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Ask HN: Best Linux Laptop Replacing a Macbook Pro?
97 points by xgbi on Aug 25, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 100 comments
All in the title.

We are transitionning from Macs to "whatever you like" and I would like to look around for a good linux laptop equaling what we can get for the price of a MBPro (13", 512Go disk, 16G ram for 2400€).

I bet the competition can do better (I'd certainly fancy 32Gb of ram), but I don't have much experience in PC type laptops. I use linux a LOT at home so I'm confident I'll be able to install it, but I don't have the compatibility story.

What would you suggest? Dell XPS? Lenovo something?


The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is the usual recommendation as far as having the most "Macbook"-like design (e.g. slim, unibody aluminum, but powerful).* ThinkPads generally have pretty solid Linux support, and System76 makes a line of Linux-only laptops, although both of them will be a good bit chunkier than your MBP. Neither are bad laptops if you're willing to trade sleekness for a tad more power or durability. It really depends on what you're looking for.

* This excludes Huawei's "Matebook" line, which is more like a Chinese carbon-copy MBA clone, and doesn't come with Linux as a preinstalled option.

XPS seems to me more like a replacement for the MacBook Air 11” size wise... except that it has a 13” HiDPI screen and a 6 core processor. I keep mine in an 11” MBA case.

I’ve found mine to be really good. They seem to have fixed issues with the trackpad that bothered me.

Only things I’m not keen on are the PgUp, PgDn key positions above the cursor keys and mixing the 4k screen with a 1440 external screen.

I opted to buy it over a Thinkpad because it comes with linux preinstalled and at the time the current X1C had some issues, as I recall. I think whatever it was has now been fixed but it’s still officially unsupported hardware in that you’re not paying Lenovo to support it.

> XPS seems to me more like a replacement for the MacBook Air 11” size wise... except that it has a 13” HiDPI screen and a 6 core processor. I keep mine in an 11” MBA case.

Well sure, but I have yet to hear someone say that they actually liked the 13" MBP's giant bezel. It was a testament, at the time, to the XPS 13's ingenuity that it managed to fit a 13" screen into what was basically an 11" laptop chassis.

My XPS 13 9343 has served me well for several years, although the battery life on this model was a meager four hours, and the QHD+ resolution on a 13" screen still feels like it's a DPI that modern OS's have yet to handle elegantly, even four years later.

It's also well worth using the mainline kernels with the XPS as power management along with any flakey drivers is vastly improved. It's easy when done with the ukuu utility.

Check out the System76 Galago Pro. You get a monster of a machine performance wise (easily surpassing a MacBook) in a case that's not at all chunkier than a MacBook and for half the price. Only downside is the pretty bad battery life.

After being plagued with a sideloaded linux on XPS15 which produced enough exhaust to keep me warm in winter, I bought a XPS13 last year and have never been happier!

Lenovo X1C is the standard-bearer for a Linux notebook experience that is hassle-free, hardware-wise, and includes a great keyboard, trackpad, screen, battery, all in a slim ultrabook format. I wrote up my experience of a 4th gen model here:


If you care about outdoor usage, opt for the matte IPS screen rather than the glossy options. Lenovo sells both types on almost every model. I'd also suggest skipping the touchscreen.

Complete agreement; I've used the X1 Carbon since the first generation.

One issue, though: the 6th and 7th generations currently use a cell modem (the PCIe Fibocom L850-GL LTE-A) that doesn't work under Linux. The USB version works; the PCIe version has no driver.

I'm still using a circa-2013 X1 Carbon, running Ubuntu. Overall it's been great, with the one exception being the battery life, which has always been abysmal. I've never been able to get any more than 2 hours out of the battery, even after extensive tinkering with tools like powertop.

That machine is getting a bit long in the tooth now, so I've been thinking about what to buy to replace it; getting another X1C would be a no brainer if I wasn't worried about whether the battery life in the new ones is as bad as it was in my old one.

I get 10+ hours of battery life out of mine, depending on workload. I run Debian, without any special tuning, beyond powertop and running an up-to-date kernel.

Yes, on my 4th gen, I get a solid 6-10 hours, depending on usage. I think running powertop is important to identify background power hogs and ensure kernel params are tweaked. I love how ever since the 4th gen, the X1C's also rapidly charge to 80%+ power, and get to 100% not long thereafter. Pretty much the only thing that'll chew through my battery quickly is a Google Meet call, and that's just because Google/Chromium hasn't figured out how to reduce CPU usage on the video encode/decode steps on Linux.

That's a bummer (the cell modem on older models is awesome and some carriers can provide you with a second data-only sim card at no additional monthly cost), but it's not something someone coming from a MBP will miss.

I have the X1C. Little thing I noticed about the matte IPS screen (which I selected for outdoor usage much like you said) is that the screen goes black when I wear my sunglasses with a polarized lens, so if your sunglasses are polarized perhaps consider buying some non-polarized ones :-)

or buy polarized lenses with the opposite orientation. if you turn your head 90 degrees can you see the screen?

This led me to wonder: why isn't there a default orientation for things you look at and another for things you look through?

They would need to be the same... and if we can't get people to standardize on internet protocols, good luck with something that actually affects whether the product works well or not!

Monitors dont even come with the same orientation.

I'm happy with my System 76. It comes running Linux, and with all the nVidia GPU driver + CUDA setup done.


I got the 15" Serval with 4K display and 64 GB RAM. It's big and heavy, but they have light ones too.

There are alot of Clevo resellers. People have options, but System 76 is the only one people mention anymore. It's a shame.

Oh, so System 76 are resellers of Clevo? I had no idea. Nice to hear that Clevo are still around :)

There are a lot of Clevo resellers. People have options, but System 76 is the only one people mention anymore.

Out of curiosity, may I ask what desktop environment you run? For me, that is the weakest part of the Linux experience.

If you can stand up to the shenanigans of the OS X you can handle any mayor Linux DE. They might not be as polished as OS X but they offer you anything you might expect and are well polished by now.

Sure! I’m more interested though in specific recommendations. So feel free to share what DE you’re using :)

Gnome on Wayland. A little ugly, but usable. I mostly just have an editor open full-screen, so I don't engage deeply with the window system.

I have not tried either of these products, but I have been looking at trying one:

System76 Laptops: https://system76.com/laptops

Purism Librem 15: https://puri.sm/products/librem-15/

I had two Dell (XPS 13 and XPS 15), both had their share of driver issues. The XPS 15 also had severe hardware issues, which support could not help with (sound randomly starting and stopping to work).

Now I use a Lenovo T480s dual-booting Windows 10 Pro and Ubuntu 18.04 and everything just works.

For Linux I recommend getting a Laptop without a dedictated GPU. Regarding Linux distributions, I stopped having issues since I stick to Ubuntu LTS releases.

I agree. I'm using a T480s with no GPU and Ubuntu 18.04 and have no regrets since switching. If you really need a GPU, consider the P1 and X1E series.

My xps15 9560 has been a basketcase under ubuntu or arch linux, mostly due to the nvidia gpu never playing well with, well any other gpu.

In general I'd recommend avoiding anything with a "hybrid" gpu solution.

The downside is you're stuck with a crappy intel gpu, which at high-res (4k) on my xps15 is pretty crap, so I wouldn't get anything beyond a 1080p display with it.

I think life would be much better if we could disable the intel gpu in the bios to only let the system know an external solution exists, but then intel might have to admit to world+oems their gpu's are crap to need hard-disabled.

XPS 9570 (2018): i9-8950HQ, 32GB RAM, 1TB SDD, 15" 4k touch screen, Ubuntu 18.04.

Good: * Fast. * Regular BIOS updates for Linux (none affected me). * No hardware problems (I use Killer WiFi every work day; fingerprint not supported but doesn't matter to me).

Average: * No official Linux Dell support (need Latitude or 13") * No DisplayPort * Keyboard ok

Poor: * Linux support for 4k has problems (even with second 4k screen). * No PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys * Coil Whine - occasional noise depending on activity - like hearing old CPU on radio. * nVidia - causes fan to run - poor switching support - low battery life - so I just never use it. * Glossy screen (touch screen models always shiny)

Had a similar experience with an Alienware laptop a few years back. It was a headache to try to configure drivers.

Thankfully, you could actually enable only one GPU in the BIOS! That, paired with AMD gradually improving their drivers over the years, ended up making Linux configuration not too bad. Definitely ate through the battery, though.

I'm hoping to see ones shipping with midrange amd gpus soon.

never buy an nvidia gpu for linux unless it's for non-graphical computing.

I've read probably every HN thread the past 10 years about this, and the current consensus seems to be either Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition or Lenovo X1 Carbon.

Thinkpad X and T series.

Unless you hate money, don't buy current years models. This will also give you better Linux support.

Also, don't forget to purchase the 3-year on-site support.

Hey, I moved from a MacBook air (2014) just for programming purposes. now I'm happy with a Asus Zenbook ux430 (1100€) with 16 GB ram, 512 GB SSD and i7 8850U (14 inches) Manjaro OS. Perfect, smooth and clean.

Does anyone have Linux experience with the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 AMD laptop? I was looking to get a Lenovo X490 or T590, especially now that they have an AMD version, but they've removed a lot of features that longtime Thinkpad fans like myself loved the series for. I noticed that Dell has this Ryzen 7 based laptop available at about half the price of Lenovo, and am considering it now that the Thinkpad line seems effectively dead.


Dell Inspiron 5000: https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/laptops/new-15-amd/spd/inspi...

Lenovo T495: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-t-ser...

The main advantage of the Lenovo is that it can be equipped with 32GB RAM (and has a Trackpoint), but adding more storage and a higher DPI display brings the price up to over $2k, while the Dell is priced at $774.39...

Inspiron is also Dell's more prosumer oriented brand, while the Lenovo T series is supposed to be enterprise grade, so not sure how the Dell would stack up in terms of longevity.


Apparently the Lenovo E495 can be configured with 64GB of RAM at around $1,500, so this might be a good option for me, as well as the OP as this is a 14" model. I don't see a 64GB option on Lenovo's site, but there is one listed at Newegg: https://www.newegg.com/p/1TS-000E-0EMS3

Newegg also has an HP Envy laptop with 64GB RAM for a similar price, but I'm not familiar with that brand.

Probably Lenovo something depending on your priorities. (I'd get a Lenovo X1 Carbon if I were replacing my X270 as I mostly prioritize lightweight.) We use Lenovos at Red Hat for our issued Linux laptops so compatibility tends to be pretty good.

MSI PS42 8RC - https://www.msi.com/Content-creation/PS42-8RX/Specification A powerful 14': the variant with 1050 for some reason is priced same as the one with MX250 (an MX150 with a different name). Only 8 gigs of RAM but you can upgrade. The price is really great, it's very lightweight and has a good battery life. Also: good matte display.

A weird alternative could be GPD Pocket/Pocket 2?

I'd definitely avoid XPS though, afair they've installed MX150 '1D12' gpus which are about 25% slower.

You can get a Purism Librem 15 with 32GB RAM and a 500GB NVMe drove for about 2K USD...


I am interested in switching from Macbook to Linux laptop. My biggest concern is the different keyboard shortcuts and layouts (most important ones are cmd vs ctrl for shortcuts, but keeping ctrl+C for terminating processes).

I bought a cheap Lenovo x230 recently, and the most annoying thing is finding an easy to configure the keyboard shortcuts to be the same as the OSX. Does anyone know if there are any OSes or software that helps mimic the OSX keyboard experience for those who don't want to undo the years of muscle memory?

They’re not so bad with a bit of practice. In the terminal Ctrl-c is still terminate (SIGINT) so to copy something use Ctrl-Shift-c

Same for paste and cut, use Ctrl-Shift-v or Ctrl-Shift-x.

What I like is that Gnome now provides me with shortcuts for moving windows about that macOS doesn’t. Eg half full screen on the left windowkey-left.

Honestly, if this is your big problem with Linux I think you should stay with osx.

(of course you can configure shortcuts and there are distros that mimic isx shortcuts)

I'm curious, which distros mimic the OSX shortcuts?

Elementary os for example https://elementary.io

Although they try to mimic everything in OSX

This has been the single hardest thing I’ve found in switching platforms.

I transitioned from MBP 15" 16GB / 1TB SSD in Nov, as I found MACOSX too restrictive and dissimilar to Linux for my dev purposes. MBP was 5 years old and new MBP only allowed max 32GB RAM with concerns about butterfly keyboard issues. I use my laptop 7 x 14 on dev and it travels with me everywhere so no time to return for something that should not be an issue at time of purchase.

I purchased Lenovo P72 8GB / 256GB SSD 17" with 3 year warranty extension, like AppleCare, and have upped the RAM to 64GB (it is 128GB capable when the RAM becomes more affordable), added 1TB Samsung SSD and an internal 7mm 2TB drive. If SSDs fail, tends to be binary while a drive tends to fail over time (by sector / track) which the drive manages, so better for online backup.

Have installed VMware workstation 15 allowing a win / Linux dev environment and multiple Linux flavor installs. Since I still have two other macs, I have installed MACOSX on a VMware VM as well, using my existing appleID. Runs like a dream and can develop without being online.

I also install various flavors of windows to resolve subscriber issues where it relates to their OS.

If you buy the same machine and need to upgrade RAM under the keyboard, ignore the need for a keyboard removal tool. A youtube video allowed me to achieve that using two credit cards.

I think, it is strange that there are so few passively cooled high end laptops. Most devices with these ~5 Watt Intel CPUs are in cheap Chromebooks with <= 8 GiB RAM or in expensive ~2000 € devices with weird hybrid tablet form factors.

Here in Germany, I know two vendors who sell the same(?) Clevo white-label laptop with a passively cooled Amber Lake Y CPU in a regular Ultrabook chassis. [0] [1]

I am unsure whether the increased 9 Watt TDP of the new Ice Lake Y chips will still allow laptops without any fans. (It seems like "TDP" as no clear definition anymore...) The introduction of LPDDR4X support would allow devices with 32 GiB RAM and this is probably necessary for future-proofing the device because new multi-platform apps for Linux are usually Electron-based. Also, with the upcoming ZFS on root support in Ubuntu desktop we can't have enough RAM. :)

[0] https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/en/Linux-Hardware/Linux-Note...

[1] https://bestware.com/en/schenker-via-14.html

I've recently checked options for replacing my aging XPS 13, and AFAICT right now only Dell has first-party support for preinstalled Linux (Ubuntu), whereas Thinkpads come either with Windows or, rarely, without O/S, and are merely listed as Ubuntu-certified. But OTOH Thinkpad (480 and X1) notebooks have fantastic user communities on eg. notebookcheck and elsewhere sharing reliable support info.

I'd recommend testing the devices yourself. I had the luxury of testing an XPS vs a Carbon in a shop in 2016 and found the XPS's display, trackpad, and even keyboard better, certainly more Macbook-like (though Apple's Touchpads are bigger and better). Classic Thinkpads don't have flat trackpads, but use a somewhat special design and also have that pointer thingy (though the latest Carbon does have a flat trackpad I believe, and there's a new Lenovo line very much like Thinkpads, but using mainstream trackpad designs and doing away with pointers).

Be aware that current XPS 13s have only glare screens (which would very likely be a deal breaker for me) and can't be equipped with more than 16 GB. OTOH, the Carbon X1 has a 16:9 display (14") which could maybe also break the deal for me.

I just got a Lenovo P1 Gen 2 and so far have been very happy with it. It has two NVMe slots and I think it can go as high as 128gb of RAM, 64 at least. The build quality and keyboard are very nice and it has an nvidia quadro T1000 w/4gb.

My setup is a 9th gen i7, 16 gigs and 256 NVMe, it was ~1600 USD, and I think it was worth the price. My only complaint is that it took over 3 weeks to ship.

It looks like PSREF [1] for that platform says 64GB RAM maximum, possibly because it only has two DIMM slots and there's nobody making 64GB modules at the moment.

According to Intel [2] most of the 9th Gen can support 128GB, perhaps it'll be able to do that should 2x64GB modules ever become an option in the future?

[1] https://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PDF/ThinkPad/ThinkPad%2... [2] https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/192990/...

Echoing this. Lenovo X/T/P series with the big warranty. This gets you quality components that should work well across linux distributions.

If you're doing external monitors that are 3K, 4k, etc it's very difficult to pull off. Gnome 3 with fractional scalings (Ubuntu 19.04, debian experimental gnome 3.32+) make this possible. It doesn't work with NVIDIA's proprietary drivers at the moment.

You can also try to meet things half way by using Windows 10 with WSL 2.

Lenovo X1 Carbon. I've been using Linux on it for over 4 years now, with zero complaints. When doing consulting engagements, I also ask my clients to issue a Carbon to me, and without fail they do.

Usable keyboard, the "nub", high density screen, long battery life, small size, and light weight. I struggle to see what could be improved about it.

When the one I'm typing this on (my personal workhorse) kicks the bucket, it will be replaced by another X1 Carbon. The only caveat is, the 15" "Extreme" model has an NVIDIA GPU, and that's a PITA in Linux, since GPU switching is still an esoteric feature, so your options are either to not use the discrete GPU, or to spend hours following obscure readmes to set it up. And in the latter case it still won't be anywhere near as good as Windows GPU switching, let alone macOS, and will likely break after a software update a few months down the road. But that's easy to avoid: just don't buy the 15" model.

I would probably still say Lenovo. Although ordering on their website was the single worst eCommerce experience I ever had.

Mine might be a bit dated, but you might be able to find one on eBay for pretty cheap now. I switched from an MBP 2013 to a ThinkPad T480 running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS back in July of 2018. Linux support has been really great and I didn't have to install a lot of special drivers. (e.g. trackpad support with multi-touch scrolling worked from the start)

Things to love about the T480:

- Fairly portable at around 3.5 lbs with a 14inch screen. It avoids the dedicated numeric keypad that some larger 15inch models have, while still having good screen real estate.

- Great keyboard as all Thinkpads have. (media keys are working great under linux)

- Very durable having undergone mil-spec testing.

- Camera placement at top with a mechanical shutter if you get the FHD screen.

- 32 GB of ram if you want/need it

- Hot-swappable batteries. No need to turn off the laptop. just flip it over and replace. (You can buy the extended 72Wh battery for extra battery time)

I also switched from a Macbook Pro to a Thinkpad T480 running Ubuntu 18.04. Everything except the fingerprint reader worked out of the box, I haven't had any hardware compatibility issues so far, been running for 2 months so far. I picked the T480 because it was the last one with a removable battery.

Initially I installed dualboot w/ the existing windows install, but after a week I found there was no reason to flip back to windows and I formatted the whole thing and re-installed Ubuntu.

I've been using Macs for development for so long that I'd forgotten what using a non-mac keyboard was like. Took a couple days to get used to it, but now there's no way I'm ever going back.

Get either:

The Dell Precision 5520 (or whatever the latest verison of that is) with Ubuntu pre-installed (you can easily wipe and reinstall with distro of your choice, but this guarantees maximum compatibility.


- Premium hardware (better than Apple IMHO, and I love Apple's hardware)

- Nice trackpad

- Good compatibility with Linux (except the Nvidia Optimus stuff, so avoid that if you can)

- Good warranty

- Touch screen compatible (which works great with Gnome)


- Price is better than Apple but definitely on the high end

- Compatibility isn't perfect (tho it is really close)

The Lenovo T{4,5}80


- More hardware for the buck (excellent value)

- Super easy to self service (basically anything)

- Highly compatible with Linux

- Can get Nvidia card for higher-end graphics/gaming


- Body is a little plasticky and looks cheap-ish

- Bezels on the screen are kind of big

- Intel graphics won't let you do gaming or video editing (although I do use Kdenlive on mine. It takes forever to render but I can edit just fine)

I've had both and they are awesome. My current setup is Lenovo T580 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD running Fedora 30. It's flawless and worked out of the box (after running the Fedora installer).

Agreed with the Nvidia Optimus comment. My Thinkpad T460p runs pretty much every distro you throw at it, but the Nvidia Optimus card is almost always the cause of some headaches when something with graphics doesn't work. On the other hand the touchpad driver is better than the official one for Windows(which doesn't support middle mouse click with the center button).

I'm now working with a Dell Precision 5530 which costs around 3k on its current specs.

The good:

- It had ubuntu 16.04 which means the hardware has good compatibility with linux and you don't need to pay for the windows license.

- 32Gb of ram, and it supports even more.

- The 512Gb NVMe SSD is very fast.

- The battery lasts several hours on non-CPU intensive tasks, I haven't need to charge it when using it for browsing the web on non-working days.

- Even that the screen is 15", it is actually smaller than my precision 3510.

- It doesn't get as hot as my 3510 gets sometimes.

- I'd say that the keyboard is decent.

- It has more input ports than the macbook pro.

- It's built from a decent material instead that my 3510 which is just plastic.

The bad:

- When I installed ubuntu 18.04, I found an issue with the nvidia driver which I was able to solve, if you want to get ubuntu preinstalled, the only choice was to get the nvidia P1000 included (even that it seems to have poor support), if buying again, I'd probably get Windows preinstalled instead to avoid paying for the graphic card.

- The AC adapter is lighter than the one from my 3510 (which gets easily damaged on the port, I expect this to last longer but we'll see).

- The trackpad is not as good as it could be, it is common to paste content accidentally (I believe it detects the middle-click gesture), I guess there may be a software trick to avoid it but haven't invested enough time, I can live with the issue.

- As the screen has tiny borders, the camera is placed below the screen which is something I laugh about each time I do a videocall.

Those are the details I can think about, I'm far happier with linux on dell laptops than what I ever was using a macbook pro.

You bought with Ubuntu pre-installed, but when you upgraded it, there was a driver issue?

That's not much of an improvement over a MacBook situation.

Well, if I have stayed with ubuntu 16.04, there wouldn't been any problem at all.

My understanding is that dell ships the OS with some proprietary drivers which were there on 16.04 but they they were missing on the default 18.04 install.

Anyway, the driver issue took me a couple of hours to fix which I did only once.

It depends on your priorities, it's totally worth for me, instead of having to install xcode and register an account if I want to compile anything.

I also moved off a MacBook to dell XPS but will probably not buy dell again. Customer service was shockingly bad compared to what you get from Apple. I mean really bad (bought in Switzerland).

I was looking today at the HUAWEI Matebook X Pro but not thrilled about taking a laptop with nvidia.

Is there still coil whine when running Linux on the XPS?

Antidata point here but not on my XPS13 9370. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen for other people.

It's a hit and miss and some editions don't have it at all.

Never noticed a problem with mine.

I made the switch to a Dell Precision laptop (or mobile workstation as Dell calls it) for work and speced it to the max a few years ago. I specifically wanted to run Ubuntu. I've had it for 3 years now and it's never let me down.

Also very happy with this choice. I'm on my second Dell Precision.

Also nice that Ubuntu comes pre-installed and is officially supported.

I have an Acer Swift 3 with AMD 2700u APU and while it's certainly not as high end as the top range MBP, it's pretty damn good (literally no issues, everything works perfectly) and the chipset is impressively quick. The higher end Acer laptops would probably be a decent alternative (and the open source AMD drivers are very good).

Lenovo ThinkPads are well known for their Linux support, I had one and loved most things about it. And of course Dell has been selling Linux laptops.

There's tons of options, just go with the hardware and features you want and google compatibility, but there's not too much that Linux doesn't support.

I still use my 2011 MacBook Pro daily, and has been running Linux for the majority of its life. I must say it has been the best Linux machine I have ever had. It will be very hard to replace. Just put an SSD in it so I will only replace it once the motherboard or other components die, however I have a spare (donated) so it can be used for parts.

I am seriously considering buying a Lenovo x1 carbon when it does kick the bucket. Apparently popular with devs for BSD and Linux. Plus has amazing battery life, is light, awesome keyboard. I would get a refurbished ex corp or gov machine, they are just too expensive new.

Lenovo T4xxs Lenovo X series

Lenovo T series works well with Linux, also quite many Linux developers use Lenovo laptops so driver support is good.

Detailed Reviews https://www.notebookcheck.net/Notebookcheck-s-Top-10-Premium...

On Dell XPS I had some really weird BIOS sound hardware enumberation, where sound hardware would change hardware bus type during reboots which was annoying.

I would definitely recommend the XPS13. I have the 2018 with the nosecam but other than that it's served me well for the short time I've spent with it.

The newer version does away with the nosecam which is the biggest improvement in my opinion. I'm ambivalent on the fingerprint scanner, but is a welcome addition. Other than these, the line has had only incremental improvements (which is great considering it leaves little to be desired)

Having used both a Lenovo P1 and the latest Dell XPS, I have yet to find anything with the battery life and general experience if a macOS laptop.

A downvote, eh? Classy.

Acer E5 575G upgraded to 16gb RAM and 256gb ssd, running Manjaro Linux with XFCE. Good battery life, lightweight and cheap.

Everything works out of the box. I even got advanced touchpad gestures working with a little research. This was also the first Linux desktop experience in 20 years of trying occasionally that got me to switch from Windows for work.

I have XPS 9560 with i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SDD, and 1080p 15' screen. I switched from MacBook Pro 2014 Retina, the highest specs back then. I had an azerty keyboard layout that was driving me crazy. (Gosh, how I hate the stupid azerty! I always forget how to write a freaking pipe "|".)

Windows works very well. I had issues with CPU overheating when playing Witcher 3, but I reduced the voltage on CPU a little without reducing clock with an Intel program and it succeeded in reducing temperatures without stability issues.

On Ubuntu (https://github.com/stockmind/dell-xps-9560-ubuntu-respin) there was some fun in making sure that Nvidia GPU is off during normal work in order to reduce battery usage. I can get GPU back on with single command if I need to do some simple machine learning. Right now during my normal working (Firefox with 200+ tabs, Chrome, VS Code running) with 100% battery, powertop gives me a discharge rate of 12.3 W and estimated remaining time of 7 hours, 31 minutes. It normally is about enough for a full workday.

The Bluetooth sometimes goes off after closing the computer (suspend) while being connected to headphones. In order to fix the issue, I need to restart the computer waiting for about 10 seconds downtime before starting again. Funny enough, right now Ubuntu is claiming that Bloototh is off but it is actually working. There are also very sporadic issues with video. For example, sometimes YouTube will just crash and I will need to restart the system to get it back working.

I'm happy with the build quality (beside mentioned thermal properties). I especially like the sturdy screen. Keyboard and trackpad, for me at least, are about as good as Mac. I liked Mac trackpad maybe a little bit more. IO in XPS is good. I'm certainly missing MagSafe plug (charger plug that disconnects while pulled). I should also mention that when the battery is full and I'm connected to the charger I can hear a very weak coil whine. Kind of like an HDD head working but possibly even less noisy, most time I don't even notice. When I do notice I just disconnect it from the charger and the whine is gone.

I never had to deal with Dell support, so I don't know how it looks like. But I like that a lot of technical people use XPS, so it's easy to Google issues.

Overall, I would recommend XPS. (My girlfriend has one and she is happy with it.)

I have a System76 and it's a very good laptop. https://system76.com/laptops

I also have an XPS 13 Developer Edition. I prefer System76 over that one due to the wheezy fan sound.

Mine's a 5 year old Pangolin but they have quite a selection now.

I really like the Asus VivoBook Pro 17, $1200 at https://www.amazon.com/VivoBook-i7-8550U-Processor-GeForce-B...

I'm using it with Kubuntu and haven't had any issues.

Depends strongly on what you are looking for: Lightweight = Lenovo X range or Razer stelth Workhorse = Dell Xps15 or Lenovo T480 All rounder = Xps 13

I would say the I find the keyboard on the xps range terrible (better than mac mind you) but thinkpad always has the best keyboards.

I had a Dell XPS 9360. Only issue I had was the mouse touchpad would occasionally lock up. I don't remember what I did, but it happened infrequently and inconsistently, and took months of pain to fix it, which involved some custom driver.

I went with the Lenovo X1 Carbon.

Why do you want a laptop ? Building your own computer have never been easier. Just buy the parts and plug them in. (and make sure there are drivers for Linux). First pick a mother-board, probably a server grade MB from Supermicro, because many HDD, controlled fan connectors, memory slots, and possible also dual CPU, and many PCI:e if you are into machine learning. Then read the manual to see known working modules. Just an example of what you can't do on a laptop is having 6 disks in mirror/stripe mode using ZFS. Instead of taking the computer with you, you can SSH into it, maybe use X-server to run the apps on the work machine. Just leave it on when you go home or travel, so you can run lab on it. You can give shell accounts to your jealous colleges, run the git server on it. Use it instead of "cloud" computing and save thousands of dollar, etc.

Lenovo X/T/P Series. Heavy discounts on the Lenovo website right now. And an abundance of refurbs on ebay that are in pretty much brand new condition.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS / Fedora / Manjaro are all good on this platform.

Have fun picking!

I'm looking at a X390 really hard, the 32GB is a dream

Yea that machine looks nice. USB-C charge and I/O. Great for travel (1 charger for phone (android) and laptop). Looks like a slightly heavier X1 Carbon. Otherwise everything seems the same!

Two non-size differences: 32GB is only available on the X390 and one of the two (I forget which) only has dual-lane Thunderbolt. The other one has full 40Gbps.

For being able to specify your requirements down to the lowest levels, I can recommend http://emperorlinux.com/ without hesitation.

I received a (Dell) Alienware at work and no matter what I've tried, the trackpad does not work in Linux. I've tried every supposed remedy on the Internet. So at least I would avoid that brand.

I've been using both Alienware and Predator laptops with Linux for a development machine for years. Been running PopOS and runs great.

Lenovo ThinkPad, hands down. They work really well with Linux, and have enough models to pick and choose the right one for your needs.

asus vivobook s15 s510un (slim, 1.7kg, full hd, 128 ssd, 1TB hdd, 8/16 gb ram, 2gb nvida)

- dual boot with linux and windows ( disable fast boot and startup in windows). buy with global warranty. very good for programming and overall. for heavy video editing, chck reviews, may not work.

believe me asus is the one of most underrated brand for laptops.

Razor Blade 15 works very well, also under heat.

The Surface Pro is also fantastic except the lack of webcam support.

What is the Linux story on a surface? I admit I like Microsoft’s products form factor a lot, especially the surface book.

It works - there is a script for Ubuntu that can be found on github that basically takes care of everything. The only issue I have found is that the webcam doesn’t work.

I also haven’t been able to get the 4g to work yet (I have a surface 5).

I agree. I went with a 2015 chromebook pixel (running guix system) just because I wanted a 3:2 screen ratio.

my 2cents: take a look at the zbook mobile workstations from HP. Those are real workhorses, but not pretty on the outside, if that is you thing. And you can get a nice price drop getting last year model, without compromising performance...

Stealth/Blade 15 should do it. Upgradability & build quality.

TLDR: If you don't care about USB-C charging I'd suggest a Librem. Otherwise, I'd go with the new X1 Carbon.

I initially switched from an MBP to an XPS13. Pretty good, but I wasn't super super happy with it, nothing wrong in particular, but it felt a bit plastic-y. Then bought a Lenovo X1C6 as soon as it was announced last year and I'm very happy with it: super solid and no issues with any component.

I also bought a Librem 13 because I wanted a free laptop and because why I love the X1C6 as a machine, I'm not willing to trust Lenovo 100% as far as ethics go. The Librem is a beautiful machine and works really well, however I'm not willing to use it as my main driver because it doesn't have USB-C charging. As soon as they'll release a model with USB-C charging, I'll get it and switch to it.

What's the deal with USB-C charging for you? I can see the hypothetical benefit of interchangeable chargers, but I'd try to avoid it, having seen my S8 smartphone USB-C wear out in less than a year.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-54.

Lenovo Chromebook

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