... or why I didn't buy a PC.
I only wanted one thing out of a laptop computer: a high-resolution non-glossy screen.
I had a Dell laptop at a previous job with a matte 1920x1200 screen. It was great. I could fit many lines of code on the screen, see whole images in photoshop, and read documents more than five lines at a time. Then I left that job, and netbooks came to market.
Because of my prior Dell, I decided to check their website first. I headed straight to dell.com, and to their business laptop section; it seems to me business class computers are a better experience. There I was presented with nine product categories and zero idea what their practical differences were. Starting at the top, I clicked "Latitude" and was presented with fifty (50) different options for Latitude class laptops, each with their own "Customize It" button. The summary details with each mentioned that they were Latitude class (in case the section of the website, or the name just about each summary wasn't enough), the fact that they had intel processes, and internal memory (always a good thing for a personal computer), whether they came with Windows or Linux installed, which kind of disk reader was included, and any promotional details. But what about the screen? Clicking for details yielded more specs, but no screen. Perhaps in the "Tech Specs"? Click. Ah, there it is! But wait, is that matte or glossy? Time to take a more direct approach.
I clicked the link to chat with a sales rep, and requested direction to their laptops with matte screens. The sales rep helpfully pushed a page to me. It was the "Customize It" page for a Dell XPS model with a high resolution. Getting all the way through the customization process, I was still unsure whether the screen was matte or glossy, but it didn't matter because he then pushed another page to me causing me to lose my progress with the first one. I asked instead to which he replied that they have no products available with matte screens. None. So much for my original question, on to the next vendor.
I'd enjoyed an IBM ThinkPad before my Dell, so I headed over to Lenovo to offer them a shot at my business. Faced with "Essential", "ideapad", and "ThinkPad" I was optimistic that my options would be less overwhelming and I would be able to find what I wanted. I headed straight for the ThinkPad, perceiving the quality I remembered might still reside there; and wow, lay flat, am I the only one who likes that in a screen hinge?
There are seven series of ThinkPad: L Series, SL Series, Edge, T Series, X Series, X Series Tablet, W Series. Along with their descriptive labels came equally informative corporate market-speak: "Ultimate enterprise laptop", "Essential small-business tool", "Small-business style", "Portable Powerhouse"... They go on, but why bother? Really, the most informative detail was the price, though, there were screen sizes, expressed in inches. I chose the series with the largest screen, hopeful that it would have the best odds at a high resolution. Click. There are three W Series sub-series. Click. More options, forget this, let's just find the most expensive one; if that doesn't have the full resolution, none of them will. Click. Click. Ah, 17" display, but what resolution? "Customize & Buy" Click. "HD" or "HD+" Really?
Finally a phone call, turns out they didn't have the resolution, or the matte screen on any model.
I had a similar experience at asus.com, having to do a depth-first search of their product lines to find screen info. They did, however, provide me the courtesy of admitting their screens were "Glare-type", so I'll leave them at that.
In desperation I went to the local Buy-More, walked purposefully to the laptop section, was immediately prompted by a sales associate for what I was seeking. I said "I want a laptop that doesn't double as a mirror." He was dumbfounded. I rephrased, "non-glossy" I said. He looked at another, they agreed that they don't carry any. Not one non-glossy screen from any brand in the whole store.
Thinking I was defeated, and in no hurry to be anywhere else, I checked around the screen resolutions of the mirrors they had on display. Not a single one of them had the resolution printed on the information card. It quickly became obvious why: Even the "notebooks" had "netbook" resolutions, with only two models, only two laptops in the whole store having a vertical resolution exceeding 1000 lines. Though, calling them laptops is a stretch, they were more like luggables in physical size.
I know it's possible to have a non-glossy, high resolution screen smaller than a piece of furniture, I've used two before.
I was shocked and disappointed to discover how hard it is to find.
Because of the so-called "Apple tax" I've never owned a Mac. I thought I'd check them out, since my new employer was paying for this computer anyway. They have three lines: MacBook, MacBookPro, and MacBookAir. The first and last being pretty clearly for people with small budgets or small bags, I headed for MacBookPro. There were six computers; not six lines, not six series, just six computers. I was pleased that, at least if I did have to do a depth first search, it wouldn't take very long. The whole arrangement of the MacBook site led me quickly to the details for a laptop, which showed me above-the-fold that I could choose between a "Glossy" and an "Antiglare" screen.
I don't know if Macs are better than PCs, but I do know that, when it comes to finding the information I want, Apple's website is better than Dell's, Lenovo's and Asus' websites.
I chose a MacBook because it was the only laptop I could find with a non-glossy screen, and it was featured by the only website that made it easy to find what I was looking for.