10 April 2015

Getting a New Laptop

So it was time. I already expected it. After all, I figured that laptops last 5 years more or less, at least that has been my previous experience so far, since 2005. So this year, I bought a new one. Yay!

See, back in 2005, I bought my very first own laptop computer. I was a new graduate student at that time, in Buffalo. I just moved from Manila, and was settling down slowly. I went to an electronics shop (I don't remember which one anymore) and bought myself a Sony VAIO FS Series. I don't know a lot about computers, but what I know is that the laptop that my family have been using since 2001 was a Sony VAIO, and we had good experiences with it. So I went with that brand.

That lasted me until 2010. I remember that my first problems with that laptop was the battery. It started in 2008. I was in Denmark at that time, for a workshop. When suddenly, the laptop just died, and I was using it without being plugged in. So I plugged it in, and realized that my battery died, and the laptop would only run when I am plugged in. I used it in that state until 2010, when I was attacked with a virus, and it was overall quite slow already. I remember going to my office on campus, plugging in my laptop, and then heading to the library to use the public computers there, because it took about 20 minutes for my old laptop to boot up. Eventually, I decided to buy a new laptop in 2010. Again, it was yet another Sony VAIO, this time, I got a Sony VAIO E series in blue.

This was also lasted me 5 years. It's still alive, actually. But as with my FS series VAIO, the first problem appeared after using it for 3 years. In 2013, I started having copper loss problems with my power adapter. Otherwise, everything else was still okay. So I went to a Sony store here in Berlin and bought a replacement power adapter. No big deal. That costed me almost 100 EUR however. But my problems went away, and things were pretty okay. The computer still runs pretty fast, and I had no problems whatsoever.

Until this year. I started having keyboard problems. My S key started not working at all. Well, it would, but sporadically. I tried cleaning the undersides of the keyboard with air but that didn't really help. I would press the S key and sometimes the S would appear, sometimes it wouldn't. I even ended up installing a Turkish F layout keyboard on my system just so that I can type a freaking S. So this eventually frustrated me, to the point that I seriously considered buying a new laptop.

The fact that I was scheduled to go to Los Angeles last month actually propelled the decision to buy one. I figured that it would be cheaper to buy a laptop in the USA. Not only that, it would be with an English operating system. And a QWERTY keyboard. However, after doing my research, I ended up not doing that. First of all, it seems that there would be warranty issues. I contacted several manufacturers in the USA and they all told me that their warranties are only valid for within the USA. Plus, I only had a limited time in the USA; I had only 3 nights in Los Angeles for a conference, and after that, another 2 nights in Boulder to visit a friend. I did some research on store pick-up, where I could order it and pick it up there, but the logistics just didn't seem to work out.

So, I ended up buying one here in Germany. Not only is the warranty valid where I live, but also it is more convenient. It is a little bit more expensive, but at least it is still within my budget. It doesn't come with a QWERTY keyboard, however, but a QWERTZ keyboard. But it does have an English operating system, and I also installed not only German but also English keyboard layouts.

Unfortunately, Sony doesn't manufacture VAIOs anymore. So I had to do some research to find out what would be my new laptop. I wanted something smaller this time. My 2005 VAIO FS was a 15-inch laptop, while my 2010 VAIO E was 14-inch. This time, I got a 13-inch ultrabook. I got myself a Lenovo U330 Touch. It is definitely lighter. It doesn't have a DVD drive anymore, not a LAN connection. And it's a solid-state drive, which means that there are no moving parts, which makes it incredibly quiet. It also has a touchscreen.

So we'll see how long this one lasts me. I intend to keep using my old VAIO for a few more months perhaps, but only at work. I can plug in a USB keyboard and things still work fine there. But at home, I'll use this thin laptop from now on.


  1. My laptop is my work tool (I don't have a desktop) so I usually change every two or three years. I always buy Toshiba, mostly because I've had good experiences with them. My mom just bought a Lenovo, the reviews are pretty good.

    1. Zhu,

      To be honest, Toshiba was a strong contender in my shopping process. The only reason I went to Lenovo was that the particular model I have been checking out in Toshiba was unavailable, and given the ones that are available here in Berlin, I preferred Lenovo's more.