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Laptops - what does the industry need to fix?

What is lacking in the laptop industry?

  • 15" is cute, I don't do cute

    Votes: 10 13.5%
  • I don't want [AMD][Intel][Nvidia] components

    Votes: 4 5.4%
  • Not enough RAM by default (potential upgrade nightmares)

    Votes: 26 35.1%
  • No or Tiny SSD (potential upgrade nightmares)

    Votes: 28 37.8%
  • Poorly thought out keyboard layouts

    Votes: 18 24.3%
  • Limited BIOS/UEFI

    Votes: 25 33.8%
  • Limited IO (Not enough ports, no desired port combo, etc)

    Votes: 31 41.9%
  • Lack of professional features (8/10 bit screens, RAID, other miscellaneous)

    Votes: 5 6.8%
  • High prices for the specifications

    Votes: 41 55.4%
  • Other (having to buy through third parties, heat issues, warranty nonsense, LED issues, etc)

    Votes: 36 48.6%

  • Total voters
    74
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Screen quality!

It baffles me, that I can get a crisp 27'' 144Hz screen for around 250 bucks.
But when I’m buying a 15’’ laptop in the 800-1200 range, it comes with a terrible washed out screen worth shit.
At least 1366x768 is finally retiring in the mid-range, and viewing angles are becoming okay thanks to IPS becoming the norm.
That said, 1366x768 should finally die off, and 1920x1080 become the minimum standard even in low end laptops.
well what other parts are in a 800-1200$ lappy? 400$ cpu? 300$ gfx? i agree with thermals they sure could put another fan in there sometimes and always can do with some better paste. modular cpu wow that would be great, im sure cost is the #1 reason for all of these lower priced items, bad screen is because to low of price, no demand for 2000$ laptop with 144hz screen so they would be losing money by making a million of them. 1366x768 is very annoying but when you buy a 200$ laptop what do you really expect. im really pleased with what laptops have been doing and will be even more pleased when the next gen ryzen and intel come out and we get 12+hour of battery life with decent gfx. just purchased a dell 4k touchscreen 8265 mx150 16gb/512gb on accident offered 300 and teh seller accepted., was really trying.
 
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My past couple of laptops have been Thinkpad X200-series and even Lenovo has managed to kill the Thinkpad upgradeability.
It seems to apply across the entire Thinkpad range, as they've removed easy access to drives and memory and you now have to remove the entire bottom to access either, rather than loosen a screw to slide out the drive caddy. Obviously with M.2, things changed, but even so, there's no longer a partial opening to even access the SO-DIMM slot, if there is one.

Gone are the user replaceable batteries as well, my current X250 has a small internal batter plus a huge rear mounted one to give me the best possible battery life. You also had a choice here, as there were multiple sizes of the rear battery. It was even possible to swap the rear battery without powering off the notebook if you had a second rear battery.

More recent models that are called ideabooks or thinkbooks have done away with the "nipple" which is one of the main reasons I like the Thinkpads. Admittedly their trackpads aren't terrible any more, but I tend to have problems with a lot of touch surfaces, they simply don't like my fingers. Even older (10+ years) finger print scanners didn't work for me...

All of this in the name of slimming down and saving another 20g here or 30g there. Sure, I don't miss my old 4.5kg Dell Inspiron from back in the days, but at least I could strip that one down and build it back up. Upgraded the PII CPU in it, which was no mean feat.

I guess we're a minority here though that actually can and will fix our on stuff. We live in a throw-away economy, you're supposed to get a new one after a year or two anyhow, so forget about fixing it or upgrading it...
I'm wondering who's going to fix something like this when it breaks...

One other thing, why is it so hard to buy certain configurations of laptops? Take Lenovo again as an example. If I want a certain model with a discrete GPU, then I have to upgrade my CPU as well, which adds another $300 for what? It seems like BTO isn't really BTO any more.
 
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First - proper localization on laptops. Being from EU (not UK) I hate, hate, hate and really hate seeing US-british QWERTY layout, because overwhelming majority of countries in the EU use QWERTZ layout.

Second, if someone plans to sell their laptops in countries like Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro - add letters ŠĐČĆŽ ! If the keyboard is backlit, these letters should also glow instead of being printed! As I said, it must have QWERTZ layout. This also goes for all backlit keyboard brands/manufacturers.

Cooling solutions on laptops are usually either bad, terrible or beyond horrible, so that needs to be improved as well. It doesn't matter if a laptop will be 5 mm thicker and 0,3 kg heavier.

Other problem is that too many brands are doing their best to copy Apple. We don't want only 1 universal port for everything! At least no sane person wants that. Proper laptop should have at least 3 USB ports (one dedicated on the right side for the mouse + 2 extra), at least one 3.5 mm port, HDMI port, Display port and multi-card reader would be really nice (SD & micro SD, others optional). Don't forget separate battery charging port - a port just for that and nothing else.

Better BIOS where you can actually change something except the clock would be nice.

Yeah, better build quality with more metal and less plastic would be nice. They should avoid using cheap glossy plastic because it scratches way too easily.

All that for a more reasonable price tag because brands/manufacturers already have a hefty profit margin...
 
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As long as consumers keep demanding lighter, thinner notebooks, heat (and thus throttling) will always be an issue.

Makers can pack the horsepower into those tiny cases, but not the necessary cooling. If tower PC cases are challenged to keep the innards properly cooled, no way a tiny notebook case can be expected to keep its innards cool. I mean, Laws of Physics, people!

The problem is there is no ATX Form Factor type standard for notebooks. It is the ATX Form Factor standard for PCs that allows us to mix and match from 100s of different manufacturers the various components when assembling our PCs. So notebook makers are free to be as proprietary (and charge as much) as they want. Couple that with consumers' demands for lighter and thinner, and we will keep digging ourselves deeper into that proprietary hole.

Since there is no way all the major players will come to a consensus on a common form factor standard for notebooks, I say the industry does not need to fix anything (except exploding batteries).

What needs to be fixed is consumers expectations.


Actually, I am not worried. I rarely travel anymore so rarely need a mobile computer. And they can have my full sized keyboard, real mouse, two 24" monitors, and my surround sound speaker system after I'm dead!
 
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First - proper localization on laptops. Being from EU (not UK) I hate, hate, hate and really hate seeing US-british QWERTY layout, because overwhelming majority of countries in the EU use QWERTZ layout.

Second, if someone plans to sell their laptops in countries like Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro - add letters ŠĐČĆŽ ! If the keyboard is backlit, these letters should also glow instead of being printed! As I said, it must have QWERTZ layout. This also goes for all backlit keyboard brands/manufacturers.
Sorry, but you're mixing things up here like nobody's business.

US and British layout are completely different, US is ANSI, UK is ISO to start with and most European keyboard layouts are ISO.
QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY are not different in terms of the key layout, they're all ISO, it's just different key mapping and it can actually be done easily with some third party software.

Sure, this might be less than ideal on a laptop where you can't simply swap the keys around, like you can on a desktop keyboard.
However, as someone else from a "minor" market, it's something we simply have to live with. All the Nordic countries (with the exception of Iceland) have now been given a common keyboard layout and it's a bit messy as not all the keys are the same, so some have a lot of things on them. However, it's a compromise I can live with and I guess, so are you, unless you want to spend €100 extra for all notebooks sold in your region, as no-one else are going to want to touch them.

It's also not possible to properly back-light keys with 3-4 symbols on them, due to how light travels, even within a lightpipe, unless there's a major change to how keyboards are made.
 
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As long as consumers keep demanding lighter, thinner notebooks, heat (and thus throttling) will always be an issue.

Makers can pack the horsepower into those tiny cases, but not the necessary cooling. If tower PC cases are challenged to keep the innards properly cooled, no way a tiny notebook case can be expected to keep its innards cool. I mean, Laws of Physics, people!

The problem is there is no ATX Form Factor type standard for notebooks. It is the ATX Form Factor standard for PCs that allows us to mix and match from 100s of different manufacturers the various components when assembling our PCs. So notebook makers are free to be as proprietary (and charge as much) as they want. Couple that with consumers' demands for lighter and thinner, and we will keep digging ourselves deeper into that proprietary hole.

Since there is no way all the major players will come to a consensus on a common form factor standard for notebooks, I say the industry does not need to fix anything (except exploding batteries).

What needs to be fixed is consumers expectations.

Actually, I am not worried. I rarely travel anymore so rarely need a mobile computer. And they can have my full sized keyboard, real mouse, two 24" monitors, and my surround sound speaker system after I'm dead!
You would do terribly in sales bro, the customer is always right I thought :p

you're not totally wrong besides the ideology its always the user at fault(IMHO), which does seem to be your general stance, I would agree to often or mostly though.

Clevo makes for a mix and match standard ish, yet by and large, I don't see the laptop I want to be sold by anyone, I have been looking and everyothing close to what I want would still need a drive and memory upgrade, I just would not be willing to pay several hundred more pounds(above the actual cost) for that fitted already.
 
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10 key, on a 17 inch screen, with 512GB or more SSD, with 5 hour actual battery life, no bloatware, with an actual serial port, and less than $950 and I would buy 30 or more for our company techs.
 
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Amen to that !

Also: Stop sacrificing everything for thinness. I'd take a slightly thicker laptop with better battery and thermals any day.
It's just an excuse. I can force myself to compromise on soldered CPUs, but everything else is just a lame excuse. It's not like we've never had ultra-portables with two RAM slots, M.2 and SATA before...
Just right next to me is an Elitebook Folio 9470m, which is 18-19mm thick, only 1.6kg with aluminium chassis, and has tons of I/O, both 2.5" SATA and mSATA slots, mini-PCIe, 3xUSB-A, LAN, full-size DP and even VGA. In comparison, a modern Zenbook 14 managed to shave-off a whooping 0.9mm of thickness and a bit more impressive 300g of weight, yet does not have a single replaceable component.
In my office I have a probook 640 G1, which shares the looks with pretty much any probook that came after, but for some reason mine runs cooler, never broke, and is the last fully upgradeable laptop in the series, unlike all the Skylake-based crapbooks that we bought for field engineers at my other job (which reminds me, I still need to buy a battery and a new fan for one of them).

I can understand if this trend is for the sake of reducing prices and staying relevant along cheap tablets, but so far pricing stayed the same. The only adjustments are in the low-end, where big OEMs are forced to compete with cheap chinese netbooks/notebooks and fall for the same trend of sticking tablet internals into a laptop chassis, while removing absolutely everything that's not mission-critical. This makes it feel like a piece of cardboard with a larger screen, and makes me terified every time I open one up.
That's how we get these "awesome" CPU heatsinks from ASUS (yes, fellas, it's a mother f#$%ing CPU heatsink on a mother f#$%ing laptop!):
IMG_20180422_153429.jpg
 
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At 8.6lbs that is the very definition of cumbersome. I lugged a 17 incher around for 4 years during college and will never do it again.
That is a unique machine though....
 
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That is a unique machine though....
Yep, most of the Sager/Clevo designs are quite nice. The 17 incher I mentioned was a Sager with a Core2 T7200 and a GTX 7950m, but it was a bear...

/off topic :)
 
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You would do terribly in sales bro, the customer is always right I thought
But I don't sell notebooks. I have, however, made a comfortable living building and selling custom PCs. And yes, my customers are [almost] always right. But not if they are looking for a "gaming notebook" or a "PC replacement".
 
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The only real thing needed to be done is to create some sort of standard for laptop builds like we have ATX (and others) for desktop PCs. That's the only thing that is irritating me in laptops and what makes them appeal to me as overpriced toys rather than useful tools which they are supposed to be.

Problems with efficient cooling, improper choice of components (for example weak discrete gpus bundled with strong cpus like geforce 915 with i7 cpu, or other way around, i3 with 1060), annoying non-standard keyboard layouts (Fn key is an abomination which now also made its way to normal keyboards... oh lord, why....), upgrade paths in practice do not exist, more and more laptops have ram permanently soldered to motherboard.

Every time i have to use a laptop i feel uncomfortable and i use them only when i have to do this, never intentionally or from my free will.
 
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Biggest issue for me is limited IO on some newer laptops. I've never bought so many dongles as in the last couple years.

Averaging almost 1.5 dongles per laptop, or a full hub because people keep buying models not suited for them but want cause "they look great"....
 
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At 8.6lbs that is the very definition of cumbersome. I lugged a 17 incher around for 4 years during college and will never do it again.
LoL. 8.6lb is nothing. One of my work buddies called a few days ago, after starting a new job at a new place. His old ROG G75VW pooped it's pants for the second time.
Hauling that thing home was a real workout. Weighted it in on arrival - with charger and a bag it was around 5.8kg[~12.5-13lb] (laptop itself is specced at 4.5kg[~10lb] for a base config w/o PSU).
IMG_20200117_174223.jpg
It's a monster on the outside, but a real thing of beauty on the inside. Gotta haul it back on monday... :banghead:
 
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I'll once again use my laptop to demonstrate what I wish the industry would do...

On my Clevo, I just remove four screws on the bottom panel, and...


(This picture is outdated, I've done some upgrades since taking it)

...everything is nicely laid out. Easy access to the memory, all three M.2 slots, the 2.5" bay, and both the CPU and GPU coolers and fans. Undo four screws on the CPU cooler, and I can upgrade the CPU.

This is how all laptops should be!

Sure it's big and bulky (weighs about 5.5 lbs), but I'm sure most of these things could be made thin and light if you were willing to compromise on cooling performance (which by the way, the i5-6500T I have in this thing never goes above 70C, though the GPU does get into the mid-to-high 80s under a gaming load.)
 
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From the enterprise standpoint the biggest issues are

1. Removable batteries are disappearing
2. Serviceability is lacking, what I mean by this is on the latitude 7490 for instance if I want to replace the keyboard I have to remove the motherboard first which means disassembling the entire lower portion, or I ran into a new hp with the ram slots where only accessable by removing the main board also.
2. Storage is overpriced from the oem
 
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Sorry, but you're mixing things up here like nobody's business.

US and British layout are completely different, US is ANSI, UK is ISO to start with and most European keyboard layouts are ISO.
QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY are not different in terms of the key layout, they're all ISO, it's just different key mapping and it can actually be done easily with some third party software.

Sure, this might be less than ideal on a laptop where you can't simply swap the keys around, like you can on a desktop keyboard.
However, as someone else from a "minor" market, it's something we simply have to live with. All the Nordic countries (with the exception of Iceland) have now been given a common keyboard layout and it's a bit messy as not all the keys are the same, so some have a lot of things on them. However, it's a compromise I can live with and I guess, so are you, unless you want to spend €100 extra for all notebooks sold in your region, as no-one else are going to want to touch them.

It's also not possible to properly back-light keys with 3-4 symbols on them, due to how light travels, even within a lightpipe, unless there's a major change to how keyboards are made.
Still, localization is important. Few years ago manufacturers/brands paid more attention for such things. Now they only pay attention for their own profit. Today I can find a very few laptops with proper (localized) key mapping and the same thing goes for backlit PC keyboards. What overwhelming majority of manufacturers/brands do today is an perfect example of an extremely rude business practice and total disrespect for the customers and I'm not OK with that. If you up there in the north are used to that - well... shame on you.

Second, it's not exactly a small market. Combined population of Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro is over 21 million if we don't count 5+ million who work abroad - that's for the ŠĐČĆŽ letters. We also use QWERTZ layout which is the most common in the EU, so it really pisses me off when I see QWERTY laptops or keyboards over here.

The thing is that localization doesn't cost much, but manufacturers/brands are so cheap that they remind me of some car manufacturer (I think it was Ford) where they refused to correct a serious safety mistake for as little as 1$ per vehicle and rather decided to pay-out to victims who had a car accident with their cars. I read somewhere about that story long time ago, so I don't remember the exact details. The conclusion is the same - profit, profit and profit. Customers? Sc**w the customers!

For example this is a properly localized backlit laptop keyboard suitable for Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro (old photo, my Dell laptop) - it doesn't have numpad, but that's of far less importance on a 15.6" laptop:
localization.JPG
 
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Close, but not good enough. We should not need any tools to expose the innards.
I disagree, at least for Enterprise class laptops, I don't want users taking ram or SSD's, screws deter them, more than an a tool less design would.
 
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54% Other, the poll shows you missed the mark
 
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Close, but not good enough. We should not need any tools to expose the innards.
I think once the lids off I'm with you but I would want some screws for security's sake in the lid, personally.
 
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