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Laptops for Linux
While Lenovo has made it borderline impossible to install a Linux-based OS on one of its flagship laptops, there are plenty of alternatives for those who want to break with Windows.
We take a look at some more Tux-friendly machines out there–both those that ship with a Linux-based OS, and others that are happy to let you install it yourself.
Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition
The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is the laptop for running Linux, at least according to Linux creator Linus Torvalds.
This is a high-end machine–it’s fast and has a pin-sharp display–but with a price tag to match.
The $1,949.99 XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch display with a 3,200 u00d7 1,800 touchscreen, an Intel Core i7-6560U processor, Intel Iris 540 graphics, 16GB DDR3 memory, a 512GB SSD and a 56WHr battery. It weighs 2.9lbs and runs Ubuntu 14.04.
HP Spectre x360
Praised for offering “incredible value for money” while not skimping on design, the x360 offers a slim aluminium frame, fast processor, attractive screen and comfortable keyboard.
The convertible Windows laptop/tablet seems to work fine with Ubuntu 16.04, although you may need to upgrade to Linux kernel version 4.6 if you run into problems with the graphics.
For $899 you get a 13.3-inch WLED-backlit IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, Intel HD 520 graphics, 4GB memory, 128GB SSD and a three-cell 56WHr battery. The machine weighs from 1.48kg.
Chromebook Pixel 2015
A favorite of ZDNet’s Linux expert Steven Vaughan-Nichols, the Chromebook Pixel 2015 earned praise for being one of the fastest Chromebooks around and for its stunning display.
Running another Linux-based OS alongside its native Chrome OS is also relatively straightforward, using a Chrome extension called Crouton Integration.
The $1,299 machine packs a 12.85-inch display with 2,560 x 1700 resolution at 239 PPI, has an Intel Core i7-5500U processor, Intel HD 5500 graphics, 16GB DDR3 memory, a 64GB SSD and up to 12 hours of battery life. It weighs 3.3lbs.
A laptop for those who love Linux but don’t want to compromise on processing power, the System76 Bonobo has the latest hardware under the hood but is on the pricey side.
Like all System76 machines, the $2,499+ laptop runs Ubuntu, in this case 16.04. Specs-wise the base model offers a 17.3-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, 8GB DDR4 memory, a 128GB M.2 SSD and an eight-cell 89WHr battery. The machine weighs in at 10.58lbs.
If you’re in the market for a smaller and cheaper machine, System76 also sells the Gazelle.
The $699 machine runs Ubuntu 16.04 but is obviously lower specced. The basic model offers a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display, an Intel Core i3 6100H processor, Intel HD 530 graphics, 4GB of DDR4L memory, a 400GB/7,200RPM HDD and a six-cell 62.16WHr battery. It weighs 5.2lbs.
ZaReason Strata 8110
Fellow Linux-specialists ZaReason offer a series of laptops running a wide range of Linux distros.
The Strata 8110 starts at $849, which will get you a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 LED display, an Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB DDR4 memory, a 500GB/5,400RPM HDD and a six-cell battery that lasts up to three hours. The machine weighs 5.4lbs.
Another mid-range Linux laptop, the Penguin Adelie is available with a variety of Linux distros and will set you back from $949.
The base machine offers a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display, an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, Intel HD 530 graphics, 4GB DDR3 memory, a 320GB HDD and a six-cell battery that lasts up to six hours. It weighs about 5.51lbs.
Not technically a Linux laptop, but given Android is a Linux-based OS the Superbook promises to be a novel take on the idea.
The Superbook is a $99 shell of a laptop that you turn into a laptop by plugging in your Android smartphone.
While the processing power is provided by the phone, the laptop case is reminiscent of a MacBook Pro, offers a 11.6-inch HD display, up to eight hours of battery life and runs a desktop operating system that is provided via the Andromium app. The Superbook is due to ship next year.
The Libiquity Taurinus X200 has been cleansed of proprietary software, right down to the drivers and firmware used by the hardware.
The Free Software Foundation-approved machine is based on the now relatively old Lenovo ThinkPad X200 and will set you back $445.
The laptop has a 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 display, an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz processor, Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, 2GB RAM and a 160GB HDD. It runs the Ubuntu-based Trisquel 7.0 OS and weighs from 3.24lbs.