I Finally Got a Laptop

A blog about Linux, POSIX scripting, Computer Hardware, Cars, and Anything In-Between

My quest for my new laptop started when I made up my mind on where I was going to go for college and what major I would be going into. Well, I made up my decision and due to opsec I will not reveal what college I eventually chose, but I am going to be studying Aerospace Engineering. With this choice of major I needed to find a laptop, as before I was running an iPad for school and that would frankly not cut it for University. This led me on a huge rabbit hole of laptops, trying to find the “right” one (spoiler: there is none) and I eventually had to compromise.

I had a couple criteria for my new laptop:

While initially I tried very hard to like the Framework 16, which was one of my first choices, however the lack of battery and it not being that well of an established company (at least over time), I was not willing to entrust the next 4 years of my education to a tech startup that can fail at any second. Now, am I saying that Framework will fail? Absolutely not and I would love to own a computer by them someday, but not right now at least. I then looked at System76 and TUXEDO computers. Both fine companies, however their lack of TB4 and weird system configuration (along with weird battery life times) was an instant turnoff.

What did I research?

I then started to look into “gaming-but-not” (or formally marketed as content-creation) laptops, and the two I were able to find were the Dell XPS and the HP Envy. I have always not really liked either of these companies, however if I had to choose between the two I would need to pick the Dell. Before picking the Dell outright, I needed to do some more research, not only between these two laptops, but compare it to any other laptop on the market.

One of my first research areas? Linux support. Spoiler: If you want to find the best information on Linux support, consult the ArchWiki. When I did go on the ArchWiki to find out the Linux support for the XPS vs. Envy, I found that the Dell passed with practically flying colors, whereas on the Envy the sound wouldn’t work under Linux at all unless you used a driver written by some random guy who SAID HIMSELF that it might blow up your speakers. No thanks.

I looked far and wide, from ASUS to Lenovo, but none of them fit the (quite silly) criteria that I had, so none of it worked. A lot of them looked just fine, but didn’t have a discrete GPU or looked fine but were hideously expensive. While I spent many days in this stage, I came to the sad conclusion that no other company makes laptops in a sort of Apple-esque style that also aren’t complete garbage specification wise.

The Dell Experience

Now its just time to choose the size: 13-inch, 15-inch or 17-inch. I initially wanted to get the XPS 15, just because of the slightly smaller size and because it could have a decent GPU and CPU for a nice display. However, I realized that the 15 did not have vapor-chamber cooling, and for a laptop that I am going to be using as an all-in-one I need to squeeze as much performance out of it as possible. This led me to the 17-inch, that along with the vapor-chamber cooling present on it, it also has a slightly larger battery.

Now, the only issue with this laptop is that the webcame is sub-par, however that can easily be resolved with a cheap $15 webcam off Amazon, that I can easily plug into the FOUR TB4 ports (not bad I/O at all). Other than that, the keyboard is great, the display is great, battery life, performance is almost double of my previous PC, and everything is great.

And (drumroll please), for all who are waiting–the final specifications of my new laptop: