My current laptop, a Sony, cost me $2,900 in 2007; it was a conscious and heavily-researched investment1. It’s been a great little machine and I’m glad I bought it; but almost from the start, there were glitches. I don’t just mean there were software bugs; I mean the whole experience was marred by the shabby way the PC development chain has evolved.
When Windows 7 came out, it was up to me to hunt down new drivers and workarounds for several of the components. I thought, for what I paid for this thing, I ought to be able to click a button and have current drivers download and install automatically. It was a bleeding-edge, luxury-class machine, but Sony had no interest in providing luxury-class support because it was already yesterday’s model. I was able to make it work because I know how to do stuff. I wrote a batch file — a DOS batch file, for crying out loud — to quickly disable and re-enable the wifi card on the common occasions when I would wake up the laptop and find that wifi was disabled. Others — many of whom presumably were not nerds like myself — bought this laptop, too; I have no idea how they coped.
Today, the latest version of OS X became available as a free downloadable update to all Mac computers going as far back as six years. This would be unthinkable in the PC world: not just the “free” part, but the “downloadable, for your six-year-old computer” part.
I hate buying computers. They depreciate and become useless over time, like cars but much faster. So for my money, the idea is to get one that you won’t hate using for a long time. In that respect, it looks like Apple is the only game in town.
The Sony Vaio TZ190 had a bright, crisp 11" (142dpi) screen, a fast (and tiny) SSD hard drive, a DVD burner, and it still got eight hours of battery life and weighed under 3 pounds. Spec-wise, it was the only laptop of its kind until the Macbook Air started to catch up in 2011, four years later. Its only real flaw was its manufacturer’s lack of any kind of product focus or customer service. ↩