Serval Professional Review
Well, after waiting and waiting... I finally bought a Serval Professional.
I decided to buy one that was fairly loaded, as I will use it as a desktop replacement for software development.
Mine shipped with: 160 GB SSD, i7 820 processor, 8 GB of 1333, Nvidia 285M, and the HD LED LCD monitor.
I can say that it is fast. It is also surprisingly cool to the touch, I expected it to be a bit of a furnace.
The processing power comes at the price of it being a power hog. You might get an hour out of the battery. Maybe. The fan stays on much of the time, it is not loud, but it is noticeable.
The fit and finish is very good. The shipping packaging is good too-- the laptop was well protected, yet less over packaged than vendors I have seen lately (I hate things that are needlessly overpackaged).
I could do without the default laptop case, however. It is way to flimsy to carry around a laptop of this caliber in. I will use a Tom Bihn bag instead.
The keyboard has a great feel to it. The touchpad is not so great, I will be using a USB mouse (be advised I hate touchpads though, I prefer trackpointers).
The screen is really nice to look at. I am not used to having a screen that does not latch onto the laptop though, it is a bit odd that it just flips up.
Updates take place in the blink of an eye. You spend most of your time watching the packages download... then the install is over in a few seconds. The CPU hardly ever breaks a sweat. Even the fat bloated pig Eclipse loads quickly. The graphics card makes short work of playing DVD's. The GPU kicks in and does a great job of rendering while the CPU's sit idle and neglected. OpenOffice comes up in a flash.
The e-Sata port will come in handy for expanding the disk space later on.
I will be putting it through its paces as soon as I get the VM's installed.
As for Lucid, it has taken some getting used to. The default theme is nice, but I ditched the purple background. I see that GNOME is getting ever more bloated-- makes me miss ratpoison. I could not get the fullscreen option to work with compiz enabled, but the screen has so much real estate that this does not annoy me as much as it normally would.
Firefox is much better than the early 3.x series, but it is still slow next to Chrome.
I would buy this again given the current choices. It is well made, extremely powerful, and good looking. Since it is a desktop replacement, the lack of a trackpointer and the poor battery life has not bothered me.
Re: Serval Professional Review
Being a new Serval Pro owner, I would agree with your assessment. I do find that the ultra short battery life is the biggest gripe I have with the machine, thereby limiting its usage as a portable laptop. Also a bit on the the heavy side. But other than that, I found the keyboard exceptionally comfortable to use. Lucid runs quite well.
Oh yes, two more gripes and I mentioned it here before, having more to do with the current crop of industrial graphic designers: The hidden on/off switch on the hinge--is that really necessary? Why not a normal switch on the side or clearly marked. Second gripe has to do with relatively dark blue Fn key on a black background. This may have some kind of "artistic" merit, but it really does make it hard to read. Why not use yellow or a more visible color.
Last edited by RedRat; June 14th, 2010 at 09:35 PM.