Dell XPS 13 2015 Developer Edition – Ubuntu 15.04

The Dell XPS 2013 2015 (9343) is a much anticipated computer for Ubuntu and Linux enthusiasts. Today I tested a Windows variant of the laptop and was pleasant surprised by how well it worked out of the box with Ubuntu 15.04 beta 2. I was unable to install Ubuntu to the hard drive because the unit is a demo unit that must be returned so I ran off a USB drive. The wireless driver was easily enabled by going to additional drivers. The function controls such as screen brightness, volume and keyboard back light, wireless toggle all worked out of the box with no tweaks. The one hang up is that the audio did not work. There are some ways to work around this problem on the web, but I would like to see the solution Dell decides to use. I did not experience any issues with the trackpad locking up or key repeats that earlier reviews of the Windows model discussed.

With my anticipation high I spoke with a Dell sales rep on-line and found the URL to purchasing the Dell Developer Edition and was told that the units would be shipping in 11 to 14 days. The representative also offered to provide overnight shipping for free.

Dell XPS 13 2015 Ubuntu Developer Edition

Dell XPS 13 2015 Ubuntu Developer Edition

My current computer is a Lenovo T530 with 1920×1080 screen. When I purchased the unit I was impressed by the screen, but after looking at it next to the Dell XPS 13 I am left with an impression that it is just not good enough anymore. The Dell XPS 13 2015 model had much sharper text and a better contrast ratio. The picture below does not do the difference justice. When I purchased the T530 I did so primarily because I wanted a minimum resolution of 1920×1080 and most ultrabooks were being shipped with 1366×768 screens. As you can see from the image below It is amazing how much screen Dell managed to fit in to this chassis.


I just wish I had been able to get an actual Developer Edition to ensure that the one problem item was resolved, but for now I will wait to see if some reviews get posted and what the results are with regards to the audio issues.

UPDATE 4/8/2015: I tested a suggestion made in the comments to reboot Ubuntu twice to get audio working. That worked. Based on that it would appear that Ubuntu 15.04 will run out of the box on the Dell XPS 13 2015 model.

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11 Responses to Dell XPS 13 2015 Developer Edition – Ubuntu 15.04

  1. dreamnid says:

    The title references XPS 12 which seems to be a typo as the article references XPS 13. Can you fix? Thanks!

  2. Just FYI on the Audio:

    * Audio operates differently in Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu.
    * Audio requires two cold boots into a different OS to be changed. Odds are this being a “Windows model” that it was previously booted into Windows. If you cold boot the Ubuntu 15.04 USB stick twice in a row you should have working audio. Audio will stop working when booted into Windows after that until Windows is booted twice in a row as well.

    • Charles Profitt says:

      I will give that a try. I thought I rebooted twice into Ubuntu, but I will double check. I also tested Fedora 21 as well.

  3. Surbakti says:

    Dell XPS 12 2015 Developer Edition ? It should Dell XPS 13 2015 Developer Edition😀

  4. The thing is that this is quite huge resolution for small 13″ screen. I had before 14″ Alienware and FullHD was too much …especially for someone like me who spent a lot of time next to the screen😉

    • Charles Profitt says:

      In my use the screen resolution was just fine. I was able to read the text on the screen easily. It was actually a little more crisp and clear than on my Lenovo T530 which is 1920×1080 on a 15.6″ screen (the b156hw01 v4 panel with 95% gamut).

  5. Pingback: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 412 topic | ubuntu

  6. langley says:

    I suffer from the repeating key issue and recorded a demo video:
    I strongly hope it is an hardware issue and a keyboard change can fix it…

  7. todgermanica says:

    Charles-a year later now, I just linked to your post on the XPS DE. I struggled but got Mint 17.3 running well, so far. Never had any luck with recent Unity Ubuntu distros including Dell’s – I’m too old to relearn a dubious new user interface.
    I’m loving the new Linux Mint 17.3 on my XPS 13 DE (9343).

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