Generally I love new technology and new gadget. However, if I hit the groove with something I need a bit of a push to change. My laptop is an almost 6 year old Toshiba Satellite Pro, that has been a real pro putting up with a lot of use and abuse over the past years. It’s been upgraded to its limit now (RAM-ed up, HDD changes, whatever could be made bigger and better inside has been) yet it still can’t do some of the tasks I would love to do like video editing. It just can’t run most of the video editing software for lack of processing power.
In January the laptop’s LCD screen broke. This was the chance to finally make the leap and get a shiny new piece of kit. I set a budget, a healthy £500, and then started looking. Eeeek! The choice out there is really bewildering: RAMs, HDD, MHz, processors… and the list goes on. Then there is the question of learning a new operating system Windows 7. (I love XP pro!) Eventually I chickened out and spent £100 on getting a new LCD screen.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my reluctance to upgrade! Research shows that many people find the whole process of buying a PC really daunting and 72% thought there was overwhelming choice. And it’s not just the hardward, it’s the software too: Although over 600 million licences have been sold for Windows 7, over 25% of computers world-wide are still running Windows XP. Microsoft XP is a 12 year old operating system which Microsoft is actually looking to phase out support for over the next two years.
A few weeks ago I was invited to an event at which Microsoft were showcasing a selection of All-in-one PCs, laptops and tablets from different manufacturers at different price points. Some super sexy, some just a great piece of kit for the price. Microsoft call this range The Collection and on the Microsoft site they help you chose your priorities and come up with a recommendation from The Collection.
After the event I borrowed one of laptops in The Collection for a couple of weeks, a Samsung series 7. It had an 7i core processor and other sexy techie things in it. It looked lovely, felt sturdy and was a pretty decent piece of kit.
The idea was to give it a whirl and see what I’m missing by sticking with older technology and an old operating system:
My immediate observation was surprise at how quickly it started up. (I don’t actually switch off my Toshiba, choosing instead to just put it into hibernate, because it takes so long to boot up). It didn’t take long to get the hang of the Windows 7 operating system either. Just a few curses when things were in different places than I’m used to on XP.
My favourite thing about the laptop- how well it dealt with pictures and videos. Software like Windows Movie Maker is available free to genuine Windows users- it made video editing easy. There are some great functions for photo editing available too. The laptop gave me an excellent opportunity to test the parental controls which are available in Internet Explorer. (I mentioned these in the blog post about Internet Safety).
I had actually forgotten that laptops are mobile and you can move easily from one room to another without cables dragging or dangling (mine needs to be plugged in all the time as there is no battery in it to speak of).
I liked it all except the layout of the keyboard: because the laptop had a separate number keypad the Qwerty keyboard was off-centre, proving a nightmare to balance your lap and type. (Yes, I actually use the laptop as a laptop!) In trying to get the hang of this I so often ended up pressing the large mousepad for something.
Now that the laptop has gone back to the Microsoft team I am missing the speed and the functionality of this lovely piece of kit. I’ve decided I need to have a good look at what I want from my IT and have a serious thought about upgrading … and actually following through this time. Did think to wait for Windows 8, but for £15 I will be able to upgrade when it does hit the market. So no point hanging around for that excuse.
Are you an early adopter or usually late arriving to a party? What operating system are you running?