Linus Torvalds is the creator of Linux and for his daily use he has the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop.
Why would he choose this laptop to use? Well, it is apparent that he needed a laptop that will serve him well as a programmer and why not use Linux hardware that had qualities such as great polish, great feel, great look and great components to work with, not only for a programmer but also for many other users interested in merely a consumer laptop or for writers and filmmakers, basically, this laptop has everything for almost everyone.
For a man whose day is mainly taken by his programming work, he made it clear that he does not use his laptop as a desktop replacement. His main concern is for the laptop that he chooses is travel-friendly that is it should be small and light. He also pointed out that the laptop should have a good screen, a real desktop processor and should have a lot of RAM.
But, let us have an in depth look at the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop, at its features and what makes it the choice of one of the best programmers in the world.
This laptop has a very powerful CPU which is powered by Intel’s 6th generation CPU i7-6560U Kaby Lake chip which bumps up the speed of the laptop a good 10 percent. It also comes with an Intel Iris 540 graphics. That is not all as it also has a 16GB of RAM and a 500GB PCI Solid State Drive. Great thing about this laptop is the fact that it comes with the hardware already assessed and its drivers are preinstalled and configured.
Let us talk display.
This laptop uses the InfinityEdge display which makes child’s play in fitting 13 inch screen into a body that looks and feels like an 11 inch laptop.
The Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop has the best display edition on a laptop. it is fitted with HiDPI touchscreen which gives a user the best working experience with no pixels visible. The best thing about it is that one does not have to struggle with a touchpad or a mouse you can simply reach out and touch the screen to divert you to what you want.
The touchscreen comes with Gnome which when used on the touchscreen, it scales everything making it easy to use the HiDPI touchscreen. Gnome is not a firm favorite for Torvalds, “The new laptop has the same resolution as my desktop, but apparently because the laptop screen is smaller, Gnome seems to decide on its own that I need an automatic scaling factor of 2, which blows up all the stupid things (window decorations, icons etc) to a ridiculous degree,” Torvalds said.
Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop has a battery life of about 6 hours with a HiDPI screen, a great feature for this laptop.
For those who find themselves travelling a lot, attending conferences or basically in a situation where getting power will be difficult, you need not worry about battery life so much as this laptop can last you a good six hours.
Torvalds is also quite relaxed about battery life on his laptop as he said, “I cannot recall the last time I did not have access to power, I might not want to bother to plug it in for some quick check, but it is not a big overwhelming issue. By the time battery life is in ‘more than a couple of hours’, I just do not care very much anymore.”
Just like its predecessors, the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop has the same full aluminum exterior and a frame which makes it have a sturdy feel to it and very light. Its USB ports are pretty much the same with two USB ports, one with PowerShare and the other with Thunderbolt.
It also has a 3-in-1 card reader, DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA and HDMI. You will need to buy an adapter separately.
The XPS 13 has a 720p webcam which has nothing to write home about really, at its best, it only gets used for chatting and conferencing.
Carbon fiber was used to make the palm rests and the keyboard remained the same as its previous predecessors. Its touchpad is the same with a noticeable “stickiness” to it but nothing disturbing.
As mentioned before, the Kaby Lake feature gives this laptop a 10 percent boost in its performance making it fast and quite reliable and giving the user the best experience when working on high resolution videos and doing daily tasks like compiling programs and browsing the net.
It is named as a developer because it comes installed with tools that will help a programmer improve programs. Examples of tools that are preinstalled are Virtualbox, Ubuntu, Python, Chromium browser, Firefox, Cloud Launcher and Profile Tool.
For a more listed list of the features that make this laptop what it is, read below:
- Screen of 3200 x 1800 IPS touch panel with QHD+ resolution
- Has Ubuntu Linux 16.04 OS
- A Kaby Lake Intel i7-7500U
- 16GB RAM 1866 MHz
- GPU Intel HD Graphics 520
- HDD 512GB PCle SSD
- 2 USB 3.0 ports one with PowerShare and the other with Thunderbolt. 3-in-1 card reader, DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA and HDMI, Ethernet and USB-A via Dell Adapter which is sold separately
- Size 304mm x 200mm x 9-15mm
- Weight of 2.9lbs (1.29kg)
- Battery 4-cell 60Whr
- Other goodies are its precision touchpad, 720p webcam, new rose gold color option and an optional 1535 Wireless-AC adapter.
This is a laptop for those who like Torvalds do a lot of programming or work a lot with high resolution video editing.
If you are out looking for a new laptop and you do not know how to make head or tail of which hardware is which I would say that this laptop is a great machine if what you are looking for is a machine that is modish, powerful, very light to carry and runs Linux without any problems.
If the above is what you are looking for, then the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition laptop is what you need.
Finally, although Torvalds chose to use the XPS 13, he also has given praise and owns the latest Lenovo X1 Carbon, HP Spectre 13 x360 and Lenovo Yoga 900
Other People’s Comments
What did other people have to say about this laptop? I scoured the internet to find out some of the advantages and disadvantages others listed and how their experiences were when using this laptop. Below are some of my favorite comments.
“I like the Surface Pro 3, but I need a laptop that has good performance + a good keyboard + long battery life. So far the XPS 13 appears to have answered all of my prayers. Here are some of my quick thoughts on the device thus far:
– Beautiful “bezel-less” screen. Wide viewing angles. Can be viewed in direct sunlight
– Thin screen bezel allows this 13″ laptop to fit within an 11″ laptop size chassis
– Build quality is solid. There’s no flex in the keyboard or the bottom of the device
– Thin, light weight, and ultra-portable. Its soft touch carbon fiber material looks and feels premium
– Performance is good for a low power, Intel core processor
– You can opt to save money and battery life and get the 1920×1080 non-touch screen model, or you can upgrade to the 3200 x 1800 touch screen model
– HD Video looked good and worked as you expect it to
– While researching Ultrabooks, I found many to have trackpad issues. The XPS 13 doesn’t have this problem. Its trackpad is accurate and nicely sized
– The trackpad allows you to perform some gestures (scrolling, pinch and zoom, etc.) that will help you miss the touch screen less, should you go with the non touch screen model
– It includes 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi for maximum wireless performance. Bluetooth 4.0 is included as well
– It has a backlit keyboard
– Battery life is great. Plus you can add a small external battery to increase battery life even further
– Low starting price, although I would suggest that most upgrade to the i5, 8GB ram unit.
– It has a full size SD card slot, which should make photographers happy. Note that 1/3 of the SD card protrudes from the slot
– Includes a display port. Optional Dell adapter allows you to add HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet ports. Or you can get a cheap HDMI adapter
– Optional docking station supports up to three external monitors, including 1 4K monitor
– The PCIe M.2 SSD drive is upgradable. Unless you need 512GB, the Dell $100 upgrade to 256GB is a good value.
– You can plug the AC adapter into the optional external battery, then plug the external battery into the XPS to charge the XPS and external battery simultaneously.
– The fan kicks in when you are taxing the system. If you use the High Performance power setting, the fan seems to run constantly
– The screen on the touch-screen version is very glossy. I don’t mind glossy but some people will.
– Key travel on the keyboard is a tad bit shallow. It’s not bad but it’s worth noting.
– Due to the thin bezel, the web cam is under the screen. As a result, your fingers may show up on the webcam while you type during webcam sessions
– The body can get warm, although I have yet to experience uncomfortable warmth
– Air vents are on the bottom so be careful about resting the XPS 13 on your bed or rug
– The speakers are on the sides instead of the front and sound tiny
– The low entry price increases quickly once you add a few upgrades
– No HDMI port, although you can add one via an optional Dell Adapter
– No Stylus pen support.
– No 4G option as of this writing
– Don’t expect to play 3D games with this laptop as its integrated graphics can’t handle it
– Just like with all Windows Computers, before you begin using your XPS 13, run Windows Update. Repeat running Windows Update until there are no more updates available.
– If you have the Ethernet equipped Dell adapter accessory, consider using the Ethernet port to speed up the update process.
– If you encounter a failed update, restart your computer and try again. Another thing to try is a clean restart before performing the update. (Google: windows 8 clean restart)
– I find that I get the least amount of fan noise when I use the default Dell Power Settings. In High Performance mode, the fan runs constantly.
– Unless you need 512GB of storage or more, get the Dell $100 256GB SSD upgrade. It’s more economical than an aftermarket upgrade to 256GB (unless you can sell the 128GB PCIe M.2 SSD drive you are replacing).” By Quentin Moore