The bottom: System76
System76 has one laptop in my size requirement range (this one), but despite the fact that it gets glowing reviews, its lone processor option is extremely underwhelming to me. What bothers me more is that up until about a month or so ago, System76 offered a 12.6″ laptop that was EXACTLY what I’m looking for, and now it’s completely missing from their site, which disappoints me greatly. Had they kept that option available, I wouldn’t have even bothered writing this article, because I’d already have made a firm buying decision. Now, not so much.
At this point, if I had no other reasonable options, I’d consider buying System76′s “Lemur”, despite its unimpressive CPU and lack of flexibility on other options.
But since I have other reasonable options, this one is squarely at the bottom of my list.
The middle: LinuxCertified
Above the bottom we have LinuxCertified, who, despite their sporting a website that looks like it came straight out of 1997, has a decent selection of laptops with various flavors of Linux pre-installed on them.
The one to which I am immediately drawn is their LC2100SN. Going down the list of options, it has a great number of CPUs which fit my requirements, the ability to handle up to 8GB of RAM, it’s 12.1″, which is perfect for what I want this time around, comes with Ubuntu as an option, has a great starting price, is sold out, has reasonable shipping, is–
Wait a minute. Sold out? Gah. Great.
So. What else do they have?
Well, there’s the next best option, which is the LC2210Si. It’s a 14.1″, so it’s back up near the upper end of my size range again, but it can also handle up to 8GB of RAM (wow!), has lots of CPU options, lots of hard drive options, and has a good starting price. I wish it had an LED backlit display, but hey, for the price, it still isn’t bad at all. LinuxCertified’s laptops are nowhere near as sexy or slick looking as System76′s, though, nor are they as nice as the one currently at the top of my list.
The top: ZaReason
Currently at the top of my list is ZaReason, which has a 14″ laptop called “the Alto 1451” that meets my requirements. Great CPU options, can handle up to 4GB of RAM, lots of hard drive choices, and it’s got a really great look to it that I find very appealing.
Unfortunately, I’m just now noticing that some time over the past couple of days they too have sold out of this, the only option on their site in which I was interested.
So, unless something changes in the next week or two, I might be stuck compromising more than I had wanted, or waiting an indeterminate amount of time for the landscape to change.
So, I’ve discussed several vendors which I’ve already ruled out (Dell, Emperor Linux, The Linux Laptop), and a few that I’ve already been giving serious consideration, but I’m still not finding anything that makes me really enthused or excited right now, at least, not like the one option that System76 had offered that mysteriously vanished from their site last month (and about which I have not received any answers to my questions I’ve emailed to their sales staff).
Sadly, even my compromises as a result of that are now largely gone, meaning I will need to “settle” for something even farther removed from what I originally wanted, or wait Torvalds-knows-how-long for one of these vendors to offer something more in line with my desires.
There is another option though. Since I have a few of you guys out there who occasionally do me the courtesy of a Linux Critic drive-by, I figured I’d throw a plea out there to the Linux loving community to ask you if I’ve missed anyone who might sell me what I really want.
So help me out, guys. In my searches on the web to find the perfect Linux laptop for me, is there another vendor out there I’ve overlooked? Where else should I be checking? Please use the comment thingy and tell me your suggestions!