Consider yourself ‘trolled.’ All those years of terrible, ugly, poorly performing Windows laptops? They were avoidable. But we had to endure all that pain because Windows OEMs were simply not trying very hard, it now appears.

Instead of building computers that are beautiful and high performing, we have been subjected to mutated bits of cheap plastic from HP and Dell. This ceded the entire market of ‘not crap hardware’ to Apple, and marginal players on the edge of the industry. If this line of complaint sounds familiar, it should, we’ve been here a few times. We’re going to use our past words to line up our current point, if you will allow it. From a prior screed entitled ‘Don’t Build Ugly:’

There are, of course, certain bright spots in current PC design. Everyone fawns over the Samsung Series 9, as they should, but it is no fun at all to wade through the never-ending tripe from the big PC manufacturers that are little more than design abdication. The design deficit is hardly only skin deep. To win the price game, OEMs have long cut hard on the quality of their products, and the resulting [machines] are foul from the outside in.

Cheap keyboards, unworkably bad touchpads, pathetic battery life, unviewable screens, and skimpy components run rampant, all of which is attempted to be compensated for by allowing users to ‘snap on’ a different colored backing to their screen. Personal! It’s a wash. I can’t imagine all the poor saps stuck with computers that appear to have been built by people who hate them.

Well, you should be mad. Really, because yesterday at its CES keynote Microsoft showed of a bevy of beautiful laptops. The ‘Ultrabook’ idea is mostly a marketing canard, but it has led to something that we have not had for so long that it feels almost mythical: high quality and well priced Windows-based laptops.

Here’s the real kicker: they are coming from the same people who have sold us utter crud for so long. Dang. They just, I don’t know, tried harder all of a sudden. It’s as if the engeineering teams at the various PC OEMs woke up one morning, and actually drank coffee for a change. “You know Ted, instead of shipping another round of crap, why don’t we make something that people will actually want to use?” I’m annoyed by this. I’m frustrated that we’ve been underserved and charged full price for so long. At least the drought is mostly over. As Microsoft crows here, the current crop of these ‘Ultrabooks’ are sexy and capable and, for the most part, competitively priced.

And let’s have one thing straight: the term ‘Ultrabooks’ really means ‘computer that is as good as it should be.’