Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lazyweb: notebooks

This is the reverse lazyweb: I want to share what I learned, since many have similar considerations.

Some time ago I started to use the c't hotline to inform myself before buying computer stuff. Currently I am looking for a new notebook, since my wife poured tea into her old one and the keyboard stopped working.

So today I talked with one of the notebook experts at c't. My criteria were: "small", "long battery lifetime", "reliable", "good warranty", "excellent keyboard" and "works well with Linux".

He recommended that I should look at business notebooks as they came usually in higher quality and with better warranty. He pointed out a downward trend at Lenovo, which seems to produce lower quality machines nower days. Both warranty and technology seem to get reduced in quality. Asus machines break more often then average and their repair/warranty service is bad and improves only slowly. Dell machines break more frequently but their service is good. Linux compatibility seems good at Fujitsu-Siemens notebooks, which seems to have good service/warranty, too. Keyboards have improved a lot over the last few years and he encountered no bad keyboard at any decently priced notebook nower days.

I remember that joeyh and fabbe independently from each other picked a Fujitsu-Siemens. I will look into their offerings now.


At 4:28 AM, Blogger pvaneynd said...

It is interesting that you could actually call them, I've always seen the 'call-us' details and wondered who would be so brave. Now I know :-).

And I must admit in recent test the F-S machines do come out well, but as this is a German magazine could there be some favoritism? Like British motoring shows only liking British cars?

Oh and I know my wife's IBM thinkpad has drainage canals beneath the keyboard good enough that the machine will survive direct hit from a full glass of white wine :-).

At 10:47 PM, Blogger stockholm said...

I am *extremly* happy with my Thinkpad X40, too, and I talked about Lenovo's notebooks with him, too. My initial idea was to buy just an other X40 and share spare parts between the machines, but he discouraged that idea as he pointed out that there would most likely enough model changes by now so that the machines would be incompatible in parts.

Furthermore they had a few Lenovo machines in their tests by now (and i saw one up close) and they are a major regression from the quality that we know from the thinkpads.

Regarding the favoritism, I can't tell. It was not like he recommended them straight out. We went through all the major brands more or less and this came out after 15min of comparisons and weighting of characteristics. It was the fact that their notebooks worked reasonably well with Linux that made me settle for them.

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Gernot said...

I am extremely happy with my Toshiba (forget model number) which uses an nVidia graphics card with 64MiB video memory (i.e., not shared main memory) and has a 14" XSGA screen. CPU is a Pentium M running at 1.4GHz. Although it came with Windows XP Professional, I can run Knoppix 5.01 (also Japanese version) and all hardware seems to work exactly. Only the wireless I have not tried out under linux. I also installed Knoppix to run happily from the disk of a very old Toshiba belonging to my fiancee (Pentium 233MHz, 64MiB memory which I upgraded to 320MiB, cannot believe she could actually keep running Windows 98 on the original memory!). Toshiba also seem to provide support for linux, to the point where you can order a (admittedly commercial) linux pre-installed. FWIW, Gernot

At 6:33 PM, Blogger John Hughes said...

Well, I known some people seem to think it's heresy, but I lurve my Sony TX3, 1.3kg (including DVD R/W), all the hardware works with Debian (except the fingerprint reader, that looks like the thinkpad one but doesn't work with the thinkpad drivers)

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I just recently got myself an MSI S270, which is small, fairly light, and runs Linux like a charm.

25W Turion, 12" WXGA, < 2kg, and no Windows.


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