Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Nov 27, 2021 - 3 minute read - Comments - computers

Loving the laptop

I have a new favorite laptop. I needed a new non-work laptop and Linux is my OS of choice. It has been for at least a decade, but recently that favoritism has been cemented since I chose to use a Macbook Pro for work. After 6 months with the Mac, I’m finally starting to feel productive with it, but it has been a painful re-learning (and un-learning) process. I still fondly return to my Linux machines at the end of the work day. Mac OS X is just too “in-your-face” for me.

So I started planning to get another ThinkPad when I heard about on Hacker News. They are a startup focused on building functional, modular, repairable laptops which are also beautiful, light and fun to use. Check out their “About” page for more about their mission, but it resonated with me. I’ve always loved pokeing around my computers and it’s unfortunately gotten much harder to do that with all of my electronic devices. is fighting against that trend. laptop contents laptop contents

They have a DIY option where you install your own RAM, SSD and WiFi module. Even the non-DIY option comes in with external pluggable modules so you can configure your accessories. I got 2 USB-C ports, a USB-A port, an HDMI-port, and an SD-card reader. But it’s simple to pop out a module and pop in a new one. I don’t see myself doing that too much, but when I do need that SD card reader, I’ll be smiling. Setting up the DIY parts was fun and easy. Each part has a QR code on the part and on the location in the laptop where it gets installed, which points to detailed instructions. laptop insides laptop insides

Ubuntu 20.04 doesn’t work out of the box (WiFi issues, I think?), so I installed 21.04, and everything works except for the fingerprint reader (which never worked with Ubuntu for me on my ThinkPad either). There are instructions to build the software needed to get it to work, but I’ll wait for it to get rolled into a future OS release (I’m old).

Overall, the computer itself is a dream. The screen is large and bright. The keyboard is dreamy, compared to my Thinkpad X1 Carbon. I think it’s better than my MacBook Pro too, but honestly that thing is too huge to use as a laptop so I always use it with an external keyboard. The computer is light and the battery life is more than adequate for my needs (though there are gripes and workarounds on the forums about this). laptop laptop

I thought that there would be more rough edges to the whole process, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I hope others like it as much as I do so that the company sticks around!

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