Mike Schaeffer's Blog

June 1, 2005

I've been shopping for a laptop recently. My target specs are these:

  • Any modern laptop processor is probably adequate.
  • 1GB RAM.
  • 30-60GB Disk.
  • A DVD writer would be nice, but not necessary.
  • 14-15 inch display, the highest dot pitch I can find.
  • Reasonable 2D graphics performance, 3D is not that important to me.
  • Touchpad pointing device.
  • 3 year warranty, accident insurance is a nice plus
  • Long battery life, >3 hours.
  • Reasonable expectation of 2-3 years of reliable life.
  • Can run a couple small Windows applications I need to do my job.
  • Can run MS Office.

That's a long list, but nothing on it is very demanding. Let's see how close a couple vendors get:

Dell D610Thinkpad T4xApple 15" PowerBookApple 14" iBook
CPUPentium M, 1.6Pentium M, 1.8G4, 1.564, 1.33
Hard Disk60GB60GB80GB60GB
Optical DiskDVD+/-RWDVD+/-RWDVD+/-RWDVD+/-RW
Screen14.1", 1.5MP14.1", 1.5MP15", 1MP14", 0.75MP
Warranty3 year3 year3 year3 year
Insurance3 yearnonenonenone

So, as ever, Apple is the most expensive choice, even when compared to nicer PC's like the ThinkPad.

Maybe the thing that suprises me the most about this is that Apple isn't even close to the bleeding edge of display technology. Given the energy they've put into OS X's desktop rendering pipeline, I'd expect them to have displays that could compete with Sony's XBrite or maybe the 2MP 15" widescreen that Dell makes available on the D810. OS X could drive those displays better than pre-Avalon Windows. Maybe this is a artifact of the suppliers Apple is using?