robert xu


purchasing a new laptop is difficult.

there are so many factors that come into it – chief amongst them usually the question of “do I need this?” – but afterwards, it’s easy to get lost in a world of specs and displays and whatnot…

but one thing i seem to have a hard stop on is keyboard layout.

not qwerty or azerty or anything like that, but more like: can I use fn-arrow keys to go home/end/page up/page down?

it seems like such a minor issue but it actually really affects the way I type on a keyboard. especially in code and when I’m typing documents, I actually find it really handy to be able to arrow key around the document both in small increments, but also around the whole page.

i’ve found, however, that a lot of laptops don’t follow the fn-arrow keys philosophy. some of them change the arrow keys to volume or prev/next; some of them change it to volume/brightness; and some of them just leave the keys bare.

to make matters worse, the home/end keys, if they’re not on the arrow keys, are either on the top of the keyboard in some randomly inaccessible place, or off to the side, where they still require me to break my line of thought to find where those keys are.

at least macbooks are pretty consistent – cmd-arrow keys for mac applications, fn-arrow keys for console applications. i don’t mind trying either because at least it’s second nature and doesn’t break my line of thought so much – my hand isn’t moving from the arrow keys and typically my pinky is on fn and my thumb on cmd at that point.

but seriously, shopping for laptops is just a pain.