Notes: The 2015 Dell XPS 13, Linux

I recently purchased a 2015 Dell XPS 13. The new laptop replaces my four-year-old Lenovo x220.

Just some quick thoughts on the upgrade:

  • This screen is fantastic. It’s the 1080p, matte FHD. Initially I was going to go with the “4k” but HiDPI isn’t there yet (on any platform) and, mainly, glossy screens are silly.

  • The keyboard is good, not great. After four years of using the best laptop keyboard ever produced (I will fight you) it’s hard to see other keyboards as “great.” In any case, there’s a known key bounce problem that occasionally causes repeated keystrokes. Ubuntu (Unity, actually) includes de-bouncing software so it hasn’t been noticable.

  • Speaking of problems, the trackpad driver for Linux doesn’t support palm detection just yet. This has been noticeable because it’s incredibly annoying when your cursor jumps across the screen while you’re typing.

  • Ubuntu 15.04 works out of the box, sans the above input problems.

  • The speakers are great. Quite loud and they resonate through the laptop in a way that makes them feel larger than they are.

  • The headphone jack is really tight. I thought it was one of those old BlackBerry-style 2.5mm adapters at first. 3.5mm fits…if you push hard enough.

  • It’s not a great idea to judge battery life on one day of usage but I won’t be surprised if this gets 10 or 11 hours on a charge.

  • No kidding, this screen is fantastic.