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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu 166

Posted by timothy
from the chromebook-has-cooler-leds-though dept.
ClaraBow writes "I find it interesting that Dell has started selling a thin and light touchscreen laptop called the XPS 13 Developer Edition, which will have Ubuntu Linux OS and Intel's fourth-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell. The laptop, code-named Sputnik, has a 13.3-inch touchscreen and will run on Ubuntu 12.04 OS. It is priced starting at $1,250 and is available in the U.S." One thing I wish was addressed in the blog post announcing this newest entry in the Sputnik line, or its listed specs (bad news beats not knowing, in this case), is battery life.
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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu

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  • What's interesting about it? Usual summary qualities here on slashdot, the editors can't even copy and paste in a useful manner.

    • by simonbp (412489)

      It doesn't come with Windows or OSX.

      Not exactly hard to do, but still exceedingly rare for laptops in the US.

      • And at $1,250, overpriced. And of course they can then point to poor sales as to why they only sell Windows laptops / tablets at a reasonable price.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And at $1,250, overpriced. And of course they can then point to poor sales as to why they only sell Windows laptops / tablets at a reasonable price.

          It comes with one year support with the option of extending the support. Perhaps this is why Dell is trying out the market with Linux. It is billed as a developer device so one would think that the specs are for those who run and compile software not exactly your average joe consumer. If you notice the price is slightly lower than a comparable Mac Book PRO. The only difference is the screen res as Mac Books have a Retina Display, whatever the hell that is LOL. So this is not designed to be sold in the box s

          • Why the hate for Windows?

            Linux has its place, but Windows isn't evil...

            Unless you know something I don't of course. :) Maybe Windows turns into SkyNet or something...

            • by Teun (17872)
              I don't read any hate for Windows but I do read the usual,based on facts, warnings against Microsoft.

              Windows has it's place but it's not because MS has such a clean rap sheet forcing it upon us.

              • Windows found it's place in a landfill back in October 2012 when I switched to Linux. So yes, it has it's place. Also, most companies try selling Linux laptops on severely underpowered hardware and then they complain it doesn't sell. But really, it doesn't matter what Dell does, they are old news just like every other PC maker that sells Windows only hardware; which is why Microsoft has a future problem.

                • by exomondo (1725132)

                  Also, most companies try selling Linux laptops on severely underpowered hardware and then they complain it doesn't sell.

                  A huge part of the advantage of Linux is not requiring such highend specs to run so that is not the problem, the value proposition is that you don't have to buy such expensive hardware to run it. Otherwise ultimately why switch to Linux? If not for cost then why abandon all your application compatibility on Windows or OSX?

          • So, again, what exactly is worth the extra price?

            The support? Would a developer really need that? 1 year of support is not worth $500

            It sure as hell isn't the specs, you can get a Lenovo ( or HP equivalent ) g500s touch ($550-600ish, either keep the 6GB RAM or spend $60 for 16GB upgrade) as a mobile dev platform for ~1/2 the price. All you have to do is install Ubuntu / Debian / whatever on it - and I would hope devs can do this simple task- and pretty much everything works OOTB. This includes the touchsc

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              It sure as hell isn't the specs, you can get a Lenovo ( or HP equivalent ) g500s touch ($550-600ish, either keep the 6GB RAM or spend $60 for 16GB upgrade) as a mobile dev platform for ~1/2 the price.

              It's less portable, heavier and with less than half the screen pixels on a larger display making the resolution far less than half that of the Dell, no SSD, far slower CPU, 1 year next day onsite warranty and of course the year of support (whether you need that is a different story). If it were similarly priced to the G500s I would be wondering why the hell the G500s was such terrible value in comparison. What I'm wondering is why you ignored the obvious and non-trivial differences in specifications between

              • Yeah, CPU wise it's pretty much the same, the i5-4200U gains maybe 2-6% on the i5-3230M.

                As for screen real-estate I didn't see the 1080P, and even then it is not worth the extra money. For ~$100 and 1 extra pound you can get a second USB monitor @15" and the same res as your laptop for a mobile dual screen setup. Dual screen would be more useful, especially at the sizes we are talking about.

                As for the HDD, what the hell are you going to do with 128GB, carry around an external drive everywhere too? There go

                • by exomondo (1725132)

                  Yeah, CPU wise it's pretty much the same, the i5-4200U gains maybe 2-6% on the i5-3230M.

                  The battery saving is significant and the GPU performance increase of the former is also significant.

                  As for screen real-estate I didn't see the 1080P, and even then it is not worth the extra money. For ~$100 and 1 extra pound you can get a second USB monitor @15" and the same res as your laptop for a mobile dual screen setup. Dual screen would be more useful, especially at the sizes we are talking about.

                  As for the HDD, what the hell are you going to do with 128GB, carry around an external drive everywhere too? There goes your weight benefits.

                  Hang on, so you won't carry a portable HDD if you needed one but you advocate carrying an additional USB monitor?! And no, if you need extra space you could use an sd card or carry a 0.3lb external HDD which makes it still less than the lenovo.

                  If carrying an extra 1-2 pounds is going to kill you, you have some pretty serious health problems and really should spend the money on a Doctor / gym membership...

                  Nice argumentum ad absurdum, I shouldn't worry about things unless they are going to kill me.

                  There also is no reason to need SSD performance when coding into terminals / eclipse, other than e-peen bragging rights.

                  Right because nobody actually compiles that code or runs programs that act

        • It's available in Canada too, at $1289.99 to start....

          http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-9333/pd?oc=cax13u1238&model_id=xps-13-9333 [dell.com]

          For those who don't want to click the link (or if the link is geo-locked)....
          Core i5 4200U (2.6GHz)
          13.3" 1920x1080 touchscreen display
          8GB DDR3 memory (1600MHz)
          128GB SSD
          Intel HD 4400 graphics
          Ubuntu 12.04
          Weight: 3.04lbs
          Warranty: 1 year Next Business Day onsite support (after remote diagnosis, also 1 year). You can extend that to 3 years, and you can also buy up to 3 year

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:54PM (#45445459)
      We love Linux, that's why.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:58PM (#45445475) Homepage

      It's from a major OEM, it runs Linux which hopefully means it has Linux-friendly hardware and good Linux drivers. That's enough to be newsworthy on slashdot, which still hopes Linux will overtake the market share of such gems as Windows Vista and Windows 8 ;)

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Except Dell have offered products with the choice of running windows for several years now...

    • by ClaraBow (212734)
      It's a high-end, slick laptop with Linux preinstalled. In the past, Dell has focused on low-end Linux offerings. So it is very interesting -- this could be the beginning of a new trend if Dell can sell enough of them.
      • by AdamWill (604569)

        " In the past, Dell has focused on low-end Linux offerings"

        Well, not really, because they've been selling this system for like two years now. This is just the Haswell bump for it.

    • I find it interesting that BUY THIS PRODUCT NOW ** Awesome features!! ** Relevant to your audience!!! **

    • by dov_0 (1438253)
      What's useful about it? I mean the laptop itself this time. You have a keyboard and a touchpad. Why reach further and touch the screen? Touch screens are great on tablets, but somewhat limiting. Why the hell would they be useful on a laptop or a desktop? Just seems like more work for the same results to me.
      • by pmontra (738736)
        Sometimes I had the instinct of touching the buttons of a dialog without of reaching for the touchpad. Moving a finger to the screen is faster than aiming the mouse/touchpad and clicking. Maybe scrolling isn't, as I'd have to keep the arm raised for a longer time and rolling the mouse wheel or a two finger swipe on the touchpad are much more comfortable. Maybe there are no other useful use case for touch on laptops (is pinch to zoom common?) but maybe as a web developer I better have a touchscreen if people
      • So don't use it.

        I have a feeling they're including it because a 13.3" 1920x1080 screen with touch is cheaper than one without, due to economies of scale, and the fact that Windows is going in the direction of touch screen mandatory.

        Besides, if it's being marketed as a developper system, having the touch as an option for one more thing you can test before your users do is a good thing.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:42PM (#45445405)
    It's interesting that a company that pretty much vowed to only be wintel is branching out.
    I am guessing microsoft upsetting people with surface has thawed large companies to alternatives.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't their first Linux offering, they previosly sold desktops with Ubuntu preinstalled under the moniker "N Series".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This isn't their first Linux offering, they previosly sold desktops with Ubuntu preinstalled under the moniker "N Series".

        I bought a Dell Vostro 15" laptop with Ubuntu on it earlier this year for about $450. Nothing super fast, but I needed a laptop to code & test on when I travel.

        I think it's great that Dell is offering a top of the line hardware product with Linux, but starting at $1,250 is ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as Google Pixel for that price, but still.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          The Pixel has a _really_ nice screen. The resolution of this one is what I'd consider a bare minimum for a developers machine.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        And they've already been selling this system for like two years. This is just a spec bump.

    • Dell can't vow to do only wintel, since a big part of their server systems are sold to run Linux or some hypervisor. They have to have Linux knowledge and support available anyway, so it doesn't hurt to every once in a while toss a laptop that has 100% linux supported components out there for the shops that like/require those. It's more or less a token effort, since they aren't vowing to support Linux on all their devices, or even to strive to get to that point in a certain time frame. As long as there's a
      • by gavron (1300111)

        Yeah, they can.

        We've watched our server purchases go from 100% Dell to 50% Dell/ 50% HP to 100% 3rd party in the
        last four years as Dell has become 100% wintel and HP has ratecheted up their pricing without a
        commensurate increase in performance or reliability.

        This happened despite our being a Dell Premiere client, having "direct access" to get bulk deals,
        delivery, and sometimes even pricing. Dell turned into a Microsoft shop around mid-2012 -- long
        before it was clear they would eventually be seeking Microsof

  • OR System76 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmd (14060) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:44PM (#45445409)

    https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/daru4

    a bit cheaper

    • by fnj (64210)

      I didn't happen to see anything under 14.1", 0.9" thick, and 4.6 lb there. That is a completely different class from 13.3", 0.7", and 3.0 lb. I own two systems (13.3 and 14.1) that differ in physical dimensions by approximately the same amount, and believe me, it is like night and day.

      The 14.1" is GIGANTIC and weighs as much as a LOCOMOTIVE. That would be your reaction after coming from a 13.3" lightweight.

      For real portability, the 13.3" is the sweet spot - if you can read the screen - which, sadly, I can't

    • by kervin (64171)

      I agree. I didn't see the point of an ultrathin for a workstation so I got a System76 "Gazelle", Ubuntu 13.x, 15 inch, i7 Haswell, 16GB Ram, 500GB dual SSD that cost me $1.6K shipped.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:59PM (#45445479)
    but at $1250 I'm not sure who it's for. I can almost buy a Mac book for that. Maybe developers in need of a linux laptop? Are there that many of them? A lot of my nerd friends could be talking into buying this, but they wouldn't do much with it...
    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      Not almost, you can. The cheapest MacBook costs just $999, so you even get a little over.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        ...but this is somewhat more powerful, and a better form factor. The XPS 13 is significantly smaller than the MBA 13"; I know, I've made a stack out of an MBA 11", an XPS 13, and an MBA 13". The XPS 13 is barely larger than the MBA 11", and a lot smaller than the MBA 13".

        And I mean, yeah, obviously this is aimed at people who want a Linux laptop. If you want a Linux laptop you probably don't want to buy a Macbook. You can make it work, but it's a giant PITA. I'd much rather buy one of these.

    • by Ami Ganguli (921) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:08PM (#45445519) Homepage

      I just bought similar hardware from Sony in order to run Linux. I would have considered this one if it had been available three weeks ago.

      Some of us really don't want a Mac. Obviously we're a niche market, but presumably Dell thinks there might be enough of us to justify one or two models.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        "I would have considered this one if it had been available three weeks ago."

        It was available three weeks ago, albeit in its previous Ivy Bridge form. I don't know why Slashdot is reporting this as if it were a new model rather than just a spec bump.

        • by Ami Ganguli (921)

          Then it's not really similar hardware is it :-).

          My requirements were: light, long battary life, at least 8Gb RAM, at least Full HD screen. The Vaio was the only ultrabook I could find that fit my criteria and was available in Canada when I needed it.

          • by AdamWill (604569)

            This had the same weight, RAM and display. Only difference in the new model is the CPU and video chipset. Of course, that does make a significant difference in battery life, but then it's pretty much a given that every Ivy Bridge laptop is getting a Haswell bump, so it wasn't particularly difficult to figure out that this one would...

    • by Teun (17872)
      The price is no worse or better than a Thinkpad with HD screen and I don't feel like subsidising Apple or Sony so all together I find it a good offering.

      But first we'll have to see the full specs.

      • by NIK282000 (737852)

        You can pour a beer through a 1200$ Thinkpad or drop it on a concrete floor without killing it, I know, mine stood up to both. With the quality of Dell hardware I would be afraid to use harsh language around it. Unless their build quality has jumped recently I wouldn't want to spend that much on a "disposable" product.

        • To get anything redeeming out of Dell, you have to order from the business-oriented laptops - such as their Precision line. The biggest drawbacks are that you end up having to pay more to get the same feature set, have to go through a bureaucracy to transfer ownership for support, and have the same problems with support as regular Dell machines. The only upside is that some

          On the other hand, Lenovo still has the service and support, but is bastardizing their Thinkpad line in every way possible. Buying th

        • Yup. Been there and done that. My Lenovo T510 with bumped up HD and 8Gb RAM is now a Hackintosh running Mavericks just sweet and fine, and it is my primary lappy. The ability to survive spills is its key selling point (I'm a klutz with 2 cats and 2 dogs). It was previously running Mint. A couple of spare 2.5" drives will shortly be configured for Mint again and Windows 8.1 for software testing.
  • $110 Windows tax (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:09PM (#45445523)

    The cost of the machine is $110 less than an otherwise identical XPS 13 with Windows 8.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:10PM (#45445533) Homepage

    It's the same price as the Windows 8 version. [dell.com] (That's listed at $1299, but scroll down for the "$50 off coupon".) This is progress for Dell; most of their previous Linux offerings cost more than the comparable Windows machine.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      Developing and testing drivers takes time and money, which needs to be recouped somehow. They also offer support. People at support need proper instructions how to deal with customers and their problems (on Linux).

      It's a developer laptop, so most of the time it probably means at least it is a technical customer making the call.

      I do see they now sell it in my country too, not just in the US anymore. Kinda cool.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:15PM (#45445553)

    Funny how the battery life, which just happens to be the single most important criteria for laptop buyers, is not listed... It's like they don't expect anyone to even consider buying it.

  • Unless the person genuinely needs the processing power, the right chromebook purchase can lead to a much cheaper upgrade path to the same [non-graphics/cpu] specs.
    • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Teun (17872) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:43PM (#45445661) Homepage
      You are assuming the traveller buying an ultra portable has always perfect network access or is happy to share his data with the cloud.

      Sorry, that's not the world I'm travelling in.

      • Who said anything about ChromeOS? All new Chromebooks ship with SeaBIOS, & the older ones can be reflashed to have it. No signed kernels, no Google Anything. & we're talking the very same crowd that would buy a 'developer notebook'. Then again, something like this has modularity over, say a Chromebook Pixel (which has no modularity). Maybe something that could be purchased in bulk for dev-focused fleets ready to go out-of-the-box, but from what I understand there's bloatware....
  • 13.3-inch touchscreen .... starting at $1,250

    Er... No.

    Quite what's the selling point here? A Linux-based touchscreen (can already get Linux-based tablets that size for much less)? Or a powerful laptop (can get much better laptops that don't cost that much even if you put a touchscreen onto them)?

    Who's the customer here?

    • by AdamWill (604569)

      "can get much better laptops that don't cost that much even if you put a touchscreen onto them"

      Like what? in the 13" ultraportable (i.e. sub-3lbs) weight class, what is 'much better'?

      The Macbook Air 13" is broadly comparable (slightly cheaper, slightly worse hardware). Whatever model number Asus is on right now, it'll be broadly similar in hardware terms but inferior in build quality while being a bit cheaper. The Thinkpad 13" model is lower-specced with a worse screen (though probably better build quality

  • ...but more expensive, with less features and running Ubuntu.
     
    Its another step in the right direction but it is still a long way from bumping MS and Apple from the "full featured" consumer computer market. As much as I hate marketing, it needs to be marketed. Linux doesn't sell itself to the average person, it has to be made to look like the better alternative before any one other than techies will buy it.

  • "The XPS 13 laptop comes preloaded with Ubuntu® 12.04 LTS, a basic set of developer tools and utilities, as well as access to two beta projects: the cloud launcher and the profile tool."

    Dell slaps an outdated version of Ubuntu onto a £1k+ laptop, markets it as "Designed for developers" and its news?

    Any creditable Developer with experience, Would not:
    1. Buy a Dell (which has a well known reputation for cheap parts/failures)
    2. Use Ubuntu as their Linux distro (from experience, the slowest/bloated l

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I guess those schlubs at Google are not credible developers by your definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goobuntu

      Also, Dell monitors and workstations are the bread and butter of large software companies. Their high end workstations are absolutely fantastic.

      If you are talking about Dell consumer products, then yes. They also cost /thousands/ less than the professional equipment they offer.

      If you don't consider this ( http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=cap3610w7p0078ps&model_id=prec

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      12.04 LTS isn't outdated- it's the current Long Term Support version (which is the stable version which is supposed to compete with Windows and Mac on the support front). The non-LTS versions are just a politer version of the Debian Testing release.

      Next LTS version comes out April 2014, so if they're still flogging 12.04 in 6 months then you'll have cause for complaint.

  • It seems there is no ethernet port. Too bad, the machine looked quite good, but I like reliable networking, hence Wi-Fi only is not for me.
  • by p00kiethebear (569781) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @11:44PM (#45446437)
    If it's anything like the last xps 13 then it will be fucking awesome. I love everything about this laptop. It's incredibly thin and light. The screen is vivid. It runs everything I want it too and never hesitates on me. Plus with the solid state Hard drive it wakes up from sleep in about 2 - 3 seconds.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I had the previous gen XPS13 for a bit, including a long work trip. It got great battery life even then, but the keyboard was miserable. PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End required a function keypress. The tactile response was weak and it felt like a cheap model, despite the price. The 1 year warranty was lacking too. Ended up handing it off to a coworker and now running a Latitude E6430U for the same money - much better keyboard and tactile qualities, and no question it is more robust with a 3 year warranty. You pa

  • I recently needed two new Linux laptops. A small one and a big fast one. With some special requirements: qwerty keyboard, but shipped out of the US, matte screen, fast CPU and mem but doesn't care about GPU, etc... Well, I simply couldn't find anything. The Dell site had only the aforementionned 'development laptop'. System76 and other Linux vendors all had something missing (often the shipping or the matte screen). I was about to get a Win8 laptop to wipe when I got a mail from Dell at work (we buy stuff from them): basically their entire lineup with Linux. With full options. You just had to get into the site in a different way. It's dumb but I know have an ugly but nice M6700 with Ubuntu.
  • But other than that it looks nice.
  • labeling a box with 16:9 aspect ratio a "developer edition" should be a crime

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