Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Laptop manufacturers are too obsessed with going skinny

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OPINION:
If yous’ve bought a laptop recently, you’ve likely been impressed with how skinny information technology is compared to the chunky portables that filled upward Currys shelves simply a decade ago.

Thanks to new processors with more efficient thermal performances, besides equally the movement from HDD to SSD storage solutions, laptop manufacturers have been able to shave downward chassis and create more portable designs.

Such a move has lots of benefits. Nobody wants a laptop that’due south likewise heavy or big to carry in a bag, as portability is its principal appeal over a desktop reckoner. And skinny laptops generally await far more stylish than their chunky counterparts.

Merely certain laptop manufacturers are starting to push this trend too far. Have the upcoming Craob X laptop for instance, which is only 7mm thick. While information technology looks fantastic and takes the weight down to an extremely portable 862 grams, it’s likewise had to make major sacrifices – such every bit removing every unmarried port.

Need to stick in a USB stick to transfer over a file? You’re out of luck. Want to plug in your wired headphones to mind to Spotify? Afraid not. You lot can’t even use a charging cablevision to power upward the laptop, equally you’re forced to use a wireless charger instead, which are notorious for being highly inefficient.


To be fair to Craob, it had the clever idea of calculation all of the ports onto the wireless charger instead, then you can still apply wired peripherals if you lot fancy. Only I’thou sceptical whether they’d provide the equivalent performance when connecting straight to the laptop.

Essentially, this comes downward to whether having such a skinny laptop is worth sacrificing the convenience of ports and I’m personally unconvinced. But to be fair to Croab, which is seemingly a new starting time-upwards company, information technology’due south done a good task of standing out from the crowd and existence noticed. I’yard less forgiving with more than established laptop manufacturers.

I’m a big fan of the Dell XPS xiii laptop, which frequently tops our Best Laptop ranking, but I still can’t get my caput around Dell’s decision to omit the USB-A port. Back in 2022, Dell told me that it decided to ditch the rectangular port in order to reach the thin design. The company does at least parcel a USB-C to USB-A dongle in the box, just that means you lot’ve got to carry the accessory effectually with you, which is an unnecessary faff.

Apple is some other visitor that has decided to ditch the USB-A port, as it’s absent from both the MacBook Air M1 and the latest MacBook Pro. Apple and Dell would probable argue that USB-A is an outdated engineering, with USB-C offering faster speeds and a wider range of functionality.

Close up image of a silver-gray Macbook Air M1's ports section on the left side edge
MacBook Air M1

While that’s truthful, that doesn’t change the fact that many peripherals are still beingness designed with USB-A cables. And while you could simply buy a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, they’re usually more expensive and aren’t as responsive as a wired alternative.

I’d personally prefer information technology if Apple tree and Dell made their laptops slightly thicker, merely so they could include the USB-A in their port selection. I dubiety it would make a noticeable affect on the weight and other slender laptops have managed to feature the legacy port, including the Acer Swift 5, Surface Laptop Go and the Galaxy Book Ion, so there really is no excuse.

But Samsung isn’t innocent in this debacle either. It has also made huge compromises in order to squash downward the acme of its laptops. The Galaxy Book Due south launched dorsum in 2022 with a Snapdragon 8cx processor, which has such a good thermal performance that there’south no need for a fan. This enabled Samsung to make a laptop that measured in at just 11.8mm thin.

Samsung Galaxy Book S
Samsung Galaxy Book S

But there was a big problem, every bit the Snapdragon 8cx didn’t play nice with Windows ten. This meant some apps weren’t compatible, and those that were, ran at sluggish speeds. That’s a big compromise for buyers to make, just so they can have a super-skinny laptop.

Fifty-fifty Microsoft made this mistake when creating the Surface Pro 10, which used an Arm-based bit in order to brand information technology even skinnier than the Surface Pro laptops. It was met with lots of underwhelming reviews – we gave information technology a two.5 out of five rating – as the operation bug once again reared their head. Fortunately, Qualcomm claims that the rollout of Windows 11 is helping to alleviate a lot of these compatibility issues, just that doesn’t change the fact that Samsung and Microsoft jumped the gun.

So while it is of form dandy to see laptops becoming skinnier and skinnier over time, I’m hoping that manufacturers stop prioritising this obsession over the needs of the stop user – ports are however important and nobody wants to encounter functioning issues only for the sake of a slightly thinner chassis. And after all, in that location’s nothing wrong with beingness a piffling chunky.


Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly calculating-focussed stance column where nosotros delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more.
Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.

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Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/opinion/ctrlaltdelete-laptop-manufacturers-are-too-obsessed-with-going-skinny-4207265

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