The fickleness of perception

Coming through Duty Free in Dublin airport last week, I had time to kill. So I went into Dixons. Not my usual port of call but as my laptop has been making noises about retiring (and, some would say, after six years of trusty service, not before time) I was on the lookout for a replacement.

Needless to say, I hadn’t done my homework. Zero research. Zip. All I knew is that I wanted something light. Something fast. And something from HP.

I don’t place much store in brand loyalty. Brand disloyalty yes. I will never own an Apple product. Nothing at all to do with the billions they owe Ireland in back taxes; I have it fixed in my head that a CSR audit of Apple’s supply chain would be found wanting. Remember the Foxconn suicide threat? Now, the same might be said for HP, but I’ve not read anything about them that leaves me cold so, for the meantime, they’re okay.

IBMMy first laptop was an IBM Thinkpad. I bought it because the computer guy in the office recommended it. This was back in 2003/2004. But it weighed a ton. In 2007, I bought my first HP. A tiny thing that I could have gotten for £50 cheaper had I had the stomach to buy it in pink. I didn’t do my homework then either, but I did get a colleague who was quite techy to suss things out and come with me when I went to buy. I was happy with it for ages, until I wore out my second keyboard and the battery life went to nothing. And my eyesight deteriorated and I fancied a bigger screen.

HPpavSo I bought another HP, a Pavilion. This time I had a very techy mate  do the research and while he desperately wanted me to buy a MacBook, HP was the best PC he could find to fit my budget. And we were happy together for years. We went though three batteries and numerous replacement keys and two keyboards.

And then the hot flushes came when the laptop got way too hot and its thought-process slowed to match my usual morning rate. I recognised the signs. My laptop was on the verge of screaming: I’ve had enough!

HPenvySo, with this in the back of my mind, and not wanting to be caught short, I ambled into Dixons where I spotted another HP – an HP Envy. A lovely, light little thing with a decent screen, plenty of USP ports, a backlit keyboard, and a long battery life. What more could a body want? I even liked the colour.

It came with McAfee (which I dislike) and a lifelong subscription to MS Office (which I don’t need), and a year’s free cloud storage (which I can always use). Apart from one day of tearing my hair out when I discovered that my bookmarks hadn’t transferred and my saved passwords were no longer saved, all has been well. It’s fast, cool under fire, and a delight to touch.

I was happy.

And then, today, when I forgot my power cord and wondered how long my battery would really last, I thought I’d google best practices for protecting battery life. I came across a review of slimline notebooks that included mine. And while it came out okay, a cheaper ASUS Model ranked way above it on points for stuff I don’t even pretend to understand.

I’m now fighting the urge to judge. Until I read how great it wasn’t, I thought it was the best thing ever. It still does everything that impressed me. It still looks great and barely makes a dent in my bag when I carry it around. It’s still fast and cool and quick to fire up. But because some bloody expert somewhere said something to the contrary that I don’t understand, I can feel the stirrings of doubt, recrimination, self-beratement. Can the wudda, shudda, cudda be far off?

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