Yesterday I bought my first proper laptop. I have had 2 laptops in the past, one I got on eBay for £90 that ran Windows 98, came with 64MB of RAM and weighed 6 kg, for the purposes of playing DOS games when I was travelling on the train to and from London. It was nicknamed the brick or the craptop. That became a pain and so I bought an Ultra-Mobile PC on eBay for £300 (RRP £900) as I didn’t need a full scale laptop at the time (2 years ago). This was the size of a netbook, with a 10inch screen and no keyboard ( did come with a tiny USB keyboard though) – just a touchpad display and some buttons at the side. It came in handy when I needed to make some graphics and had some awesome touch screen games. Again this became annoying as it was just too small to do general computing whilst travelling. I sold the brick for £21 last week, and will eventually get round to selling my UMPC.
I took a long time to decide what kind of laptop I wanted. The important features I wanted in my laptop were: good design, light and portable and good battery life. I don’t really mind the spec – I know anything out there is probably good enough. I had a look at laptops on offer in Comet to get a general idea of looks, prices and most importantly weights and screen sizes as I found it hard to visualize what 15″ and 3.5kg actually meant. I was amazed at the lack of design that went into any of them (apart from the Macs) – most felt bulky and made of plastic with random shiny bits and oddly placed components. I did find out that 14″ was big enough for me, which reduced the weight of most laptops by a considerable amount.
After a lot of review reading and internet exploring, I found the one I was going to buy: Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T. What drew me were the impressive 8 hour battery life, very thin and good looking design and 14″ and only 1.9kg. Ok so it’s only a single core, but it has 3GB RAM and it the prettiest laptop I’ve seen for a while. It comes with an intelligent mouse pad that lets me do Mac-style pinches and scrolls and a pretty battery indicator that turns from red to blue when completely charged.
Off I trotted to Currys where the very rude saleswoman tried in vain to offer me Norton for extra and then a £8.99 a month for a repairs thing. She also told me it would cost £25 to upgrade to Windows 7, which was nonsense as it’s only £12. Acer also seems to be into giving me crap – I had about 10 useless programs installed already which I promptly deleted. Vista is ok actually, I don’t like some things but it isn’t vastly different from XP. However I’ve only been playing with it for 4 hours and already have had to stop 2 programs via Task Manager as they weren’t responding and start-up from hibernate actually took 40 seconds – which is ridiculous. Ignoring Vista though, the laptop is lovely and I’m really pleased with it!