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I've finally got my refund from Dell for the Inspiron 6400 laptop which never arrived - See full story on Dell laptop that went missing (Inspiron 6400).
I've now purchased a HP Paviliion dv6285eu. Part of the Pavilion 64000 series the laptop is based on an AMD 64 x2 processor, with Nvidia 7200 graphics, and comes installed with Windows Vista Home Premium, although it's installed with the 32 bit version, not the 64 bit to complement the installed processor.
The laptop includes a remote control which is quite neat although I'm sure it's something I could manage without, although it may make it easier to use the laptop as a DVD player. This also means that it has an infra-red port. It also had bluetooth as well as the usual wireless, 3 x usb2 ports and a firewire port. Conveniently one of the usb ports is on the opposite side to the others, which means that the most convenient can be chosen.
This is my first proper look at Windows Vista, it certainly appears more secure, although as you have to click OK for every single application, it is very frustrating. Perhaps if they made the operating system more secure in the first place you wouldn't have to individually approve every action the computer performs. I'm not sure about more stable though as I've only been using it a few hours and already had a full lock-up. No blue screen of death this time, it just crashed with a completely black screen. It was trying to play a DVD at the time, but crashed using both the Media Centre player, and the HP DVD Quick Player. The main differences appear to be some additional eye candy, in the form of a clock and some other "gadgets", as well as the special effects.
It also complains when installing some Windows applications. It didn't like Adobe Premiere Elements installing drivers, and stopped it from running the DirectX installer. This may be a good thing, but I'm not sure whether it may have broken the applications in the process.
I'm now looking at installing Linux onto the laptop. I first tried the live CD version of Ubuntu, which didn't work. I've had similar problems with my desktop PC and I think it's due to the NVidia card. Ubuntu don't include the proprietary drivers, so you have to install those separately. I tried the Mandriva One Live CD (KDE version), which booted up fine, but I'm going to try installing Ubuntu with the alternate CD.
I'll post more about using Linux on the HP laptop as I get an opportunity to play with it a bit more.