Friday, May 30, 2008

Laptop Update

Well, I've had the thing two days now; and I don't love it or hate it.


It's also gorgeous, with great multimedia features; and the performance is spectacular.

...But did I mention how big it is?

Seriously, it is a 17" widescreen, so I expected it to be big, but it just feels "large" in comparison to other 17" laptops I've used. It's not particularly heavy (about two pounds heavier than my 14" machine); it's just got a big and thick footprint.

Actually, I've always wondered what the point of the Asus EEE (and similar micro laptops) was; well now I know, it's for people who already have a big desktop replacement laptop, and want something they can take to the coffee shop with them.

So, the areas I was specifically worried about... Well, it came overloaded with crapware, as to be expected; but otherhwise everythign seems pretty standard.

There are a few gotchas with 64 bit vista vs 32 bit (though I can get a 32 bit media pack if I want for $20) but otherwise, everything is standard hardware, not propietary crap, so driver support is excellent.

Right now, I've got the box dual booting 64 bit windows and 32 bit linux, because theres no 64 bit driver support for the goodies as of yet (video card or wlan).

The fun bit though, is that I've got VirtualBox running on both, accessing a shared data partition, with my work disk image. This way, I can run the same work virtual machine from either operating system; and I don't need to reboot etc...

The touchpad... yeah... it's a touchpad. Nothing to be done there. I may buy a trackball to go along with the thing just to avoid the touchpad, but I've used them plenty in the past, so it's not getting in my way. As touchpads go, it's well positioned; but it's VERY slick, as are the buttons, which I don't care for.

The keyboard is great but for two things:

1. The position of the cursor keys is wrong and inconvenient, relating to ...
2. The right shift key is cut in half, to allow for the cursor keys to be snuggled up in between the full keypad, and the rest of the keys.

This little irritation means that instead of hitting shift as I intend to; much of the time I find myself correcting massive errors because I hit the up arrow instead.

Again, I'll get used to it; and otherwise the keyboard really does feel good. It's got decent key action and feel; and good keysize and keyspacing.

Since I've decided not to chuck it back, I've ordered a spare battery (about 2.5 hours battery life on this on in normal use), the docking station, and a second AC adapter.

Further review to come as I get used to the thing.