Thursday 5 November 2009


Tonight, I have done a bad thing. A very bad thing. Not bad evil bad. Or bad naughty bad. But bad depressing bad. I fired up my old laptop, my trusty Acer 5003WLMi. The little fella wasn't packing too much punch any more, especially trying to do Eclipse plugin development, and the battery had gone south, so a couple of months ago he was shunted under the sofa in favour of a new shiny Acer 6930G. Dual core Intel P7450, 4GB RAM, 320GB disk, Nvidia card - the new recruit is a perky number. Finally I can turn on Compiz effects. The wireless is rock solid. I've got more disk that I know what to do with. I certainly got bang for my buck.

But it has a dark side to it. It appears that in a bid to save money, Acer have manufactured the 6930G without any human ever laying a hand on it's sorry little shell. For if they had, they would have found it immediately that the Acer 6930G is probably the most uncomfortable laptop I've ever had the misfortune to use. For the last two months, I've convinced myself that it's not that bad. But getting the old 5003WLMi out again has me weeping into my trackpad with it's smooth curves.

Of course, you don't need melodramatics and hyperbole, so here's the facts:

  • The trackpad. Oh the trackpad. The trackpad is so bad it demands... A SUBLIST....

    • It's left of centre. Fail.

    • It doesn't have a defined edge. It's just kind of sunken. Want edge scrolling? Forget it. Oh, except for there's a little ridge down one part that sort of tells you where the edge scrolling should be. Want tap zones? Really? Not here you don't. Of course, you can have them, just don't expect to find them without tapping 10 times.

    • The sensitivity is terrible

    • It's bumpy. Yeah, I know, you can't even understand what I'm trying to tell you, right? The plastic on the top panel has little raised bumpsdimples, and that texture is also on the trackpad. I'm a guitar player, so the tips of my fingers aren't exactly Fairy Soft, and yet still I get sore fingers.

  • The front edge of the laptop is sharp. You know, that bit where you rest the edge of your hand when you're using the trackpad. "Hey, you know what this laptop needs? Sharp bits where you put your hands! Yeah!"

  • The screen only tilts back to 45 degrees. "Hey you know what users of this laptop need? A sore neck when they're using it standing up! Yeah!"

  • My kids could use the keyboard as a trampoline, it's that bouncy

  • "Hey, you know what programmers will love? The PgUp/PgDown/Home/End keys out the way at the bottom of the number pad! While you're doing that, why not stick the PgUp key right next to the right arrow key. You know, so that you always hit the frickin' thing when you're trying to just move along the line! Yeah!"
So, in summary, you want a great performing laptop for not much money? Buy an Acer 6930G. Just don't ever use another laptop, lest you should remember what you're missing.