Dell Launches its Third "Sputnik" Ubuntu Ultrabook

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rodbowler

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Looks good, except for the weak GPU. Come on guys, a Iris 5200 should be available, and perhaps a discrete GPU option.
 

JD88

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Awesome notebook. Quality on the XPS 13 is top notch and it looks like they got the specs right as well. Ubuntu is just icing on the cake. I wish we would start seeing a "developer edition" on across Dell's entire line of products, perhaps with a slight price advantage over Windows based units.

If the average consumer had any idea Ubuntu existed, how good it is, and that it's free, I think units running it could be really desirable. This would especially be true if every price tag had an "Ubuntu or Windows" option in which the Ubuntu version was about $40-50 cheaper to reflect its free nature.
 

rodbowler

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Looks good, except for the weak GPU. Come on guys, a Iris 5200 should be available, and perhaps a discrete GPU option.
 

JD88

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The issue here is likely space for thermal dissipation and power draw. So far, Iris 5100 and 5200 graphics have not been made available on chips under 25W. Both of the chips listed in the article are 15W units.

This is a very thin and light Ultrabook. Those higher power chips simply get too hot and use too much power and therefore aren't really a viable option in this case.
 

Damon Palovaara

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I wish more computers would start coming with Ubuntu. It's free so the manufacturers wouldn't have to bloat the computer up with ad-ware to make up the costs of Windows 7/8
 

stevejnb

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I quite like this idea, as it's great to get other OS's on commercially available machines for people who want them, and the hardware on this is definitely upper echelon, but I question if this is the right price range to push with a free OS. Simply put, one of the biggest advantages of Linux is that you don't pay the licensing fee, so packaging it on a machine where only a small fraction of the cost is constituted that OS minimizes that advantage. Also, laptops costing $1500'ish are a bit of a niche or business item anyways, so market penetration isn't going to be spectacularly high. I'd rather see some $400'ish laptops with Ubuntu on it to actually push it. On top of that, most Linux enthusiasts are capable enough to get the machine they want and stick Linux on it, so they can pick and choose.

It may not be Dell's intention to pick Linux, and my guess is they have very low sales expectations for this item. In any case, good thing - I hope to see more machines, and lower end machines pre-loaded with various Linux builds.
 

JD88

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Yeah you've got the right idea. Using a free OS on the low end to (ideally) provide a better system hardware wise is smart. This is pretty much the model Chromebooks use right now.

The biggest problem with this model is that profit margins are pretty slim. Sometimes the cost of a Windows license is made up by the money the OEMs get from putting bloatware and adware on Windows machines. In may cases, that money is all the OEM makes on the sale of the laptop.

The advantage to this particular machine is the fact that we know Ubuntu works 100% out of the box with no fiddling as Dell will provide drivers. When buying a new Laptop, a Linux user has to be careful because the drivers are not always there. I'm still trying to get brightness to work on my Lenovo Y400 when working in Ubuntu.

 

wildlyinaccurate

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> $1,250 is pretty expensive even for an ultrabook class laptop. Even the base 13" Macbook Air is $150 less

Yes, but the Air comes with a low-resolution TF panel. The Dell (and most ultrabooks these days) comes with a high-resolution IPS panel. It's a night-and-day difference when you see them side-by-side.
 

wildlyinaccurate

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For $1300 you get an i5 and 128GB SSD. Try configuring one with an i7 and 256GB SSD - it'll cost you $1800. I guess you also get a more powerful i7 and a better screen, plus the extra ports you mentioned. Regardless, I still think the Dell is definitely *not* overpriced.

Don't get me wrong, I'm typing this on an Air and I'm seriously considering getting a MBPr. It's just personally, I don't think the MBPr is worth the extra money since I'd install Linux on it anyway. I also travel a lot so cost aside, the extra bulk of the MBPr is a bit of a turn-off.
 

JD88

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How is Linux on the Air in terms of compatibility? The MBA has a really nice package but for the money that screen is low rent.
 

wildlyinaccurate

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I haven't tried myself (the Air I use is for work, so I can't put Linux on it) but I've been following progress on the Arch forums and most of the issues seem to have been ironed out now. The only thing that still doesn't work is the external speakers, which sucks. Headphones work, but still...

As far as I know, it's only the most recent Airs (mid-2013) which have problems. I know people who run Linux on the 2012 models with no trouble, and they get good battery life improvements over OSX.
 
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