Everyone likes notebooks. At least one can only presume as much since everyone seems to be buying them. Desktop PCs have long since become second best to the notebook in all their forms: thin, light, heavy, bulky, extra tough and everything between. But, there are plenty of things that annoy the hell out of me about notebooks, some small but irritating and some just plain ridiculous. So, in no particular order let's start with...
If there's anything that's likely to ruin an otherwise good laptop it's a bad keyboard. Things can go wrong in all sorts of ways, from the arrangement of keys to quality and feel. Number One on the pure hatred list has to be the Ctrl and Fn keys. It's quite simple really, Ctrl should be on the left and Fn to the right of it: that's it. Anything other than this is wrong. Other annoyances include half-sized keys especially if employed on regularly used keys such as commas and full stops. It's an annoyance often caused by numeric keypads and if a keyboard can't be made properly with one, it shouldn't have one.
Low Screen Resolutions
I get it, okay. Low resolution screens are cheap. But that doesn't stop me from being constantly disappointed when I see a notebook using a 15.4in screen but a resolution of only 1,280 x 800. It looks large and ugly and simply nasty to behold. Much the same can be said of 1,440 x 900 on 17in screens and if we could see more notebooks with 1,440 x 900 at 15.4in or just 1,680 x 1,050 as standard I'd be a much happier man.
Discrete Graphics = Gaming
I've lost count of the number of notebooks that claim to be "gaming" machines, but are nothing of the sort. Retailers are often the culprits here, guilty of selling notebooks as such for a nice quick buck. After all, if you don't take the time to read reviews how would you know that an nVidia 8400M is good for very little at all? It's frustrating, too, that people are so dismissive of integrated graphics. Fine, they're no good for gaming, but they provide superior battery life without any of the pretence to gaming capability.
SLI in Notebooks
Still on the related topic of gaming on laptops, SLI notebooks are an utter waste of space. Putting aside the obvious expense, as our review of the Dell XPS M1730 showed, SLI on notebooks can rarely be relied upon. Driver support is flaky at the best of times and if you really want that level of gaming performance, surely a PC is a better option? If you're short on space save yourself some money and get a decent Shuttle PC. It'll be more powerful, more reliable and you can actually upgrade it as well.
Why? Why, when we spend hundreds of pounds on a good looking and powerful notebook, must we put up with companies emblazoning them with god awful stickers? Marketing and branding are the obvious answers, but I'm no mood to be cowed by such feeble and selfish explanations, it's time for them to go.