Where are the good laptops?

Check out this keyboard and tell me what you think: if you’re shopping for a new laptop computer – what about it jumps out at you?

Figure 1. A keyboard.

It has your standard speed-typing layout! That’s right – you can go straight from your desktop computer to this laptop and back, and not miss a beat.

It seems that it is getting hard to find a competent new laptop to purchase. My previous favorite, Lenovo, has apparently parted ways with their perfect keyboards and switched to a newer chicklet design. To make matters worse, they’ve abandoned the standard two-row-by-three-column layout of the editing keys (Home, Delete, End, Insert, Page-Up, Page-Down), and the cursor-movement keys are no longer set off in their separate, easily-typed format. See the illustration in Figure 2.



Figure 2, showing the crucial editing and movement keys circled in blue.
Figure 2, showing the crucial editing and movement keys circled in blue.

It was already bad enough that the previous 1920-by-1200 pixel resolution displays disappeared. My Thinkpad W500 had that. It is starting to die intermittently, but I am loathe to give up that display for the loathsome 1920-by-1080 that all of the displays top out at now. Scanning the websites for the other laptop makers reveals that even with the few models sporting larger displays, there is nothing with a 1920-by-1200 pixel screen. Very annoying.

The saving grace is that newer, higher-resolution screens are starting to appear — Lenovo has announced their new W540 with a screen resolution of 2,880 by 1,620 pixels! This would be awesome. But I am not seeing it in any one model that has all of the basic requirements just yet.

Here, then, is a list of what I would want to see in a new laptop:

1. Decent display resolution!!!  At an absolute minimum — 1920-by-1200. We want that extra vertical band of pixels! Better: a 2650 x 1600 resolution display that is at a minimum 15.6 inches. Better yet would be to have a 17 or 18-inch option at this resolution. Why would a manufacturer expect users to shell out $2.2K+ for a new laptop, for anything less?


2. A keyboard whose design respects the ‘standard’ traditional Thinkpad layout and feel, meaning that the keys have a physical feel that makes it very easy to type, and a layout that matches the traditional PC desktop keyboard (cursor and editing keys are in the right places). This “standard” layout, is what my existing computers have. I have bought some excellent aftermarket keyboards with this exact layout.

Figure 3. Closeup of the editing keys.
Figure 3. Closeup of the editing keys.

There is finely thought-out ergonomics at work here. Notice the beveled edge of the keyboard well: when you slide your hand up there in a dark room or as your eyes are focused elsewhere — that edge serves to orient your hand. Your fingers instantly find their way to the Page-Up/Down keys. Through habit, then, your index finger always falls upon the Insert and Delete keys. You don’t have to re-focus your eyes to look at the keyboard to find those – it just happens subconsciously. And see that space between the column that contains the Insert & Delete keys, and the column to the left of them (the Pause and F12)? That little space your fingers will find by habit, to further home in upon their location. The excellent Lenovo Thinkpad W500, has this.  If a manufacturer foolishly messes with this, and changes the laptop’s keyboard — suddenly you’re stuck with having to replace everything and retrain yourself! The key-travel must be as on the W500 or W510, which is most definitely not a ‘chicklet’ keyboard. Professional users do type.


3. Multi-touch display. Not essential all of the time — the mouse does fine. But when this laptop is sitting on the family table and you want to just touch it to have something happen – that’s nice to have. Very nice to have. If we’re going to pay North of $2K for a new cptr today, it seems dumb not to have the option of Touch. Think about this: your customer is contemplating pulling the trigger on a new laptop/workstation; he’s mulling it over for a day since it’s a chunk of change ($2500); he walks into a retail shop for pencils and strolls by the counter of laptops. One is showing Windows 8.1’s start screen. He reaches over and softly touches the Music tile, and it instantly leaps to attention, ready to sound out. Sweet. Do you think he’s not going to think about that, when he next goes to sit down and revisit your web-shop page to order?


4. Trackpoint. Okay – I realize most people aren’t used to these and prefer the touchpad. But I and a lot of other Thinkpad users like to have the Trackpoint nib, especially for those moments when the mouse is not at hand.


5. Battery life that exceeds 24 hours. Look, if an iPhone burning 64 bits and quad-cores can last a full workday, why would you expect a user of your W510 to feel happy about the lousy 2 hours it provides?! Do your engineering. Provide the option of a massive spare battery if you must, that connects to the underside. But give us life!


6. The fastest CPU and subsystems — to yield a system as fast and snappy as a desktop. For various reasons — today most laptops feel like you’re in a slow-motion movie even when simply doing the simplest of tasks. This should not be necessary. Be mindful that professional users couldn’t care less about games. So hyped-up graphics subsystems to drive those games aren’t what’s needed. What we want, is the thing to respond to us. Always. Instantly.


That is not a long list. There is nothing revolutionary within it – these are the technologies that are available and have already been in production. And this doesn’t include all of the minor, common technologies that have already become common such as multiple USB 3.0 ports and a camera-memory-card reader.

return to Hardware Design

542 thoughts on “Where are the good laptops?”

  1. Thank you for writing these great website.|The shorter response is that I don’t know very much about the subject,
    a longer answer is that I’m going to understand what I’m able to Thanks for this post.
    I found it to be very encouraging.I really learned a lot because of you.

  2. Reaching approximately 90cm long, green macaws are among the world’s largest type of parrot; unfortunately
    they may be also just about the most endangered – it is reported that only
    30% of their original number remain. There are
    numerous organised tours which may combine coffee plantations and riding too however, for independent travellers, buses leave daily from San Jose; and
    Puntarenas. When hanging a tube feeder, you have to be conscious of
    squirrels and hang up the feeder away from the squirrels’ jumping off

  3. People with diabetes may urinate as much as 20 times a day, with a full bladder every time, says Melvin Stjernholm, MD, an endocrinologist
    in Boulder, Colo. buygenericviarga.com People with diabetes may urinate as
    much as 20 times a day, with a full bladder every time, says Melvin Stjernholm, MD, an endocrinologist in Boulder, Colo.

  4. French Speaking…..The Quebec Expo, Monaco go-cart races in the town of Trois-Riviere, Quebec City’s
    marathon, drug education with sea cadets and young athletes at the skating school —
    Narconon Trois Rivieres staff are endlessly creative
    in their interaction with communities. In addition, they have distributed thousands of Narconon’s very popular Ten Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs drug education booklet.
    https://genqpviag.com generic viagra mastercard accepted

  5. The Johns Hopkins Prostate Bulletin is a quarterly publication that presents the latest treatment information available on prostate cancer,
    enlarged prostate (BPH), and prostatitis to help you take charge of your medical care for prostate disease.
    Each issue is like having an in-depth consultation with a leading specialist.

    PLUS, subscribe now and get a special discount PLUS 5 FREE Special Reports as INSTANT PDF DOWNLOADS:
    https://llviabest.com safe order viagra online

  6. Hi there, I discovered your site by means of Google whilst searching for a comparable topic,
    your site got here up, it seems great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, simply changed into alert to your
    blog thru Google, and found that it’s really informative.

    I am going to be careful for brussels. I will be
    grateful in the event you proceed this in future. Many other people shall be benefited out of your writing.

  7. Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  8. Pingback: viagra taboo
  9. Pingback: viagra or cialis
  10. Pingback: viagra meaning
  11. Pingback: viagra help
  12. Pingback: viagra boner mom
  13. Pingback: viagra india
  14. Pingback: viagra samples
  15. Pingback: viagra free trial
  16. Pingback: cialis from canada
  17. Pingback: cialis pills
  18. Pingback: levitra vs viagra
  19. Pingback: 80mg atorvastatin
  20. Pingback: tadalafil price
  21. Pingback: cheap viagra
  22. Pingback: comprar viagra
  23. Pingback: viagra 100mg
  24. Pingback: viagra from canada
  25. Pingback: viagra stock
  26. Pingback: atorvastatin dubai
  27. Pingback: buspar 5mg
  28. Pingback: carvedilol cr
  29. Pingback: celebrex vs mobic
  30. Pingback: otc citalopram
  31. Pingback: low cost viagra
  32. Pingback: viagra for sale
  33. Pingback: viagra on steroids
  34. Pingback: cialis vs viagra
  35. Pingback: what cialis does
  36. Pingback: furadantin
  37. Pingback: tadalafil online

Leave a Reply