Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Posted by Cratchety Ol Joe | File under : , , , , , ,
After a few months of not a lot, and I'm still hunting for a new laptop, currently if I'm going to part with my hard-earned then it looks like a revisit to Toshiba Satellite series.

More specifically the C50 series model which is available in many CPU flavours ranging from 'student' ( read also: "Celeron processor") laptops to quasi-capable desktop alternatives in either AMD or Intel flavour, the one I'm been eyeing up is powered by the Intel i5-4200m which is a capable chip and doesn't break the bank with most offerings at around £500.

 Toshiba c50

Above: notice the non ravine based key layout, no interstate highways between the keys!

some details on this for those that give a damn:

Product Specifications

  • Product Description
    • Toshiba Satellite Pro C50-A-1KJ - 15.6" - Core i5 4200M - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (+Win8.1 Pro) - 4 GB RAM - 500 GB HDD
  • System Type
    • Notebook
  • Operating System
    • Windows 7 Pro 64-bit  (+Win8.1 Pro)
  • Processor
    • Intel Core i5 (4th Gen) 4200M / 2.5 GHz ( 3.1 GHz ) / 3 MB Cache
  • Memory
    • 4 GB DDR3L
  • Storage
    • 500 GB HDD / 5400 rpm
  • Optical Drive
    • DVD SuperMulti
  • Display
    • 15.6" LED backlight 1366 x 768 / HD
  • Graphics
    • Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • Networking
    • 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE , Gigabit Ethernet
  • Battery
    • Up to 4.5 hours
  • Colour
    • Matt black with hairline pattern, black keyboard
  • Dimensions (WxDxH)
    • 38 cm x 24.2 cm x 3.335 cm
  • Weight
    • 2.3 kg
  • Localisation
    • United Kingdom

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Posted by Cratchety Ol Joe | File under : , , , , , , , ,
I mentioned before I use a Toshiba currently, and while I'm VERY happy with the keyboard, the laptop is falling behind in capability, now only really any use for internet browsing, word processing and the occasional movie (even the woefully low powered AMD E-350 can spit out fluid 1080p on an external monitor - aka my 42" telly...)

The Toshiba in question is the Satellite Pro C660d which was released more than a few moons ago, And it seems that though all my searching I've come full circle as I'm now looking at the:

- Toshiba Satellite Pro C50-A-1K9

as the image below shows, it sports the same 'flat-bevelled' keys as the one I currently have.
I've found these keys to be comfortable fast and easy to type on, and for what little time I was using my laptop for gaming the keys are responsive with a small amount of travel but tactile enough to type by touch alone.

Every other manufacturer that I've looked at seems not to supply any such 'normal' style keys any more, excluding one model from Dell, in their highly overpriced gaming line - Alienware

So far in the months I've been searching the Toshiba is possibly my only option, but I noted that other than the Satellite range (aimed more at business use) their other laptops all feature the grand-canyon-esque chicklet keys.

Soon, I fear there may simply be no option for me but to forgo use of a laptop and stick with a desktop for my needs, hardly a good solution should I need to be on the move.

The search continues...  

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Posted by Cratchety Ol Joe | File under : ,
My first entry on the list of good laptops...

It's an Acer!

Currently [Jan 2014] available from retailers and e-tailers (such as Ebuyer)
linky : http://www.ebuyer.com/612806-acer-e1-laptop-nx-m09ek-037

It has flat style 'full' keys, very similar to my current laptop,

The only drawback for me... weak CPU looks like this is a 'homework' style laptop, little use for anything but light gaming and social media.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Posted by Cratchety Ol Joe | File under : , , , , ,
A very important question, and one I can easily illustrate with the help of Mr Jean-Claude Van Damme, He popped by to help me with a to-scale experiment.

Firstly I had to measure the distance he can perform the splits, turns out this is about 70 inches from foot to foot depending on how split the action star cares to be.

That's about 1.75 meters which Ironically is about the average height of a man.

In this image we see good old JC doing what he does;

jean-claude, van damme, chiclet, keyboard

From this detail we can clearly conclude that the gap between chiclet keys is about 1 ¾ meters which is wider than a small commercial vehicle.

My Findings:

  • The gap is too Damme wide!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

For a few years (from the point I was previously searching to purchase a laptop, which turns out to be the one I'm now typing on...) I have found a disturbing trend in laptop design.

They're called 'chiclet' (or chicklet, or even island-style) keys, I believe it stems from apple? I'm not entirely sure... Whatever started it however has now doomed all of mankind to suffer these cuboid blocks of design disgust.

chiclet, island style, chicklet, keyboard
I wrote this Haiku to sum up my annoyance:

Gaps so frustrating
When typing, letters misplaced
Island keys are bad

These tiny squares often where tab, shift, backspace and even enter are all the same size makes any form of fluid typing a chore with example sentences such as "the qyick beown focd jump3d ovet the ;ZY DOG"

The typing experience on these cruddy keys leave me feeling much like this amusing animation:

So, If Chiclet Keys Suck, What's The Alternative?

laptop, normal keyboard
I have from the time I began typing used  'classic' style keys that is to say non-gapped scissor functioned keys such as the ones on which I regale this tale. While these keys are 'flat' style as opposed to the even more classical bevelled edge keys (which adorn my keyboard on my main PC) The fact that the keys are
placed together and with tactile interaction when passing a finger across them allows much greater typing experience.

The sad part is that these 'classic' style keyboards are now rarer than I like my steak, and I like mny steak to be a little pink ... so that's quite rare.

Why Does Any Of This Matter?

I find myself at the point in time where once again I require to upgrade my laptop, and to do so I must part ways with some hard earned cash for an item which I will most likely use at least once every other day for the next 3 or 4 years, I cannot bear the thought that I have to spend money on something that will annoy me perpetually until such time as I recreate the animation above in reality.

So I put finger to key (non-chiclet key mind you...) to vent my distress and frustration, I shall from this point be using this blog as a collective reference for when I find laptop models which have normal keys and hopefully be able to find one which not only has the magical keys of yore but also the hardware to cope with my demands.

That means that somewhere in the future I shall be spending a few hundred bob on a hunk of plastic and silicone, and by all that is regarded as sacred by anyone on this planet I shall not be buying a laptop which features lego bricks as it's medium of human interface device.