I do not like the direction laptop vendors are taking.

New laptops tend to feature fewer ports, making the user more dependent on adapters. Similarly to smartphones, this is a detrimental trend initiated by Apple and replicated by the rest of the pack.

As of 2022, many mid-range laptops feature just one USB-A port and one USB-C port, resembling Apple's toxic minimalism. In 2010, mid-class laptops commonly had three or four USB ports. I have even seen an MSi gaming laptop with six USB ports. Now, much of the edges is wasted "clean" space.

Sure, there are USB hubs, but those only work well with low-power devices. When attaching two external hard drives to transfer data between them, they might not be able to spin up due to insufficient power from the USB port or undervoltage caused by the impedance (resistance) of the USB cable between the laptop's USB port and hub. There are USB hubs which can be externally powered, but that means yet another wall adapter one has to carry.

Non-replaceable [shortest-lived component] mean difficult repairs and no more reserve batteries, as well as no extra-sized battery packs. When the battery expires, one might have to waste four hours on a repair shop for a replacement that would have taken a minute on a 2010 laptop.

The SD card slot is being replaced with inferior MicroSD or removed entirely. This is especially bad for photographers and videographers who would frequently plug memory cards into their laptop. SD cards are far more comfortable than MicroSD cards, and no, bulky external adapters that reserve the device's only USB port and protrude can not replace an integrated SD card slot.

Most mid-range laptops in the early 2010s also had a LAN port for immediate interference-free connection. That is now reserved for gaming-class / desknote laptops.

Obviously, components like RAM and storage are far more difficult to upgrade in more modern laptops, or not possible at all if soldered in.

Touch pads increasingly have the buttons underneath the touch surface rather than separate, meaning one has to be careful not to move the mouse while clicking. Otherwise, it could cause an unwanted drag-and-drop gesture. Some touch pads are smart enough to detect when a user intends to click, and lock the movement, but not all. A right-click drag-and-drop gesture might not be possible due to the finger on the button being registered as touch. Clicking with short tapping could be unreliable and sluggish. While one should have external peripherals anyway, one might not always have brought them with. The fallback input device is now even less comfortable.

Some laptop vendors include a sponge sheet that they want users to put between the keyboard and the screen before folding it, "to avoid damaging the screen", even though making it two millimetres thicker could do the same without relying on a sponge sheet. So they want me to carry that bulky thing everywhere around? How about no?

That's the irony. They wanted to make laptops lighter and slimmer, but that made them adapter- and sponge sheet-dependent, defeating the portability purpose.

Sure, the CPU performance has improved. Vendors proudly show off in their advertisements which generation of Intel Core they have this time. As if that is something users especially care about. Hoo-ray, generation 14 is now yet another 5% faster than the previous generation! But what is the benefit of that if I have to rely on annoying adapters to get the same work done that I could formerly do without those adapters?

Microsoft has also copied Apple in demanding internet connection before Windows 11 will set up. The setup screen says "You will need an Internet connection…" - no, technically I would not. What does technically stand in the way of Windows 11 setting up offline? After all, previous Windows versions like Windows 95 could do so 25 years earlier. But also far more recent versions. Thankfully, Linux distributions do not do that.

If "new" and "modern" mean more locked-in and less practical and difficult to repair, I would rather have "old" than "new".

  • 5
    Sager does some of things better. I made sure I had 5 USB ports and the battery is externally replaceable. They also use standard power plugs so you can use third party power supplies. Sager also comes by default without an OS. You have to pay to add Windows if you want it. So you don't pay the Microsoft tax if you don't want to.

    My sager has ethernet jack, the case is easy to open, and I can install 2 M.2 drives and a SATA drive at the same time. Ram is also easy to change. I bought it last year.
  • 3
    It's not just apple's impact. Thinness of a laptop is also a factor.
  • 8
    as a photographer i can say: the lack of full-size SD-slots doesn't matter to me at all.

    at home, i need more computational power than usual laptops can provide, so i have a tower anyway (and at home, any daily-drive laptop WOULD have a dock). and on the go, there's bluetooth and usb-c.

    and even if i needed to transfer _many_ pictures _very_ quickly - compared with all the rest of my photo equipment, a compact SD-reader really doesn't matter.

    which is not to say that i don't completely agree with your opinion on the general trend. any laptop with less than 4 usb ports and no ethernet is garbage by design, in my eyes.
  • 0
    Your rant is like watching a sci-fi movie from 1980s when everyone thought the future will go in the direction of improving CRT monitors to make them bigger and more powerful, even though the technology went in a different direction. The same way, people no longer need 10 USB ports because wireless devices no longer need dongles and because all your data fits on a single USB stick on your keychain instead of a bulky external hard drive which will likely break if you happen to run with it in your bag. And modern SD cards are literary just MicroSD cards with more plastic, there's no difference in either price, speed, or capacity (unless you happen to have UHS-II cards, but then you'd need an external reader anyway).

    You just happen to have a bunch of old technology laying around and you're mad because you can no longer use it with most new laptops, but you fail to see how most people don't even need any of that anymore, so they'll go for a smaller and lighter laptop anyway.
  • 0
    You are making some really good points

    I personally don't think most people even use USB c devices that don't come with adapters to USB 2 or 3
  • 0
    @hitko I'm ok with only usb-c ports but not with just one. Not in a laptop and not in a phone. It's a very sensitive SOP. And limiting in what your can do.
  • 0
    @hjk101 Even most ultralight laptops (under 1.5kg) come with at least two, and most still have a separate charging port so you can use both USB ports even while charging your laptop. That's more than enough for what most people need, and those who need more are usually looking to use legacy hardware with a new laptop.
  • 0
    @hitko a separate power port is already dumb these days. USB-C is slimmer and more versatile. I'd rather have a mini jack. As that is not legacy hardware until bidirectional audio works properly.

    Personally I need at least 3 ports and that is only because my display is also a hub (for keyboard and mouse).
    I use an usb-c yubikey and an adapter for rj-45.
  • 0
    @hjk101 You just proved my point. An average user has Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and they're using wifi (gigabit wifi has been around since 2014), so they only ever need a single USB port for that one thing they need to connect when they get to work. You don't. Laptop manufacturers don't care about your needs, they care about what 99% of their users need, and that's 2 USB ports.
  • 0
    @hitko those advarage users you mention want a tablet with perhaps a removable keyboard. I'd argue that I'm the demographic that is willing to spend 1000 plus euros for a laptop.

    Wi-fi sucks since it got popular compared to wired. I've got a professional Ruckus AP and still there is so much interference that my connection degrades from time to time. Especially when out of 5Ghz range. My advice is
    "if you can get a wire in the home office; get it". It's almost always worth it.
  • 0
    @hjk101 Lol right, where the fuck do you get all those people who love to plug and unplug a whole bunch of cables every time they need to move their laptop? Go to a fucking library from time to time, nobody has a wired mouse with their laptop. Go find a bunch of graphic designers, they don't even use a wired mouse with a PC because they hate the cable getting in their way. And get over the whole "tablet is the new laptop" idea already, people have been repeating it ever since the first iPad came out, and it still ain't fucking happening.

    Also I'm curious what kind of a "professional Ruckus AP" you have, since those start at $500 and you don't seem like someone who'd spend that kind of money on an access point.
  • 0
    @hitko why the fuck not, you really don't know me? And I mostly leave my yubikey in and like I said nice got a screen that acts as a hub and also charges my laptop. So that's just two cables and my laptop has 4 usb-c ports.

    The graphics designers and even a few Devs have drawing pads. Some Devs use iPads for notes and drawing but not the designers.
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