I knew it! I knew that as soon as I finished my last post on some of the things I like (and dislike) about Windows 7, that I would forget something. And I’m sure this won’t be the last of the follow-up posts.
But as I popped open my laptop’s lid, and Windows 7 sprung to life, I realized I had forgotten to mention my experiences with how it runs on a portable. The RC is the first time I’ve run it on a laptop, and I was curious to see how it would work, since there had been a lot of discussion about changes in the OS geared towards laptops.
Vista was no slouch when it came to laptops. Well, decently-powered laptops anyway. It would go to sleep relatively quickly, and it would come back from sleep in a decent amount of time as well. This is already markedly better than XP, where putting the laptop to sleep was like spinning a roulette wheel: would it come back afterwards? Your bet is as good as mine.
Windows 7 makes the sleep process even faster, though, without losing any of the stability. It always amazes me when I open the laptop lid, and in an instant the Windows 7 login screen is there waiting. Having said that, though, I was disappointed to find one minor Vista bug still hanging around: even though the login screen appears, you can’t actually type your password for a few seconds afterward. Even though the cursor is blinking in the password field as if it can accept input, it just ignores you. I’ve always felt that could have better feedback to the user.
Another thing that I’ve heard mentioned is that Windows 7 improves the most-sacred of laptop specs: battery life. I was especially interested in this, since my laptop got about 3 hours in power saver mode under Vista — good, but not great. In my very unscientific day-to-day use, Windows 7 might be getting me half an hour extra. Maybe. It’s a hard thing to measure, but that seems to be my experience so far. Not bad, but nothing really to get worked up over.
I tend not to put my laptop into hibernate mode, so I don’t have any comments on that.
Another minor thing that I was surprised about: the Dell laptop I use has built in media buttons on the front, such as volume control and media playback. Without having to install any drivers, or configure anything, these buttons worked right after setup. It was a nice surprise, as I had almost resigned myself to not being able to use these buttons until Dell released updated drivers. And, of course, all Fn controls, such as changing screen brightness, work without issue. Nice!
So overall, it does seem like Windows 7 is more laptop-friendly, keeping with the theme that Windows 7 builds atop of what already made Vista great.