find the best laptop for you?

A laptop is a very personal thing, for anyone who spends a lot of time carrying it around, starting at its screen and relying it to connect to the world as we know it. My old Fujitsu S-series Lifebook had taken more than three years’ of beating before it started to fall apart to my hands during last six months or so. So it was time to get another one, a task that I usually enjoy (toys, toys, toys), but as I knew how much of my life depends on this damned thing I carry around with me, and what kind of hell it can be when it is not doing things it is supposed to be doing, the selection process became a long, slow and painful one.

To cut the long story short, I made all sorts of compromises, and ended up with an IBM (Lenovo) ThinkPad T43, with a 1GB memory expansion, 15″screen, 80GB disk, and a docking station. Rather than going for optimal design or gaming performance, I had to get a workhorse which would handle all those travel miles, endless meeting rooms, airport wi-fis, and survive couple of thumps while on the road. So, an overall reliability in design, plus battery life and business performance were the emphasis areas. A fun website at least seems to think I’ve made the right choice within those parameters, in the “mainstream” category.

There are some hiccups, though. We have not been able to get the integrated fingerprint reader working yet so far. There is some kind of security chip inside this machine, but I am not carrying state secrets and need not strong encryption for the hard disk, but being able to replace the login passwords with a slip of my finger sounds like a nice concept. But the security client is having “initialization error day”. Or something.

This is also rather loud. I am not sure why the fan needs to be so busy: when I am having only a Word and few browser windows open, the CPU usage rarely goes above 4 %. But perhaps it is a feature.

Compared to the S-series ultra-light, this is also of course quite a lot heavier. But I am very happy with the keyboard, screen, and battery life (with the extra long-life add-on). And those are after all much of the user experience, how you interface with the services your machine is able to offer you. (My fingers are still automatically going into all the Fujitsu key-map places, damn.)

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

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