I asked people on the internet for help choosing a linux laptop. People had opinions.

Thinking seriously of trying a Linux laptop for software development. I love the trackpad of my mbp but not much else. Where should I start looking?
My post asking for help.

The laptops people suggested;

And of course people brought up their favorite operating systems (not counting the ones that are made for their hardware);

This is an intimidating list. I’ve had a MacBook Pro (or PowerBook) for the past 17 years, it was easy to choose what to buy, get the one with the RAM I needed. Now.. I have many form factors, many cpu architectures, different hardware layouts, different ports, different batteries, different weights, crazy bezel sizes, etc. Intimidating.

So how to approach this problem? Lets start by setting a few requirements.

  • 13 inch screen (or somewhere close) with a reasonable bezel, 1920x1200 would be nice.
  • 32 gigs of ram (I like running a local redis)
  • 500 gb of hd
  • The MBP was 3 pounds, lets try to keep around that.
  • The MBP had a 4254 mAh battery, I don’t actually care how many mAh but I do care about runtime.
  • USB C - I’ve got a few peripherals that use that, it’s also the future even if it’s annoying.
  • Better keyboard than the MBP (not hard)
  • Decent trackpad (very hard)

So how does this change the available computers?

It gets rid of the following;

  • Anything from TUXEDO Computers Its not in english I’m not sure how to navigate it. You can’t seem to sort or filter by specs.
  • Anything from the Ministry of Freedom they have two laptops with a max of 8gb of ram
  • Chromebook most of crazy bezels, low specs and while they can run linux you’re at th whims of a company who doesn’t keep products around very long and profits from violating your security and privacy.
  • Pinebook Pro Super neat arm64 laptop with 4gb of ram and an UART available via the audio port?!
  • Star LabTop Mk III This laptop hits every mark, it’s lighter than the MBP, has a good battery, nice bezel, neat looking trackpad, but only 8gb of ram.
  • System76 Galago Pro Shitty bezel, 13 or 14inch screen, 32gb of memory, 500gb ssd, 2tb hd, shitty trackpad $1,676
  • ThinkPad P1 15 inches
  • XPS 15 Laptop is 15 inches

This leaves me with;

  • The Purism librem-13 Decent bezel, 32gb ram, radio and video kill switches!, multitouch trackpad!, 500GB SSD, 3 Lbs, privacy guaranteed in hardware drivers $1,548
  • The KDE Slimbook II has the weight, the screen, 16gb of ram, 500gb ssd and 2TB spinning disk. 1246,00 €
  • ThinkPad T490s 16gb of ram, 512gb SSD, Integrated Mobile Broadband!? $1,371.49
  • ThinkPad X390 16gb, 512gb ssd, fingerprint reader, ok bezel $1,178.19
  • New XPS 13 Laptop 16BG of ram (32 only available in 15in model) 500gb ssd $1,549.99

The trackpad and ram on the Purism librem-13 is the best. Half the price of the MBP! Now how do you demo these things before you buy them?

-Francis