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Laptop computers are crap

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3. The ports are too close to each other

A lack of device communication ports, notably USB, is a sacrifice that I am prepared to accept in a laptop. Crushing them so close together that you can only use one at a time is not. Have laptop manufacturers never seen a USB memory stick or a 3G dongle?

Apple MacBook Pro port array

A laptop port array designed by... someone who doesn't use ports, perhaps?

And why does the power cable plug always have to jut out by two inches? Sitting on my desk, charging up, a laptop often takes up a greater footprint than my desktop computer.

4. Not enough storage space

My desktop computer has 1.5TB of internal hard disk space, which is great when you work in multiple operating systems. Laptops, out of necessity, have diddy little hard disks that struggle to contain my cat videos, let alone any proper work.

The easy answer is to plug in an external hard disk... assuming I’m not already using the adjacent USB port. As already mentioned, two ports are separated by a distance of approximately half a micron, so I can’t use both at the same time.

5. The display viewing angle is acute

Tilt your laptop screen back or forward, and the image contrast turns inside out. The display on my desktop computer doesn’t do it, however. There are technical reasons for this. Knowing what these technical reasons are does not make me like display images that turn inside out.

6. Trackpads are rubbish

Click-dragging and dropping with a trackpad is a nightmare. It’s like playing Finger Twister.

Finger Twister

Apple patents magical, revolutionary keyboard

That said, the latest generation of multi-touch, multi-gesture trackpads are pretty good. So forget about reason six.

7. Battery life is pants

Call me slow, call me lazy, call me Shirley, but the battery on a laptop always dies melodramatically five minutes before I have finished something.

That said, laptop battery life has improved a lot recently, so forget about reason seven as well.

Actually, now I think about it, notebook and Ultrabook battery life is pretty darn good. And the screens are bigger, with denser pixel resolutions. Oh, modern keyboards are OK really, and port layout seems much more sensible these days. Actually, I rather like all the portable computers I’ve seen over the last six months. Hmm, this list isn’t working out how I intended.

8. Ignore the previous seven points in this list

My complaints about portable computers clearly hark back to the days when they really were crap, heightened by the sure knowledge that there is an unrelenting shift of manufacturer emphasis from lard-arsed desktop behemoths to nimble mobile devices. Ultimately, we’re all being moved to laptops whether we like them or not, but I no longer feel aggrieved because I do actually like the new wave of notebooks and especially Ultrabooks.

Intel Ultrabook image

Actually, I rather like Ultrabooks. Those without screen mounted hummingbirds, natch

What I really want is a laptop that weighs nothing, incorporates a cinematic display, provides a five-octave keyboard and fits into my back pocket.

Is that too much to ask? ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. Like many of his generation – Alistair is a 1960s child – his love for hand-held devices was inspired by Star Trek communicators and those seemingly impossible flat TVs in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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