days. One battery is dead and the second is close. Most recently, a little bit of dripped water took out the touchpad and started causing instant lockups when moderate pressure was applied to the touchpad area. To add to the excitement, the front panel lights were all cross-wired, so the power light was always on, the hard drive light acted a lot like the power light, and the power light sometimes turned a hue I had never seen before.

So, I decided it was time for surgery again. To the tune of Sportcenter, I pulled out my tools and got to work. I had never opened up the touchpad area of the laptop before, and it was quite interesting. I found an area on the touchpad controller board where some water damage had occurred and attempted to fix it several times. Each time, the problem was not fixed until, finally, the laptop stopped turning on at all. At that point, with laptop disassembled, touchpad gone, enter key dead, batteries low, and wits at end, I decided that it was time for a new laptop.

So now I will ask all of you who dare read this far, for advice on what laptop I should get. My main criteria are:

– Portability. It doesn’t necessarily have to be ultraportable, but I am not going down the 8-pound behemoth desktop replacement pathway again. I guess I would aim for around 4 pounds ideally.
– Battery life. Kleinoscope was a P4. Without the M designation. That means it put out more heat than a toaster oven and drained batteries about as fast as a short circuit. I was not appreciative.
– Ruggedness. I treat my stuff fairly hard sometimes, and I appreciate it when it can keep up.
– Bug-free-ness. My last laptop often had trouble waking up from sleep when plugged in to power. Stuff like that is crap.

Ideally, the laptop would lose the optical drive for more battery space. I don’t mind an external optical drive. I realize this is unlikely to find in anything that’s not imported from Japan. I think I would still prefer XP over Vista at this point. I don’t need gizmos like a camera, but built-in wifi is almost a requirement. I guess that’s all. Thanks in advance for your input.

4 Responses to “Ryan Needs a New Laptop”

  1. Stickman Says:

    Dell and HP are big and heavy, but they’re big names. That means cheaper and good support.

    If you buy from Fry’s, last I heard (my sister bought a laptop there a while ago), you can upgrade once for free within a three year period as soon as the laptop begins to “feel sluggish.” Most places do something like that with the warranty but don’t advertise it like that, where you can turn it in for a replacement, and since they don’t have the old models around they just give you a new one.

    There’s also the Mac models, but Mac tends to be a bit more expensive, and unless you’re familiar with BSD you may be more comfortable with Windows. They DO have some really nice features, though, like the magnetic power plug that pops right out when you trip on it.

    I don’t know much about laptops, but they have some amazingly small, thin, light models out there. You probably want one of those, especially if you’re carrying it around a lot.

  2. Ben Says:

    Mac Book Pros are pretty sweet. You can run Bootcamp or Parallels and run Windows or Linux on it as well. Really the best of all worlds. They also have native bluetooth support so you can transfer files between your cellphone and laptop. Backlit keyboard so you can type in the dark. The keyboard buttons feel a bit weird at first but you get used to it pretty quick. MacBook Pros also work well with most projectors without having to mess around with system settings. And you can install MAMP on your Mac and test websites (with PHP and MySQL support). Yes, Macs seem more expensive. But if you try to spec out a “comparable in features” laptop from standard PC manufacturers, the difference is only about $100.00 or so. If you choose to go with a straight-up Windows running PC, Lenovo’s ThinkPads generally rank high up on customer satisfaction charts. Kaylee has a Lenovo 3000 N100. She says it doesn’t wake up from sleep very well and she doesn’t like the glossy screen – she prefers the matte screen. She also had a minor issue with the battery, which Lenovo quickly replaced – excellent customer service. But otherwise it’s a good computer. However both the MacBook Pro and Lenovo are standard laptops (5 pounds, 3-5 hours of battery life, optical drives, etc.). Anyway, here’s wishing you the best in your next laptop purchase.

  3. Scott Says:

    Dan seems to really, really like his lenovo, you might talk to him. It seems to fit most of your reqs with the exception of the dual batteries.

  4. dc Says:

    DoD has a contract with Panasonic – toughbook C-74 and higher are ultraportable, have incredible battery life, and can stop 117 grams of lead.

    Well maybe that last bullet (hah) doesn’t really apply, but they can be dropped from maybe 10-12ft onto a zodiac and survive.

    The design leaves something to be desired, but the tablet/touchscreen is very fun.

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