What’s your must-have laptop feature?

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28

For me it’s a joystick pointer. I’m just not used to trackpads, and I don’t like them anyway. I also couldn’t get used to trackball mice placed on the side of a laptop.

Second is inverted T cursor keys, meaning Up/Down keys the same size as Left/Right keys, so no HP or MSFT laptops for me.

I’d love more 3:2 or squarer display options, but I’m not holding my breath.

Comments (28)

28 responses to “What’s your must-have laptop feature?”

  1. Avatar

    TEAMSWITCHER

    The MacBook Pro trackpad has ruined every other laptop for me. By focusing on this one feature ... Apple has perfected it. With the introduction of 6-core mobile CPU's from Intel .. that is my next must have feature .. MORE POWER!!!


    My whole professional career flows though my MacBook Pro ... it is my one and only ... my daily driver, A Core i9 MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD is what I want. Now... where did I set that 50-high stack of $100 bills?

  2. Avatar

    evox81

    A SSD and a numpad.

  3. Avatar

    lecter

    • Backlit keyboard
    • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C (and USB-C laptop charging)
    • LTE support
    • 16:9 IPS or OLED screen (because I like to watch Netflix on it as well) with 4K resolution and HDR10 or Dolby Vision
    • Windows Hello support (ideally via fingerprint)
    • Good webcam (none of that 720p bullcrap) with a physical privacy shutter built-in
    • Certified microphone support for Alexa/Cortana waking
    • 3x3 WiFi
    • Gigabit Ethernet without a dongle
    • HDMI & DisplayPort (because you WILL be forced to present somewhere that has only one or the other and not have a dongle handy)
    • NumPad
    • USB-A port
    • At least a 1050Ti GPU for those times I want to get my 4K Civilization VI fix
    • Decent speakers made or certified by some company that has something to do with audio tech
    • A Thunderbolt 3 USB-C dock made by the same manufacturer, with triple-display output, eGPU support, USB-A ports


    Nice to haves:


    • Xbox controller proprietary wireless radio built-in (I believe the Surface devices have this)
    • Fast charging for laptop
    • Fast charging of other devices from laptop
    • microSD reader
    • tiny bezels


    Unfortunately such a laptop (even without the nice-to-haves) doesn't seem to exist, as it combines features which some business models have and features which some gaming models have, for some reason no one seems to really want to unify their professional & personal lives in the same device while still keeping the niceties of both environments.

  4. Avatar

    abbysoni

    Hi,


    Nowadays laptops are coming with lots of hi-tech features & fully loaded with different software whether it’s related to improve security features or for a world class performance. However, I strongly feel that laptop companies must give a great data recovery software too with a laptop like they give anti-virus software.


    As it is as necessary as an anti-virus. There are lots of data recovery software options available in a market but for me it should be a must have laptop feature / specification that it should be loaded with a great data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery or Recuva or Ease us.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to abbysoni:

      I would say that they could dispense with the AV software. Windows Defender is more than good enough when setting the machine up and doesn't stop protecting you if you don't take out a subscription.

      I've not found a data recovery tool that has been very effective. A backup tool would be better, but they either rely on a cloud subscription or external media, so no very useful on their own.

  5. Avatar

    rob_segal

    It's not unreasonable to expect every mid to premium laptop to have at least 1 thunderbolt 3 usb-c port. USB-C as a universal charging standard across phones and laptops benefits users.


    I'm addicted to 3x2 inch displays now. Even a 16x10 inch display doesn't look tall enough for me.


    A crisp keyboard is a must have for me. The butterfly keyboard on the current MacBook Pros is a little too shallow for me (and too unreliable). I really like the MateBook X Pro keyboard.


    Dolby Atmos has become a must have. Great laptop speakers went from a nice-to-have to a requirement for me.


    A future feature I would like to have is programmable function keys. Not sure how you would execute this while not going the touchbar route. Being able what function keys I want to set for brightness, volume, media controls, and other actions like that and have my selection appear on the key would make me smile.

  6. Avatar

    Robert-Hostetler

    These should be universal for all laptops today, but sadly aren't:

    • Sturdy enough to handle normal day to day usage without falling apart or being flimsy
    • Backlit Keyboard and Trackpad with good Ergonomics, and smooth/reliable input (ex: no jumpy pointer or cursor)
    • Stable firmware and drivers with timely updates
    • Don't punish people on number/type of ports. If normal items like USB-A ports, SD card readers, and headphone jacks can be accommodated by the form factor of the laptop, it should be.
    • If pen support is there, make carrying the pen with you as easy as possible.


    Microsoft should have a certification program for all reliability items. Normal people should be able to go to a Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc... and every PC they sell has a sticker on the box that says it is Microsoft tested and approved - which means it should reliably do basic web surfing, streaming services like Spotify or Netflix, very light gaming, and office docs editing for 2-5 years (range depending on if CPU/RAM/Storage specs can keep up).


    I have no idea if Google has achieved that or not. I know they have aligned with the needs of K-12 school IT admins, but that is not a 1:1 match with the above list.


    I have no idea if the Linux scene has achieved that or not. I've heard good things from random internet people about custom made Linux computers, like from system76, but know of no one in real life that has one.


    Apple forcing bad keyboards and dongles on their all their laptop users is not aligned with the above.


    Everything else I suppose matters for the target audience or use cases. I would like to see Microsoft to continue expanding their Surface lineup & 3rd party computers offered through their store to be great for most if not all use cases. For example - productivity PCs should have 3:2 displays while entertainment ones go with 16:9.


    I would love to see in the future as a new hardware + software feature:

    Run natively android apps but instead of ARM virtualization or deal with x86/x64 compatibility issues, have it run off of a separate ARM chip in the laptop (or if an ARM Windows laptop could load both Windows and Android at once that would be interesting).


    If that doesn't occur, PWAs don't work out, and Google gets Chromebooks to have excellent support for Linux and Android Apps in the future, it is possible that my long term go to setup will be a high end Chromebook and try to have Paul's current mindset of a minimal usage of Google services, but use lots of 3rd party apps/services.


  7. Avatar

    davidl

    No fans (completely silent operation)

    Cellular service built in (always connected)

    Firmware/Drivers updated via Windows Update

    3:2 display

    All day battery life

    Precision Trackpad (three fingers for middle click)

    Windows Hello camera login

    Light enough to carry everywhere/everyday (less than 3 lbs.)

  8. Avatar

    h8zgray

    Swapable batteries, backlit keyboard, SSD, smartcard reader, and LTE (cellular) connectivity, though using the latter in Windows 10 at least for me is inconsistent and problematic. I also agree a docking station solution is also a blessing as is being able to replace at least some components. Consequently, the Dell Latitude 5414 Rugged has been my go to machine for close to three years.

  9. Avatar

    jtyjyj

    An SSD. but that's pretty much mainstream these days so I'd go with a backlit keyboard or glass trackpad ala Apple laptops.

  10. Avatar

    StevenLayton

    Anyone remember when an interchangeable floppy drive and CD-drive were must-haves?

  11. Avatar

    matsan

    Backlit keyboard and trackpad with physical buttons (two preferably three so I get middle button copy/paste in terminals)

  12. Avatar

    jrswarr

    Touch Screen, 3:2 Aspect ratio, SSD and good battery life. My preference is for tablet style form factor.

  13. Avatar

    StevenLayton

    A screen and a keyboard. Without either, its fairly useless ;)

  14. Avatar

    wolters

    GPU that is "good enough" for me. And I'd add 3:2 and awesome trackpad. This is why I have a Surface Book 2. Perfect laptop for me.

  15. Avatar

    wp7mango

    Touch screen. Even on a laptop.


    Sure, glass trackpads are very nice, eg Surface and Macbook etc, but a touch screen is far better in many scenarios for me.

  16. Avatar

    justme

    Durable but light, roughly 13", with a graphics processor stronger than the standard built-in variety. This is a large reason why the Surface Book 2 is appealing to me.

  17. Avatar

    North of 49th

    I'm going to give you a weird list. My most important thing is a long term commitment to updates by the manufacturer. My second thing, like wright_is, is a docking station because I want to use a big screen when not travelling. A back lit keyboard is also one of those features that you really appreciate and miss when you don't have it.

  18. Avatar

    Maktaba

    Keyboard should have number pad.

  19. Avatar

    wright_is

    Docking port. My laptops spend 95% of their time on my desk at work and connected to network, 2 or 3 displays and a bunch of other stuff. A dock is the first feature I look for on a new laptop.

    I have to have a laptop, because we have several offices, so I need the flexibility to take it with me or to work on the move in an emergency.

  20. Avatar

    Oasis

    Must have Removable Battery, RAM and HDD. I have 2 laptops at Home, a 2009 Sony VAIO VPCEB390x and 2012 MBP which I almost never turn on. Both were gifted as my nieces rejects and now grace my coffee table.

  21. Avatar

    Ron Diaz

    MacOS

    Between all the issues I’ve had with Windows 10 and how incredibly well all Apples products work together I’ve totally gone to the dark side.

  22. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    Thick enough to use as a weapon, 17" screen that's matte finish or at least covered with real glass. Touch? Meh... Sure.


    It's hard for me to imagine my dream notebook without an optical drive but I don't actually care. My next wish really means that it doesn't matter.


    Hot.


    Swappable.


    Everything.


    Then I could shove another battery, a hard drive, or hell... A Zip disk drive in there in case I want to really wanna party like it's 1999.

  23. Avatar

    robincapper

    Windows Hello, seriously. Book 2 first I had with it, so glad they included it on Go as would not buy a PC without it.

  24. Avatar

    longhorn

    A trackpad that is aligned with the keyboard which means centered under GH keys. It's astonishing how many laptop makers can't get this right. I like joystick pointers, but ThinkPad's arrow keys get in my way. I want the bottom row of keys to be straight to avoid accidental key presses.


    A laptop is a compromise to allow mobility. A desktop PC with "real" keyboard, mouse and big screen is miles ahead from an ergonomical perspective. I'm not very fond of trackpads. I dislike most things that don't give tactile feed-back. That's why I tend to avoid touch devices as much as possible. I'm OK with touch on laptops because you still have other input methods. A laptop without touch is actually worth less to me.


    16:9 aspect ratio on small displays (laptops) is pretty awful, doesn't scale well either. And I want a laptop built by engineers, not designers. I refuse the new breed of laptops, filled with glue and ready for the landfill as soon as they leave the factory. Non-replaceable battery, are you kidding me?


  25. Avatar

    Minke

    Bulletproof construction that can survive drops. I have had so many laptop failures over the years that I now go for cheap ones and just replace them. They are almost always too expensive to repair. Because of the mobility they are subject to more abuse than desktops, so durability has to be the #1 factor even if it comes at the expense of weight and size. Also, power cords fail, connectors fail, hinges break, batteries wear out or fail, hard drives go with regularity, etc. Frankly, I haven't bought a laptop in many years because of this. I have a few old laptops I've inherited from some others that I occasionally use. I now use my phone for most on-the-go stuff, and use desktops at home and in the office. It is so refreshing when something fails on a desktop and I can just swap out the part myself for a reasonable fee.

  26. Avatar

    FalseAgent

    Good trackpad, a keyboard with actual travel, screen with good viewing angles, dedicated graphics, and runs cool during regular use. I don't mind middling battery life.

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