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Laptops have the excellent advantage of portability . . . you can bring your
files with you from place to place. I have found that to be an excellent way
of doing demos, working temporarily at remote locations (those away from
your normal place of business), and for getting work done at odd times,
after hours, on a plane, etc.
However, the laptop keyboards hurt, the glidepad/pointer hurts, the screen
hurts, and the video cards generally stink. For long-term use, I would not
use a laptop without a docking station, full-sized keyboard, regular mouse
or trackball, and full-sized monitor. Indeed, some of our developers here
recently jumped at the chance to have laptops instead of workstations. Now,
I see these guys, with their Dells and 15-inch monitors, hunched over the
keyboard like Quasimodo, straining to see the LCD screen display in the
poorly lit office (these guys do have the added bonus of being able to stay
up late, at home, in bed, working . . . all the time . . . on a salary . . .
what a bonus! a 24-hour workday for 8-hours' worth of pay plus a divorce).
Meanwhile, I enjoy the comfort of my MS Natural Keyboard, 4-button
Kensington Expert Mouse (a trackball, go figure), and 21-inch monitor backed
by the excellent resolution, refresh rate, and speed of my Matrox Millenium
G400MAX AGP video card (not to mention that DTP, 2D graphics work, even CAD
work is eaten up by such a card, whereas laptop video cards, in my
experience, are barely adequate). And, I can (and have) upgrade my desktop
easily and cheaply.
When I had a laptop, it was a road-warrior device only. I used a CD-RW to
transfer files form my desktop and so was able, at a moment's notice, to
take my dog and pony show on the road. And, for a few nights in a hotel, or
at a conference, or wherever, hunching over the keys and peering at the
dimly-lit 12-15-inch LCD screen was livable . . ..
As for your choice of brands . . . I have had poor luck with IBM laptops, I
needed a replacement part on a 2-yr.old one, called IBM, got transferred all
over God's green Earth only to be told that "sir, your laptop is obsolete,
we don't stock that part any more." Two years' old. As for HPs, in my
experience a lotta bucks for little bang, and I'm unsure about upgradability
and case layout for upgrades. For my money: Dell, Gateway, and Micron,
online vendors, all make a good product at a fair price, and service is
I will be getting a new computer and have the luxury of choosing
laptop and desktop. I'll be working from home from here on out and
your opinions regarding the reliability of a laptop. I am leaning
laptop because of the convenience - but my last venture with a
completely satisfactory for most of its duration, ended very, very
I am not likely to replace this computer for 3 years, and while I'll
service agreement, I still wish to minimize any down time. The
question is an IBM ThinkPad 1210; the desktop is an HP Pavilion