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I'm in the market for a new laptop, and portability is important since I really only use it when I'm travelling to and from work - primarily for programming.

I've been searching high and low for something like this:

  • less than 2kg
  • hopefully Intel i5 (but negotiable)
  • NO dvd drive - just don't need it
  • 4G ram
  • either 7200rpm disk or SSD (ssd preferable)
  • 13 inch screen
  • not too pricey (MacBook Air is about $1700 AUD)
  • available in Australia

The Dell Inspiron 13z and Lenovo Edge 13 look close, but I've not found anything that says I'm not going to have a fight with compatibility.

The MacBook Air 13 looks like the PERFECT hardware, but I'm afraid it will just be easier to run MacOS than Ubuntu.

I want to stay with Ubuntu, but the MacBook Air is only $1700 so I'm in danger of becoming another apple fanboi if I can't find anything competitive.

Going through all the sites looking for stuff has been a huge waste of time

  • System 76 doesn't deliver to Australia
  • http://www.linux-laptop.net/ and http://www.linlap.com/ are hard work and not confidence inspiring
  • http://www.vgcomputing.com.au/nsintro.html is hard work again, searching for every laptop they say has excellent compatibility on the web to find out what spec it is
  • http://zareason.com/shop/Strata-Pro-13.html (at $1345 USD) looks interesting, but I've got no idea how much I'll get stung by customs importing
  • Dell Inspiron 13z with i5, 4G, 320 7200rpm disk, ATI Mobility Radeon HD5430 - 1GB, Dell Wireless 1501 802.11b/g/n @ $1200 AUD seems like the only competitor but is it compatible? (Dell support offer no opinion - as far as they are concerned they only have 2 models that are certified for ubuntu)

Am I worrying too much about the compatibility? Should I just go with Dell? Or switch to MacOS?

(It would be good to have a searchable database that had the full machine specs, and compatibility - I'm thinking about building something... but I don't have much time right now...)

Thanks.

UPDATE I went with a MacBook Air. The price/weight/power was just right. Everything else was either too pricy (i5) or too heavy, or underpowered (SU7300 1.3GHz). Its a pity, because I didn't really want to leave Ubuntu. I'll still run it on my media center and spare (heavy) laptop.

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Possible Duplicate: Which computers are guaranteed to work? –  Marco Ceppi Nov 30 '10 at 0:47
    
Possible Duplicate: How do I know if a laptop will work with Ubuntu? –  Marco Ceppi Nov 30 '10 at 0:48
    
Thats a very general question which means: I've got to go to each website, then search the web for the spec of each system they sell, then evaluate the price, weight, performance. Some of them are discontinued or out of date. I've wasted days on this, and I'm thinking I should just get a MacBook AIR. Its just too hard. I don't think anything can really compete. Less choice is good sometimes. –  prule Nov 30 '10 at 0:52
    
Email support@zareason.com and see if they know how much the customs charges would be? –  maco Nov 30 '10 at 2:53
    
ZaReason have already stated on their website that they don't know what the importing costs are for each country, and refer you to contact your local authority. But, see below - re bongous.com freighting costs. Prohibitive. Thanks. –  prule Nov 30 '10 at 3:35
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9 Answers

i would recommend acer aspire 4547g

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Laptop choice really comes down to personal preference and dollars.

Like you I live in Aus and searched high and low for a decent laptop that I could install Ubuntu on - eventaully settled for the Dell 15R and it runs 10.10 netbook no problems, all keyboard buttons function correctly everything, it just worked out of the box.

Recently purchased two Lenovo S10-3 netbooks for my kids and plan to install 10.10 netbook on them as well - I don't forsee any issues that I won't be able to overcome as Ubuntu has become a lot more hardware compatible with every release.

You should also check Lenovo's Au site as they currently have the Thnkpad Edge on sale at a decent price.

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The Edge 13 has slow disks, and after looking around for some time I've come to like the idea of SSD and I don't really want to take a step backwards in CPU. So, if I look for something under 2kg, the laptops under $2000 are low powered. Gotta go to around $2400 to get something light and fast. Which leaves me with MacBook Air or Toshiba Portege R700 which are similar price. A local shop will let me live boot ubuntu on an Air, so I'll see if it works! –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 4:40
    
I could get an Edge 13 and put in an SSD - someone describes it here: forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-Edge/… - So for $1200 I could get an edge with Intel Core2 Duo Processor SU7300 (1.30GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHzFSB), 4GB, approx 1.6kg - and then buy an 80G SSD for $240 computerwholesale.com.au/?398749 –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 4:50
    
From cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php Edge 13 Intel SU7300 @ 1.30GHz Passmark CPU Mark = 973 My current laptop Intel Core2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83GHz Passmark CPU Mark = 1011 so it would be a downgrade as far as cpu goes, but at least it would be lighter and have SSD –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 4:54
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Although it's 12" rather than 13" the Lenovo x200 is really good and generally well supported. I picked up one of the lighter, lower power x200s when they were on special, and I'm very happy with it.

A large number of developers have x200 and x200s laptops; problems are generally hit early and fixed before they make it into a release :)

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Thanks, I started out looking at the x201 because they apparently have great linux compatibility. But they cost a fortune. I think I specced one at $2800. Thats with a massive discount. For that price I think I'd try the Toshiba Protege R700, (approx $2400) but before that, I'd just get a Macbook Air at about $1800. The only Lenovo option for me is an EDGE13 for $760 and then swap out the hard drive with a $250 80G SSD. But the edge only has a core 2 duo 1.3GHz SU7300 - and I don't know how that performs (I mainly want the laptop for java & grails programming on the move) –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 22:14
    
Heh, you can probably tell that the biggest dilemma here for me is - stay with Ubuntu for approx $1000 on a lower spec machine - or move to MacOs for $1800 (slightly faster, lighter, bigger drive & smaller size). –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 22:23
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i would recommend a dell inspiron 15 lappie. as ubuntu doesn't need a heavy multimedia rig...

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I've currently got a Dell Inspiron 1525 - bought 2.5 years ago. It works well, but its heavy and battery life is not good (I've replaced the battery once). I'm looking for something LIGHT (<2kg) hence the 13 inch display and NO dvd requirement. Just noticed the Dell Vostro V130 - looks great, but the review here says battery cannot be replaced and doesn't last long laptopmag.com/review/laptops/dell-vostro-v130.aspx –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 4:24
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I got a new Macbook Air 3,2 a couple of days ago. Installed Ubuntu Desktop 10.10 quite successfully! Everything works great on it. All mac keys and features great! Here are some links to setting up:

With Ubuntu, this is my favorite laptop of ALL time!

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Not that it is a sure answer, but couldn't you use something like laparkan to ship from system 76>overseas mailbox>you?

In my opinion a system 76 system should be your best bet.

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I'd never heard of Laparkan: laparkan.com - A Lemur UltraThin from System76 with Core i3-330UM, 4G, 80 GB Intel X25-M Solid State Drive, and about 1.5kg costs about USD1000 - which is great. system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=106 - I've just got to add on the Laparkan and importing/customs costs to see if it stays competitive. –  prule Nov 30 '10 at 0:55
    
I looked at bongous.com/consolidation_calculator.php and it seems that the freight would cost me around $700. So thats a no go. But thanks for the suggestion. –  prule Nov 30 '10 at 1:23
    
you are welcome :) –  RolandiXor Nov 30 '10 at 2:21
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Dell announced a new one. New Dell Laptop

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Thanks - sounds like the battery life is bad though, see comment above from yesterday. –  prule Dec 1 '10 at 22:06
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Canonical has a list of computers considered "Certified" to work with Ubuntu (essentially the manufactures sent Canonical their computer for Canonical to make an official test to see if the computers work well with Ubuntu).

The list is at http://webapps.ubuntu.com/certification/, and it gets as in depth as whether the computer is a laptop, desktop, server or netbook, so you can get picky like that. I would check Lenovo and HP's laptops/netbooks.

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Thanks, I mentioned that in one of the comments (to the original question) when looking at the Dell Vostro V13. But again, its not a searchable database so its very time consuming and a lot of the certs are talking about Ubuntu 8. A bit old. –  prule Dec 7 '10 at 5:19
    
They can't be talking about ubuntu 8, they only list for 10. 04 and 10.10 –  dkuntz2 Dec 7 '10 at 14:01
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See this question for compatibility of Lenovo's Edge series. The wireless troubles with the Realtek chipset can be overcome (though the connection is lost occasionally). It's a nice enough laptop, but my model with an i3 processor has a rather loud fan constantly spinning, however. This is a major problem. (No difference as far as I can tell between Windows 7 and Ubuntu here.) I suggest you investigate the fan noise as well as speed. (I see that you've already made your choice, but this may be interesting for the benefit of others.)

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