Ergonomics and Laptops

Today Lifehacker posted a poll asking what people's favorite laptop screen sizes are. At the moment 13-14 inch screens are the leader and combinations of either 15-16 inches or 17 plus inches create a clear majority. Of course this runs into a problem, one that runs into natural preferences of the herd.

Most simply different tools are best for different jobs. The same publication has addressed this problem already, labor ought to be divided among the best tools for the task at hand. Even low end x86 processors like the Atom can accomplish most people's computing needs. I love my Lenovo x120e and its E-350 processor GPU combination unimaginable not that recently.

This is why I feel compelled to write that if you have a large screened laptop you are doing things wrong. For the money you spend you can get one decent laptop, and an incredibly powerful desktop without spending anywhere near as much as you might possibly spend on a singular powerful laptop. Unlike my security related rants this isn't based in security or other factors. This is simply an argument of comfort.

With a desktop computer you can adjust the arrangement of your sitting, the screen, and the keyboard in three dimensions, as task impossible with the common desktop or laptop computer. Few computing tasks require at the moment resources beyond what can be offered by even the most basic processors. Spending a premium for a laptop with pro in the name often will cost more than just fucking buying a separate desktop to do all of your "pro" shit on.

Rant, rant, rant, rant….

I await an actual use case where a 15" screen "pro" laptop can be justified over the combination of a netbook and desktop computer.

Edit: I would actually recommend people who matter run at least 3 computing machines at the moment. The first is a desktop suitable for connected creative work. The second is a cheap portable. The third is a cheap portable on an older vintage.  Seriously Netpg compiles on my PowerPC G3 iBook just fine.

3 thoughts on “Ergonomics and Laptops

  1. I have a 15.6" laptop that has an i7 processor, 8 gig of RAM and an nVidia video card. It's my only computer, and I bought it in August 2012 for $1300 after taxes. It was the second most expensive PC in Best Buy at the time, second only to a near identical laptop with a 17" screen.

    I may have been able to do better getting a solid desktop and a shitty netbook, but I have power at my fingertips wherever I go with this laptop. If I need to do anything on the go, I can. And I do have a setup that allows me to simply plug in my laptop to the projector screen over my bed and pull out my wireless mouse and keyboard, effectively turning my laptop into an ergonomically optimized desktop in seconds.

    Point being, unless you're buying a Mac, I don't know that the additional benefit of computing power for the money that you get from a desktop justifies the inconvenience of not being able to travel with it.

    • It isn't necessarily about the extra power all of the time. A lot of it is being able to independently move the monitor and keyboard into a comfortable arrangement.

      I don't have any machines I run with the power you describe in your laptop. Then again it has been a while since I've done the Windows thing.

  2. Laptop ergonomics are terrible, so unless you use it only a few times a week (which seems to be the case of the people I know with those huge "laptops"), you're just killing yourself slowly. For the same price, you can have both something portable and a powerful desktop.

    I have two monitors, an actual mouse, a trackball, a mechanical keyboard, and a wrist rest. Laptops are torture 🙂

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