I want a new laptop, but not any laptop.
I currently own a laptop. A Panasonic CF-51 MK3, the model with an intel GPU and a dualcore CPU. Launched in 2006, this thing is absolutely superior.
I’ll tell you why.
- This thing is stable enough. It runs Linux for months straight without major crashes. Everything works. You simply don’t get that with most hardware.
- It’s got a 15-inch 4:3 display, which is tall enough to be comfortable to actually use, unlike the 16:9 abominations of today.
- Due to the form factor, the screen is further away from the keyboard than in today’s models, making the eyes and the back not hurt when looking at it. There is enough space for your hands to comfortably lay on in front of the keyboard.
- The keyboard has this superior layout where the home, pageup/down and end keys are at the rightmost edge. The keyboard also feels great and the arrow keys are properly arranged.
- It’s shell around the keyboard is made of plastic, making it not heat up your hands, and outside is cast magnesium – shattering floors and other inferior objects on which you drop it.
- The touchpad’s surface doesn’t stick to your finger, it’s precise and by default requires much less finger movement than today’s large ones; its size makes it hard to accidentally touch and it’s dedicated buttons have the exact right pressure requirement.
- The quality of the speakers in this thing is unheard of these days. You can actually listen to music using them without having to cringe to the sound quality at all. It sounds bright and clear. The frequency range is as wide as you can ever hope. The speakers are large enough to not fit anywhere in a smaller chassis.
- This thing doesn’t run it’s fans at all when halfway idle. 0 RPM. You can’t fucking beat that. And that is what I require.
- This thing is built to last. Yeah, it weighs 3kg but there’s a reason for it and I’m fine with that. It was also expensive because of that but I’m fine with that too.
- It has enough performance to be quite usable even today. That’s 6 years from launch in real use.
- I have two batteries of unknown age for it, still lasting multiple hours each. They are made by Panasonic from the ground up and you can’t beat that.
- It has plenty of connectivity: old-school serial, ps/2, VGA, USB 2, FireWire, gigabit ethernet, Wi-Fi, Cardbus and an SD card reader. I won’t need anything more than this for years to come.
I require all this from a laptop. I’ve been looking for a replacement for this almost ever since I bought it (because I knew how hard it would be), and haven’t found one.
I need at least four cores, 8GB of RAM, a half-decent GPU and a large screen.
Panasonic lost their chance by moving to smaller models and abandoning these full-featured laptops. Also, it’s incredibly hard to find out which of their models are quiet and which are not – A CF-51 with an ATI GPU makes constant loud fan noise. Can you find that information anywhere? Nope.
So – age doesn’t matter, manufacturer doesn’t matter, looks don’t matter, price doesn’t matter (too much). The above stuff matters. Where can I find a laptop?
2013-12-23: Continued here, and in the comments.