How big is your Lap, Anyway?

The ultra slimline laptops are essentially unusable as an every day developer machine because they have insufficient screen space. I find 1280x1024 oppressively small, and 1024x768 is barely usable

It seems to me that a 19" or larger LCD would be relatively easy to obtain at even the most decrepit of customer sites. Plus, hooking up an external monitor means you get dual monitors-- you can use the existing laptop LCD display as a secondary display.

But neither of these is as good as one large-enough screen. (Then again, I’m apparently a freak - I appear to be the only person in the world who doesn’t maximize any of their apps… I guess if you always maximise, twin-head looks better than single, because you can have a whole two windows open at once that way. Oooh! Come one people - it’s like we never moved away from tiled windows!)

A couple points here. First, if one 1600x1200 screen is good, two is always better. Change the resolution numbers to whatever figures you like and this formula remains the same. Second, not maximizing windows is bizarre. The window management overhead of non-maximized windows is just too onerous for me. You can shift+click the taskbar buttons and choose tiling options, but it’s still a pain. I also use Ultramon, which lets me drag maximized windows from monitor to monitor on my 3-monitor configs at home and work.

Sorry, Aaron, you’re exactly half right.

It’s been possible to buy laptops with 1600x1200 resolution (or better) for years. My first was a Dell Inspiron 8200 (8100?) three years ago. This year I changed to a IBM T42p, which has that option, and Dell has come out with a new one with that format. 15".

The fact that the LCD uses a digital interconnect means (in XP and OS X) that laptops use better font antialiasing - to get that with your home LCD, you’d have to get the right video card and connector and driver - something I rarely have the energy to do.

My laptop does about 5 hours on battery. I have the IBM extended battery and the extra battery that goes in the drive bay.

I bought just before the Duo Cores came out, but have a Mobile M at 2Ghz. I upgraded to a 7200RPM, 110G drive, and have the 300G external if I need to do video editing.

Do I have a desktop machine? Yes! Several! The linux scratch machine and the trustworthy Win2K server/video edit station. The desktop is a bit long in the tooth now, but it hosts the big drives (about 750G of storage and 2 DVD burners) - I’ve started toying with the idea of an upgrade, but I rarely use it for real work anymore.

The value of having a decent screen and my environment when I show up onsite for a consulting gig is invaluable. Being able to throw a second LCD on at home is kind of nice - but sitting in the livingroom with my tea and hacking through the Eclipse problem from last night with a fresh brain is even better.

The problem with a desk top in your house is that thay take up a whole desk (well best part of a small room really). We don’t have much space in our house so a laptop is great. We don’t need to be really mobile with it - just take it off the shelf, and put it on the kitchen table.

In Australia, you can depreciate a desktop only to the extent that it is used for business. So, if your marginal tax rate is 41.5%, a $1000 desktop used for business will really cost you $585. A $1000 desktop for home (not business) will really cost you $1000.

A laptop, however, lets you ‘claim’ twice (once for depreciation, once for FBT exemption). So a $1000 laptop for business will really cost you $170 (last year it was even better - higher tax rates at the time meant it cost you only $30). A $1000 laptop for home (not business) will really cost you $585.

This is one reason why desktop replacement laptops are popular in Australia. :wink:

I’ll take a heavy laptop that performs well over a lightweight laptop that doesn’t any day.

i don’t care for the large screens that much, but gimme a 15" 1600x1200 screen, 12 hours of battery and 300gb of disk in a laptop, please. personally, i don’t care if it weighs 40lbs as long as it performs and has a long battery life.

I struggled with this for quite a while. At my last job I opted for the 19" Alienware rig - super fast, super heavy and burning hot all the time!

This time around I went the other way. I have the 2.6lb Panasonic W4 and I love it. When at the office I have an external monitor and a second desktop machine (Mac Mini) running Synergy so I just use the laptop keyboard and touchpad for all the work. At meeting time, I just lock the desktop and walk with the Panasonic. The 5+ battery life with WiFi running is a big plus. The newer model boasts even more time off wire… wow.

Take care.

A 19" LCD doesn’t get you 1600x1200. Most 20" don’t even get you that. So no, many customer sites actually won’t have large enough displays, and certainly if you’re visiting your in-laws for a weekend they are unlikely to just happen to have a spare 20-21" LCD lying around. And I maintain, as others do, that one high-res display is an order of magnitude better than two low-res displays.

Let’s face the facts here:

  • Screen resolution on a laptop is pathetic
  • Battery life on a laptop is pathetic
  • Hardware capability on a laptop is compromised
  • Most laptops spend 90% of their time sitting on the same desk either plugged into the AC adapter or a docking station.

OK, the picture looks a little silly, and I’m not suggesting everybody run out to get this 20" beast. But if it seriously bothers anyone to carry 5 pounds as opposed to 3 pounds, they really need to exercise more!