I’m sort-of in the market for a new laptop, and for a couple of reasons (having to do with client needs), it needs to run Windows. This is the time of the year that new laptops come out and are reviewed, and it’s grim.
For example, this is from a review of the Sony Vaio Pro 13:
Sony has finally found a way to combine a high-res touchscreen with decent performance, great battery life, and a thin and light body — that’s all good, but I still want more. Much more. For $1,249 I want a computer that doesn’t feel like it would break in a stiff breeze, and one without the jumpy trackpad that sometimes makes me wish for a stiff breeze.
That’s typical of pretty much every non-Mac laptop review that I’ve been reading. Either the keyboard or the trackpad has issues, or the battery life sucks, or the reviewer thinks its flimsy, or the manufacturer has done somethings stupid. Yes, Asus, I’m looking at you: who the hell wants glass (even “Gorilla glass”) embedded in the top and keyboard surround of their laptop? Asus calls it the Zenbook Infinity, “infinity” referring to the number of pieces into which it will shatter when dropped the first time.
Perhaps I’m not the right kind of Microsoft Kool-Aid drinker, but I also don’t understand putting a touchscreen on a laptop. I have no issue with touchscreens on phones or pads, but two input devices (keyboard and pad) seem like enough for a laptop. Not to mention that Windows new “Metro” look makes it into a catdog of operating systems, the cat being the old Windows apps that look just as they have for years, and the dog being these new Metro apps that run in tiles like your big fucking laptop screen is a tiny little phone that must be poked at with fat fingers. Thinking you could meld those two together in some kind of unholy matrimony is putting Microsoft’s corporate goals (one Windows everywhere) squarely in the path of common sense and usability.
Speaking of screens, the Windows laptop market is finally starting to put high-resolution ones into their laptops after Apple came out with Retina displays, and it’s another mess. Very few Windows applications are set up to scale to the higher resolution of the new displays, so it’s essentially an annoying waste of money, because many applications render at microscopic size. On the new $4,000 31.5″ 4K display from Asus, this probably doesn’t make a huge difference. On a 13″ laptop display, it’s deadly.
By the way, none of these laptops are appreciably cheaper than a comparable MacBook. You can still buy a cheap Windows laptop, but if you want one that approaches the low weight, performance, fit and finish of a MacBook, the Windows laptop is usually more expensive or has a much smaller battery. I’ll keep looking but it’s no surprise to me that Apple has been steadily gaining market share in laptops.