The computer on the right is the Toshiba Satellite I purchased in 2007 in the middle of my book tour, because the laptop I had been carrying along with me died and I need something to replace it with, and the Toshiba seemed like a good choice at the time. And it was; your basic 15-incher with all the various bells and whistles. Its major drawback was that it was heavy; about seven or eight pounds. It stopped being my travel computer a while ago, for which my shoulder thanked me, but it did service as my wife’s computer for a number of years, until it basically just got too old and slow and developed a worrying click in the hard drive.
The computer on the left is the Dell XPS 12 I just bought to go on the next tour. It’s not actually a replacement for the Toshiba, which as I noted has been retired as the travel computer for some time (it’s more of a replacement for the MacBook Air which got stolen on the last tour), but my wife decreed that if I was going to bring another computer into the house, one of the older ones had to go. The Toshiba was the oldest and slowest and the least used, so it’s been voted off the island. I pulled the hard drive and the battery and everything else is off to recycling.
It was kind of fun to put the two side by side and just sort of marvel at the difference six years has brought. The XPS is smaller but significantly more powerful, with a better resolution screen which is also touch sensitive, faster guts and a speedier flash memory drive which, while smaller, is more than sufficient in a cloud-obsessed age. On the other hand — and because of said cloud-obsessed age — the XPS lacks an optical drive and even a built-in SDHC card drive. The former I won’t much miss (I can’t actually remember when I used a CD or DVD in my computer), but the SDHC thing is slightly annoying, albeit easily dealt with through a $10 card reader. But basically, the XPS is half as thick, less than half as heavy, and generally twice (or more) the computer the Toshiba is. Not to mention the screen is on a hinge that allows you to make the XPS a slightly bulky but still serviceable tablet. We live in an age of miracles and wonders, I tell you.
Although I’m getting rid of the Toshiba I have to say I am impressed with it. It lasted almost exactly six full years of daily use and right until very near the end did exactly what it was advertised to do. I have no complaints about it at all, and it fulfilled my basic tenet of buying stuff: I bought the best I could buy at the time, and then I used it until it really wasn’t usable anymore. Six years is a good run for a laptop. Let’s see how the XPS 12 does before it gets replaced.