So, my laptop is 5-and-a-bit years old now and I've been starting to look for something new.
This is a work machine (web development, programming, etc.), and just about the most important aspect for me is the keyboard, specifically it's layout and quality. But, in my quest for a new laptop, I have not found single new machine that has the standard keyboard layout the way it should be.
The way a laptop keyboard should be (HP nc8430).
Notice the INS/DEL/HOME/END/PGUP/PGDN cluster arrangement on the top right and the FN key between the left CTRL and WinKey, also where it should be.
Even better than the nc8430's keyboard: the IBM classic laptop layout at it's peak (except the swapped CTRL/FN buttons, but those could be reversed in the BIOS). A true he-man's keyboard, one for getting actual work done.
I can't find a single new laptop that has a proper keyboard layout like the ones above. Dell used to have a good layout on everything except for their ultra-compact laptops, HP used to have it on most or all of their professional business line laptops ... but no more. ThinkPads used to the last refuge of the professional PC user, but then Lenovo pissed all over that legacy and completely ruined the keyboard.
How Lenovo disgraced the ThinkPad legacy: island keys, no F key grouping, swapped CTRL and FN and, worst of all, INS/DEL/HOME/END/PGUP/PGDN randomly sneezed into place.
No, this is not just whining about the good'ol days. Us typists and programmers use a keyboard all day, every day; we look our keyboards fewer times in a day than can be counted on one hand. That key cluster I mentioning is extremely important for working with text efficiently. The reason I keep banging on about it is because we use it constantly, automatically and without looking (how you Mac users manage to stay sane or actually accomplish anything with virtually no useful key jumping short cuts is beyond me).
I can accept change when it's genuinely useful, carefully considered and dictated by function, but these BS keyboard layouts are just change for the sake of change (or "style" ... whatever that is). I switch between using an external (standard) keyboard and my laptop keyboard regularly and I need the layout to be as closely-structured possible. Do you have any idea how much additional time it will cause me to spend on a project if I've having to constantly hunt for keys? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Then it just gets plain stupid: F keys where the F function is actually the secondary function, leaving the primary function mapped to some seldom-used media control. And don't even get me started on keyboards that are so cheap and flimsy, I could swear they have a base made of tracing paper.
Listen up, laptop designers: WE DON'T WANT YOUR FULL-RETARD KEYBOARDS.
Leave that to Apple, the rest of us need to actual work done.