my HP nx8220 is as reliable as a Mercedes W123 and as sexy as a W115

Two different persons approached me earlier last week, telling me about their plans of buying a new laptop. Knowing that they’ll be fine with a simple, stationary system (= forget about battery runtime) and a good cost/performance ratio, I told both of them to go for an ACER 5220 / 80 GB HDD / 1GB RAM + WinXPP for something around EUR 500,-.

I took this opportunity to also inform myself about current models and trends and came to the conclusion that I am just (still) VERY HAPPY with my HP (Compaq) nx8220. I’ve seen a lot of other equipment in the past and also lots of crippled corp. IT gadgets and then I always come back to my beloved nx8220 and think: Ahh, well done, JKE, it was a good deal back then. :-)

Really, I don’t care about fast CPUs or the latest gfx board if the machine does not provide a decent battery runtime under normal conditions and, most importantly, has a matt display, a real keyboard, an internal microphone, a lowered trackpad (see Sony VAIOs – horrible) and enough USB ports on each side.

So why not this dead cheap HP 530 running on Linux? Because it has its USB ports on the left side. Now imagine fixing your USB mouse to that port, pulling the cable once around the back of the machine to the right side. Or headset sockets: nice for fixing a headset – but given the (stationary) Celeron CPU, most users will keep this machine at home and may want to connect it to their stereo system. A cable in front just sucks. My colleagues in Mali are using such a HP 530 and again, I wonder how it performs under the heat…

Been standing in front of an MacBook Air ad tonight, explaining my Indian colleague the disadvantages of such a notebook and I would never go for it. He’s into Apple products big times (is there any secret or subliminal Apple advertisment in Google Talk or Orkut?? :-) but me, mimi I could nevaaaaa go for an Apple computer. (I’ve grown up on an Atari 1040 STF which should still exist somewhere in Nairobi so I’ve paid my dues to the UI on that platform…). I wonder why Apple assumes that most customers who are able to cough up enough pesa for a MacBook Air are also those who are frequent flyers and will be in such situations when this gadget actually plays out its advantages (light weight, energy consumption, data exchange limited to network connections, illuminated keyboard).

If my nx8220 dies one day, I’ll hopefully manage to buy another HP or, if they eventually switch the Strg and Fn key positions, maybe also an IBM/Lenovo thingy. But then, I’d prolly fix it and buy spare parts from eBay…

@M: are you still on that Toshiba?
@MB: what about your FSC Amilo – working again?
@CG: wie geht es Deinem DELL und wie oft nutzt Du Dein ThinkPad?
@Zed & CK: kommt mir jetzt nicht mit dem Apple! :-)

(vielleicht sollte man mich mal 1 Woche lang mit einem Apple PC einsperren, damit ich für das OS mehr Sympathien entwickeln kann…)

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Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Google+.

5 comments » Write a comment

  1. Well, well what can I say ,-) I wouldn’t get the MacBook Air either. It#s just a subnote book and not really suitable for heavy design/video usage or some rough handling. But the MacBook Pro is actually a very nice platform, even if you just run windows or Linux on it. In terms of components, size and design it is a really good peace of hardware. You can actually just run windows and linux on it – it’s said o be the fastest out-of-the-box system to run windows on. Personally I wouldn’t be offended. (It#s a bit silly in my view to get too emotional about the whole OS Battle) There are some good aspects about the Windows OS as well.

  2. oh and in terms of PC laptops I think I would now try to get an IBM ThinkPad. I just have never been impressed with Asus and Co. There are minor issued like weight and bulkiness, but it seems that after a while these bricks clog up and the fan is constantly spinning, they get really hot (my wife uses her Asus to keep warm on a cold day) and so on. In terms of quality I would suggest the ThinkPad are top, even though I’ve never liked the little mouse-pin but anyways. (Did I mention you can run XP on Mac ? ;-)

  3. I think HP is over-rated. My wife has had 2 HP laptops and they were very disappointing. If it’s not the screen then its the hinges that give way. Previously, Compaq was a much better brand than Packard or whatever they called it then.

    I once bought someone in Kenya an Acer only for it to conk out in a month’s time. Dell is no different from HP.

    I’m a sworn Thinkpad user. They outlast any laptop out there in the market. I hate Apple cause they are anti-competitive even though the first computer I ever used was a Mac back in the days. That is not to say that they don’t have good products.

  4. Yeah ok, maybe I should have stated that I was talking about that former Compaq line that was aquired by HP and in particular my nx8220 (which is just like the nc8230 for the US market). I don’t like the HP Pavillion range.

    ThinkPads are nice but the latest ones arent as good as the old ones. My fav are those T4x…

    @ZED: ASUS! Horrible :-)

    There’s this BIOS setting that lets the fan speed up right from the start and keeps the notebook on a constantly low temp level. Tested this in Kenya the other day, worked fine. Fan is running on a very low speed then.

  5. I agree with you JKE, when you land on a good product line and have a good set of customer experiences, it becomes very difficult to consider an alternative product especially with a product like a laptop that is so expensive, has such a long life and is such an integral part of everything you do on a day to day basis.

    I had a IBM T40p until about a year ago: the best machine that I ever had. A friend in Kenya is still enjoying it.

    I downgraded to an X31 because I wanted a much smaller machine with great battery life and I do not regret it. My next laptop will be an IBM X61t tablet – just trying to get the $1900 or so I need for this baby together now …