I’ve been playing around with Linux systems for some time now, and in recent years have grown very fond of Ubuntu and Ubuntu based distributions. Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint and all of the other distributions based on Ubuntu (and there are a ton of them out there) have shown how versatile Linux systems can be. (And speaking of versatile, I’ve even set up some dual boot systems, just so I could continue to use Windows programs that WINE couldn’t handle.
) All of this brings me to my latest project, building a convertible tablet running a Linux OS. For the past few months, I have been using a Dell Vostro 3350 as my travel laptop. This was an upgrade from a Dell Latitude 2100 netbook which hadn’t served my purposes well (I’ll explain later). For the most part, I really liked the Vostro. It had a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a fast 80GB Solid State Drive, and a 13-inch widescreen that straddled the gray line between too-small and too-big screens.
Unfortunately, my wife’s archaic Dell Latitude D430 began experiencing problems, and rather than try to repair it, I decided to scrap her laptop and giver her mine. This left me without a laptop, which is where this story really gets started. Being on a budget, I wanted to keep my costs down. At the same time, I had experienced budget laptops in the past and was often disappointed. This meant buying used, but not just any used. No, what I would want is to take yesterdays premiere laptop, add a little this and that, and have the ultimate laptop.
.. at least the ultimate for my needs.My Laptop Requirements The “ultimate laptop” is going to mean different things to different people, all depending what their needs are. Keyboard Most of my time at the laptop is spent writing. That means I need a comfortable keyboard that isn’t cramped. Keyboard flex can be a major annoyance when writing, so a rigid keyboard was a must. I also needed a track pad that would be easy to manipulate.
A touch screen would be nice, but not a necessity. 12 to 13-inch screen I have had everything from netbooks with a tiny 8.9-inch screen to laptops with 17-inch screens. I love big screens (my desktop computer uses a triple monitor display), but since this laptop is for working on the go, I needed to balance screen size with portability. I didn’t want to go too small, as my eyes aren’t what they used to be, and straining to look at a little netbook screen gives me a headache.
My Vostro had a 13-inch widescreen, and that has seemed like the perfect compromise between screen size and portability.
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