Laptop Feature Sets Have A Disappointing Progression

I didn't know how lucky I was when I bought my Samsung NP-500-P4C.

When I bought my laptop in Abu Dhabi four years ago, I was just honestly looking for something white and fairly powerful. I had no other considerations.

Just recently, when time came for me to buy a new laptop, I realized how feature-packed my old Samsung is.

To be fair, in terms of horsepower, newer models will always have an edge over older ones; that's just a given. Keep in mind that I am talking about same-category models. Unfortuantely, the same cannot be said for secondary features.

Sifting through available current- and last-gen laptop models in the same price-point, my old 4-year old laptop is proving to be a beast. Honestly, the only caveat my old Samsung is the HD screen, as I prefer HD. But realizing that this is a 2013 model, that is easily forgiveable.

When I went through the spec sheets of laptops in the same price bracket, I was grossly disappointed that there are no models with a backlit keyboard. I strongly doubt this is a design or cost issue though, as a mid-range laptop managed to include this feature (and then some) years ago. I think manufacturers are just forcing buyers to buy in to the next higher model if they want a backlit keyboard. Jerks.

Another rare feature in the price range is the power switch for the screen. I love that thing. It's a very convenient feature when I'm leaving my laptop on all night for an overnight download or system scan. The button is also conveniently paced on the lower right hand corner away from the laptop screen like an old school TV. Very smart and intuitive. Newer models will have to use FN + a function key to achieve this functionality. Talk about moving backwards.

A puzzling addition to current-generation laptops is the optical drive. Optical disks are not used by the masses anymore, save for a few special cases. Why manufacturers still inlcude optical drives for a mid-range laptop models is baffling. Either scrap it off to cut costs and improve the build or just add an SSD. When people realize how convenient having an SSD boot drive is as opposed to having an optical drive they almost never use, I'm sure they'd be pleasantly surprised.

Perhaps the most significant secondary feature of my old Samsung is the audio. Though it is a mid-range model, it has built-in name-brand stereo speakers. Its JBL stereo speakers are phenomenal. I almost can't believe that they included that in there considering the price.

On top of the mentioned features above, my mid-range laptop has two USB 3.0 ports, USB charging when the laptop is turned off and slightly above-average webcam. Sure it had its shortcomings with the tiny trackpad and bad trackpad buttons but all things considered, I think that Samsung lineup was the best ever. I'm a little confused why Samsung laptops are not as popular as other brands. Perhaps they're focusing more on their mobile business whinch understandably is a lot more lucrative.