It’s a shame he doesn’t mention glossy screens under the criteria; that’s an immediate disqualifier for many hackers. Whether something is an i5 or an i7 is a piddling concern to me compared to whether I can swap the battery out on long trips; I feel like the specs (other than DPI and brightness) are nearly irrelevant these days compared to the more practical features.
Author here. I totally agree and loathe the glossiness of my current Thunderbolt display. I couldn’t get the data for every option (from specs, reviews) so I left it out of my consideration.
I have no experience with this myself, but have you looked at putting anti-glare film on a glossy screen to make it more matte? Maybe this has become a non-issue if you’re willing to spend 10 minutes and $40.
Whenever I’ve seen this done, it always leaves bubbles under the film and makes everything look a bit smudgy, but maybe I’ve just seen people using crappy film?
I have a filter on my chrome book and it’s a massive improvement. There’s one fleck of dust, resulting in a bubble, which is annoying if I look at it, but then I remind myself not to care and it’s ok. It’s a matter of some luck getting the screen on, so maybe you buy 4 and make a couple goes at it? This is the only time I’ve tried a 13" protector and the first time went well.
I’m surprised he didn’t mention the t460s w/HiDPI screen, and the USB-C ports missing being a disqualifier for the x1.
You can get the same screen on the X1 Carbon, so they’re roughly equivalent in my mind? The X1 is smaller.
RJ45! Full HDMI! Matte Screen! 20 Gig’s of ram! Ok, so obviously I like the t460s options better, but you’re right they are close. I just think the t460s is better for just about anyone that would call themselves a programmer.
This article doesn’t address my main reason for sticking with Apple despite all the stupidity - OSX. Its support for handicap accessibility features is still by far and away the best of any desktop OS.
If/when Linux ever catches up I will dive in with wild abandon with a side order of glee.
How does Windows compare on the accessibility front? I know for a while there they were at least supposedly leading the pack.
Windows 10 is much better at this than Windows has been in the past. They finally added full screen key chorded zoom which is a huge, huge requirement for me. Keyboard control of system services is still very spotty - for instance, there’s no clean way to control the sound volume from the keyboard.
Have you seen elementary OS?
Elementary doesn’t have any specific usability/accessibility features compared to Linux on the whole and more specifically Gnome, making it no different from any other distro on that front.
The accessibility features aren’t the same thing as UI, they’re things like an onscreen keyboard, magnification features, text to speech.
A lot of people fall prey to this kind of confusion. In many cases pretty UI can be less accessible than not. For instance, one of the things that makes the Mac the leader in accessibility is that I NEVER use the GUI. My entire workflow is 100% keyboard driven.
How is it better/on par in terms of accessibility options?
Sorry I never saw this until just now. Couple things:
* Full screen key chorded zoom built into the OS. Works everywhere, no matter which graphics mode you’re in. Even games.
* 99/100 apps support resizable fonts across the board
* OS is built for accessibility - things like VoiceOver, etc.
* Keyboard can control EVERYTHING. OS, apps, you name it. Every time I have to use the mouse it’s a HUGE productivity hit. I have fine / gross motor impairment in addition to crappy vision.
* Applescript / app scripting in general means I an customize app behavior to my liking and make it less necessary to interact with the GUI (see keyboard item above). For a sense of what’s possible here, check out Alfred - https://www.alfredapp.com/
That’s a start.
Gnome does generally as good a job as MacOS for accessibility.
I found Gnome to be particularly inaccessible actually. In terms of LInux desktops, KDE was much better, but still markedly lacking, mostly because I still had to layer in various Gnome apps to actually get the job done.
Particular issues with Gnome: In many places you can’t easily resize the fonts. At all. Keyboard control of the desktop is mostly OK but keyboard control of apps is almost non existent.
Also, no full screen key chorded zoom. You can maybe kinda sorta do this with Compiz or whatever, but then you have to figure out how to run Compiz with Gnome.
I think if you put SD card reader in the con column, you’re going to be in a pretty small market niche. This was a really strange twist. Everybody else complains they miss integrated SD and video ports on the new MacBook.
I’ll admit I’m completely ambivalent about SD card readers. Never used them, never missed them. It’s a bit strange to me to consider them (or any port) a “con” – my laptops routinely have ports I never use – but to each their own.
I think that depends on your use case. I’d personally prefer an SD port just because it’s one less adapter I’d have to buy.
Many of the manufacturers and machines you’ve listed here (notably HP’s and Dell’s) are fantastic computers! Even better, they are also leading manufacturers of ethically sourced laptops!
I maintain a guide on ‘Conflict Free Computers’, which I encourage you to visit if you are buying a new machine this year @ http://zv.github.io/buyers-guide.html This also includes information such as machine UEFI-standards compliance, cryptographic coprocessor inclusion and other information important to a techincally discerning crowd
If you are interested in the conflict minerals, African Kleptocracies profiting from electronics, or the longstanding north Kivu Province conflict, check out http://www.enoughproject.org/
I feel like ever since Apple announced the Touch Bar, I’ve had the same feelings of getting off the Apple train, at least when it comes to a laptop. Not that I don’t think the Touch Bar will be useful, but personally that’s something I can’t imagine ever using, and if Apple is going to continue down this track, then I’m no longer interested.
Thanks for the link, I’ll keep an eye on this blog for sure.
I’m moving away from Apple too. I’ll be soon parting from my iPhone. Instead of going with the obscenely expensive iPhone 7, I opted for an elephone P9000, I bought for about 2/3 the price of an iPhone 16GB SE.
Why is 13" inch a must have? I’d consider 14 if it meets a reasonable weight requirement.
15" is too big. If it’s a bezel-less 14" then that could work. But the point is that I want something that’s small, easy to carry, can fit in any bag.
Fair enough I guess. If it fits in my backpack reasonably, I don’t really care about how big it is as long as it doesn’t weigh too much. I also don’t really care how think it is as long as it’s thinner than say an average paperback. I’m willing to accept people care about size as more than a proxy for weight. For sure it can get too big to comfortably use on a plane.
For work, I have an Lenovo X1, which has a 14" screen. I don’t think it offers much advantage over the 13" screen I have for my personal use. That being said, if the bezel goes away completely, which is a new trend (after how many years???), I’d gladly give up the bezel for an extra inch of screen. Any serious day to day use is likely going to have it plugged into a monitor, though.
Funny enough, the bezels on laptops used to be smaller. The TiBook had incredibly small bezels, and ThinkPads in the early 2000s had them shrunk massively before they grew again. Blame cameras and WiFi aerials.
Surface Book has an i7 option.
Just as with floppy disks and PS/2 ports, I think Apple has jumped the gun on dropping video ports and card readers and going all USB-C all the time. We’ll reach a time when that’s a good configuration, but we’re not quite there yet. Heck, probably the biggest annoyance for me on my surface book is that it doesn’t have an ethernet port (thankfully the Surface Dock does).
I feel like paying $1500+ for a laptop that isn’t a Mac is a little… Weird? I don’t know but I thought the Apple design and R&D was baked into the price tag. What are these vendors doing differently?
Making them smaller, lighter, and with higher-density screens?
Consumer product reporting ewwww.
I felt similarly gross writing the post, if it makes you feel any better. I hate stupid product reviews but I was compelled this time because I’m so disappointed.
It helps, thanks for the effort at least. I just dislike seeing product reviews and summaries here.
Agreed that’s why I didn’t submit it here myself :)