I can’t recall ever being this indecisive. Picking a college was a snap. New car? Nothing a day of test driving didn’t solve. Job opportunities ended up being fairly straightforward. Choosing the right laptop though, this has become an ongoing project for nearly a month now.
For a while now I’ve been whining about how sitting at the same desk all the time to write has become rather uninspiring. I’m bound to my computer because I’m more of a typist than I am a writer — thoughts flow out a lot quicker on a keyboard for me, but I admit I have to use the notebook just cause it’ll rack my brain in a different manner. Getting a laptop seemed the obvious answer.
My Needs: A full-size keyboard so I don’t get frustrated with hitting the wrong keys; Decent battery life, at least 3 hours; Lightweight, probably 5 lbs. max; Compact size, anything under 13″ will do; Stylish (Let me indulge myself).
At first I was gunning right for the cheapest and best value - The Dell 700m. A gorgeous 12″ screen, 4.6 lbs, and with the right coupons it could be had for around $1000. But then I found out the keyboard wasn’t full-sized, and after playing with similar keyboards at Fry’s, I knew it was going to bug me at one point or another with all the typing I’d be doing. Add to the fact that the 700m gets lousy battery life on it’s standard battery, requiring an extended battery that sticks out the back of the laptop quite a bit.
Next I found out that Amazon had specials going on with the 12″ Powerbook, bringing the price to $1350 after a $150 mail-in rebate. With no tax and no shipping, $1350 sounded really good for an Apple Powerbook. It had all the features I was looking for, but $1350 was a bit more than I was hoping to spend.
After going through a fiasco involving a Powerbook available for $999 that I missed out on and a dream where the Amazon Powerbook was no longer available for $1350 (It still is until April 26), I vowed I would put the order in. And then I meet the Fujitsu S6231.
Amanda (who incidentally cracked her LCD screen the day after she introduced me to it) brought up the Fujitsu. 13″ LCD (A great compromise between the 12″ and 14″, if only more laptops used a 13″ LCD), full-size keys, and weighing slightly over 4 lbs. with the sweet option of taking out the cd-rom drive to drop the weight down to under 4 lbs. or popping in an extra battery to get a whopping 8 hour battery life out of the laptop. The lowest price I could find was at Newegg at $1299 + tax bringing it to around $1410.
I headed back to Fry’s, this time to check out the Fujitsu and the Powerbook. Both were excellent, but having a little Apple with OS X to play with greatly appealed to me over having another PC which offered nothing new. Powerbook set, I place my order in, and unfortunately they’re backordered and I won’t get it until the middle of May.
The story should end there. It doesn’t, though. Cause I’m indecisive. I took a trip to the Apple store yesterday with Tim and Nathan (after going to Santa Anita to check out the 700m at the closes Dell Retail Kiosk thingy) and scoped out the iBooks and Powerbooks.
I’m now at a standstill between buying the 12″ iBook, upgrading the ram to 768 and installing a bigger and faster hard drive, coming to an estimated total of $1150, a whole $200 less than the Powerbook. Potentially it could be faster than the stock 12″ Powerbook, but the general look, weight and size difference, and extra options of the Powerbook has me swayed.
There’s even more speculation now that the Apple laptops are all a bit outdated with the G4 chip when the G5 laptops should be hitting soon, so a purchase now would most likely be one of the last gen G4 laptops. Perhaps waiting for the G5 laptops would be best and just buying a junker laptop until then?
As you can tell, there’s a lot to ponder here as I’ve been heavily researching laptops for almost a month now.
Now some links for any other people looking into laptops:
NotebookReview.com. The forums are rather handy, although the administrators are all pretty biased towards the Fujitsus (for good reason).
MacNN. Again, check the forums out for any iBook or Powerbook information.
Notebook Forums. The reviews here are good as they’re all user reviewed.
And finally, for any other PC users interested in entering the Mac world, three great articles on switching:
Tao of Mac / How To Switch To The Mac.
AnandTech: A Month with a Mac: A Die-Hard PC User’s Perspective.
AnandTech - A Month with a Mac - Part II: The Mobile Experience.