I recently made a decision to purchase a System76 Gazelle Professional over either a Lenovo T530 or a Lenovo X1 Carbon. The glowing reviews the X1 Carbon was getting in the media had me wondering about my decision. Today I was lucky enough to get a demo unit of the X1 Carbon and had time to try Ubuntu on it.
On the surface it would seem the easy part of the decision is do I want power and ports, or slim and sleek. I, however, was torn between the two alternatives. The single most important factor to me in picking a laptop is getting a quality display. The X1 Carbon does not suffer from the terrible 1366×768 displays that plague most laptops, but it is not up to the quality standards in the Gazelle Professional. The colors are slightly muted and I could see visible dots when certain colors were displayed. I did like the fifteen step brightness offered on the X1 Carbon. The Gazelle Professional seems to only allow four steps which makes it tougher to adjust to ‘just the right’ brightness.
The special function buttons such as the wireless toggle, brightness adjustment, volume, mute, play and pause buttons all worked out of the box. This has been my typical experience with Lenovo Thinpad products.
The keyboard was absolutely wonderful on the X! Carbon, good feedback and excellent feel. I was able to activate two finger scrolling and two finger clicks were equivalent to the right mouse button. Idle temperatures were in the 34C range, but when I started using the computer to do work the temperatures were between 44C and 52C. The unit I had to test used the Intel Core i5-3427U which is a dual core process with hyper threading. The unit did not automatically mount my SD card nor my USB flash drive, but I was able to mount them both manually.
In the end the laptop was a very solid and compelling ultrabook. If you are a person who values slim and sultry in your laptops this would be an excellent choice for an Ubuntu user. While it will not measure up to a performance unit like the Gazelle Professional, it is much better than most of the other ultrabooks on the market and the hardware was supported out of the box for Ubuntu. I ran System Testing and submitted the results so hopefully the results will show up on the web soon.