A couple of months later, taking a huge economic hit, I sold the Thinkpad and returned to Apple. I simply could not handle the trackpad (and I gave up on the weird Thinkpad nubbin back in the early 2000s). I quite literally felt like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease when I used the trackpad, and since "mousing" is almost certainly the primary way I interact with a computer, the laptop itself begun to give me a strong, strange aversion to use.
I'm told Microsoft is working on improving trackpads in general, but they should really have every single engineer working on this issue. Forget about new features, let's get the simple stuff right.
I've solved it by carrying a small external mouse in my laptop bag, and by using my MBP with a mechanical switch keyboard and a Logitech mouse 90% of the day.
I also lean more to using the keyboard vs. the mouse. As I spent more and more time developing software I become more adept at not using a mouse to the point where I could pretty much avoid touching it for most of the day. In Windows, this really was much better than using the mouse most of the time.
When I first got a Mac I found myself using the trackpad again for the first time in a long time. It was a huge improvement, the responsiveness of the trackpad and utility of many multi-touch gestures were quite surprising. Because it was so close to the keyboard I could easily use the gestures in place of keyboard commands, without slowing down. When it came time to get an external keyboard I actually bought a trackpad, not a mouse to go with it. It is honestly that good, at that's what I've found.
My only issue is click-and-drag, but that was at least somewhat alleviated when I learned to hold the click with my index finger and do the drag by moving my middle finger (which is similar to what I'd do with a trackpad with dedicated mouse buttons anyway) instead of just using my index finger.
After working the trackpad a few more times and my fingers getting rather tired I tried to use keyboard shortcuts instead, but remembered that OS X doesn't have the Alt+ key combinations that Windows has, and tabbing through controls is disabled by default.
(My usual laptop is a Thinkpad X60, where I use the trackpoint and its buttons, and keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. On my desktop, I use a Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical v1.1A, which I think is one of the best mouses ever made.)
Other than click and drag I never use the physical click, tap to click is where it's at. OSX registers tapping much, much better than any trackpad I've tried with Windows.
I have double tap set to right click and never really have issues. Then again I normally run a browser/terminal/emacs as my main apps so I don't really need/use right click at all that often.
Three-finger drag (which isn't on by default) is one of the best things about using a Mac imo. I honestly don't know how people live without on any platform. It's a huge improvement over double-tap-lock-and-drag or whatever the old way is.
Apple introduced multi touch to solve problems just like that.
I don't really see how this is a poor decision on apples part. For windows sure, right clicking abounds, though I'd argue that right there is the crux of the problem in general. The over reliance on right clicking in user interfaces I think isn't too far off from "magic track pad pawing motions like triple swipe etc...". But that last bits mostly my opinion on the matter.
> Avoiding right mouse clicks in the name of simplicity
Simplicity has nothing to do with form, that is function.
> Designing thin laptops instead of durable laptops.
Thin/light laptops has nothing to do with form, that is function (who wants to carry around a brick?). And what is more durable than a MBP anyways?
> Restricting installation on iOS to just the App Store.
Security and safe experiences has nothing to do with form, that is function.
"Form" would be fashion, and Apple definitely has plenty of that, but all the points you listed don't focus on that.
I found a trick to get around that a while back: When small movements are needed, don't slide your finger but roll it. No friction involved, that way.
The MBP pad makes my fingers sore after a couple of hours as the surface is slightly abrasive. The Apple wireless mouse thing nips my fingers when I press it giving me sore fingers plus it weighs and ton and the gestures make my wrist hurt. The ThinkPad nipple mouse works pretty well as it's in the home row but my hands ache after a couple of hours. The trackpad on the ThinkPad X201 I use is tiny and useless so I turned it off.
Solutions for me:
1. I bought a Logitech M185 wireless mouse for £8. I am happier than I've ever been with this. It's orders of magnitude better than any other mouse I've used.
2. I use Windows and the keyboard where possible. It's really easy to drive windows from the keyboard entirely unlike OSX which requires this dude's hands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyZGZRnQb4 ... plus the editing system is inconsistent and wonky in some OSX apps.
Yes forget about the new features. Buy a wireless mouse and use the thinkpad's wonderful keyboard more.
That worked for me and yes I did feel like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease as well!
Anyone got any tips for a great non-wireless USB mouse in this price-range?
I dislike when wireless mice (or keyboards) tend to run out of battery when it's really inconvenient, as I hardly ever have spare batteries lying around (not much other devices use them).
I've had the M185 for 9 months now and it's still got the original single AA battery in it! I threw a single AA in my bag in a ziplock in case of emergencies.
I wouldn't go back to wires after that mouse.
But getting rid of 7-row keyboard and clicky mouse buttons, so that a huge trackpad would fit? Not worth it.
Few companies have earned as much emotional hated as Lenovo has for making such junk.
Hardware hackers take note. I'd pay hundreds of dollars to replace the layout with one from an older series like the X201 or so. Just put back the triple buttons and the nice full sized keyboard and take my money.
Oh, but you're doing it anyway. Whatever, sounds like fun! ;)
> I quite literally felt like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease when I used the trackpad
[EDIT: I should mention that I'm using almost exclusively keyboard for interacting with my computers, so I may be missing some obvious things.]
I'm using mac book pro and some hp notebook (both a year and a half old at this point) and I don't feel any difference in how the touchpads in them work. Aside from the mac's one being overloaded with functions which shouldn't be there (for me ofc).
What exactly was a difference that make you feel like that? Maybe it was something that could be easily remedied by switching some options?
I couldn't believe how much better my Thinkpad Edge touchpad worked under Linux, and the trackpoint nub was able to be sped up and adjusted so its my preferred means of movement when typing. So I think there's something to be said for both hardware and software (and drivers) which affect the final user experience; unfortunately there seems to be less concern or attention towards that aspect with PCs than Macs.
So I get where you're coming from, but to write off all non-Apple laptops all at the same time?
Oh, THAT'S what happened to the titanium Powerbook; another victim of Metal Eugenics.
Solved all my problems.
I need to use two hands to accomplish something like moving the cursor to a folder icon and right clicking on it. On a Mac this can be done with a single finger and without even engaging the brain.
This model of HP laptop is used by everyone at this one company. They don't even know how awful it is. It's really like that 1984 Mac commercial.
Was it jittery? I had this problem with an older thinkpad when plugged into AC, but the problem went away when unplugged, so I assume it was just a case of bad isolation from the 60Hz AC signal.
So, they like killed millions of people, or invaded other countries to make them use aluminum laptops?
In fact, even the other thing that's directed at them ("it's just because of marketing") is not true either.
While they had good ads, their marketing spending was historically miniscule (especially compared to companies such as Samsung and Microsoft) and of course they began from near zero budget (actually near banruptcy) circa 1997 and grew with products that made people want to buy them and the press write about them, not ads.
Back on an X201 and life is good.
My wife still uses the 2011 MBP and hates it for typing on as well but she doesn't like black laptops, so her funeral!
It should by now be obvious that this is impossible. If you dont want to start a flamewar, never mention the words mac and pc in the same sentence.
S400 - I like it a lot. Took a while to get used to the chicklet keyboard but like it now. Trackpad is good. Screen is fine. Very thin and not robust (screen can bend), and terrible battery life.
Yoga 11e - I quite like. Very robust, nice keyboard and trackpad. Crisp if small screen. Good battery. Screen can bend back but far too heavy to be a tablet replacement.
However I've just joined CloudFlare and they asked the simple question of whether I wanted a Lenovo or something Apple.
Having looked, I cannot think of a reason I should carry on with Thinkpads. They're just not what they used to be with trackpads which are unsatisfying, battery life that isn't as long as the Apples, non-Retina displays, and so on.
I chose a MacBook Pro, my first ever Apple computer. I picked it up on Friday, and I'm blown away. It's just awesome in every way.
If I can get used to the weird and subtle ways that the keyboard shortcuts and keyboard layout is different I may even be a permanent convert.
I guess I forget the audience on HN is much larger than it used to be.
The biggest issues I've had with Windows laptops are:
a) Trackpad is usually horrible. Some of the laptops use a rubber like texture that feels like I'm scraping my finger along a really rough surface.
b) Battery life is never as good as the manufacturer claims. It is usually much much worse.
c) Updating to a new version of Windows is a gamble. Sometimes you can find all the drivers, other times you get old ones which kind of work (or not at all). Either way it is frustrating to have to hunt them down.
d) Support from manufacturers is AWFUL. The only exception I can think of is Dell. They have been pretty good but I'm not sure if they have worldwide warranty. I can take my Macbook to an Apple store basically anywhere and have it fixed.
There are many other small things that add up over time. It's just not even worth it to save a bit of money. I'm not even a massive OS X fan. It works well enough and the hardware is top notch.
I have that one: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=cai157...
(i exchanged the HDD with a Samsung SSD)
1) The choice of Wifi card, the Intel 7260AC, wasn't a good one--it constantly drops wifi connections that work fine on other devices, and sometimes isn't even recognized on boot in both Windows and Linux. Tried this over several Blades so it's a chip issue, not a bad unit. I'd rather have Intel than Broadcom considering Linux compatibility, but the 7260AC is just a nearly unusably buggy card.
2) The screen, while stunning if you can get a perfect unit, is apparently susceptible to dead pixels during manufacture. I ultimately returned all of the Blades I bought--something like 3--because the screens arrived with dead pixels. I even sent a unit back to get a new screen put on, and the replacement screen also came back with dead pixels, and worse, a horrible color shift. It was my dealbreaker. Dead pixels might be acceptable in a $700 laptop, but not in a ~$2,800 laptop. I suspect Apple bought out all of Sharp's grade A screens and Razer got stuck with the B screens.
3) The parts are all proprietary so if and when you need a repair, you have to mail your unit in and it ain't gonna be cheap out of warranty. Razer quoted me $200 when I asked for the cost to get an old battery replaced (as you have to do for aging laptops). Plus, since the unit gets very hot during gaming, I expect Blades will need frequent repair as they age.
If you can deal with these issues, the Blade is a genuinely good machine. Really the only serious competition the MBP has. Razer just has to sort out their screen supplier's QA process, and maybe make replacement parts available for home repair, and they'd be golden.
And of course it is ENORMOUSLY cheaper. This may differ depending on locality but I bought the Aorus a couple of days ago for 2599 AUD, and the razer with the same storage is 3699 AUD.
I got rid of both my every day carry notebook and my beefy leave it on a desk workstation just from buying the XP3+, very impressed with it so far.
X3 plus was the model number sorry my mistake.
I am using a ThinkPad T420. I have a brand new ThinkPad T420 in the spare parts cupboard. I am done buying laptops for a very, very long time.
Also, please listen to a Cory Doctorow DRM talk before buying a Mac.
For a casual/dev (non-gaming, etc.) use machine, it's difficult to see myself ever using something else.
It's super frustrating.
It had awesome specs on paper (same CPU, GPU, RAM, larger HDD, 14" 1600x900 LCD instead of 13" 1280x800 in a same body size, 2/3 price of MBP), but in reality, I'd be better off buying used MBP. Or used Dell Latitude/top line IBM.
Drivers. They suck, and never got updated. Wobbly plastic body that cracked in a few places during normal laptop use. Keyboard backlight that is awesome unless the system doesn't toss a coin on resume from sleep and decide that this time you'll have to type blind. Battery life between 2-3 hrs instead of promised-on-the-box 4-5 hours. Broadcom wifi adapter that slows to crawl on Windows 8.1+, with no fix from the manufacturer (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-...).
And I must't leave out the cooling that is significantly louder than on any MBP I used.
Notice the mention of the keyboard!
I simply do not get why Lenovo has made these changes. My wildest guess would be that MS & Intel has pushed/forced Vendors into their "Ultrabook"-Model.
And yet, for all these Sonys, Samsungs and HPs, it could be this simple.
What they're forgetting is that many of the people who buy Thinkpads actually like the old-school, "serious business" look-and-feel that originated with IBM. They could continue making a model that is almost exactly identical to the X60/X61 (an "X62"?) but with a faster CPU, more RAM, and higher-res display, and I'd bet they'd still have many customers.
Relevant detail: On the product page of the laptop on Asus's website, they have a banner recommending Windows 8.
One of the more mystifying things it did: the giant lights on the back of the screen would do this really distracting blink when the laptop was in sleep mode. I have no idea what the thought process there was -- why would anyone want their laptop to do that when they're not using it? Not only was it a waste of battery, it was incredibly annoying. And keep in mind this wasn't a small light, it was a light that ran a circuit around the entire screen. Luckily you could turn it off, but I have no idea why it was on in the first place.
They also had this bios screen that had a logo for the "Republic of Gamers" (seriously?) that would then explode. That was more amusing than problematic, but I wonder who comes up with these ideas.
Supported equally on linux and windows. Soft to the fingers, responsive and precise. Two-fingers scrolling, wipe (kind), three-fingers scrolling, etc.
Only missing thing is pinch-to-zoom.
Edit: it also supports three fingers prev/next commands
I used to at least be able to recommend ThinkPads but I can't even do that anymore. I pretty much only have Macs left as an option at this point, but not one that I'm super thrilled about. I mostly use VPS and a $600 _should_ be fine.
Even with the $600 core i5s, it'd be getting the same OS. Hopefully they've switched to the newer Intel wifi cards because the Linux driver on the 5400AGN they were using has problems.
On the more hardware nitty-gritty side of things though, nearly all of their laptops the last 4 years have heat problems, including one line that you can never use more than 50% of the CPU before it throttles due to severe overheat. My second-gen x100e is the second laptop I've ever used to actually give me a burn - and from doing nothing more than streaming a youtube video. Their x series are basically unusable and were the only ones I would consider buying to begin with.
Edit: Also their software is shit, but I don't use Windows on it anyway. They're still better than ASUS laptops though.
I really can't stand those. I've had the headphone jacks on two separate high-end Android phones go from crackly to completely unusable, while my ancient iPod nano is still rock solid after years of heavy use.
A decent 3.5mm jack is not an expensive part, but so many manufacturers seem to opt for the cheap garbage that doesn't actually work.
it's old fashioned, but I prefer them to be separated.
I almost updated to the new one however they completely murdered it with the "adaptive" change. Capacitive function keys, home and end on the caps lock key, what _on earth_ were they thinking?
(But I do talk with them back and forth to make sure a Chromebook will do everything they need.)
This particular hack is just poor engineering. And users should at least be given the choice between "drain my battery or add a bit of lag", if the manufacturer can't figure out how to remove the need to make that choice.
No matter how fast the components, scroll input events would often happen 1ms before rendering time and a frame would have to be skipped, causing choppiness.
In fact, all the functionality that you generally expect to be broken on linux (two finger scroll, keyboard lights, volume control, etc) worked out of the box...
But it seems the common way to implement scrolling today is to either have the CPU or GPU actually move the data unnecessarily; there's no easy way to do the equivalent of adjusting the pointer to the window's data in memory so that the windowing system can scroll without having to perform any data movement.
Asus' trackpad driver may be at fault for turning the CPU up to 100%, but to me this is a sign of a deeper problem having to do with how inefficiently applications are doing their scrolling, and the APIs that encourage this inefficient way of doing it.
I feel for the non tech savy people who don't know how to fix this and think this is how the computer should be. No wonder normal people prefer ipads over pcs.
I really just want a decent portable computer with no built-in input devices and USB ports as an option. Maybe I'm crazy. We should be able to do this with UEFI now.
Looking at the current Asus ROG 17" laptops, it looks like they've got a model that's only 7.5 pounds with a battery the same size as in the MacBook Air 13". Or you can get a 10.5 pound machine that's got a battery the size of what's in current 15" MacBook Pros and was in the 17" MBPs. And most of those manage to stay less than 2" thick, but they're all at least twice as thick as a current MBP. All in all, they've got almost as much in common with an iMac as with a MacBook Pro. (Seriously: the 21.5" iMac is only 2 pounds heavier.)
10 pounds of textbooks in a backpack is regarded as a public health problem. 10 pounds of computer cannot be taken seriously as something made for use on the go. We really do need some more specific terminology to draw distinctions between the different classes of hinged computers.
(Caveat: it's almost been a year so it's starting to show its age in some new games. But that's not really something you can get away from. I'm also concerned that the next gen Macbook will only offer an integrated Iris Pro chip instead of Nvidia switching. Don't get me wrong - Iris Pro graphics are impressive, often performing at up to 66% of the Nvidia chip - but it will almost certainly be a performance regression.)
I'm not sure what you mean here regarding the OS. You can install Windows on any Mac since Apple transitioned to Intel processors around 2006-2007.
>So if the laptop is going to be used for gaming, then it does not make sense to buy a Mac and install Windows on it.
Are you sure? I think even if you cannot utilize the touchpad and energy efficiency to its fullest capabilities (which are not really relevant in gaming anyway), the build quality of the shell and the quality of the screen and keyboard makes it a strong contestant even among normal Windows laptops. Plus, you have OS X there (or Linux, for that matter) for non-gaming uses.
I've been playing modern AAA games on Medium graphics settings at 1080p (or sometimes 720p) with very good results on an original Retina MacBook Pro. Could I get better graphics with a different machine? Totally, but it's good enough that I don't feel like I have to own a separate gaming machine anymore, which I'm very happy about.
You can't sell a mobile computer that you can't control in BIOS because it has no input devices.
Now I use an rMBP at home, and more often than not I actually play Diablo 3 using just the trackpad, maybe I'm just used to it, but I haven't used a non-Apple laptop that has a usable trackpad.
My sister and I have the same Zenbook, and while my trackpad runs like a dream in Elementary OS, her trackpad is among the worst I've ever had the displeasure of using on a laptop -- and this is solely due to the shitty Windows drivers.
She's been nagging me to put Linux on her computer as well, and once Freyja is released, I will.
Oddly, I also don't see the problem as described by the Asus engineers. Perhaps it's because Linux power management is different enough that it doesn't apply, or because it's a different processor type (dual-core Atom).
One would think they could at least make this a configuration setting so users may choose whether to live with janky scrolling in order to not have gestures turn the laptop into a space heater.
My first step was to switch to using CoreText, a lower level API for rendering text. This reduced overheads by around 50%.
My second step was to cache layout information for recently displayed strings in a small cache. Tables often contain a lot of repeated values so this saved a lot of time; in some cases up to 70%.
After these optimizations, my own code was no longer the bottleneck. I still don't reach 60FPS on my 2009 Macbook Pro, but that was expected...
(Note: 60FPS scrolling is not a problem if your views are smallish, so that they can be entirely cached on the GPU; the problem occurs only when your views are very large and the users scrolls very fast so that the CPU can't keep up with rendering tiles for the GPU)