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Thread: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Hi!

    I've been considering a new laptop for a long while now, but am still undecided. Could you perhaps give me some suggestions?

    First, I would like to run Linux on my laptop, but System 76 or ZaReason machines are not really an option, because these companies don't ship to my country. So I am left to decide between major manufacturers.

    I would like my laptop to be basically a desktop replacement and also to work as a media center (by connecting it to TV via HDMI). So I need a working HDMI (or DVI, or miniDVI) port and capability to play full HD movies.

    I would also like it to be fairly portable and to have a decent battery life (over 5 hours, better yet over 6 hours or more, even if it means that WiFi has to be turned off). It should have a screen size between 13 and 15 inches.

    My prime candidates are Lenovo Thinkpad T430 and Dell Latitude E6330.

    Thinkpad's specs are as follows:
    Intel Core i5-3320M, 2600 MHz, RAM: 4096 MB, HDD 500 GB (7200 rpm) Intel HD Graphics 4000, Display 14", 1600×900, Battery: 6 cell Li-Ion, Weight 2.166 kg, OS: Windows 7 Professional

    Dell Latitude:
    Intel Core i5-3320M, 2600 MHz, RMA: 4096 MB, HDD 500 GB (7200 rpm), Intel HD Graphics 4000, Display 13,3", 1366×768, Battery: Li-Ion, Weight 1.606 kg, OS: Linux (Ubuntu 11.10)

    As you can see, the laptops are very similar. The huge advantage of the Thinkpad is the screen (14 inch with a decent resolution). I have also seen it in a brick-and-mortar shop, and like its looks. If it came with Ubuntu, I would not hesitate a minute. I know Thinkpads are generally compatible with Linux. I know T430 is on the Ubuntu certified list (though only for the models with Ubuntu preinstalled, which are non-existent here). But I have seen mixed reviews on the internet concerning experience with Ubuntu on this particular machine, and not enough positive ones to be sure it will work without hiccups.

    The huge advantage of Dell Latitude is that it comes with Ubuntu (so everything is supposed to work, right?). It also is half a kilogram lighter than the Thinkpad. But the screen is far from great. And I haven't heard anything about how this model works with Ubuntu. I've seen the reviewers criticise its video playback, but hope it is because of the screen, so if I hook it up to an external display or TV the videos will play better.

    What do you think? What laptop would you choose? Perhaps you could suggest a model from the major manufacturers that is better than these two?
    Last edited by azangru; October 19th, 2012 at 03:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    T430.

    I have a T530 with similar specs (i7 3520, Intel HD 4000, etc..., but 1080p display), and with the exception of the fingerprint reader, everything works flawlessly. The function keys, hardware buttons, battery indicator, etc... - everything works.

    The keyboard is the best I've used, the screen is great, it's robust, great machine. Definitely go for the ThinkPad.

    Only suggestion is to try get the Intel Centrino Ultimate wireless modem (what mine has) instead of the Broadcom, I've heard bad things about the Broadcom wireless...

    Also, if you ask them nicely, and tell them you don't run Windows and you want to run Linux instead, they'll probably give you a discount (I got 150 dollars off when I told them I didn't want Windows - they offered, I didn't push the matter).

  3. #3
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post
    I have a T530 with similar specs (i7 3520, Intel HD 4000, etc..., but 1080p display), and with the exception of the fingerprint reader, everything works flawlessly.
    Did you have a chance to check the miniDVI port? Does it work under Ubuntu? Does the audio go through it as well? This is necessary for the laptop to double as a media center.

  4. #4
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by azangru View Post
    Did you have a chance to check the miniDVI port? Does it work under Ubuntu? Does the audio go through it as well? This is necessary for the laptop to double as a media center.
    No, that's the one thing I didn't try. I don't have any DVI cables...

  5. #5
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Get the Thinkpad. This is a no-brainer.

  6. #6
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    I would get the Lenovo

  7. #7
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Thinkpad user here too...

    Also, see here for a current listing of Ubuntu certified hardware:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/desktop/
    Last edited by OrangeCrate; October 21st, 2012 at 06:12 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Wow, such a unanimity! Thanks a lot!

    By the way, to those of you who use the new Lenovos, do you know whether Precise by now has its kernel upgraded to the one that does not freeze when running on Ivy Bridge or whether it is still necessary to manually upgrade the kernel (or to install Quantal)?
    Last edited by azangru; October 22nd, 2012 at 12:02 AM.

  9. #9
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    Xubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Hi,

    No doubt you have already browsed through this thread -

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1543006

    Cheers -

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Choosing a laptop, would appreciate your suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by azangru View Post
    Wow, such a unanimity! Thanks a lot!

    By the way, to those of you who use the new Lenovos, do you know whether Precise by now has its kernel upgraded to the one that does not freeze when running on Ivy Bridge or whether it is still necessary to manually upgrade the kernel (or to install Quantal)?
    I believe Precise still uses 3.2 as standard. When I ran it I manually installed the 3.5 kernel, it was nearly flawless. Now I run the default 3.5 from Quantal, the whole system is flawless.

    If you do get the ThinkPad, make sure to install tpb, tp-smapi-dkms, hdapsd, and thinkfan from the repos (Synaptic has them, just search for 'thinkpad', they all come up). These enable all the function keys, battery light indicators, and other Thinkpad-specific features...

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