27 votes

The laptop market is in an atrocious state

73 comments

  1. [23]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    I'm inclined to agree, to be honest. And for anyone who is going to comment here, you should take note that Drew isn't saying that every laptop needs to be an accessible, modular monster like the...

    I'm inclined to agree, to be honest.

    And for anyone who is going to comment here, you should take note that Drew isn't saying that every laptop needs to be an accessible, modular monster like the old ThinkPads were.

    Instead, Drew is lamenting that such devices no longer exist. Laptops have moved closer to mobile phones and further away from desktops in their design.

    Like phones, their design is becoming more and more a statement of fashion, and less that of a versatile tool, and that impacts how we can use them.

    27 votes
    1. [9]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I am a developer, so I tend to consider laptops through the lens of "could I effectively work from this machine", but I do also consider how other people could use a particular piece of hardware....

      I am a developer, so I tend to consider laptops through the lens of "could I effectively work from this machine", but I do also consider how other people could use a particular piece of hardware.

      Here are some good options for laptops:

      System 76 makes very good laptops at a relatively good price, as long as we remember that quality costs money. Linux support is absolutely first rate, build quality is fantastic. These are obviously not a fashion accessory, being fairly ugly.

      MacBook Pros are fantastic laptops for developers, but if the price tag is too steep, the current and last generation of MacBook Airs are very good alternatives, though you lose a significant amount of power. Again, you pay a premium for a good laptop, but aside from some keyboard kerfluffles in the last generation, MBP and MBA are both fantastic laptops. Both of these have a lovely form factor and are often thought of as a fashion statement, but I would strenuously argue against that. They're versatile tools, and they have perhaps the best build quality of any machine on the market.

      The Surface Book 2 is a very good laptop (note, I'm not talking about the Surface, but specifically the Surface Book). They're a good all around workhorse machine for people who want to have something that they can use in a variety of ways. I've known developers, professors, product managers, and casual users who have Surface books and have had their needs met 100% by the surface book. They're great machines. They do have a fantastic form factor (dat hinge), but the function is very good as well, though the build quality is not quite as good as a MacBook. These are certainly not just a fashion statement.

      Asus has a lot of good ZenBooks available; the upper end of the ZenBooks are fantastic machines that last a long time. They're a bit more open to being hackable as well; replacing Windows with Linux is easy and has good to great support. In my experience, they tend to have good build quality as well. These are not fashion statements; they just look like normal laptops.

      ThinkPads are mostly in a very good spot right now. They have not had a noticeable decline in quality from the old school ThinkPad that is talked about in this article. Battery life has improved significantly. They're still ugly as hell, and they have the same 'feels cheap, but continues to work for a long time' build quality.

      Those are just laptops I could think of off the top of my head that are good and interesting

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        krg
        Link Parent
        I've mentioned this laptop a few times here already, so I hope I don't come off as a shill, but... I'd add the Dell line of Latitudes to that list. I'm using a Latitude 7490 and it's been working...

        I've mentioned this laptop a few times here already, so I hope I don't come off as a shill, but...

        I'd add the Dell line of Latitudes to that list. I'm using a Latitude 7490 and it's been working quite well with my Linux setup. Good specs, good build quality, good repairability, good port selection, and can be had on the used market for pretty damn cheap. Or, even, through Dell's outlet with a 3 year warranty, to boot!

        Shit...Dell should be paying me...

        6 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          I had a Latitude 660 (no I didn't forget a digit, it was a while ago) and it was a great computer. It was easy to install Linux on, everything worked, and it was modular enough to repair. My...

          I had a Latitude 660 (no I didn't forget a digit, it was a while ago) and it was a great computer. It was easy to install Linux on, everything worked, and it was modular enough to repair. My information is way out of date, but I still have good feelings about Dell just based on that laptop alone, so it's not surprising to me to see people add Latitudes to the list of interesting laptops on the market.

          3 votes
      2. [6]
        Shahriar
        Link Parent
        Would you recommend System 76 as a primary laptop brand over Apple's MacBook? Been looking into a new laptop and I'm waiting on Ryzen's 4000 series mainly. The odds of Apple going with Ryzen over...

        System 76 makes very good laptops at a relatively good price, as long as we remember that quality costs money. Linux support is absolutely first rate, build quality is fantastic. These are obviously not a fashion accessory, being fairly ugly.

        Would you recommend System 76 as a primary laptop brand over Apple's MacBook?

        Been looking into a new laptop and I'm waiting on Ryzen's 4000 series mainly. The odds of Apple going with Ryzen over Ice Lake seems slim to none.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          aphoenix
          Link Parent
          When making this decision most recently, I chose a MacBook, but that's at least partially because of my desire to run OSX. If you don't want OSX, then a system 76 is a great machine and cuts the...

          When making this decision most recently, I chose a MacBook, but that's at least partially because of my desire to run OSX. If you don't want OSX, then a system 76 is a great machine and cuts the cost significantly.

          I hate answering a question with a questions, but what are you using your laptop for, and how important is it for you to run Linux?

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Shahriar
            Link Parent
            Primarily software development, currently a student. Linux isn't important to me, but I wouldn't mind, especially on a laptop. Linux would be much easier to run on the hardware and having native...

            I hate answering a question with a questions, but what are you using your laptop for, and how important is it for you to run Linux?

            Primarily software development, currently a student. Linux isn't important to me, but I wouldn't mind, especially on a laptop. Linux would be much easier to run on the hardware and having native support for Pop!_OS pushes that even further. I'm already more than familiar with the inner workings of Linux, especially headless, for all my projects I've worked on over the past years.

            How is the material feel for their laptops? One thing that always seems to keep pushing me to MacBooks is the aluminum chassis and quality control - aside from the keyboard hiccups.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              aphoenix
              Link Parent
              In my opinion, MacBooks in all ways of form feel like a superior laptop to System76, but the S76 ones are still very good. They're not as loose and cheap feeling as Thinkpads. If you want that...

              In my opinion, MacBooks in all ways of form feel like a superior laptop to System76, but the S76 ones are still very good. They're not as loose and cheap feeling as Thinkpads. If you want that feel that a MacBook has, it's difficult to match; a Surface Book feels really good in the hands, and could be a good bet, but you are then in Windows 100%.

              If I were in your shoes, I'd be considering a Darter Pro or similar in the S76 lineup. It's around the $1K mark (so about 33 - 50% of the cost of a MBP or a Surface Book) and it'll be durable, boot what you want to boot, and last you for a good long time.

              3 votes
              1. Shahriar
                Link Parent
                This is a key comment for me. I love ThinkPads, but they materially don't feel like quality to me, despite how versatile they can be. Surface Books are more expensive than MacBooks for me here if...

                They're not as loose and cheap feeling as Thinkpads.

                This is a key comment for me. I love ThinkPads, but they materially don't feel like quality to me, despite how versatile they can be. Surface Books are more expensive than MacBooks for me here if I buy them brand new from Microsoft, that's including my student discounts!

                Thank you for your comments, I'll look into System76 as a good alternative to MacBooks.

                2 votes
        2. frostycakes
          Link Parent
          Although given AMD's willingness to do a semi-custom Ryzen design for Microsoft and the Surface Pro, I could see Apple moving over for a semi-custom design, since I doubt Intel will let any of...

          Although given AMD's willingness to do a semi-custom Ryzen design for Microsoft and the Surface Pro, I could see Apple moving over for a semi-custom design, since I doubt Intel will let any of their customers touch anything about their chip designs.

    2. [7]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      The fashionability part is something I blame on Apple. Apple's aesthetic laptop designs created the so-called "ultrabook" category, and all the drawbacks of ultrabooks have been trickling down to...

      The fashionability part is something I blame on Apple. Apple's aesthetic laptop designs created the so-called "ultrabook" category, and all the drawbacks of ultrabooks have been trickling down to everything else. It makes sense to have permanently soldered memory if you are trying to make the thinnest laptop possible, but it doesn't make sense to do that on a 1"+ big boy.

      But honestly, the biggest problem with laptops is that they are just made too cheaply. That's the real reason why we're seeing poor serviceability and flimsy construction. But I don't know if this can be entirely blamed on the manufacturers, because they are typically just providing whatever the market wants. When I look at mid-range laptops, I notice that the price they are asking for seems to be pretty close to what I would expect for a similar desktop build except that they also come with an expensive screen and batteries built into them.

      With that being said, the only real market for laptops built around serviceability are businesses who are willing to take care of the devices instead of tossing them out whenever something goes wrong. But from what I have noticed, businesses are frequently equipping their forces with tablets - either iPads or Surfaces. Businesses are largely already invested in server-side processes, and buying inexpensive and lightweight clients makes more sense in that environment.

      It should also be noted that there is still a small market for sturdy, serviceable hardware. Panasonic still makes Toughbooks. And they are at least as expensive as you would expect.

      14 votes
      1. [6]
        vegai
        Link Parent
        I don't think anyone's forced to copy their designs. Why would you blame them for it?

        The fashionability part is something I blame on Apple.

        I don't think anyone's forced to copy their designs. Why would you blame them for it?

        1 vote
        1. [5]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          I'm not accusing anyone of copying their designs (though there are many examples of this happening). I am saying that Apple started the trend of making laptops fashionable. Especially in regards...

          I'm not accusing anyone of copying their designs (though there are many examples of this happening). I am saying that Apple started the trend of making laptops fashionable. Especially in regards to making them light and thin, as with the MacBook Air.

          Though to be fair, a lot of the blame for the Ultrabook craze should probably go to Intel as well. IIRC their advertising campaigns were fanning the flames, and I think they actually invented the term.

          8 votes
          1. babypuncher
            Link Parent
            The only people to blame are consumers, not manufacturers. Clearly there is far more appetite for these thin and light notebooks than for big chonky laptops.

            The only people to blame are consumers, not manufacturers. Clearly there is far more appetite for these thin and light notebooks than for big chonky laptops.

            1 vote
          2. [3]
            martini1992
            Link Parent
            From what I heard they invented the ultrabook "platform" to control and crush the netbook market which they probably foresaw would move away from Intel processors. But then Google invented the...

            From what I heard they invented the ultrabook "platform" to control and crush the netbook market which they probably foresaw would move away from Intel processors. But then Google invented the Chromebook and used ARM processors heavily, though Intel's platform still has the greater market share.

            1. [2]
              Akir
              Link Parent
              Ultrabooks have always been high end expensive machines, whereas netbooks were always tiny cheap things barely fast enough to run a web browser. They served different markets. Don't even get me...

              Ultrabooks have always been high end expensive machines, whereas netbooks were always tiny cheap things barely fast enough to run a web browser. They served different markets.

              Don't even get me started on Chromebooks.

              1. martini1992
                Link Parent
                As netbooks matured they got more expensive and more powerful, they became quite nice machines, an Asus EeePC 1215N dual booting Win 7 and Ubuntu got me through a 3 year Computer Science course at...

                As netbooks matured they got more expensive and more powerful, they became quite nice machines, an Asus EeePC 1215N dual booting Win 7 and Ubuntu got me through a 3 year Computer Science course at university.

    3. [6]
      arp242
      Link Parent
      ThinkPads still exist. They're really not all that different from the old ones.

      And for anyone who is going to comment here, you should take note that Drew isn't saying that every laptop needs to be an accessible, modular monster like the old ThinkPads were.

      ThinkPads still exist. They're really not all that different from the old ones.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        Thinkpads today are better than most other modern laptops, but they aren't as well built as they were 10 years ago. I'm happy with my T430 but wouldn't bother with anything newer. Granted, I'm no...

        Thinkpads today are better than most other modern laptops, but they aren't as well built as they were 10 years ago.

        I'm happy with my T430 but wouldn't bother with anything newer. Granted, I'm no tech reviewer so I can't tell you all of their flaws. But every time I check them out at a brick and mortar store they feel flimsy in comparison. The keyboards are worse and the screen options are still bad. They were bad on the T430 and haven't improved.

        12 votes
        1. [2]
          arp242
          Link Parent
          Honestly I don't really see much of a difference. Sure, some features are different (keyboard style, backlight vs. ThinkLight, etc.) but those seem fairly minor details. Keyboard isn't really...

          Honestly I don't really see much of a difference. Sure, some features are different (keyboard style, backlight vs. ThinkLight, etc.) but those seem fairly minor details. Keyboard isn't really worse than my T61 in my experience, but okay.

          People have been complaining that "ThinkPads today aren't what they used to be a few years ago" for as long as I remember; when the T400 series was introduced everyone was saying how bad the keyboard was, but really, it wasn't so bad.

          The screens depend a lot on the configurations; some come with terrible screens, others with fairly decent ones.

          6 votes
          1. babypuncher
            Link Parent
            Slightly off topic but I am continually shocked at how many $1500+ laptops still ship with low resolution TN panels, ThinkPads included. You can often get better looking screens on $500 budget...

            Slightly off topic but I am continually shocked at how many $1500+ laptops still ship with low resolution TN panels, ThinkPads included. You can often get better looking screens on $500 budget laptops.

            2 votes
      2. [2]
        calm_bomb
        Link Parent
        Thinkpads lately come with shitty displays - just check r/thinkpad to see how many people complain. I can attest to this having received a new T480 late last year at the job instead of an older...

        Thinkpads lately come with shitty displays - just check r/thinkpad to see how many people complain. I can attest to this having received a new T480 late last year at the job instead of an older W540 (which I bought from the company and use it as my personal computer) which had a much better display.

        Also, they had a period when they shipped them with a new model of trackpad - called by people clunkpad - which just sucked. A lot of people (myself included) bought older model trackpads and replaced them.

        Non-modularity is now a problem: less and less modular components can be upgraded. Also, business models don't even get extended batteries (T490 is one of the models).

        And so on...

        5 votes
        1. TheJorro
          Link Parent
          If display quality is a priority, your workplace should have replaced the W-series with a P-series, not a T-series model. The T-series is the basic business laptop, not the workstation.

          If display quality is a priority, your workplace should have replaced the W-series with a P-series, not a T-series model. The T-series is the basic business laptop, not the workstation.

          2 votes
  2. [21]
    emdash
    Link
    We are? Minus the terrible keyboards which are now being phased out, MacBooks are pretty gosh darn awesome given what they do—price notwithstanding. I'm just surprised that in 2020, a non-MacBook...

    Speaking of Macbooks, even Apple fanboys are fed up with them these days.

    We are? Minus the terrible keyboards which are now being phased out, MacBooks are pretty gosh darn awesome given what they do—price notwithstanding. I'm just surprised that in 2020, a non-MacBook laptop has yet to replicate the trackpad experience MacBooks had 20 freaking years ago. They're all so awful.

    17 votes
    1. [9]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I love my MacBook. I was not in love with it for a while with keyboard problems, but they fixed it. It's one of the best computers I have ever owned. I take everything Drew DeVault writes with a...

      I love my MacBook. I was not in love with it for a while with keyboard problems, but they fixed it. It's one of the best computers I have ever owned.

      I take everything Drew DeVault writes with a big shaker o' salt. He is not very good at seeing that other ways to do things exist, or that other people have other opinions, and those opinions could be valid. For example, I really wanted to be into sr.ht, but the workflow doesn't work for me; when it was suggested that it might be worthwhile to consider an alternative to the email patching model for some users, he made it very obvious what he thought of that (alternatives to email patches are stupid and stupid people use them is the TL;DR).

      I will freely admit that I may have an ungenerous remembrance of that ephemeral conversation and have no link to it.

      He also has a tendency to state things very strongly that he does not strongly believe. He unabashedly told me that I was a bad coder once because I have a MacBook Pro, and that it's only through having a crappy laptop that one can actually write good software that runs everywhere, so it's not really that strange that he doesn't like any current laptops.

      I'm not trying to thrash on the guy; sourcehut is awesome, and he writes a lot of great stuff, but I don't think that his comments on the state of hardware are reasonable or interesting.

      25 votes
      1. [6]
        Deimos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, and I think it's important to recognize that the things Drew cares about for hardware are extremely different from what a "typical" user is looking for. A good demonstration is his post...

        Yeah, and I think it's important to recognize that the things Drew cares about for hardware are extremely different from what a "typical" user is looking for. A good demonstration is his post about the PinePhone from a couple of months ago.

        This is a phone that, from his post, shipped in a state where it was unable to successfully boot up, can only make phone calls by typing a long command into the terminal (and when receiving a call, audio doesn't work), and needed him to start writing custom software to do basic tasks. He loves it, even though for most of us—even technical people—it's effectively non-functional.

        His taste is very much based on ideology, with almost no connection to usability or practicality. He acknowledges that pretty explicitly in the PinePhone post, but not really in this laptop one.

        23 votes
        1. [5]
          aphoenix
          Link Parent
          This is such a great insight into Drew's mindset on things. At the point of review, it would be unfair to even call the PinePhone an actual phone, and yet it is the single greatest phone ever as...

          This is such a great insight into Drew's mindset on things. At the point of review, it would be unfair to even call the PinePhone an actual phone, and yet it is the single greatest phone ever as far as Drew is concerned.

          Similarly with laptops, Drew wants to have something that is:

          • easy to work on from a hardware standpoint - for him not in general for everyone
          • easy to work on from a software standpoint - for him not in general for everyone
          • has as much Free software in it as possible (ie - 100% or as close to it as can be done)
          • is very cheap (Systems 76 would otherwise fill his requirements, but $900 for a laptop is 2x to 3x too expensive as per this article)
          • does not have good specs (this is an actual requirement for him - bad specs make good programmers)

          The list of expectations for a laptop are so egregiously out of line with what any other human wants that this article is worse than useless.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            krg
            Link Parent
            Considering his audience, I wouldn't go as far as saying it's "worse than useless", though he's mostly preaching to the choir. Anyway, it's an opinion piece, so...yea, when you read "laptops suck...

            The list of expectations for a laptop are so egregiously out of line with what any other human wants that this article is worse than useless.

            Considering his audience, I wouldn't go as far as saying it's "worse than useless", though he's mostly preaching to the choir. Anyway, it's an opinion piece, so...yea, when you read "laptops suck these days!" I imagine there's a "(for me)" addendum implied.

            7 votes
            1. aphoenix
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Drew does not mince words. He says all laptops are terrible and that people who like them are merely pretending to like them, because there's no way people could actually like laptops that Drew...

              It has since come to my attention that in 2020, every laptop still fucking sucks. Even the ones people pretend to like have crippling, egregious flaws.

              Drew does not mince words. He says all laptops are terrible and that people who like them are merely pretending to like them, because there's no way people could actually like laptops that Drew has decided are terrible, right? He also states that the people who work at the companies producing these laptops should actually be ashamed of themselves because Drew doesn't like their laptops.

              Drew also does not write "for me" in opinion pieces. He makes a statement about How Things Are and they are necessarily correct because he said them.

              I guess I am getting caught up in ragging on him, as I said that I didn't want to do. In case it's not obvious, I don't have a good opinion of Drew personally. While I can appreciate that he makes interesting things, I think he's obnoxious, opinionated, frequently wrong, and a bit dishonest. I'd urge anyone reading anything he writes to either take it with a grain of salt, or to just... not read things he's written. He is not making any really interesting pronouncements, and his ideas about the state of technology are not, in my opinion useful or interesting.

              If he's preaching to the choir, then I am worried about there being a choir for this sort of thing.

              12 votes
          2. system
            Link Parent
            TIL my grandfather is an expert programmer, even if he needs me to turn the computer on.

            bad specs make good programmers)

            TIL my grandfather is an expert programmer, even if he needs me to turn the computer on.

            3 votes
          3. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            ¯\_ツ_/¯ I guess I'll start coding then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            does not have good specs (this is an actual requirement for him - bad specs make good programmers)

            ¯\_ツ_/¯

            I guess I'll start coding then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            1 vote
      2. [2]
        rmgr
        Link Parent
        The dude is undeniably very smart and very switched on but God DAMN is he an opinionated arsehole sometimes

        The dude is undeniably very smart and very switched on but God DAMN is he an opinionated arsehole sometimes

        9 votes
        1. arp242
          Link Parent
          There is nothing wrong with opinionated – I'm opinionated as hell myself – there's a problem when all you can see is One True Way™ and are completely dismissive of any other views, often in rather...

          There is nothing wrong with opinionated – I'm opinionated as hell myself – there's a problem when all you can see is One True Way™ and are completely dismissive of any other views, often in rather harsh wording.

          This post was apparently prompted by Drew not being able to install Linux on a Dell XPS. I get the frustration, but do people really need to be "strung up" for this? I get this is a joke, but sjeez man, get a grip.

          We all have our bad days and if it was just one article: okay fine, but every other thing I see from Drew is like this: "everyone is sending emails wrong", "if you don't distribute software like this you're bloody stupid", "all languages are full of crap and junk", "you shouldn't care about non-free software", etc. etc. etc.

          I have some sympathy for the underlying point in this article, but I have little good to say about this article. At least the poster here had the foresight to post it here under a different title.

          14 votes
    2. [8]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      Link Parent
      Other than price and keyboard, the only thing I’m not super excited about with the new MacBooks is I heard they use zsh by default. Other than that my experience using a Mac has been leaps and...

      Other than price and keyboard, the only thing I’m not super excited about with the new MacBooks is I heard they use zsh by default. Other than that my experience using a Mac has been leaps and bounds better than using windows

      2 votes
      1. [6]
        aphoenix
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        What worry do you have about zsh? I found the switch painless. I did it quite a while ago, but I think it took my about 1 hour to feel at home, and that's after 20 years of bash. Editing for tone:...

        What worry do you have about zsh? I found the switch painless. I did it quite a while ago, but I think it took my about 1 hour to feel at home, and that's after 20 years of bash.

        Editing for tone: I'm excited to convince you to give zsh a try, but also interested in any difficulties that you've come across; generally just interested in a discussion on the matter!

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          Micycle_the_Bichael
          Link Parent
          Basically its that I'm (a) lazy and (b) forgetful. I spend 50% of my time working on my machine and 50% of the time I'm working on a random centos server in one of my company's data centers that...

          Basically its that I'm (a) lazy and (b) forgetful. I spend 50% of my time working on my machine and 50% of the time I'm working on a random centos server in one of my company's data centers that won't have zsh installed. So I'll just be working along and then commands/shortcuts I get use to in zsh wont work and I'll get mad and then I'll realize its because I'm dumb and forgot I'm working on a centos box. That's really it.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            aphoenix
            Link Parent
            I love zsh, and I don't think I've found myself getting having any problems with any shell on other machines, but I may have trained myself to be used to differences by having a fairly modified...

            I love zsh, and I don't think I've found myself getting having any problems with any shell on other machines, but I may have trained myself to be used to differences by having a fairly modified bashrc for many years. If you don't do much customization with your shell, I honestly think you won't have many issues just switching cold turkey; for me, it mostly just took a bit of time for customization, and it as almost no time at all until it felt like home.

            But to each their own; I think you can always choose to use bash instead of zsh through configuration on Macs.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              Micycle_the_Bichael
              Link Parent
              My bashrc is some a sox-proxy-helper func and then a handful of aliases :P definitely not very complicated.

              My bashrc is some a sox-proxy-helper func and then a handful of aliases :P definitely not very complicated.

              1 vote
              1. aphoenix
                Link Parent
                The switch may be painless then! Or it might be worse? It would certainly be prettier though. ;)

                The switch may be painless then! Or it might be worse? It would certainly be prettier though. ;)

                1 vote
          2. onyxleopard
            Link Parent
            I was worried, like you, about switching to zsh, but I bit the bullet and did it, and I haven’t regretted it so far. Granted, it’s quite easy to switch back to bash if you want. If you do switch...

            I was worried, like you, about switching to zsh, but I bit the bullet and did it, and I haven’t regretted it so far. Granted, it’s quite easy to switch back to bash if you want. If you do switch your default shell back tobash, I’d recommend switching to an up to date version (macOS was stuck on a really old bash due to licensing issues, which was part of the reason for the switch to zsh as the default, IIRC).

            1 vote
      2. emdash
        Link Parent
        zsh is default on 10.15, but bash is still there if you need it.

        zsh is default on 10.15, but bash is still there if you need it.

        5 votes
    3. [2]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      Patents, maybe?

      I'm just surprised that in 2020, a non-MacBook laptop has yet to replicate the trackpad experience MacBooks had 20 freaking years ago. They're all so awful.

      Patents, maybe?

      2 votes
      1. emdash
        Link Parent
        Don't think so. Seems like a scapegoat. The multitouch technology Apple developed for iPhone in the 2000's was heavily copied within a couple of years by Android competitors—I think the lack of...

        Don't think so. Seems like a scapegoat. The multitouch technology Apple developed for iPhone in the 2000's was heavily copied within a couple of years by Android competitors—I think the lack of quality in non-MacBook trackpads is sheer laziness on the part of the manufacturers.

        1 vote
    4. NoblePath
      Link Parent
      Well, I’m fed up. Just got a new 13 mbp, and it has worse battery life and runs way warmer to the touch than my 2012 mbp retina. Also, none of the tasks I do, including acrobat pro driven ocr and...

      Well, I’m fed up. Just got a new 13 mbp, and it has worse battery life and runs way warmer to the touch than my 2012 mbp retina. Also, none of the tasks I do, including acrobat pro driven ocr and boot up, are at all faster. Very disappointed. Love the touchbar, though, and that display is real easy on the eyes.

  3. [8]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    The phone market is even worse. I'm looking to upgrade from a Pixel 1 XL but everyone seems to just make things worse and more expensive than they used to.

    The phone market is even worse. I'm looking to upgrade from a Pixel 1 XL but everyone seems to just make things worse and more expensive than they used to.

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      TurdFerguson
      Link Parent
      I'm hoping for the Pixel 4a to be announced in May, but an XL variant is rumored not to be included. I have a Pixel 2 now and don't need a huge upgrade to the top tier. Have you looked at the 3a XL?

      I'm hoping for the Pixel 4a to be announced in May, but an XL variant is rumored not to be included. I have a Pixel 2 now and don't need a huge upgrade to the top tier.

      Have you looked at the 3a XL?

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        The 3A XL is my top choice, but it's actually less water resistant than my Pixel 1. It also only goes up to 64 GB and has no MicroSD slot. My Pixel 1 has 128 GB and it seems insane to have to go...

        The 3A XL is my top choice, but it's actually less water resistant than my Pixel 1. It also only goes up to 64 GB and has no MicroSD slot. My Pixel 1 has 128 GB and it seems insane to have to go backwards. I'd gladly pay an extra few dollars to get the same amount of storage that I have now.

        Given how many manufacturers are producing Android phones I would have thought there'd be something with my desired features but there's a massive gap in the market.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          TurdFerguson
          Link Parent
          Good point on storage, I didn't realize that. It is completely bonkers that storage is dirt cheap these days and yet we still have to pay another $100 for another 64 GB or no option at all like...

          Good point on storage, I didn't realize that. It is completely bonkers that storage is dirt cheap these days and yet we still have to pay another $100 for another 64 GB or no option at all like you're saying.

          Problem is, it's in Apple and Google's best interest to offer low storage so we buy their cloud solutions.

          3 votes
          1. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            Or so I break down and get the flagship model.

            Or so I break down and get the flagship model.

            1 vote
        2. [2]
          wundumguy
          Link Parent
          By that logic, would you pay an extra few dollars per year to store your photos/videos in Google Photos? That's what takes up the bulk of my space, and I don't mind clearing it from my local...

          I'd gladly pay an extra few dollars to get the same amount of storage that I have now.

          By that logic, would you pay an extra few dollars per year to store your photos/videos in Google Photos? That's what takes up the bulk of my space, and I don't mind clearing it from my local device every now and then to make space (which I rarely do)

          1. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            No. I need to storage for when I don't have an internet connection.

            No. I need to storage for when I don't have an internet connection.

            2 votes
    2. Ember
      Link Parent
      The S10e seems really good in the Android side of things. Expandable storage, headphone jack, OLED display, IP68, edge-to-edge display, wireless charging, & decent price point compared to other...

      The S10e seems really good in the Android side of things. Expandable storage, headphone jack, OLED display, IP68, edge-to-edge display, wireless charging, & decent price point compared to other flagships. You'll have to deal with the Samsung skin over everything, but the nice thing about Android is the freedom to cut a lot of that out.

      1 vote
  4. [4]
    weystrom
    (edited )
    Link
    I really enjoy using my Macbook Pro 13" from 2015. I'm yet to find a replacement for it. Hidpi screen, great touchpad, decent (albeit somewhat shallow) keyboard, awesome build quality. Love or...

    I really enjoy using my Macbook Pro 13" from 2015. I'm yet to find a replacement for it. Hidpi screen, great touchpad, decent (albeit somewhat shallow) keyboard, awesome build quality. Love or hate MacOS, but it certainly works and looks (don't even start me on Linux font rendering) better than Linux as a daily desktop OS, while providing necessary unix tools for my day-to-day operations.

    None of the other laptops I've tried offer such a solid experience, there's always a compromise.

    As for upgradeability, people make such a big deal of it, but at the end of the day, you're more likely to be bottlenecked by the CPU in 5 years, rather than the storage or RAM, and you can't really upgrade it in any of the non-gaming laptops. Spec out 16 gigs of RAM and 512G-1TB of SSD today and you should be covered until the next cycle.

    The only thing I'd like Apple to be more friendly about is battery replacement, but even the glued battery was possible to replace with some elbow grease and a piece of dental floss.

    6 votes
    1. system
      Link Parent
      Apple should have a revamped 13" (possibly 14") MBP with the new keyboard, narrow bezels, and other goodies from the 16" coming out either at the spring announcement or WWDC. FWIW, my late 2013...

      Apple should have a revamped 13" (possibly 14") MBP with the new keyboard, narrow bezels, and other goodies from the 16" coming out either at the spring announcement or WWDC. FWIW, my late 2013 15" rMBP has yet to fail at any task I've thrown at it.

      3 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      That may have been true about 15 years ago, but Intel has not made huge advances on their CPUs since Sandy Bridge in 2011, and it's only now that AMD has released Ryzen that there has been a big...

      As for upgradeability, people make such a big deal of it, but at the end of the day, you're more likely to be bottlenecked by the CPU in 5 years [...].

      That may have been true about 15 years ago, but Intel has not made huge advances on their CPUs since Sandy Bridge in 2011, and it's only now that AMD has released Ryzen that there has been a big bump in CPU performance.

      But to your credit, newer CPUs would be needed to support M.2, Thunderbolt, or DDR4 RAM, so if you are in the relative minority who needs a high-performance laptop, you would still be right, just for a slightly different reason.

      2 votes
      1. weystrom
        Link Parent
        I would agree with you if modern web apps weren't so heavy. My 5 year old dualcore is really chugging when I open multiple Google docs, Slack is also heavy, screen sharing in WebEx or Google Meet...

        so if you are in the relative minority who needs a high-performance laptop

        I would agree with you if modern web apps weren't so heavy. My 5 year old dualcore is really chugging when I open multiple Google docs, Slack is also heavy, screen sharing in WebEx or Google Meet spins the fans to the max. I could go on.

        And Intel did double the cores (even triple, in case of 10710u) in their mobile processors since 2015, so I expect a meaningful upgrade when I pick a laptop this year, be it a Ryzen or an Ice Lake system.

        3 votes
  5. [12]
    TurdFerguson
    Link
    I don't know what he's talking about with most of his points. What "firmware" on the XPS is he talking about? Also what's wrong with Purism? I was pretty excited about their products. As a...

    I don't know what he's talking about with most of his points. What "firmware" on the XPS is he talking about?

    Also what's wrong with Purism? I was pretty excited about their products.

    As a non-developer, I am frustrated that in 2020 there are still laptops being sold with 1080p resolution, HDDs, 4 GB of RAM that still cost an arm and a leg, and if they don't they're shoddy, buggy and probably come with a rootkit.

    5 votes
    1. [6]
      frostycakes
      Link Parent
      Shit, I've seen multie laptops for sale with 1366x768 screens still. In what world is that an acceptable resolution in 2020? It blows the mind.

      Shit, I've seen multie laptops for sale with 1366x768 screens still. In what world is that an acceptable resolution in 2020? It blows the mind.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        That's actually still the most common resolution in use overall: https://gs.statcounter.com/screen-resolution-stats/desktop/worldwide 23% over the last year, with 1920x1080 at 21%.

        That's actually still the most common resolution in use overall: https://gs.statcounter.com/screen-resolution-stats/desktop/worldwide

        23% over the last year, with 1920x1080 at 21%.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          system
          Link Parent
          screams internally

          23% over the last year, with 1920x1080 at 21%.

          screams internally

          1. Deimos
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I see that you just registered, so: please try not to post completely substance-less "reaction" comments like this and your first comment. They add nothing to a discussion except clutter.

            I see that you just registered, so: please try not to post completely substance-less "reaction" comments like this and your first comment. They add nothing to a discussion except clutter.

            12 votes
      2. [2]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        If the screen had higher resolution, you wouldn't be able read anything because UI scaling isn't a thing. In all seriousness, though, good screens are expensive and laptops tend to be sold for...

        If the screen had higher resolution, you wouldn't be able read anything because UI scaling isn't a thing.

        In all seriousness, though, good screens are expensive and laptops tend to be sold for very thin margins. That's why they're still doing stupid things like using HDDs instead of SSDs still (on the low-end market) - big numbers make them seem like they're worth more.

        1 vote
        1. TurdFerguson
          Link Parent
          Actually UI scaling is still pretty awful, at least in the Windows world. Especially if you dock to a monitor with lower DPI... That said, I would take a high res display any day even with the quirks.

          Actually UI scaling is still pretty awful, at least in the Windows world. Especially if you dock to a monitor with lower DPI...

          That said, I would take a high res display any day even with the quirks.

          1 vote
    2. Wes
      Link Parent
      Also disk trays. I haven't used one in my desktop for 5+ years. I definitely don't need one in a laptop.

      Also disk trays. I haven't used one in my desktop for 5+ years. I definitely don't need one in a laptop.

      2 votes
    3. [4]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I can't tell you anything about any particular models, but my Inspiron I bought a while back had a number of firmware bugs that prevented Linux from booting without some work-arounds. It also...

      I can't tell you anything about any particular models, but my Inspiron I bought a while back had a number of firmware bugs that prevented Linux from booting without some work-arounds. It also seems to have an issue with text-based graphics modes; it only seems to want to update the screen about once a second, which makes it very difficult to type in commands.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        TurdFerguson
        Link Parent
        Got it. So the firmware complaints are chiefly regarding Linux compatibility then.

        Got it. So the firmware complaints are chiefly regarding Linux compatibility then.

        1 vote
        1. rmgr
          Link Parent
          Yeah Drew Devault is a maintainer for a bunch of open source Linux software

          Yeah Drew Devault is a maintainer for a bunch of open source Linux software

          3 votes
        2. Akir
          Link Parent
          Like I said, I can only give you my report. I know it's also very typical to have problems that affect battery life, poorly planned fan curves, and other minor nuisances, though those are more...

          Got it. So the firmware complaints are chiefly regarding Linux compatibility then.

          Like I said, I can only give you my report. I know it's also very typical to have problems that affect battery life, poorly planned fan curves, and other minor nuisances, though those are more likely to be fixed at a later date.

          3 votes
  6. undu
    Link
    I'm really happy with the dell latitute I got from work 4 years ago, I would expect them to still be better in repairability than the XPS and never had any problems with them regarding hardware,...

    I'm really happy with the dell latitute I got from work 4 years ago, I would expect them to still be better in repairability than the XPS and never had any problems with them regarding hardware, although I don't think coreboot can be installed.

    4 votes
  7. jtvjan
    (edited )
    Link
    Yup, dealing with Bumble "the OSS driver is slower than internal graphics but the proprietary driver segfaults" Bee is such a hassle, but I probably wouldn't be able to get reasonable battery life...

    And there’s an Nvidia optimus GPU, which is just, ugh.

    Yup, dealing with Bumble "the OSS driver is slower than internal graphics but the proprietary driver segfaults" Bee is such a hassle, but I probably wouldn't be able to get reasonable battery life otherwise.

    Edit: damn you autocorrect

    4 votes
  8. skybrian
    Link
    It's a cry for help, but I suspect he hasn't actually tried all laptops running Linux? I'm not currently running Linux so I have no specific advice, but if I were looking for a laptop to run Linux...

    It's a cry for help, but I suspect he hasn't actually tried all laptops running Linux?

    I'm not currently running Linux so I have no specific advice, but if I were looking for a laptop to run Linux I'd start by looking at Chromebooks. They probably have device drivers, at least.

    3 votes
  9. Death
    Link
    I can sort of agree with the main claims of the article. When I was hunting for laptops a while ago a thing that really bugged me was how hard it felt to not pay extra for features I didn't want...

    I can sort of agree with the main claims of the article. When I was hunting for laptops a while ago a thing that really bugged me was how hard it felt to not pay extra for features I didn't want or didn't consider useful. A bunch of laptops I looked through were marketed with features like "revolutionary standing designs" or how thin the edges around the screen were, all things I could honestly not care less for. Meanwhile altering things like available RAM memory or processor felt next to impossible when I had found a promising product line.

    3 votes
  10. lionirdeadman
    Link
    My cheap Acer Aspire 5 can have most things I'd want to replace be replaced and the linux drivers work fine enough trackpad issue notwithstanding.

    My cheap Acer Aspire 5 can have most things I'd want to replace be replaced and the linux drivers work fine enough trackpad issue notwithstanding.

    1 vote