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Buying a Linux Laptop in Europe - 2019

masonbee Review

(After writing this I sat down and started a list of Linux Laptop Vendors around the world. You can find it here.)

This has to start with a story about Dell. I had just arrived in Paris and needed to buy a laptop that ran Linux and was preferably environmentally friendly. Greenpeace had Dell as third in their environmental list with a c+ and I knew they also did laptops for Ubuntu so I went to Dell France, searched Linux, and went to buy an Inspiron 15 3000. Except the transaction didn't go through because my bank blocked it. So I tried using Paypal and Dell blocked it and cancelled the order. And then I spent a long time sorting it out and clearing it with my bank and tried to order again. Only to have Dell block the transaction.

I received an email after the last try (Also, I forgot to say I also waited a week for Dell to not confirm my first transaction) which basically translated said,

At Dell, we strive to ensure the integrity of credit card transactions to protect our customers. We check the orders to validate the payment details.

Your order has been verified, but unfortunately we were unable to validate the transaction. Therefore, we are obliged to cancel your order. We would be happy to register again if you proceed by bank transfer (the credit card will not pass).

We apologize for the inconvenience we cause you, but rest assured of our special attention to your response.

Dell | Finance Shared Services email translated by Google Translate from French

The bank says the card is fine and all transactions have cleared. Sometimes you just can't give people your money :)

Anyway, that has lead to this point.

  • I am in Europe.
  • I want to buy a laptop for Linux.

What are my options?

CompanyObsidian PCNovaCustomNovaCustomTexedo ComputersSlimbookSlimbookEntroware
ModelN151ZUClevo N770WUClevo N750WUBook BC1507EXCALIBURECLIPSEAether
CPUi5 8265Ui5 8250Ui5 8250Ui5 8300Hi5 of 8th generationi7-7700HQi5 8250U
Drive 1250GB Crucial MX500 SATA3240GB WD Green PCI-e M.2 SSD240GB WD Green PCI-e M.2 SSD250 GB Samsung 860 EVO120GB SSD120GB SSD120GB SSD
Drive 21TB FIRECUDA SSHD1TB Seagate Barracuda1TB Seagate Barracuda1TB Seagate Pro1TB1TB1TB
Screen Size15"17.3″15.6"15.6"15.6"15.6"15"

You can see what sort of hardware points I am heading for. It can assumed that everything is HD, keyboards are backlit, and there is WiFi and Webcams. It isn't that that stuff isn't important to me. It's just to be assumed everything has it and it isn't what I am going to make my choice on.

There are some other differences that aren't on the table though. For instance although I lean towards Slimbooks they have a longer wait time than the other (I think because I want a Qwerty keyboard). I have already waited almost two weeks (Thanks Dell!) so I would like to get some work done soon.

It is pretty clear in fact that the best choice is the Clevo N750WU. Also it has a delivery time of under a week (1-3 days in Germany so probably under a week in France). So for me, we have a winner. I wish it had been the Slimbooks as they support KDE Neon which is my preferred OS but they have been edged out by price and the time factor unfortunately.

Update and review

I ended up going with the Clevo N871EL 17.3″ MX150 Graphical Designer

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8300H Quad Core @2,3GHz 8MB cache
  • Video card: N871EL Nvidia GeForce MX-150 2048MB GDDR5
  • Memory slot 1: 8 GB Kingston DDR4 SODIMM 2666
  • MHzMemory slot 2: No second memory module.
  • PCI-e SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 250 GB PLUS @3.500/2.300MB/s (read/write)
  • S-ATA Storage drive: Seagate Barracuda Compute 1 TB @140MB/s (read)
  • Thermal paste: Phobya NanoGrease Extreme thermal paste for good cooling and performance (thermal conductivity 16 W/mK)
  • WiFi and Bluetooth: Intel AC-9260 WiFi module 1730Mbps, 802.11AC + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Keyboard version: United States (international and NL) QWERTY
  • Plug: European power cord (Schuko)Cable length: 1m/2m cable(s)
  • Warranty: 24 Months of warranty on the product and components + 30 days of dead pixel guarantee
  • Price: €916

That was eight months ago now. At first I had some trouble with the Nvidia graphics overheating but this was a Linux problem not a NovaCustom one. In fact, my experience with NovaCustom has been awesome. After explaining that the noise of the fan really annoyed me they gave me a couple of options.

  • Send it back for a better thermal paste to be applied.
  • Send it back for them to swap the motherboard out for a pure Intel one.

Added to this,the person I dealt with knew what he was talking about, was fantastic to deal with and we went through a couple of options on-site before I returned it and they re-customized it. Really, I can't sing their praises enough and eight months later I am still an extremely happy customer!