Recently I decided to go over my gadgets and started by making a list of what needed to be updated or replaced. Having gone through 4 phones in 2 years but unsurprisingly not actually changing my personal laptop for over 5 (Ok, small white lie - I do have a Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK from 2015 but that wasn't a direct purchase intended for me but more a replacement that serves as a general purpose family machine that everyone uses) it seemed sensible to focus on this area.
My laptop was the one device that had gone the longest without an update therefore it seemed only right that I urgently fill this gap. However, in practice this item really was the last thing I gave my attention to as in all honesty Phones, Streaming sticks, Tablets and Bluetooth Speakers amidst all other manner of accessories have taken hold of my world and likely taken over yours too. Nevertheless, it still felt like bad form and plain complacency to rely on having a work assigned computer as the only true workhorse lying around the house. Suppose one loses the job? On what device would you write that updated CV? I mean, Yes! Ofcourse, one could write on a Phone, Phablet or Tablet using voice and or an attached keyboard but deep down we know that really we would only do that out of desperation because whilst it would get the job done it is not the best device for the job.
Before I started the search I took a moment to whiff the latest technology trends and made a list of basic requirements as well as a few optional ones. In making the requirements specification I also decided to future proof the machine as best as possible. This is especially important these days as laptops remain relatively expensive at the higher ends and are replaced on a 5 year cycle instead of 2. So if one is not careful a poorly spec'd system will start to look and feel dated pretty fast.
Below are the specifications I came up with:
Looking back now these technical requirements don't even seem particularly high end and may be a little conservative in some respects. I imagined I would find quite a few systems that matched these specs and then the decision would be down to style and price. Wrong! I found not a single system to match all my requirements. Not one!!! Why is it so hard to find a good laptop in 2017? Yeah, really. Why?
I didn't even add price as a factor, and you should. No matter what price one is willing to pay, at the moment, you won't be satisfied and will be left compromising. All the current machines available are deficient in some way or another. To make matters worse, most are deficient on multiple fronts. Whether it is Apple deliberately dropping technologies and trying to convincing us that their systems are better (better build, better OS etc etc) despite the premium price upon closer scrutiny the reality is this isn't the case. The Apples aren't better overall. They may have great build quality and nice enough displays with good sound to boot but unless you write Apps on iOS for a living or are totally plugged into the Apple ecosystem plus have money to burn it just doesn't add up. Truth is I feel that Apple really could make the most awesome laptop computer but they are conflicted as they would rather sell more iPads. Which means that their laptops will never have a touchscreen or be convertible and yet for the corporate bottom line must be priced outside the iPad Pro range. Thus making basic expectations for adequate Memory, Local Storage, Front Camera Resolution and bonus features like Fingerprint sensors totally ridiculous when added to configurations of base models that lack the appropriate specifications.
Stepping away from the world of Apple let's take a look at Lenovo with the 720. Lenovo, despite having all the advantages of Chinese prowess that should enable them to make anything possible under sun do not want to cannibalize their 910 and X1 Yoga models. So they basically have the problem of having too many systems to fit in the catalog that address overlapping market demands and are forced to make each one bad in some way so that someone may buy the other model, irrespective of whether it meets all their needs or not. Frankly, it doesn't matter the Operating System (OS) or vendor one chooses. I won't even mention the Linux focused systems here as they have always been very very bad even though Purism is making an effort with the Librem. That particular project is really a pathetic effort given that it is crippled by small volumes and prohibitive low value for money prices and restricted by the adherence to out of date hardware to maintain compatibility. There are some notable machines from the LG Gram, Dell XPS 13, and the HP Spectre and Elites out there but all disappoint in some form or fashion. To my shock. A decent Laptop just doesn't seem to exist anymore.
The closest thing that appeared to be worthy of consideration seems to be the Razer Blade Stealth but then one has to live with neon lights and or a snake logo. Alternatively, forget the touch screen and buy an Apple MacBook Pro (MBP). Selecting either of these options also does automatically mean one has money to burn as they don't come cheap.
Manufacturers out there please starting making sensible systems worthy of having a "Made In 2017" label anywhere on them. If you do then my money no matter how small or large can finally leave my pocket. In the interim, while we wait patiently I will continue to buy more phones and other gadgets. Further proving that Mobile is Eating the World.
Adapted from post on nbranche.org.
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