for an OS partition?
When Asus sent the N550 to Vulture Central, I sent it back: the wrong model had been dispatched. Having seen so many tiresome comments following El Reg laptop reviews along the lines of “when I saw it was only 1366 x 768 I stopped reading”, I wasn’t going to proceed with this spec - and with more than these moans as …
A fubar upgrade of OSX on a slot loading macbook put me off them for life. Wouldn't complete the upgrade, and kept rebooting, seeing the disk and trying to run the upgrade again. Refused to obey the eject key and my universal cd-rom ejection tool (paperclip) could not save me. Took almost a day to get the damn disk out.
When I saw 'HD 1920 x 1080' I stopped reading
screens should be at least 1920x1200 in this day and age.
I'll be waiting for the 'whiff of Apple' comments about not having a VGA port and needing to use an adapter cable with interest.
If this were to be my desktop replacement then I'd need at least 24Gb of Ram. will this device take that?
People running multiple VM's is not that uncommon these days.
"1920x1080 or 1920x1200... I really wonder who would see the difference."
1920x1080 is the HDTV 16:9 format. It is hard to buy a standalone monitor now in 1920x1200. Presumably the bulk production of 1920x1080 panels for TVs has produced an economy of scale.
A free-standing 1920x1200 monitor plays HD content with black bands above and below - useful for parking the player's on-screen controls. If you have 1920x1200 on a laptop then you will have those same bands effectively reducing your picture size for a given screen height.
No it isn't, what are you smoking, Cletus?
A very unscientific "mashing my head against google" turned up a candidate in literally seconds:
Plenty more where that came from, too.
Many many people. 16:9 is great for watching DVDs and a pain in the ass for anything else. 1920x1200 is 16:10, the difference seems small but it is a great deal better for most work tasks. As for RAM, you don't use VMs do you. If you did you'd know there is no such thing as too much RAM.
Regrettably, 16:10 displays are extinct on laptops outside the Macbook pro. It's annoying as I find 16:9 to be a horrible aspect ratio for working (all width, no height), but there you are. The reason is simply that 16:10 displays are more expensive to produce and none of the manufacturers (apart from Apple) seem to think they're worth it, even on a high-end laptop.
A pity. If a company like Lenovo could make a nice, 16:10 laptop with a 1920x1200 matte screen, 256GB SSD and decent keyboard/trackpad (with buttons), I'd buy one now - even for £1,000+.
> you could of course just refer to the latter as 8:4.5
Of course not, as anyone with a cousin with half a clue could have told you that you just reduce the fraction to its lowest integer terms. That's just how you describe formats, otherwise there's no reason to use fractions in the first place.
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The track pad looks like it is actually centred on the main keyboard, but the numeric keypad to the side makes that be 'not-centred' to the whole laptop and therefore screen. For touch typing that may be a good thing, but without trying it I couldn't say where would be best (in my subjective opinion). Oh, also an adaptable Left-hander.
but yes, why is it so difficult to find a laptop with a better than HD screen? HD is for television, not computing!
(Doh! icon 'cos it's a left-handed face-palm)
To be honest, the first thing I do on a laptop with a touch pad is turn the damn thing off... if I'm actually using it while travelling, fair enough, but if there's anywhere to roll a mouse, even my knee, that's generally preferable.
A touch pad that just did straightforward things like tracking my finger, with a marked area for a click, is usable; these days they seem to decide that random touches from your palm are intended as complex clicks and anything can happen.
"A touch pad that just did straightforward things like tracking my finger, with a marked area for a click, is usable; these days they seem to decide that random touches from your palm are intended as complex clicks and anything can happen."
Several linux GUIs (at least) have options to disable trackpad input while keys are being typed, specifically to deal with this kind of issue. I'm surprised this isn't standard in Windows.
Stop designing interfaces to the audio/video hardware that look like something coming out of a soldering shop that received mechanical dials and random analog hardware from a B-52 yard sale, glued it together and plastered made-up and trademarked logos everywhere on the resulting box. That kind of old-style hardware was designed not because it was kewl but because there was no other way.
DOING SO TODAY IS DUMB. IT'S CONFUSING! IT'S NEEDLESSLY COMPLICATED. IT'S FOR 15-YEAR OLDS!
It gets even worse when the flexibility of a computer-interface is added in at random points (Do you hear, Amarok designer? Yes, get rid of your shitty volume control button first, then get rid of the rest of your shit too.)
Nurse, my blood pressure is off the chart again.
Not a bad machine, looks quite good, nice screen and sound.
Has the usual PC laptop issues though, the battery is poor, the standard SATA drive is very slow, had to put in an SSD and the top bends when you're using it so the track pad gets spurious data and zaps your mouse pointer all over the screen at random forcing you to use an external one.
For its price it's not a bad machine but I think it illustrates the benefit of spending a bit more and getting something with a more solid chassis.
Thanks for the link that did seem interesting for a moment. But seriously, what happened to Dell's laptop configurability? The last few I've looked at had little to none. Here we have three models and you've got to either take a 500 GB hybrid drive, 8 GB, 1920x1080 screen (with a choice of Win8 or at £30 more, Win7), or a higher-res screen with 256 GB SSD, 16 GB and Windows 8.
What if I want just 16 GB but am happy with the lower-res screen, what if I want the top model but with Win7 or the lower-res screen but with an SSD? Not possible.
Oh, wait a minute... Even the top-of-the-line £1949 + VAT + Shipping model doesn't have 3G, let alone 4G. What a poor showing, Dell.
And 16:9 really isn't to my taste (though at 1920x1080 it's sort of bearable). Perhaps I'll get the next iteration of the Chromebook Pixel, if I can replace the built in SSD at reasonable cost with one that's >=120 GB. I hear it runs Linux nicely.
Indeed, the configuration options on this machine are bonkers. I would have paid the money had I been able to have 16G with a hybrid rotating drive (lots of database work, a 256G SSD will need frequent replacing). Can't have it. I ended up with the earlier N56V because it was dead easy to get 16G and put in a hybrid drive, and it ended up costing half as much. So I use an external monitor a lot, but when I need a lot of screen space I'm almost always in an office.
With Windows, I put the bar down the left hand side, like Unity, so as to get the full screen height. It's a small change that makes much better use of the wide screen.
Yes a Hybrid HDD would be a good compromise in such machines.The cost difference isn't that great. I've installed a couple of the new Seagate 500GB Hybrid laptops drives in machines and was very impressed by the performance from them.
Worth checking out if you want the space but also the general pep of an SSD.
>>Does anyone make a laptop for work?
They all do...thing is it's just not cool to say so. The end result of needing a laptop for work in these tablet trendy times is what my GF ends up doing...1 laptop (because she's a proper business person who needs to type stuff and do all that other business stuff). 1 iPhone (because they took away her Blackberry because it wasn't cool enough), 1 Samsung Galaxy tablet (because a client's app only works on Android) and 1 Kindle Fire HD (because she reads books at night...I know, I know, I've explained all that) and she still carries enough paper to rebuild half the Amazon in her laptop bag.
Good write up. Seems like a mixed bag. Nice resolution, design, optical drive and expansion would be pluses but the subwoofer and the presence of Windows 8 instead of 7 are offputting for my personal taste.
Was interested to see you gave it a shot on Linux. I know there are a bazzillion flavours to try, but give Sabayon a try sometime if not having success with Ubuntu / Mint.
Slightly off topic, but, as it is apparently impossible a manufacturer to put together a machine that would please the fussy nature of Register readers, how about we put together our laptop wish list covering everything from screen type/resolution, keyboard layout, ports, case material, battery size/capacity, OS cpu, memory etct etc and whatever else we think we need, send it off to the big manufacturers and see who builds it? or prices it up at least. Pipe dreams no doubt, but, could be fun?
Unless of course we end up with some 24GB, i7, 4K res screen, mercury cased, 10 hour battery life freak that costs us £10,000
As indicated in another post, I think for me a Chromebook Pixel with a decent size SSD, >= 8 GB RAM, 3 or 4g built in + USB3 would do the job. It's already got a 3:2 ratio retina-style screen, is very well built, reasonably fast, for me it's almost there, really.
I believe you can't install Windows on it but pretty much any Linux. Kinda like that, too.
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"Expecting a "retina display" for the money is just showing a failure to understand basic economics."
Huh? Who said they were expecting a retina screen. People were mainly asking for 16:10 or taller. I merely pointed out that I like the Pixel and the reasons include it being 3:2 and having a retina screen. And as for pricing: The Chromebook Pixel and the laptop reviewed here both cost around the same so a retina screen is not unthinkable. But the PC reviewed here is boring anyway, I much preferred the off-topic forum posts discussing alternatives, complaining about 16:9 and suggesting we get a Reg Spec.
If you want a Macbook Pro, why not get one?
The nearest equivalent Macbook to the Pixel is around the £1500 mark, and I suspect that if Google added all the things you want to the Pixel, including the much bigger battery that it needs, that's what it would cost. The three things that put me off the Pixel were lack of proper Ethernet (what's the point of having a fast cpu if you can't transfer your big files quickly in the home environment), lack of SSD and, above all, short battery life.
Well, I've had an Apple once and while traveling the charger died on me. In a hurry I was unable to buy a cheaper knock-off on eBay so had to purchase from an Apple partner or Apple store and they all wanted EUR 89. Which I paid and then I promised myself to never ever buy Apple again. I had expected perhaps EUR 49 (incidentally, I see a Pixel charger costs £49).
To be fair, I might have a harder time even finding a (non-online) shop that sells a Pixel charger if the same thing happened to me with it.
Anyway, the next Chromebook Pixel is likely to be Haswell which should improve battery life a bit and I find that I'm actually ok even with the ~3h I get out of my current laptop since I'm not usually far from a socket. What does bother me the more I think about it is that it's probably gonna stay on 4 GB. That's not really good enough and I read up on it, both the SSD and the RAM are soldered onto the mainboard. Perhaps I'll have to get that Macbook Pro in the end...
I like the 3 button "mouse" on ThinkPads as it helps using Linux and doesn't detract from Windows.
Like others I'd prefer 16:10 (or even 4:3) on the screen. I want vertical height more than long horizontal lines.
Other bits I'm more flexible on depending on who the beastie is for. I'd want Linux on there for the children as it gives them what they need and stops them trying to install "stuff" from their mates. And for the most part it needs to be fairly robust and easy to maintain. Superfast, ultra high graphics and wonder sound aren't really needed for a family workhorse that mostly gets used for email and watching YouTube.
Thanks for sticking those four gharishly colourful stickers on the front of it, Asus! How am I to know the laptop comes with an HDMI port, if I don't have a naff sticker with HDMI written on it staring me in the face when I look down? Thanks to your dilligence in sticker-application, I can also sleep easy knowing it's Energy Star approved, and show off to everyone else in the coffee-shop that I'm using an Nvidia GPU and Intel CPU! Woo!
To my mind, the whole B&O sound system+woofer thing is utterly stupid.
If I'm at home, I don't want to watch video or listen to audio on a laptop. It's too small for video and too inconvenient for music. I have dedicated appliances that do the job properly.
If I'm travelling, then I might use the laptop for entertainment. But how do I carry the stupid woofer around? Too many portables are already compromised by a brick of a power supply that makes them less portable than they at first appear. The woofer with this one is going to make a very nasty bulge in your laptop case. You could leave it at home, of course, at which point the machine becomes just another laptop with tinny speakers.
Of course they won't want it back. It's got a shiny display (that's the point where people usually stop reading), it's got crapware on it, and there is no hint that it's any better than the usual Asus quality, where your product might already be broken when it arrives.
You may be right, but my experience with Asus is the reverse - that if you buy their mid range to upper range stuff it is pretty good. The Transformers are very solid tablets, I have beaten the life out of an N56V and it is still in perfect working order and used about 6 hours a day despite having worn the labels off three of the keys, and I have just passed on down one of their monitors to replace a newer one from another rmanufacturer which was well past its best before.
Of course, if you buy the bargain basement stuff you get the usual basement standards, but the price ticket is usually a sufficient indicator.
Since the majority of El Reg's readers are non-windows, non-mac users, this fine establishment would be doing the world a great service to just plug in a live DVD or two (maybe even a PCBSD DVD?) and see how it works on all these new machines - nothing fancy, just see if it runs normal stuff without tweaking or resorting to geekly file edits. This would provide useful information to us, the great unwashed, who may be ready to buy a new machine, and would also send a useful message to vendors, suggesting that they do that themselves before releasing to the public. This will become increasingly useful as the world continues to move beyond MS-WIndowism.