What Will My New Laptop Be?

by Phil Hughes
Now that I live off-grid, having one laptop (plus a low-powered server) rather than four desktops running all the time is clearly the right thing for me. My current "fleet" of laptops includes some IBM ThinkPads (from T20 to T23) and my ASUS Z3300. Also, toss in my Nokia N800 which is not a laptop but is regularly used.

The Z3300 has been a great travel machine with reasonable battery life but the small keyboard and screen makes it less than perfect as a day-to-day machine. As much as I love the ThinkPads, I am less than thrilled by their battery life. So, I am thinking it is time to consider my future laptop.

I don't have a specific machine in mind yet but I do know some characteristics I want. They are:

  • A full-sized keyboard.
  • A reasonable screen size which probably means 14 inches, plus or minus an inch.
  • Decent battery life. Two hours would be fine as I am seldom far away from a 12V outlet.
  • No "Microsoft tax".
  • An LED back-light for the screen. Less power and it should last longer than I will.
  • If possible, something other than a touchpad pointing device. I, well, hate touchpads but, as long as I can turn off "tap to click" I hate them a little less.

This is a very different list from when I shopped for the Z3300. Having the N800 addresses the "travel machine" so, while I may drag this new machine with me for extended stays, I no longer need something small and light enough to accompany me on an overnight trip.

Is speed an issue? No, not at all. Ages ago I had a little Toshiba—I forget the model—that ran vi just fine. Today, more of my work is with a web browser than vi so it needs a bit more speed but I am not going to be doing much beyond vi, browsing and occasionally running a word processor.

Ok, your turn. What is your suggestion for the best fit for my requirements?

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