occasional laptop for developer

Michael Robinson

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Mar 14, 2013
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I do most my work on a full size desktop but occasionally I'm travelling or on holiday and wanted a laptop I could work with. My last laptop was an Acer chromebook converted to Linux with 64GB and the 2955U processor. In all honesty it was powerful enough for compiling etc though the 2GB RAM was a bit tight even for Linux. I'd also prefer a 13" screen. I'd prefer SSD to EMCC. I don't mind paying more for quality. I'd prefer either Win 10 or Linux. I was looking at the UX305 but obviously it's more money. Any other suggestions?
 

Michael Robinson

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Mar 14, 2013
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You can't upgrade the RAM on Chromebooks. I'm very flexible on budget (£200 - £700). Ultra high definition screens are probably wasted on my ageing eyes. Maybe I should say what I've seen and liked: I like the new Toshiba Chromebook 2 but we don't get the backlit keyboard version here in the UK. I like the XPS 13 but suspect I'm paying a lot for a high def screen that my eyes can't make use of. The UX305 looks ideal but is little different to a modern chromebook with an SSD upgrade and Linux. I loved the look and feel of the Asus chromebook flip but the screen is just too small to work on and the drive is fixed to 16GB. The Acer Chromebook 15 with 4GB RAM would be ideal if it wasn't so damn big. An Intel processor is probably best for me if I later convert the laptop to Linux or use steam.
 
I have upgraded my Acer C710 to 4gb RAM, put 120GB SSD, fixed the Bios, and it became quite usefull cheap Linux laptop (I wish it was a little bigger, 11.3" goes a little bit small for my eyes, too).

It seems you're looking toward Chromebook-hacked-into-Linux. I don't know how well latests Chromebooks are supported by John Lewis' firmware, but I would rather look at "native" laptop than hacked one.

I would immediately suggest Dell Inspiron Ubuntu, but it seems it's available in 15.6" only, and it comes too big for you. I would rather go with some 14" Latitude, and either dual-boot or plain old VM Linux on it. They are available with full HD, matte screens, and choice of HDD or SSD.
 

Michael Robinson

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Mar 14, 2013
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The C710 must be one of the very few chromebooks you can upgrade the RAM on then. I have the C720 and the processor is fine but I find the screen too small and the KB and screen are both a bit too buget. I'd be happy with a chromebook if I could find a 4GB RAM model with a CPU better or same as the 2955U, a 13" screen and just a better build all round. Intel processors make it easier for converting to Linux. Of course you want a model with upgradeable SSD as 16GB don't go far even with Linux and there's the trouble and risk of upgrading a suitable chromebook. It would be easier to just buy a win 10/ Linux laptop and take the hit on the price. There's so much choice out there it's difficult to make up my mind. Hence my question ...
 

Michael Robinson

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Mar 14, 2013
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I decided in the end to go for 2 laptops! I tried everything including the XPS13 and UX305, UX360 and surface book. They were definitely great laptops but it was difficult to see why these were £800 - £1200 while the Asus Chromebook Flip which appeared to be a similar quality went for £250! I ordered the flip today and intend dual booting with Linux which means it will be a laptop/tablet that can run ChomeOS, Linux and Android apps. The only problem is it's really too small to develop on so I'm planning on getting yet another chromebook, the Acer 15 (4GB), swapping out the SSD for something larger and swapping ChromeOS for Linux. I was really impressed by this laptop in the shop - I liked the speed, look and feel. I really liked the white model but that only appears to come in 2GB here which is a shame. I also liked the price - £240. I'll probably wait a bit before ordering one though just in case I can live with only the flip or in case they release something better in the UK.
 

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