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Ask HN: What’s your laptop?
44 points by 0xferruccio 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments
I’ve never owned a device that is not a Mac. Currently I have a Macbook Air that is getting slower. I was considering buying something else to run Ubuntu or a Surface, mainly to do some Clojure/JS development.

Any suggestions?

2018 MBP 15"

Now, I like macOS but this generation of hardware is shit. I had a 2016 model and the keyboard failed twice. Replaced it and got tired of constant problems with the keyboard.

Got a Dell XPS 13", decided I was gonna ditch macOS due to hardware issues and switch to Linux. After fiddling forever with the trackpad and the fact that sometimes closing the lid did not sleep the machine. It became clear that I was too old for that stuff. Tried Windows with WSL as I need a Unix environment. It works but the IO is too slow. It's just a toy at this point to show people linux binaries working on windows.

Went ahead and bought a 2018 MBP. The 2018 keyboard were supposed to be fixed.

Guess what, my up arrow key just started failing. I'm thinking about moving to a farm.

In my experience, almost all of your Linux woes could be fixed by using older, less “ultrabook”-like hardware. Once you move away from Electron applications and IDEs (if you have the option to, of course), brand-new hardware doesn’t feel that different from a much older laptop with a fresh SSD.

My rule of thumb for laptops when you have an OS in mind: choose what the developers use. I run OpenBSD, so since I know that the OpenBSD developers use old ThinkPads, I get the best experience on an oldish ThinkPad. Suspend/resume and the trackpad (even gestures) work out of the box, without configuration, every time.

I also have a 2018 MBP.

There's so many possible issues that I have to baby the machine & live in constant fear:

* keyboard keys getting stuck - [0]

* USB-C ports wearing out [1]

* stage light issue [2]

[0] - https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-service-program-for-m...

[1] - https://www.reddit.com/r/macbookpro/comments/9l5gno/usbc_por...

[2] - https://9to5mac.com/2019/01/22/macbook-pro-stage-light/

For a supposed Pro machine that costs $$$$, this machine was not designed well.

++ same experience here, got a nice X1 Carbon with Ubuntu, just too old for simple things like hanging touchpad and 5k external screen not working

Got 2018 fully loaded MBP, keyboard is ok ( probably because I mostly use external one) but speakers stopped working after 0.5year :/ another trip to apple store.

You basically need 2x MBP - one is constantly being repaired...

Not cheap, but the Thinkpad X1 Carbons are machines of the same quality as Macbooks. They are comparable to the Air in weight (but a little larger, I think) and are designed with reasonable trade-offs.

They (of course) (only) come in stylish matte black, and have the little red trackpoint, which I personally consider the best input device by far (not counting the keyboard obviously)...

If you decide for a professional Thinkpad (which the X1 is), strongly consider upgrading the warranty.

On-site support with coverage for accidental damages is so nice when you need it....

My 4th gen (the current is 6th gen) machine (which is technically a yoga gen1 and not a 4th gen Carbon, but the same base machine) has been running Linux since it's second power-on :)

I wish I could agree, but my X1C6 has many issues on Debian.

* Hibernate did not work out-of-the-box

* Lack of fractional scaling makes everything too small or ludicrously big (100% or 200%)

* X server crashes often on suspend

* Audio is too quiet on maximum volume

* Occasionally CPU performance tanks, and I have to reboot

* Track-pad is unresponsive compared to a MacBook (if you have not used a MacBook often before you may not notice this, and it won't be an issue)

* Battery life is a pretty middling 5 hours.

I think I can suggest the following to address some of these issues

- Battery: A package called TLP should drastically improve battery life[1][2]. Thinkpad t480s with battery life ranging from 6-8 for browsing to 13+ with min-brightness and just playing music. Before TLP I think it was close to 5 max.

- I'm assuming since X is crashing you're not using Wayland. I've noticed fractional scaling (which is a thing in Wayland) causes blurry text. This isn't an issue in X, but I've noticed if I mess around with custom xrandr config to customize stuff, I have issues -- i.e. total system lockup, reboot required -- with plugging in/out external monitors on to the fly. Anyway, a custom xrandr setup should make things a bit easier on your eyes.[3]

- For CPU performance maybe this anti-throttling script should help. I'm able to run at max CPU clock frequency at 85-90+ deg temps without throttling when doing CPU intense stuff[4]

I'm running Arch instead of Debian, so maybe having newer kernels or packages help in some aspects, such as hibernating, track-pad, and X. Idk. Running newest versions isn't always great either, there are often regressions and bugs you notice after upgrading.

[1]: https://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-linux-advanced-power-ma...

[2]: This is arch wiki, but it should still have applicable information for other distro such as debian and it's a bit more readable IMO, https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/TLP

[3]: FYI, this is somewhat specific for a 1440p display, not 4k or 1080p, but you should be able to modify it for 4k it needed by adjusting the `--fb` value primarily. https://gist.github.com/francium/d93bcf75884ebeea216cc04cee0...

[4]: https://github.com/erpalma/throttled

I think using Debian combined with an untrue belief of Linux being as polished as Win or MacOS is the root of some of your problems.

As for battery, my two year old battery hits somewhere between 7 and 8 hours when I work without power for a day.

I don't use suspend at all and have never used the trackpad (why would I, it has a superior pointing device). The trackpad can thankfully be fully disabled in the bios (and has been since the beginning).

The trackpoint combined with the on-site warranty is why I don't even spend time looking for "alternatives"!

Linux is also the only platform that a lot of people love, but has almost no hardware where it is officially supported (at least for desktops and laptops)!!!!

thanks for the advice! I like these Thinkpads, they seem what I was looking for

Yup, my 5th gen runs flawlessly with arch. Only thing that doesn't by default is the fingerprint reader.

Agree. My sixth gen happily runs fedora daily. I have had it for about a year, no complaints.

I would suggest an older ThinkPad instead of a brand new one. Almost every operating system I know of targets them as a platform, you won’t run into issues with Wi-Fi cards and suspend/resume, and they are quite upgradable.

Some have hot-swappable batteries (no need to shut down just to switch to a fresh battery), they all have great keyboards, even ancient machines feel fast with a new SSD, and the cooling is miles better than an “ultrabook” design.

Whatever you do, I would caution against buying a machine for the specs. You’ll probably get something heavy, with poor battery life, and if you need more power, you should be doing those tasks on a remote system or a beefy “cloud” VPS instance anyway.

^ Yep! I switched from MPB to Thinkpad last year, and couldn't be happier. Vast improvement in ergonomics and serviceability / upgradeability.

As you point out, the older machines are great for dev work with some basic upgrades [maxed RAM + SSD] -- my go-to machines are the T61 and T520 -- they're tanks that love Linux and are wicked stable.

[currently running Fedora 29, but have 'distro-hopped' a lot over the past year, and never had a hiccup with the hardware compatibility]

I would second this. By “older” it could be a generation or two from their outlet for $500 or an old T42 from eBay for $100, depending on your performance needs. Either way it’s really, really hard to go wrong with a Thinkpad... that’s why they’re such a standard in big enterprise environments.

The non-IPS screens in Thinkpads are terrible - so that's basically anything that is 1366x768 or 1600x900 and not a tablet (So the X220 vs the X220T, which comes with an IPS screen)

The 1080p, 1440p, and 4K screens in the Tx40 series and newer (T440, T/W540, etc) are fine screens.

Don't forget the battery life also didn't get 'good' until Haswell chipset laptops came to be, which is also the x40 series for Lenovo. Before that, if you want any kind of battery life you need the extended battery that sticks way out, or the sheet battery which makes a not-so-thin laptop even thicker. Also, finding a battery that's in good shape for a 6+ year old laptop can be pretty tough.

If you don't need something new for performance reasons, I agree.

Just replaced the motherboard of my T420s. While waiting for the part to arrive I used a much newer laptop, which only made me appreciate just how great that beautiful old 7-row keyboard is. I suppose I'll have to give it up one day, but not yet.

I used to own Macs as well and then I got a Thinkpad, which has long been hailed as the ultimate hacker's laptop. If you are looking for something that is of the quality of a Macbook this is what you want. Personally I've also wanted a nice minimalist looking black laptop for a long time so that's a bonus.

I have a T480s, fully maxed out specs except no dedicated GPU (this will give you dual heat pipes instead for better thermal performance on an i7 core). 24GB RAM. Keyboard is incredible compared to Macbook. I recommend non-backlit version for better textures on the keys. Case itself is military spec compliant and probably stronger than Macbook unibody. Hard drive is a terabyte NVME ssd, and I added a Toshiba RC100 480gb NVME ssd into the WWAN slot (runs at 1x performance though, but still good). I upgraded the wifi card to the latest intel 9260 so I can achieve gigabit Wifi speeds at work, an easy swap. I run linux distros and windows in dual boot depending on work requirements.

Thinkpad laptops can also open ALL the way flat which has actually come in handy a few times. You won't know though until you experience it yourself.

I have an XPS 15 9560, running Ubuntu. Honestly I really dislike it. Linux just can't properly handle a 4k display, or a laptop with a graphics card. I have to reboot to turn on Integrated graphics instead of a graphics card every time I want to use my laptop away from a charger, or else the graphics card stays on permanently and drains the battery so fast.

It is also incapable of going into hibernate, meaning I have to shut it down every time I want to stop using it for an extended period of time. Closing the lid causes it to heat up constantly, which is an issue if you ever absentmindedly close the lid or put it in your bag without shutting it down. It has gotten to extremely high temperatures from doing this.

Just makes me want a macOS device, for a laptop at least.

I have an XPS 15 9550 as well and primarily use ubuntu. I feel your pain on the failure to hibernate/heating up in a bag. Dell seems to have had plenty of issues with buggy BIOS and motherboards on this laptop. Last week mine became afflicted with the notorious XPS issue of powering itself on automatically immediately after shutdown (from windows or ubuntu) and will only respond to the power button being pushed if the charger is plugged in. I've replaced the battery and the CMOS battery in an unsuccessful attempt to solve the problem. Dell support said I could pay $70 to send in my laptop to get it diagnosed and then quote me an exorbitant price to replace the MOBO; all while being without a laptop for god knows how long... no thanks!

I resurrected a MacBook Air from 2013 and have been running Ubuntu for a week now. It's very refreshing to be on stable hardware even if it's not a powerhouse.

macOS devices just take away any worries you can have on compatibility and as a plus they’re the only machines you can use to compile and develop iOS apps..

Probably the price premium of a Mac is paid off by the frustrations and hours not spent trying to solve these problems

Have the same model. There is a flaw, at least to me: if you apply pressure on the area of the on button (not the button itself) it will start the laptop.

I am much happier with Ubuntu 18.10. Everything is working except fingerprint.

Consider using this: https://github.com/stockmind/dell-xps-9560-ubuntu-respin/blo...

Why not try Windows?

they did that's why they're currently running linux

I have dual boot Windows and Linux, but I just dislike developing on Windows. I use Windows for all other laptop usage other than dev

What do you dislike? (not being contrary or anything just curious)

I've put MacOS on my 9570; works mostly well. Hard part is patching acpi tables.

Oh, and you need a new wifi card.

I suggest using manjaro. With some tweaks, works very well. And good compatibility out of the box.

As an office notebook, Lenovo T480s is nice (1500 bucks, but it's worth). If this is not enough, you could think about Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - it has a better display with HDR Support, which is very impressive. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsERJzMhLc&t=315s

Things you should care about are:

- Good Linux support (Lenovo is well known to have that)

- Good display

- NVMe SSD (not msata or m2 sata)

- As much RAM as possible

- Quad Core CPU if possible

If you would like to play games, you could think about an external graphics card, then Thunderbolt is required and should be the highest version possible.

I’m not really into gaming and would use cloud services for big computing tasks.

Solid advice on the specs! I don’t want to waste time figuring out hardware compatibility to be honest, so I’d pick something not too high end that is widely used.

Thinkpads and Lenovos seem like a good compromise

Beware that Lenovo has different series of thinkpads...

Take one of the following series:

- X => high end

- T => good value but still top technology

- L => budget but still business line and good specs

Yes, and even more important: Thinkpads and "Lenovo"s (non Thinkpads) are two vastly different beasts. The former being great, the latter "meh".

I have an HP Envy 13 that I bought mainly for the specs/price. But I was pleantly surprised with the build quality, very quiet fans but good thermals, and keyboard. Runs Ubuntu 16.04 without issue.

For $850 (on sale) the specs cannot be beat, 4k touchscreen, 4 core i7-8th gen, 16gb ram, 512GB nvme ssd, and dedicated NVidia GPU.

My only complaint is that it charges via barrel pin instead of USB-C.

Here’s where I bought it, but I got it from their ebay storefront with a coupon or something: https://www.adorama.com/ihp1kt13uar.html

I have a 2018 MacBook Pro, i7-6core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD. I can run Ubuntu in Parallels without issue (or VirtualBox without much issue). Parallels does run the laptop a little warm, but that’s all.

I came from an ASUS ROG g751jy which was a behemoth in size. I ran Ubuntu on it for most of the three years I developed with it. My biggest concerns with it were battery life and form factor. Both concerns were addressed by moving to the MacBook Pro. I’m happy I did.

So if your budget allows, I suggest going with another Mac, but if you wish to go somewhat cheaper, take a look at the Thinkpad X1 Carbon laptops or the Dell XPS 13 Developer edition laptops.

My biggest beef with most laptops is the 16GB max RAM. I run VMs and a few Java apps, so I need the RAM. Once Apple finally put it into their MBP line, I was sold.

XPS 15 9570; very happy. Linux is imperfect but largely good; I use i3-gaps on manjaro. MacOS also works, if you're interested in hackintoshing, with 2 caveats: one, patching acpi tables is really hard (though I hear you can get help over at olarila). Two, you need a new wifi card (preferably an intel). If you gripe to dell about the old one, they'll usually send a replacement. Which is probably good anyway, since the killer is not good at all.

i7-8750H, 1tb ssd, 4k screen, 32gb ram (really good for dev stuff). The screen is also excellent: you don't appreciate it until you've got it, but it's actually usable in bright sunlight. And the battery is huge; near the tsa limit for how much lithium you can bring on a plane.

I installed Linux Mint 19 on my Dell XPS13 when it arrived (it came with Windows 10) and it's not missed a beat: 100% hardware compatibility. I did update the BIOS before installing Linux though. It's the best laptop I've owned.

I don't use the trackpad often, I like my mouse, but when I do it always surprises me how good it is.

I have the companion dock on my desk, which also worked out of the box with Mint 19 despite some forum comment that it wasn't fully compatible. I can unplug the laptop from the dock (which has a large monitor, USB audio, ethernet) and keep working; plug it back in and everything reconnects seamlessly.

I have three:

2016 MacBook Pro 13" non-Touchbar

It's a great machine. I'm not putting faith in the keyboard lasting longer than the 4 year service period Apple has, it's been replaced once already. The screen is amazing, battery life is great, no real complaints other than it only has 2 ports.

2014 MacBook Air

Also a great machine. Battery still lasts almost 10 hours, which is about 2 hours longer than the 2016 MacBook Pro I have. It's very usable, but it's not very fast. The other MacBook is 50% faster in both single and multicore tasks. I keep it around as a backup machine as well as having a slower device to use for testing. However, if I spilled a coffee on it I would not miss it. I'm partial to the Air as I had a 2010 and loved it.

Lenovo T480S

This is a great machine. I work in a Windows world so I can't use a Mac. Works great docked, gives 8 hours of battery on the road, really winds up with 4 cores of power, 16GB RAM, an 512GB SSD, and was a little cheaper than the Mac. Screen and keyboard are great. Single-core stuff it's only about 10% faster than the Mac but for the multicore stuff it's over 50% faster. Strangely not 2X as fast like my 15" MBP was.

Dell XPS 13 9350. Wish it had more than 8GB on the model with the 1080 panel, but it's been great for the past few years running Fedora.

Upgraded the WiFi card to an Intel 8650 and storage to a Samsung NVME 512GB.

Keyboard is pretty good. No real strange key placement. Screen is great since matte was an option. Battery life is great. Form factor is perfect. 13" in the size of a traditional 11".

Dell XPS 15 9570, best notebook I've ever had. Only major issue is that the default fancurve was probably chosen randomly because they just couldn't be bothered.

It can be fixed thou with https://github.com/TomFreudenberg/dell-bios-fan-control

Similarly: the dell precision 5520 (or, 5530? now I guess)

Amazing laptop, great linux support. Shame the TB16 dock is hot garbage.

A souped up work 15" MBP 2018, although I would prefer a Thinkpad. The keyboard on MBP still feels very fragile and does not inspire much confidence.

It is for these reasons, I find it hard to discard some of the trusted old kit. So, I either try to reappropriate it or find a utility; otherwise, it a goes to a new home.

For example, I have managed to turn a Thinkpad T420s into a Hackintosh, recovered 17" FHD panel from a Sony Vaio and connected it to a Raspberry Pi via LVDS interface, a 1st gen Lenovo X1 which dual boots Ubuntu & W10, runs VM's and does so much more despite it's meagre specs. It is my Tamagotchi and a device I will miss when it dies, probably due to battery degradation or some kind of fan error.


LG Gram 14 with i5 8th Gen with 8gb RAM and 256gb SSD. It has one extra slot each for RAM and SSD that I plan to fill later. Linux Mint 19.1 with dual boot to Windows that it came with - everything worked right out of the box. Things I love are 990grams weight, 14 hours battery (4.18 series kernel and mostly I use terminal, vim, Firefox; when I compile java applications regulalry, still get 9hours of battery); backlit keyboard and a very lovely FHD display (though the glare from lights is a bit more).

It doesn't have dedicated graphics card and it doesn't feel sturdy like an all metal laptop - though it has survived several flights in a regular backpack in overhead compartment.

I switched from MacBook Air to this. Mainly because the sharp edge in the front was getting tiresome while typing. Plus I didn't think any of the new Mac's are worth the outlandish premium for my mostly terminal driven work.

Running an HP x360 for the past year, it's been stable and is small enough yet usable. The pressure-sensitive pen is great, but only works on some apps on Windows it seems.

Before that I had a Dell XPS 15 where the battery overheated and bloomed up to the point of destroying the chassis and touchpad. Needless to say, that wasn't great.

I heard about this problem in the older models, but have had no such issue with the 9560 and 9570. 9550 was the one with the big problems, if I understand correctly (with a little in the 9560 too).

Yeah, I think the first-gen XPS 15 had a lot of wrinkles, but it seems reasonable they've ironed them out by now.

2015 MBP 13" + 2018 MBP 13"

My hardware needs are within the current scope of silicon Apple has in their lineup, and using both Thunderbolt 2 and 3 I can connect everything I need (usually only using 1 or 2 cables for everything).

I do not need or want to use Windows on my own hardware, and I do like how macOS presents a reasonably polished Unix/POSIX type of experience. I run Linux on stationary hardware as a side-workhorse, everything else is either in a datacenter or in a public cloud.

While this Apple stuff isn't perfect, it works in the areas that I need, and other mobile hardware + software combinations simply don't come even close, which isn't as much an Apple-does-it-right thing, but more of a the-others-need-to-get-their-crap-together thing. It's 2019, you'd expect things like responding to input (trackpad, closing the screen, connecting devices) to be solved.

I need to run Windows, macOS, and Linux for testing purposes. I've had the luxury of having a different machine for each OS through work, but I'm moving to freelance work soon and won't have that luxury anymore.

I'd like to use a mac as my primary machine. Right now I have an 8GB 13" macbook pro, and when I tried running Windows and Ubuntu in Virtualbox, it was pretty laggy. I wasn't sure if that was because of issues with Virtualbox, or whether my system didn't have enough resources to run virtual machines efficiently. I haven't tried either yet, but I'd be happy to go with Parallels or VMWare Fusion if they run better than Virtualbox.

I'd really like to stay with a 13" macbook if possible. Does anyone know if a maxed-out 13" macbook pro will handle multiple OSes well, or do I need to get a 15" to handle this load?

Virtualbox is much slower than VMware on Mac. Get VMware and it will be much better. The only possible issue is the relatively small amount of RAM you have for two OSes.

Macbooks are so sticky! Plus there’s always the risk you’ll have to build some iOS app.

Maybe for Ubuntu, unless you develop apps with GUIs you can just use a VPS?

Yes, they are.

Many/some Mac users regret their switch.

Personally I tried it the opposite way. I love Linux, windows is okay - but OsX was the reason I gladly took a 1000 USD loss after three months for getting rid of a fully specced PowerBook. All longtime Mac Users tell me that 10.4 was near the high point...

I have vmware fusion on macos and it runs everything I need for testing.

Does it run well on 16GB of ram, or do I need the 32GB 15" version?

I tend to work on a few projects at a time, and I'd like to be able to run a VM without having to shut everything else down. I'm fine to power down a VM when I'm not using it, but I'd rather not have to shut everything else down when I turn the VM back on.

It depends on what your VM needs. I have 16GB and I allocate 2G to a VM. It's fine for me. The CPU fan is annoying, but I think you'll have that on both 13" and 15".

2013 MBP, now I just use a PC that I already had for some gaming reformatted with linux. Takes some getting used to with all the keyboard shortcuts and stuff changing, but it was a massive 'free' upgrade for my work and now I just use my laptop where it is suitable.

I've had pretty good luck with buying a new ASUS laptop every year or so and then giving the old ones to my family. They definitely don't last as long as a Mac, but the specs are often comparable and I prefer to run Windows/Linux in a VM than OSX.

Not sure if this is a good mindset to have, but I feel less worried about lugging a ~$1000 laptop around town compared to a $3000 Macbook. It feels a little less like a priceless object and more like a "disposable" tool (as disposable as a $1000 object could ever be).

Also the keyboard is perfect and isn't the Mac's, which I can't really deal with.

Currently I'm rolling with a Zenbook UX430U, primarily because it was the one with 16 gigs of ram.

Lenovo Yoga 900 that I've bought in 2016. It's running Fedora since day one and I only had two issues with it: - Wifi driver didn't work with the Fedora version I was using but I fixed it by using next version's beta. - using it with an external monitor with resolution different than the native display (4k) was an issue because of X. It worked, but the external monitor (1080) had a crappy resolution. Once Fedora started using Wayland, problem was solved.

In comparison, the MBP that I have to use at work is a nice piece of junk. Can barely handle 2 external monitors and had to be replaced twice because of filesystem encryption being corrupted.

At the moment I have a Lenovo Legion with 16GB of RAM. Used to have a dual boot with Windows 10 and some kind of linux flavor but moved to W10 + WSL since. With a GTX 1050 the battery life is not great but I'm not complaining.

I ended up with a Microsoft Surface Pro (2017). I like the fact I can use it as a regular tablet for web browsing and media consumption, but when I want to do some serious work, I can use it like a laptop.

T420 with a ram upgrade (10GB total) and an eGPU dock forced into a desktop replacement role.

You just can't beat the ease of access to the guts. Swapping the RAM was easier than on a desktop. Great Linux support, huge aftermarket. Ultrabay slot allows for an easy on the wallet small SSD for OS + data HDD setup. Hell, the entire laptop can be bought for $200 or less.

Not a great laptop for the road though, at least for me. I plan to buy an X series (X220 or even an IBM era laptop given the 51nb treatment) or another 10-12" business laptop.

Used Macs for 15 years, then a year ago I decided to go back to Linux and I now have a Lenovo X1 Carbon and a Purism Librem 13: love them both, but will probably only use the Librem in the future.

I have to say with the recent release of the Librem v4, there's not much reason to get an X1 or an XPS13: the Librem looks great, works great and I really like the idea behind it.

As for Mac vs Linux: it really depends on your workflow. I do backend dev in Go, Rust and Ruby, so I was already in a Terminal most of the time.

2015 MacBook Pro Retina.

I'd love a new machine but every MBP made by Apple since 2015 has been an absolute sack of shit. I'm guessing I'll just cling on to this one until it dies, then buy another reconditioned 2015 model from eBay with a years warranty or something.

If someone offered to modify my MBP to give it a worse keyboard, emoji bar, and take away all the useful ports, I'd wonder what they'd been smoking.

Asus Zenbook UX410UA with memory extended to 16 GB. Works perfectly with Ubuntu but it's almost two years old so you can probably find something better.

Although the only thing I'm missing is charging via USB-C (which it has but cannot use for charging). Everything else is excellent: the screen is beautiful, battery life is in the 10 hours range, the aluminium body is quite tough, and it doesn't get hot.

I have two.

Personal: Thinkpad P51s running Ubuntu 16.04. I also have the big 72wh secondary battery. I'm one of only a few people at conferences not looking for power by 2pm.

Work: Dell precision 5530. It came with Ubuntu 18.04. the extra work Dell has done to make all drivers/hardware working is great. Everything just works out of the box. Even my Thinkpad required a slight amount of tweaking.

I’m currently on a MacBook Pro, but previously used a 2016 Razer Blade Stealth. The spec and design were fantastic, but sadly Linux support was a nightmare - everything from intermittent issues with suspend/resume, right the way to toggling caps lock causing the entire machine to hard crash. Some of these issues had workarounds, but overall it just wasn’t worth the hassle.

I run a Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro. At the time it seemed like a decent purchase for a machine with dual NVME slots and a low-end Nvidia GPU for light gaming like Rocket League

Turns out the BIOS in it is garbage and has virtually zero customization options. So I'm waiting on Nouveau to catch up with the GTX 1050 in it so I can just use the Intel GPU forever and have decent battery life

Lenovo flex 5 1570. It’s awesome. i7, upgraded to 16 gigs of ram. Running Ubuntu 18.04 everything works except fingerprint reader, but I don’t care about that.

Aluminum body, 15 inch form with a 10 keyless keyboard. So your hands are centered and don’t feel like your sitting left of the screen.

Was about 1000 bucks with the ram upgrade at the time. However now, it’s about 800 a year after I got mine.

After 15 years with Macs I just last week bought a Surface Pro 6. Windows 10 is alright, better to live with than I thought it would be. It was also significantly less expensive than the MacBook Air I was considering (AUD $1250 vs $1850) without being concerned about keyboard longevity. Overall, I’m quite happy with my choice.

At home Thinkpad T460p.

At work Thinkpad T470.

Very happy with both. A Thinkpad S-series was my gateway drug.

Worked on a rMBP for ~1 year, would always go for a Thinkpad now.

Lenovo Thinkpad E540. Bought it back when I was a student

i7 4702mq

8GB (upgraded to 16GB)

geforce 740m

1TB + 16GB SSD cache(upgraded to 1TB + 240GB SSD)

fullHD TN panel

Love the keyboard, don't like the touchpad but on linux i don't use it much. TN panel was the only option back in the day if I wanted fullHD but I thought of it more as an advantage since it was harder for other people to see what I was doing :)

Surface Pro 6 is the way.

Sold my Macbook Air (Early 2015) for the latest model and did not regret it. 2K display, very decent hardware and responsive. WSL is a excellent way to use linux tools on windows. And you can use it like a tablet.

If you can shell out the cash and still don't want to feel like you got gouged, this is great choice.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s running Xubuntu 18.04. It's considerably less expensive than X1 Carbon while being just slightly thicker and heavier, with more expansion option (mine has 24 GB RAM). That said, I'm now thinking about upgrading, and have been eyeing the new X1 Extreme.

Does anybody have experience with thin clients connected to buffed workstations or servers?

My laptop is pretty good for scripting and light compile jobs, but if I could just code on it and forward the heavy computing to my other buffed computers it would save me both battery and time.

Picked up an HP Spectre a few months back. Running Ubuntu 18 with 4k. Initial complaints have gone with muscle memory. Does crash sometimes when I'm running minikube in kvm2. Battery life is great.

Compared to the Dell and Razor laptops at the time

What sort of crash?

It turns itself off? Not really sure, it's only happened three times, all while I was away from it. So once every couple weeks, which I'm not getting upset over given I can run minikube for hours without a charger

MacBook Pro 15" 2018.

I was in a similar situation as you. And I looked at the alternatives but came back to Apple. I upgraded from a 2012 model.

It has taken me about 6 months to get used to the keyboard but other than that it is a truly excellent machine.

ThinkPad T480 with touchscreen - runs Kubuntu well. Audio is terrible, but I like USB-C charger, builtin ethernet, & removable battery.

I was able to upgrade the SSD and it was a pretty good experience, if you're into that.

Huawei xmate pro running Ubuntu 18.04. Loved my old Macbook air but the hinge got loose and the new keyboards are apparently bad. Love this machine and would buy it I again

after 2 years on osx, 5+ on linux, I've ended up on Surface Book 2 15" (Windows 10 with WSL - I don't use Window's cmd at all) and I'm pretty satisfied with the result - AMA.

Before that, I've been using ASUS Zenbook UX32LN - I think it was the best machine I've ever had (now my wife is using it, I wanted to try out Surface devices since I've fell in love with the design of that product line)

I'd like to compare the Librem 15 with the Dell 5530 (or whatever the high-end 15 inch Linux laptop is). Does anyone have experience with both?

Dell XPS 13 9380

- Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8250U CPU @ 1.60GHz, 1800 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)

- 8 Gb memory (enough for me)

No complaints so far

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s. Switched after using Apple products for around 15 years. Running Windows 10. Love it.

an HP EliteBOOK 8460p from around 2013 - purchased in 2016 used on ebay for around $200. this is my usual procedure for buying computers: lightly used, older design but still much better than new computers at the same price point.

xps 9360

Have been running Arch Linux for a while, suffered from several bugs like freezing, overheat etc. But the major issue seems to be related to the the battery not properly connected… which was actually an man-made assembly error.

Besides that, everything works.

My laptop is currently an iPad Pro (2017 model). I like it better than my macbook.

how can you code on it? are you using a cloud IDE or something like that?

2017 15” MBP, have none of the keyboard issues and I prefer macOS

Retina MacBook Pro 15" 2012, i7 2.3 GHz, 16GB + Nvidia 750M

Dell XPS 13" 9370 running Fedora 29 at home 9380 running Ubuntu 18.04 at work. Formerly MacBook Pros. I'd recommend the Dell XPS 9370 and Fedora 29 combo as a decent Mac alternative.

I've run Linux systems for a little over 20 years now and have historically found the Linux laptop experience to be pretty painful, full of driver incompatabilities and other annoyances like non-functional suspend. So when Apple transitioned the Mac to Unix-like OS and Intel chips I hopped on board and was a huge Mac fan. Early on in the 10.x series Mac OS was a great Unix operating system with a nicely functional desktop environment, most stuff just worked without a bunch of hacking. Over the years, though, Apple has been gutting the core of Mac OS and replacing it with their own proprietary APIs that lack Linux compatibility (OpenSSL, OpenGL, OpenCL, etc...). Homebrew and Docker can spackle over some of this but it seems quite a hack, especially given that most production work I do runs on some variant of Linux. At the end of the day most of the tools I use heavily are open source and run on Linux and those that don't have reasonable open source alternatives (1password vs pass, for example) so I migrated.

On the work front I've been using Linux desktops since around 2006 and have been keeping tabs on the desktop experience. It's improved a ton over the past few years. As much as it pains me to say this systemd has helped a lot. In my experience Dell hardware has mostly had decent Linux compatibility because they rely heavily on Intel chips and Intel puts a lot of work into the Linux kernel. The Dell Sputnik hardware has helped even more since the whole system is Linux certified by Dell (well Ubuntu certified, but all the patches make it to upstream) which makes a huge difference for things just working. The unpatched mainline kernel just works on Sputnik hardware without any hacking in my experience.

In my recent experience Fedora is an easier distribution to run because they keep packages very up-to-date whereas Ubuntu has inherited the slower release cadence of Debian. Neither are unpleasant but Fedora has required less configuration to make it work. There are a few minor annoyances so far but nothing that can't be fixed. Suspend defaults to suspend-to-ram, which is IMO wrong but configuring it to suspend-then-hibernate (sleep to RAM for an hour of inactivity then wake up and hibernate to disk/power off) is just a config file edit. Apple accessories (can't break up with my Magic Trackpad) require really recent kernel versions (4.20+) to work reliably and then some X configuration on top of that. The Atheros wireless cards can be a little flaky around suspend/resume/unexpected device behavior (this is Atheros or the driver's fault, hopefully Dell ditches them for Intel soon). Projectors, printing, pretty much everything else has just worked without any issues at all.

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