Unshelved comic strip for 9/12/2007

Ultraportable Again

Longtime readers of this blog have followed (with varying level of interest) my saga to find The Perfect Laptop. This is partly an exploration of an ever-changing market, partly of my ever-changing needs (and boy, am I ever needy). Over the last five years I've gone through:

  • An aging Dell Latitude, which wasn't able to run Visual Studio. So I gave it to my dad and tried a
  • Fujitsu P5010D, which I liked but I wasn't ready to have a laptop and a desktop, and it wasn't able to be both. So I returned it. A year later I started doing talks and I needed a laptop for PowerPoint, so I bought a
  • Toshiba M200 tablet, but I didn't like the screen, it was too awkward for drawing the strip, and wasn't portable enough for my high standards, so I sold it on eBay and got a
  • Fujitsu P7010D, which I loved and used happily for several years. It was fast enough for Visual Studio and was incredibly portable, with a dynamite screen. But it started dying and so my day job got me a
  • Asus R1F tablet. But the battery life was so so, the screen was large and clear but no higher-resolution than my Fuji, which annoyed me, and the Vista integration wasn't very good. So I gave it to a less picky coworker and got a
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Z61t because everyone else in my group had Lenovos. I loved the keyboard and the solidness of it, and the high-res screen, and it was fast, but the Vista integration was still lacking (it wouldn't reliably sleep, which is a dealbreaker for a laptop) and it was just bigger and heavier than I liked. So I retired it for use as a demo machine and got a
  • Fujitsu T2010 tablet.

Whew! I'm glad I didn't have to pay for my last three laptops, a good reason to keep this job. The main reason I went through so many (aside from my inherant pickiness) is that there's no way to try these things in person first. In the old days we had "stores" that one could go to, but the laptops I like are higher-end and not available at the local Best Buy or whatever.

As for the Fuji, so far I really like it. At 3.5 pounds it's as light as my previous, smaller Fuji, and it's just as big and no bigger than it needs to be. It's got a super bright LED-lit screen, long battery life (looks like 5 hours on the regular battery, maybe 7 on the extended), and it's just as big as it needs to be. I don't know if I'll use the tablet-ness that much, but I like the swiveliness of the screen (helpful for sharing information on-screen with, for instance, cowriters). It's running a 1.2ghz ULV Core 2 Duo, which should seem slower than the 2.13ghz version in my Lenovo, but it actually seems faster. This may be because it's got more memory (4GB) and a newer, faster bus. And it has a crucial feature for an ultraportable - a fast 2.5" 7200rpm laptop drive. Perhaps most importantly, this is the first laptop that seems to run Vista just right. Vista ain't perfect, but I do like it more than XP, and I'd miss it if I had to go back.

I continue to think the next laptop I buy will be the rumored ultraportable MacBook, but my new Fuji has given Vista a new lease on life in my book and, who knows, maybe I'll use the tablet features to do some drawing on the road.

This Unshelved strip

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