Laptops are quicker, smaller, lighter and better than they used to be. We’ve reached a point in the development of mobile computing where the power and versatility of the laptop can (in some extremely expensive cases anyway) rival that of a desktop. A not, by the way, to anyone who thinks laptops have surpassed the need for a desktop: try getting genuine 3D gaming power out of anything other than the most expensive portable computer, and then come and talk to me about my desktop…
You’ll never see any of these advances in the average free laptop with mobile broadband package deal – where you normally get a bog standard budget (around £300 or £400 worth) laptop designed for basic email and net use. When you start shopping for high quality laptops though, you’ll find a range of powers that wouldn’t look out of place in a superhero’s hideout.
Wireless internet is a bit of an old donkey, by now – it’s been around forever and it works just fine thank you very much. Though the 4G version looks quite exciting (if you can get it in your area). True 4G is meant to give you an average download speed three times quicker than 3G, which means you get home broadband connectivity on the go.
Ideal if you’re using your laptop for gaming, where the 3D screen is just starting to make a splash. Bear in mind that you do have to wear 3D glasses to do this, so if you can handle sitting around in public looking like Bono out of U2 then go right ahead! Me, I’m sticking to 3D gaming in the privacy of my own home only. I don’t want immersive cinematic experiences on the move: I might get run over.
The small size of a powerful modern laptop, of course, means that you can have it as you r home computer – in which case 3D gaming is awesome and I’m all for it. Though using a laptop only ever at home negates the solar powered bit, which is still very much in its infancy (so much so that I have never seen a laptop that uses it, though I have heard rumours that there will be some out in the not too distant future).
Solar power is definitely not something you will be seeing on a free laptop with mobile broadband deal in the next few months and probably the next year. This is going to be expensive and as yet no-one’s managed to explain to me how screens that still don’t work in bright sunlight will make doing any actual work outside feasible.
I’m still not at all convinced that a laptop is the right device for external use. A tablet, yes, a mobile phone definitely – but laptops are for working and gaming and watching movies, all occupations that happen indoors. Still, the technology is a marchin’ on and if nothing else it’ll be an excuse for laptop companies to force most of us into thinking about buying yet another replacement for a perfectly good machine.
On the other hand, that’ll mean a better class of free laptop with mobile broadband deals – so it isn’t all bad.