Saturday, 26 April 2008

Where are all the good laptops?


I've just bought a new laptop. To date, I'd been using an IBM T43 with Kubuntu 7.10. This has served me well over the last couple of years with my current employer. However, I'm branching out on my own as a software contractor, specialising in eCommerce development. That left me looking for a new laptop. I had a few requirements for this new machine:

  1. It had to have a decent spec. Dual core processor, 200Gb+ Hard Disk, 2Gb+ Memory
  2. It had to be able to run either Linux or OS X
  3. At least a 15" screen
  4. It had to look good. I'll be taking this machine to many client sites over the next few years and using it heavily for personal use, so I want something that performs well and is decent to look at.
At this point, you've probably guessed I ended up buying a MacBook Pro. What's surprising, at least to me, was the complete lack of decent alternatives. Some machines fulfilled two or three of the requirements but none, other than the MacBooks, met all four. For example, the Dell/Ubuntu machines sort of met 1, 2 and 3 but I spent so much time trying to find one that I decided I wouldn't buy a machine from Dell. There's probably another blog post in this but suffice to say their customer service totally sucked. I looked at other machines from companies like ZaReason but just couldn't find anything I liked.

I had no such trouble at Apple. Yes the machines are a bit more expensive but you do get a machine that's desiged with quality in mind. It's all the small details that make the difference, like:
  1. A back-lit keyboard
  2. The feel of the keys and the machine itself. Everything just feels solid.
  3. Gestures on the trackpad
  4. Even the magnetic power connector just snaps magically into place.
I can't figure out why companies like Dell don't just copy the MacBook design and stick a nicely themed version of Ubuntu on it. Market it heavily and sell if for considerably less than a MacBook. Maybe it's just not what they do.

Apple's lastest earning resport would suggest consumers are screaming out for alternatives to Vista. Even Dell plans to continue selling XP after MS stop supporting it.

Anyway, it's Dell's loss. I'm really happy with the MacBook Pro. It's an excellent machine. Now I just need KDE 4.1 to be released so I can use Amarok, and all my other favourite KDE apps on OS X.

1 comment:

Vadi said...

Look into http://www.system76.com/ next time. Their previous serval model, hardware for hardware, same specs, beat the MBP to a pulp - was $700 less.

It's what I'm on right now too.