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Engineer-Poet's Journal: Time for a laptop. Recommendations? 4

Journal by Engineer-Poet

I have been thinking about getting a laptop computer to go with my desktop for a while now. Years, in fact. But I've never done it, because I've never really needed one and my nature is to spend money on long-term value rather than short-term gratification. Laptops depreciate so fast they feel almost disposable, thus my reluctance.

Now, however, I'm in the position of having a need which cannot be satisfied by anything else. I not only need a laptop, I need one with all the trimmings:

  • Good keyboard.
  • Decent screen.
  • Really a laptop, not a notebook which can't sit on my lap for two hours without frying its CPU - or my legs.
  • Built-in wireless.
  • Is practical to work with in OpenOffice, do presentations in OOImpress, and the like.
  • Enough battery life to run through several hours of talks, using the WiFi.
  • And last but not least, SUPPORTED BY LINUX. It'll almost certainly come with Windoze, but if I can't boot and use Linux it's just not going to work out.

Who's got recommendations for brands, options, and vendors? What's good and not good about them?

NOTE: Please try to mention specifics for all the above bullet points if you recommend something. Screen size (both inches and pixels) is a big one. Typical price point is good too.

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Time for a laptop. Recommendations?

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  • The IBM thinkpads at work have outlasted everything else; in particular the Toshiba laptops (various models) have all been crap. And the support, well just go read my earlier journal entry :-| The only problem with the IBM thinkpads is their dinky drives fail now and then (probably due to physical abuse) and the replacement policy is easy to deal with (they ship a disk, and you ship back the borked one). Whichever brand you do decide on, make sure that you know what you have to do to get it repaired (i.e. i
    • I've seen some of the Apples, and like the look. I don't know any more about them.

      The Thinkpads are now made by Lenovo. Has that changed anything?
      • by nizo (81281) *
        Oh yeah; it was a nightmare when they first changed over, but things are much better now. The reason we got the first one in the door was someone purchased one as a linux laptop( it came preinstalled from these guys [emperorlinux.com]) The thinkpads (even the wireless) work great with the newest ubuntu (though we haven't tested hot docking yet; that is on my list of things to do in the next week or so). If I remember I will try to post about how the newest X41 laptop works (I am in the process of setting one up at work). Hope
    • by gort8 (1073900)
      I've got to agree about Thinkpads. I've tried various others over the years and always come back to Thinkpads. Have now had my current one for 3 years. Runs Linux fine -- except that is requires the Atheros (madwifi) driver. I think newer models don't have such odd wireless devices. The laptop is still solid, but I'm ready for something new. Before this machine I had a Dell C610. It was a nice machine, but the keyboard felt cheap and the track point broke after a year or so. The nicest thing about the Dell

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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