Spoiler alert: I wish I knew which laptop would be the best for 2022. But what’s wrong with most reviews or recommendations in the past few years is that it’s more about clicks and click-bait than providing some good information.
For example OpenBSD runs fully supported on a small number of laptops. Most OpenBSD programmers are ThinkPad owners and many are secondhand. None of that is terrible but the secondhand market is expensive. (see used cars)
Modern PCs still come with Windows installed so there is that tax. Most Chromebooks do not need that kind of power however premium Chromsbooks cost as much as a Windows machine and there is little or no chance that you’ll run anything else on it.
My 2020 mid-tier ThinkPad Chromebook has been crashing irregularly but I’ve connected two external 15in monitors. My Pop_OS installed on a different Lenovo does not support USB displays.
The problem with most reviews, unlike byte magazine reviews from the 80’s, is that the reviewers priorities are not yours or mine. My list:
Why OpenBSD… because if the hardware supports OpenBSD then it’s runn anything… and chances are you will not require custom device drivers that were hacked together and potentially insecure.
Everyone needs multiple displays they just don’t know it yet. My problem is they are not equally supported. On one chromebook it’s a solid implementation. On another it’s questionable and random and another not at all.
I don’t know what to make of CPU anymore. Intel seems to be selling the crap out of Celeron chips I just do not know how they compare to modern (i) chips. It’s clearly marketing. I like the Arm, MediaTek and SnapDragon chips but the support is still kinda weak. It would be GREAT if MediaTek would find a way to niche into OpenBSD.
I keep losing my power adapters or running over them with my desk chair. I have a new puppy who likes to chew things and plastic cords are one. I have a stack of computers, tablets and phones that charge with USB-C.
My laptop is actually a mobile desktop. I’m always at my desk but from time to time I work in front of the TV or bed. The 10hr batteries are not all 100% all 10 hours so I want one that is honest. I need 2 hours at 100% assuming I’m watching a video over wifi and compiling FreeBSD or Windows source.
More memory is better. I really just need enough RAM so that I never have to go to SWAP. As we all know by now… swap is death. Also with some disk caching (not swap) you’ll extend the live of the SSD.
I really need a long living SSD. I’d even refine that to say an encrypted RAID installation. I’ve lost many days of work when my SSD failed. Sure RAID is only part of the solution but it’s a start… and RAID SSD will likely fail both at the same or near time. At least some enterprise grade SSD. And I really do not need that much. Just enough.
On any given day I might have to connect any modern or legacy device. Having options without needing dongles just makes me happy. There is a downside and that is my fingers are too big to plug and unplug most devices… but on one laptop in particular it’s just an odd mix of ports.
Lastly, and not in the list above… I want a machine whose parts were made and assembled in the USA and maybe Canada. I realize this might add some cost to the laptop because American businesses are greedy that way. But if they can hit my buttons … clearly our collective economic future is questionable. But a US made laptop at $999 then we have something.