The Unreasonable Stance: New Laptops Are Exclusively For Suckers

new_laptop_08.jpgEnjoying that Macbook Pro? Having a good time with that sweet Vaio? Too bad you got screwed over – because new laptops are for suckers. I’m rocking a G3 Powerbook right now, and I probably get more done than you do. Because in the end, it’s all about the guts, and laptops have been slow since day one.

Can you think of anything your laptop does right now that a laptop from 1995 doesn’t do? Sure – new games, editing that hi-def video, there’s a bunch. Now take that list and take out the ones you’d rather do on a desktop. What’s left? If you’re honest, probably nothing. Unless you feel like doing things by halves – lowering those graphics settings, working with slow external hard drives, dealing with the fact that customization is shady at best and lethal to your comp at worst – you’re going to be way better off with a desktop. And can we talk about the heat and battery life? New laptops have such ungodly power consumption that they’ll drain your $500 battery in two hours – so much for mobility. And while it’s doing that, it’ll singe your erogenous zones, or maybe if you’re lucky just burst into flame on the table or melt your desk.

So what’s the story here, is this columnist so totally insane that he thinks laptops, one of the most popular technologies of all time, are useless? Of course not, only new ones are – or, more precisely, useless at doing new things. What you need is something to check your email, browse the web, write papers, save your pictures, and so on, and a Thinkpad sporting a Pentium III 1.5GHz processor and maybe a little extra RAM will serve you just fine. In fact, you could easily go back further and still be perfectly sound, while saving yourself thousands. A good laptop costs at least $1500 new, and meanwhile you’ve got last year’s models half off, and some from five years ago going for 75 bucks. Go find a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and try to tell yourself honestly that you’ve gotten $1400 worth of use out of that Macbook that you couldn’t have gotten from a decrepit old Inspiron from 2003. I knew you couldn’t do it.

oldlappy.gifNew laptops are all hype – they’re like buying a Lamborghini when all you’re going to do is race around downtown Barstow. To be honest, it’s embarrassing, and you should be a little ashamed for buying the hype. Think about what you need – do you need coverflow? Do you need visualizations in Winamp? You don’t need Vista, you don’t need XP, hell, you could probably get away with running Windows 3.1. Spend a couple weeks with a G3 Powerbook running OS 9 and I think you’ll agree that not only are your needs being met, but you’ll probably enjoy it. And let’s not forget Linux; Xubuntu and other distributions are designed with old hardware in mind and will run all your favorite open source apps. Maybe you’ll even learn something!

The point is you don’t use your laptop for anything an old one can’t do, or if you do, you can only do it half as well and for a quarter of the time as you could on a desktop. New laptops are for suckers. Be realistic, save yourself a couple grand, and buy a decade-old lappy from Craigslist for a bill, you’ll be glad you did.

Unreasonable Stance is a column in which one CrunchGear writer tries to argue for the other, not usually accepted, side. Sometimes it’s satire, sometimes it’s trolling, sometimes it’s gibberish. Most importantly, however, it is an attempt to see a technical issue or product from another perspective, something we rarely do in our compartmentalized, partisan world.