I never liked laptops much but have been thinking about getting one lately. Mostly the keyboard is what bothers me so a full-sized (or close) keyboard is important... ergonomics > performance.
What good/bad/ugly experiences have y'all had with #! and laptops?
Are any brands particularly good for linux?
I've been a laptop/netbook guy for almost 20 years, and have been putting Linux on them for about 8 years. In the way-back times, getting them running well was not always easy. Today, however, they are (relatively) easy. My current laptops are 2011-2012 vintage, so I can't speak for the newest ones. I expect that the kernel comment is on the mark, though kernels can be upgraded. I have never been burned when I've done that. This said, my current setups are the stock kernel. Since Linux in general and Crunchbang specifically have pretty reasonable hardware requirements, a machine from 2012 isn't a handicap for most folks. When the next Crunchbang comes along, I expect we'll get some long overdue upgrades that'll make things go better.
I have two machines running Crunchbang Waldorf i386: a Lenovo G570 2.5 GHz 8G i5 laptop upgraded with a SSD and an Asus eeePC 1015PX 1.66 GHz 2G dual core Atom N570 netbook upgraded with a SSD. The Lenovo makes a great every day machine, while the netbook is a bit of a hobby (albeit one I do take out for real work when I want to run a long. long time on battery only). The only quirk that I have ever run into with any of my machines, and one that I had to overcome with the G570, is wifi. If you want to earn the accolades of many, write wifi drivers that "just work," because in Linux they often don't.
There are other Debian-based distros that have good hardware compatibility databases. Check any of those. While Crunchbang isn't [insert other big distro of choice here], the shared heritage usually means if a machine does well with one of those, it'll probably be happy under Crunchbang with maybe a tweak here and there.
The last time I bought one for myself (about 8yrs ago), I spent about an hour in a store with my hands on a variety of them. I got the one with the best ergonomics, and with what seemed to be a good build quality. I've never regretted getting my Dell Inspiron, which is still the most comfortable machine I've ever used (and is still flying along with #! )
I also suggest that how it feels on your lap is important - heat output could be an issue!
We've got Lenovo, Sony and Acer. I've had a few Acer's and with all things considered, they're probably my personal choice... Never a single issue or complaint.
"Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing."
My dad has an ASUS laptop with an i3 that worked out of the box.
Sorry about that. I accidentally posted my password in IRC and I had the same password set here so they changed my signature.
I use #! with a Dell D630 from 2007. Works great.
Dell D630, Crunchbang 11
I've got an Acer Aspire E1-572 (rolls off the tongue doesn't it?). It's a 15" with a full-sized keyboard and a numberpad. Very comfy to code with. It's got a pretty decent i5 in it with 8 gigs of RAM and I stuck and SSD in there. The think flies on #!. It is a fairly new laptop and I did run into issues getting wireless working, luckily I keep a Linux-friendly USB wifi adapter handy and used that to download the wheezy backports kernel. Everything works great now.