The challenge of a new laptop

I was reading George Wright’s blog entries about his new Lenovo X300 laptop (part1 and part2) and it reminded me of how difficult it is to find a new laptop that 100% meets ones requirements. After having bought a couple of laptops I now have a few things added to my already long list of requirements:

  • a variable fan that is not set in hardware to run loudly at 50,000 rpm and requires software hacks to force it to run at normal speed or even *gasp* turn off when not needed. Do vendors assume we are deaf and won’t notice?!
  • a fingerprint reader that is supported out of the box on Linux. Currently UPEK seems to be supported quite well but I think that is only if it is the full UPEK sensor+chip model (the TCS4/TCS5B + TCD50 package. I’m not sure if the TCS4/TCS5A + Virtual companion chip package is supported). UPEK also has a sensor-only solution (TCS4/TCS5B) which only has limited support through fprintd so avoid if possible. And vendors: stick with the real deal and add a few dollars/euros to the price of your laptop instead of cheapskating with the sensor-only solution…
  • a smartcard reader that is that is supported out of the box on Linux (Fedora 10 or later)
  • decent speakers and a decent microphone. Basically anything better than what I have come across thus far

Now if only Apple would upgrade the screen resolution of their 15″ MacBook Pro to 1680×1050 (or even to 1920×1200) and add a fingerprint reader. Only then I would fork out the extra cash to make this rather expensive switch.