1620754104 major milestones in the past decade of laptop design
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Major Milestones in the Past Decade of Laptop Design

The last decade has been like a laptop. Some computing products have improved in many ways, to the point where modern laptops are a different breed of device altogether than laptops of a decade ago.

We can list hundreds of major and minor corrections, but it would be impractical and some people would read all the way. Therefore, we have decided to list five changes that have made today’s laptops an incredible device.

Super thin bezel

Dell xps 13 9310 display
Mark Coppock /

Bezels, which were usually black straps around a display, were once a large-scale affair. Sometimes as an inch thick, they were unsightly and greatly added to the overall dimensions of a laptop. A larger chassis is needed to fit a 15.6-inch display with huge bezels, contributing to the notion that the 15-inch laptops were beastly cases that were hardly meant for portable use.

The 2015 XPS 13. All that changed with the introduction of Dell, the laptops offered bezels that were slashed compared to the rest of the field, and they gave Dell a 13-inch laptop the same size as the 11-inch machines. Allowed to fit in the chassis. day.

As usual, the industry adopted Advance, and you can choose from a plethora of laptops with bezels equal to or less than the XPS 13. It is no longer simply a 13-inch display fitting into an 11-inch chassis; It displays a 17-inch fitting in a 15-inch chassis – and everything in between. The laptop is small across the board thanks to this simple change, and is great for laptop design.

Other techniques have also been forced to move forward. For example, webcams and infrared cameras – required by Windows 10 Hello Facial Recognition – have shrunk to fit in the space borne by small bezels. Webcams still have a way to go because it is not normal to find 1080p webcams that fit. But we are sure that it is only a matter of time.

Metal is a beat of plastic

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You can find laptops made of plastic today – they are called budget laptops, and they usually cost in the neighborhood of $ 500 or less. There was a time, however, when most computers were manufactured entirely or mostly from plastic, their costs did not matter.

Then things changed. We’re not sure if the Apple MacBook Pro was the first all-metal computer in 2009, and it wasn’t technically the last decade, but it was the laptop that brought the metal machine into the mainstream. Apple’s 2010 Unibody MacBook Air was the next step in the all-metal laptop, and other manufacturers have since followed suit.

Today, almost all but the above budget laptops are at least partially metal fashion. Some are constructed from pieces of stamped metal, typically aluminum, which are fitted together in a durable chassis. The best premium devices are retrofitted with a block of CNC metal, again typically aluminum, and they are the hardest you will find. This is not to say that every well-made laptop is completely metal – Lenovo and Dell, for example, use carbon fiber in their premium ThinkPad and XPS lines where it makes sense, and those devices. They are as solid as they come.

There is no doubt that keeping a modern metal laptop with an old plastic machine shows how far the design of the laptop has come. The lack of flexing and creaking chassis gives today’s machines a feeling of quality that barely existed 10 years ago.

Displays that flip all the way around

Hp specter x360 14 media mode
Mark Coppock /

Lenovo’s 2012 Yoga introduced the world to a new phenomenon: a laptop display that did not stop at an upright angle, but instead flipped 360 degrees to lay flat on the back of the chassis. It introduced a new type of 2-in-1 laptop, a 360-degree convertible, and gave new clamshell factor new flexibility.

Others are 2-in-1, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet with its detachable keyboard – and many of its clones – but none of the functions as well as the traditional laptop are 360-degree convertible. Typically, the latter can be changed to four different configurations, loosely known as CP, tentacles (as it sounds, with both front edges supporting the display and keyboard parts folded), media ( The keyboard is inverted for lying flat and display) video), and tablet mode. 360-degree convertibles are usually a little heavier as tablets, but they are still functional – better than 2-in-1 laps than detachable tablets.

It is a simple solution in sight, but it was fantastic. Today, a whole industry is built around the form factor, and some examples – such as HP’s Specter x360 14 – compete strongly with the best laptop you can buy.

Covered touchpad

Macbook air m1
Mark Coppock /

The touchpad has been the primary means of controlling the cursor since the first laptop rolled off the assembly line. They are important components, and it was not so long ago that they were taking up very little space on the keyboard deck. Apple added massive touchpads to its laptops starting with the 2016 MacBook Pro.

Soon after, other laptop manufacturers started following suit and increasing the size of their touchpad. Today, touchpads are almost universally large offering at least a modicum of comfort, and some machines – Dell’s latest XPS 15 and XPS 17, for example, as well as the Specter x360 14 – have larger touchpads than Huh. The typical Windows 10 machine.

Microsoft also improved the performance of the touchpad with its Precision Touchpad protocol, and so today’s touchpads are not only larger, but they are more functional. Apple’s haptic touchpads remain the industry leader, but the rest of the premium markets are not far behind.

Tall screen

Hp specter x360 14 display
Mark Coppock /

Our last laptop revamp is the return to the tall display. The laptop once used an approximately 4: 3 aspect ratio, which provides nearly as much vertical space as horizontal. It was great for working with documents, web pages, and other productivity-oriented content, but it was not optimized for video viewing. As soon as the TV switched to the wider 16: 9 formats to accommodate 1080p (and eventually 4K) content, the laptop did the same.

The result is an aspect ratio that is actually great for media consumption, but it is too short to scroll through long documents. Keeping this in mind, more and more laptops are adopting longer aspect ratios, especially 16:10 and 3: 2. Microsoft adopted a 3: 2 aspect ratio with its Surface Pro 3 tablet, but it was only last year that laptops and 360-degree convertibles came along for the ride.

This is a welcome change, for devices that work for media consumption for higher productivity products, while better productivity is the machine. We expect a 16: 9 aspect ratio for everyone but as more content has disappeared for today’s taller display.

Laptops have come a long way

As mentioned earlier, we can list hundreds of changes that have greatly improved the laptop. But looking at just these five, it is clear that manufacturers have improved the design at heart. Modern laptops are so much better than their predecessors that it is hard to believe that we once struggled with such inferior devices.

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