Oh hi. Since you’re reading this, you probably know that my old laptop died and refused to be resurrected without a bit of magical malarky involving increasingly higher sums of money. Being a good consumer, I decided I’d instead shell out for a bit better laptop, as my friend the lower-end Dell Inspiron was starting to grate at my edges: another budget laptop seemed to be just asking for more of the same. Of course, I didn’t go that much higher: I’m still a student, after all, and I’ll be a cheap bum at heart for a while yet. I sprung for the HP dm4, with a few modifications thrown in to make it palatable to my inner power user.
First impressions: damn, it is pink! I know, I should be above that, but my inner man-child was still unnerved by the unpacking. After seeing my friend’s HP, which was quite definitely silver, I thought those dm4-is-pink haters were just being silly. They aren’t; such a shade of light red can bring burly men to question their masculinity. Of course, being a refined gentleman instead of a burly man-ape means I don’t have to care. Maybe. OH GOD THE COLOR IT BURNS MY EYES
Second impressions: damn, this mouse pad really does suck! I thought the reviewers were being, I don’t know, whiny or something. Surely such a small problem is trivial, right? Especially when the reviewers still suggested the Envy 14 despite the problems with it. Nay, HP’s mouse pad really does suck. It doesn’t pick up gestures, which is one of its selling points (not for me), and the buttons are just not going to see very much use because some UX engineer decided it would be a fantastic idea to extend the capacitive-sensing area into the buttons. I can work around it, but such an integral part of the laptop shouldn’t even be noticeable.
Next impression: this keyboard feels weird. Not such a big problem, but while I’m airing my grievances, I might as well be thorough.
Fingerprint reader is somewhat annoying: I’m probably not going to use this. Disabling it is only 5 minutes away, but really, I don’t feel quite like doing it right now. I will have to do it, though, or the constant accidental swipes across it that pop up a setup wizard are going to drive me insane.
The i7 seems to run a bit hot, even when I’m not pushing it, and the 6GB of RAM is going to be very useful. I haven’t run very rigorous tests on the battery life, but it seems to be draining somewhat quicker than I was hoping (15% in 30 minutes, so a potential total of 3 hours. Not very long when I’m used to going for 6 hours between charges). Video card seems to be so-so so far: it couldn’t handle the stupid HP flash intro very well (a better approach would have been FUCK YOU, USER. YOU’LL LEARN TO USE A COMMAND LINE INTERFACE, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT. Really, that would’ve been the better approach here). Haven’t done any Blender work on it yet, so we’ll see how that goes. The switching mechanism between integrated and discrete graphics is less than perfect, although it seems that it could be solved by software update.
The screen is somewhat small: I guess grabbing snatches of work on 21″ monitors makes the 1366×768 resolution seem puny by comparison, but it still irks me that there’s no 1600×900 option for most sub-15″ laptops. Definitely shelling out for a higher-res screen in my next laptop iteration. 14″ seems like a good form factor, and the weight seems very reasonable (4.4lb).
The metal case is pretty cool, but that review that claimed it was ‘mostly encased in metal’ was wrong. Not that I’m complaining, since the plastic shell of my old laptop picked up all sorts of crap way too easily, which a semi-metal chassis should solve.
A number of my grievances are probably going to be solved tomorrow, when I will probably get the SSD that I ordered and do clean installs of everything, which means all the crappy software that comes with the laptop will be gone and I can install Ubuntu (good idea install Windows 7 and then Ubuntu).
All in all, it’s not an absolutely terrible laptop: I’m guessing most people would be fine with this laptop. I’m fine with it, too, for all it’s shortcomings (or maybe I just don’t want to go another day without my own computer?). I got some pretty nice internals for a pretty good deal (I essentially swapped out an i5 for an i7 for no increase in price), and I’m guessing that once I beat someone to death with this very light-red laptop, no one will question my sexual orientation. Maybe.