August 18, 2013
So right around the time the Chromebook pixel came out, I started thirsting for a new laptop. It seemed to get so much right: gorgeous hidpi screen, sleek form factor, solid build materials, and a really good touchpad. It had some problems, too, though. For one, it was designed to heavily leverage “the cloud”, so it came with a small, non-upgradeable hard drive. It didn’t come with any USB 3.0 ports, either, so using an external drive wasn’t a super desirable option either. The keyboard boldly drops some keys that are actually kind of important in Fedora. But the real killer for me, was that in order to run Fedora on it, you had to hit a key at boot, every single boot. These are all understandable tradeoffs given the intended point of the laptop, but I wasn’t planning to use it the way it was intended to be used (as a ChromeOS cloud based machine).
So I hung tight. Then one day the Toshiba KIRABook was announced; another attractive looking, HiDpi machine (though it has an ugly shiny ring around the touchpad). I very nearly pulled the trigger on that one in May, but it suffered from being based on the soon to be superceded 3rd generation intel chipset. The Haswell line of intel chips, was set to be released in early June, along with (I assumed) a long line of Haswell based laptops. After discussing things with my wife, we both decided it would make sense to wait a bit.
Over the next few weeks a few hidpi contenders were announced: The Fujitsu Lifebook UH90, the ASUS Zenbook Infinity, and the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus all got presented at expos or announced in press releases. I waited for one of them to become available for retail. And waited. And waited. June went by, July went by, and August creeped in. Today, according to a Samsung Press Release a while back, the ATIV Book 9 plus is supposed to available for pre-order on the samsung website. Indeed the [Add To Cart] button is now there on the product page! Clicking it fails to actually add it the cart though. Oh well, probably a glitch they’ll fix tomorrow when the work week starts up again.
It’s also available on Amazon for pre-order now for a couple hundred dollars cheaper (or really the same price if you add in the SquareTrade extended warranty). It unfortunately only comes with 4GB or ram and 128GB M.2 SSD. I took the plunge anyway. I’ve gotten too impatient and can’t wait anymore! Low ram aside, it’s actually a pretty sweet looking machine. It should be arriving in the next 2 to 3 weeks, unless I get buyers’ remorse and cancel my order.