I bought an inexpensive MSI laptop a few months ago, and I've been impressed with it and Windows 7. It does just about everything I need it to. I forgot my power supply for my MacBook Pro on a recent trip and was forced to use the MSI laptop to do everything.
There's less and less difference now between using a Mac and a PC. Firefox browsers work the same on both platforms. I use (and like very much) the Thunderbird email program for the Mac; the PC version is much the same.
The great thing about this new Windows 7 laptop is that it comes with Windows Media Player software installed as part of the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. I can use the laptop as a DVR, to schedule and record my favorite television programs. This is a remarkably good and easy-to-use software package.
The MSI laptop comes with an HDMI output. I simply attached an HDMI cable from the laptop to my HDTV, and voila! I had a great picture on the television that mirrored what I saw on the laptop screen. I initially had sound that came over the HDMI cable and came out through the TV speakers, but I lost that once I plugged headphones into the laptop.
This is where the old Windows took over, where you had to spend hours fiddling with the machine to finally get things working again. Luckily for me, there was a web post that explained the solution to this problem. I am pretty dumbfounded that the solution was so hard to find and that Windows makes this problem so hard to solve. I guess that Macs are still better than PC's!
Here's the solution:
Go to the "manage audio devices window" in the Control Panel (or right-click on the "sound" icon in system tray). On an empty or blank part of the window, right-click and check the box which comes up saying show disabled devices. On my laptop, an option to enable my Panasonic TV appeared, and I had to enable it to allow sound to go to it again.
This worked on Windows 7. For more information on how to do this in Vista, which is very similar:
I hope that this helps some folks.