What's the prettiest mid-size laptop?
August 14, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

What's the prettiest mid-size laptop?

I'm a programmer, graphic designer, web developer, and gamer. I've come to the conclusion that no laptop can perform all the tasks I want, and still remain portable. So I'm going for style. I'd like a 15.4' screen laptop, 17' is just too big. I'd also like something in black.

Here are some I've looked at, and my thoughts

Black Macbook -
Pros - Nice keyboard, design
Cons - Only comes in 13', 1 mouse button, Mac...

Sony Vaio -
Pros - Nice keyboard, design
Cons - All the solid black ones are 13' or 17'

Asus U1F -
Pros - Pretty, leather is stylish
Cons - 11'

Asus Lamborghini
VX1 - Awesome style, but has outdated hardware.
VX2 - Black one is textured and therefore ugly :(

I've also looked at the Thinkpads, Dells, and HPs, but I don't think they look as good as the ones mentioned above.

If there's anything I've missed, please let me know. I noticed that there are a lot of manufacturers like BenQ and Gigabyte who's offerings I was unaware of. I'm currently researching the lesser known ones...
posted by Jimmie to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What's your budget? And what components/capabilities are most crucial to you besides style?

You might want to check out Dynamism, which specializes in computers and gadgetry sold in Japan.
posted by mdonley at 6:14 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

MacBook, MacBook, MacBook. It comes in white, which is even cooler than the black (seriously, every laptop is black... how many are white?). And the "one-button" thing is a non-issue - one settings change and tapping with two fingers gets you a right click, and dragging two fingers in any direction scrolls in any direction. It's a billion times better than any Wintendo touchpad.

And if you have to have 15", the MacBook Pro does it, too.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:14 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind the white of the MacBook soon becomes the dingy-gray yellow of the MacBook. I work with a bunch of people who have these, and they get pretty nasty. I guess you could clean it all the time, but it seems like just about everyone who has one at work has some degree of usage stains visible.

I'm a big mac fan too, not a hater.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 6:33 PM on August 14, 2007

Keep in mind the white of the MacBook soon becomes the dingy-gray yellow of the MacBook.

I think that was mainly earlier mac books. Mine gets a little dingy around the wrist rest. My gf who got one later doesn't have that problem at all. But it is a risk, as are finger prints all over the black mac book.

You put 'mac' under cons, which could mean many things (the OS?), so as big a mac fan as I am and as much as wouldn't use anything else why is it even on your list? Buying a mac when you don't like macs makes no sense.
posted by justgary at 6:43 PM on August 14, 2007

There's always this one. (Depending on what you mean by "pretty". And whether pink is OK with you instead of black.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:47 PM on August 14, 2007

Have you actually seen that ugly black texturing on the Acer in person? It's carbon fiber, and it truly is sexy.

You can easily run Windows on the MacBook if you're really afraid of the Mac OS. I happen to think OS X kicks ass. The one mouse button thing is a silly concern as outlined above.
posted by polyhedron at 6:50 PM on August 14, 2007

D'oh, Acer should read Asus in my previous post. Seriously, if you haven't actually seen the carbon fiber in person you can't appreciate it. It is as premium as high grade aluminum or leather.
posted by polyhedron at 6:54 PM on August 14, 2007

ColorWare is probably the best-known after-market colorizer; they paint Vaios and MacBooks in almost 30 intense hues. (Or, you could get a see-thru colored case or customize the logo, and part with fewer bucks.)
posted by rob511 at 7:30 PM on August 14, 2007

Remove Sony Vaio from your list. While they look nice, their reliability, warranty, and support are atrocious.
posted by junesix at 7:41 PM on August 14, 2007

I have a black MacBook. I find it to be lusty.

However, the screen size can be a bit of a pain. I am, in fact, at this moment, impatiently awaiting delivery of a screen to use with it when I'm at home.
posted by ambilevous at 7:53 PM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Answering some questions:

mdonley -
Budget: Let's say $3,000
Features: Core 2 Duo Processor, 2GB + Ram, and a 7200 rpm hard drive are the main. After than, Wireless N and Bluetooth would be nice
Thanks for the link :)

polyhedron -
Thank you for the info on the texture. I saw an Asus laptop with similar texture (or so I thought), but maybe not. I'll look into this further.

As for the one mouse button issue - I am a professional programmer and designer, I know what I need to be productive. One mouse button is not so much intuitive as it is a limitation (to me). I can handle, and prefer, two.

junesix -
Thank you for the suggestion. I'm not too worried about warranty or support, but reliability is definitely an issue.
posted by Jimmie at 8:06 PM on August 14, 2007

this fujitsu is very nice, but seems to be an ultraportable (ie smaller than you want). maybe they have other models?
posted by andrew cooke at 8:26 PM on August 14, 2007

I nth the opinions above-- the MacBook, for the price, is unbeatable. And if you can order it as a student, you will get a free Nano to boot.
posted by daviss at 8:29 PM on August 14, 2007

How much graphical work will you be doing with the touchpad? The one mouse button limitation is a perceived one, but in my experience it doesn't work out that way. You'll almost certainly want to use a real mouse for real graphical work anyway.

Does the IDE you use require a lot of mousing? I've always found the mouse superfluous when coding.

Particularly if you were using OS X where keyboard modifiers and multitouch features are well supported in the OS the one button thing is more fud than reality. There may only be one button under the trackpad, but there are another 100 or so above it. I think there are drivers to enable two finger right click and scroll functionality for Windows too, though I'm not entirely certain.

If you want a machine that will attract attention just with its appearance, I think you'll have a hard time doing better than the carbon fiber shell on the Asus machines. A friend of mine has a Ferrari branded laptop (another Asus I believe) and while the car thing doesn't do it for me, the carbon fiber gives me weak knees.
posted by polyhedron at 8:38 PM on August 14, 2007

Macbook w/bluetooth mouse. It's the way I go and love it.
posted by sourwookie at 8:56 PM on August 14, 2007

It isn't going to be right for you in terms of capabilities, but purely for style, the two tone lg c1 is very pretty.

Remove Sony Vaio from your list. While they look nice, their reliability, warranty, and support are atrocious.

I know sony have their problems (exploding battery recall), but as an anecdotal counterpoint, both my folks swear by vaio laptops. Their last 6 laptops (3 apiece) have been sonys. One has had a hard drive failure after ~4 years and two have had some (non-explosive) wonkiness with battery after 2-3 years, but otherwise trouble free. Their two latest ones are still under warranty so I guess they don't count, but still that's not bad: some battery troubles and 1 in 4 hard drive failure over 4 years? Maybe not good, but hardly atrocious.

I'm not a sony shill, I went with ASUS myself on my latest laptop, just sayin' is all.
posted by juv3nal at 11:14 PM on August 14, 2007

The T61p from Lenovo, although one of the laptops you've ruled out, provides everything you've described: Core 2 Duo, 2GB+ Ram, 7,200 RPM SATA drive, 15.4" screen (at 1600x1200!), etc. It is black, even. Not shiny-drool-happy black, but it's black.

Unlike most of the other laptops mentioned here, a ThinkPad will still work in 3 years, as Lenovo/IBM hardware is known for its durability. The aesthetic is minimalist, although I think it is rather attractive.
posted by ellF at 3:51 AM on August 15, 2007

The Dell XPS M1330 is a pretty nice notebook, especially considering it comes from Dell, the home of boring notebooks. And it gets good reviews, too. Though I would not, personally, get the solid-state hard drive like the linked reviewer.
posted by GuyZero at 5:11 AM on August 15, 2007

Do you really want the prettiest mid-size laptop? I think the best looking would be the T61p as recommended by ellF, but I wouldn't exactly call the Thinkpad styling pretty per se... maybe handsome? If that doesn't float your boat then I nominate the 15" MacBook Pro.
posted by benign at 6:00 AM on August 15, 2007

If you want 15", go for the Macbook Pro... The aluminium styling is really quite nice and you'll probably grow to love the OS if you give it half a chance...

I also agree with the above posters... If you are using OSX, the single mouse button is really a non-issue, since the OS is built to work with only one mouse button (there are nowhere near as many context menus as XP and, when there are, you just use the double-finger click).. Of course, if you plan to run windows on it, then it might be a different matter!

(My wife was never a big fan of Macs, but when she wanted a nice mid-range notebook she just couldn't go past the Macbook Pro... It's so much sexier than all those plastic windows machines!)
posted by ranglin at 10:01 PM on August 15, 2007

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