- Weighs almost nothing
- Incredible battery life
- Fantastic keyboard for touch typing
- Decent amount of power
- Reliable and needs no/little maintenance
- Can take a bit of a battering
- Good screen for reading
- Good support if something goes wrong.
Over the last seven years, I've gone through a number of laptops in the quest for this holy grail. I started off with an Eee PC (one of the first netbooks). It was certainly lightweight - but failed on almost every other count. Then the Acer netbooks came out. Their big failure was reliability. The one I had would regularly corrupt its bios on startup rendering it unusable for the remainder of the day.
I then moved onto secondhand IBM Thinkpads - and they managed to tick off most of the wish list. At least, until the LCD starting bleeding on a particularly cold day. It was at that point my wife suggested I should stop buying cut-price laptops and buy something decent.
In the last five years, I've stuck with Macs. They aren't perfect, but they are less hassle all round and they tick most of the boxes.
I started with a Macbook Air, then moved onto the 13 inch Retina Pro for a better screen- and now I've just swapped that out for a 2015 Macbook.
The Macbook takes most of what I like about the Pro, and turns it into a much lighter and quieter beast.
Weight wise, this is barely heavier than the first generation iPad.
Noise wise, it is fanless and has an SSD for a hard drive so is completely silent. Laptop nirvana. The only problem is that you trade power and the occasional beach ball of death for the quietness. Usually it does sort itself out in the end - but this is not a laptop you are going to push to the same limits as a Retina Pro. That said the limits are pretty good. I regularly have up to 30 tabs open as well as a full Office suite.
The battery life remains impressive. I can often get 6-9 hours out of mine depending on what I'm doing on it.
The keyboard is a love it or hate it affair. Keystrokes are shorter than previous Mac keyboards, but the feedback resembles that faint rumble of a 70s calculator. Personally, as a touch typist I prefer it. The older keyboards feel mushy in comparison now.
I'm sure this is the personal choice, but I find the Mac backup and updating experience nicer and easier than that of Windows. It simply works unobtrusively - and bar the odd update I never shut the computer down anymore.
In spite of its extreme thinness and lightweight this computer feels robust. It doesn't flex or wobble in normal use. It's unlikely to bend or crack while carrying it and having no moving parts is practically shock proof.
Finally, the screen is as good as the Macbook Retina Pro for reading.