Monday, May 03, 2010

My new laptop: Dell Vostro 3500

I just ordered one of these:

The red makes it faster!

My current ThinkPad, which I purchased specifically because my last one was built like a tank and lasted seven full years, broke in at least three different ways after just 18 months. Lenovo has completely destroyed everything that's good about the ThinkPad line - except maybe Trackpoint, which I'll miss. But I'll never buy another Lenovo. My screen bezel cracked, my power connector came unglued (it's just flopping around right now), and the final straw: my screen backlight no longer turns on if the screen is beyond 90 degrees. Yes, I'm typing this with my screen tilted forward.

 What's wrong with this picture?  Oh yeah - the backlight isn't on!

Actually, every single laptop either I or my wife has owned has broken. Every one. (Well, not my wife's current Compaq - yet.) Even my original ThinkPad, though after seven years of abuse, I can't really fault it for that. Most of our laptops, though, break within two years of purchase. Fujitsu: hinges lost all tension (screen would just flop around). Compaq: power connector broke. Acer: hinge cracked, power connector broke. Dell (Inspiron): hinge cracked. IBM ThinkPad: hard drive died (not its fault, it was EOL'd). Lenovo ThinkPad: screen bezel cracked, power connector broke, backlight broke.  Oh, and that's after it had already been in the shop for a keyboard that hadn't laid flat since the day I got it.

Are we just really hard on our machines?

I don't think so - personally, I use mine on a coffee table, and I do take it to work every day, where it's then placed on a counter all day long. So, sure, there's daily transport, but nothing these things weren't made to handle. I'm not going on lengthy business trips with my laptop in one of those dumb rolling suitcases, giving presentations in faraway, unfamiliar lands, or taking my computer into a war zone. I'm fairly careful with all of my stuff, and I lead a mostly boring life.  Oh, and I use a pretty good laptop case that cost 1/4 of the price of the computer that's usually packed in it.

So lately I always try to buy tough. That's why I got this ThinkPad, which turned out to be a massive piece of shit. Worst computer I've ever owned. If you take one lesson from this, it's: do not buy a Lenovo ThinkPad. I'm serious. I hate this computer, with a passion.

I went with the business-oriented Dell Vostro not because I'm just that professional, but because it's made of aluminum, has "zinc-strengthened" hinges, a non-glossy, anti-glare screen, the latest Intel i-series CPU's, and oddly enough comes with an Nvidia GeForce 310M dedicated graphics card - a good gaming card, and one you won't even find in most consumer laptops. All for under $700, which was a better deal than even any consumer-level laptop I found.

If this thing doesn't last, I guess next time I'll have to move up to a Panasonic Toughbook or more likely a Dell Lattitude or something (the Lattitudes have actual steel hinges, and are made to be abused).

It's being built right now. I'll post again when I get it.

By the way, this is my favorite line on the production order:

1    421-2283    No Security,Winery, Vostro

I have no security software, but on the plus side it looks like I do get a winery.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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