Star Wars Special Edition Notebook

Against my original plan to post every Saturday about my OpenGL progress, I’m going to write about my new laptop. Let’s face it, getting a new toy – the special edition Star Wars laptop from HP – and setting it up is more exciting at the moment. Apart from that, finally having my own laptop again will make it a whole lot easier and more convenient for me to write my OpenGL programs. I don’t like doing private stuff on my work laptop and since I have Windows 10 on my PC downstairs, I’m frequently having problems working on it remotely.

Star Wars Special Edition Notebook

I originally got a different laptop for Christmas, but as lucky as I am, that one had a buggered up trackpad. After having troubles with the store we bought it from, I told them to keep the damaged notebook and to give us the money back. Then, a couple days ago, I saw this laptop and fell in love with it. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the specs that got me passionate. Let’s face it, the special edition version (particularly the lower end one here in Canada) is not the best and you can find better laptops for the same price. But, you won’t find a similar cool looking laptop 😉 . Me wanting this laptop surprised the heck out of my husband. I’m always just concerned about the quality and specifications and don’t normally ever care about the looks. And on top of that, I’m always claiming to be more of a Treki than a Star Wars fan. Whatever.

So what are the pros and the cons for this laptop? As mentioned, you don’t get the best processor, nor the best hard-drive, nor a dedicated graphics card, nor the most RAM with it (again, I’m talking about the lower end version we can get here in Canada). Nevertheless, I’m not a gamer (don’t play enough to call myself one), so I don’t particularly care about the graphics card as long as the included graphics chipset supports OpenGL 4.4. The laptop doesn’t have a touch screen which generally isn’t really an issue (how many people truly use the touchscreen on a laptop?). The only times when a touchscreen comes handy is when I develop applications I want to run on a tablet/phone as well. Testing touchscreen friendliness directly on your development station is definitely a plus. But it is as it is.

I love the general look of the laptop. The red keys are awesome (especially when lit). I just wish they offered a version that had the Aurebesh characters on the keys. OK, I’m realistic, HP wouldn’t sell a whole lot of those laptops, but Star Wars geeks would go even crazier for such a version. Nevertheless, why didn’t HP at least print the Aurebesh character in small letters next to it? I personally think that’s a big miss.

I was positively surprised about the amount of crapware installed (but I guess, having Lenovo as my work laptop which is known to be the worst when it comes to preinstalled crapware, I can’t quite judge). It comes with a few nice ‘Star Wars specific’ features such as wallpapers, sounds, recycling bin icon, etc. Since it’s easy enough to get rid of all the other stuff HP includes, I don’t mind. Of course, I do prefer signature editions (saves time and therefore money), but since I had such a bad experience with the Windows Store, I now accept having to deal with cleaning up after buying.

I personally like the keyboard layout, I just found it annoying that it doesn’t contain a right control key. I’m using that one a lot in emacs and can’t imagine not using it anymore. Fortunately, SharpKeys came to the rescue and I now use the key next to the right Alt key as Ctrl (where it should be anyhow). Not sure what HP was thinking by replacing the Control key with in my opinion useless key. But at the same time, if you don’t use Emacs, you might hardly use the right Control key anyhow and therefore not mind.

Overall, I just really like the notebook for its looks (very shallow, I admit). In general, if you want a cool looking laptop like for example Alienware, you have to spend quite some bucks. HP’s Star Wars edition is comparatively inexpensive but of course also doesn’t even get close to the specs of e.g. Alienware laptops. Since I haven’t gotten around doing too too much with my new toy, I can’t really write about its performance.

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