I’m planning to give my aging MacBook to my mother-in-law as a couch-top email machine, and am looking for a replacement. I don’t do much programming any more (and when I do, I need more oomph than any truly portable machine can give me), so yesterday I checked out some light and ultralight machines. The Asus Eee felt better than I expected (I’m a touch typist with large hands, so keyboard is as important to me as battery life), but I’d find it hard to work on large documents with such a small screen.
The Acer Aspire caught my eye next. It’s only a bit heavier than the Eee, but has a full-sized screen, and a not-bad keyboard. But then I saw the Asus K501J: 15.6″ screen, also very light, and a 100% keyboard with good recoil. I thought I was in love.
Until I actually tried typing on it. In the name of all that’s holy, what idiot laid out the keys? Putting “/” and “|” between the letters and the left-hand shift is bad enough; doing it on both sides (yes, duplicating one of the least-used keys on the keyboard) and then making one shift key less than half the size of the other is an act of cruel vandalism. I would have bought the machine there and then if its quote designers end-quote hadn’t decided to make typing mistakes and keyboard-induced RSI their primary aims.
So I’m back to square one. I want a large screen, a keyboard with all the keys in their usual places (no double-wide reaches for shift and control keys please), and good battery life; CPU power, RAM, and storage capacity are all negotiable. Any suggestions?