My current notebook — an HP/Compaq 2510p — now got pretty old, i.e. over 5 years. Although I was very happy with it I still decided to order a new one. The HP 2570p seems to be a comparable product.
The First Impression
Duh! It seems to be more heavy and bigger. I prefer slim notebooks because I need it for work1 and it goes everywhere with me. And the keyboard has this stupid modern square-buttons which have been introduced by stupid Apple. And — oh no — there are no page-up/down keys! It is silver colored and although I would have preferred a dark color, for me functionality and usability counts, and not the design.
A had a closer look. The 2570p is about 3 millimeters thicker, 24 millimeters wider and the new keyboard is also 5 millimeters wider. HP could have made the notebook smaller because there is a border of more than 1 centimeters around the keyboard as well as around the display. The 2510p did not have such a thick border. The new display has 12.5″ instead of 12.1″ but in total the area is pretty the same because it is 10 millimeters wider but 6 millimeters smaller in the height instead. The new 2570p has about 200 grams more in weight than the old one.
The hardware configuration is Intel i5 3210, 2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, 120GB SDD.
As usual I installed Debian Wheezy using the netinst ISO booted from a USB stick. The installation works fine except that it is missing the latest Wifi firmware iwlwifi-6000g2a-6.ucode-184.108.40.206 which isn’t included in Debian’s firmware package. You can download it at wireless.kernel.org. Copy it to the USB stick, then go to the installation console (ALT-F2). Create the directory /lib/firmware and copy the file there. Also the installation somehow toggles the software RFKILL. I did not recognize this at first because of the not very intuitive colors for the hardware RFKILL (soft) button: orange = Wifi disabled, white = Wifi enabled.
As usual I did a plain console-only (without X11) installation and added KDE afterwards. Yes, I do not like Gnome. Everything works fine. The package kde-config-touchpad was not installed by default which should be on a notebook. And one dependency seems to incorrect. Kmail fails to ask for the gnupg passphrase and the reason was that pinentry-gtk2 was installed instead of pinentry-qt4.
Further Advantages and Disadvantages
Everything is installed and seems to work fine. Let’s use it. So what are my use cases? I do a lot different tasks but I think there are three most important things:
- Browsing/using the web with a browser (Firefox with Vimperator)
- Writing code (shell, vi, gcc)
- Reading/writing emails (kmail)
Obviously, all three tasks require much keyboard interaction (which BTW empowers me with a much higher work speed then my mouse-using colleagues 😉
I was shocked when I immediately recognized that the keyboard lacks the page-up/page-down keys. They are combined to the cursor up/down movement keys together with the FN key which is located at the left lower edge of the keyboard (i.e. FN+up equals page up). In vi this is no problem because SHIFT+up was always equal to page up but everywhere else you need the FN key (e.g. in Firefox) and under some circumstances you even have to press it together with SHIFT, e.g. in the shell for scrolling back. You always need both hands because the cursor keys are on the right side and the FN key is left.
Better laid out than on the old keyboard is the ESC key. It is very easy to find.
What I could not find out yet is how to disable the internal beep. It is very loud and annoying. Unfortunately, removing the kernel module pcspkr does not solve the problem.
The jack for a headset (an external microphone and speakers) is now one combined audio jack. This is state of the art on most modern notebooks but it requires me to buy an adapter from two separate plugs to the combined one.
The worst painful issue arose when I realized that the VGA port does not recognize external displays if they connected through a KVM switch. Read this article about VGA troubles with KVM switches for further details and a workaround.
- The display should not be below 12″. That’s too small for real work. ↵