Cursory glance on reddidt would suggest the precision 5520 is a superior machine compared to the XPS products but thats just a quick thought with less regard to form factor. Thanks for noting the new product line at dell
of course it starts at a much higher pricepoint with the add-ons
I have a Skylake Dell XPS 13 and it's wonderful and very well supported under Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. There's a Kaby Lake version out now with better I/O options, but I'm not sure how good Linux support is for that yet.
A plus side to the XPS 13 is your telling Dell your support their Linux effort. Dell also push some firmware updated to the Linux fwupd project which is incorporated into some distros (Fedora that I know of)
In terms of hardware support thinkpads have never let me down. Sitting on an X1 carbon right now however it has not been without trouble. The motherboard on my X1 carbon died after two years and now the battery died after roughly four years. Still pretty good and it is really easy to open it up and change the battery. I just want to be clear that Thinkpads aren't unbreakable or extra fault tolerant than other laptops in general from personal experience. However with a thinkpad you have full support and a guy will come to your home and fix/replace anything you need during the warranty period which is pretty neat. However any Thinkpad laptop will work to 90% out of the box with Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint or what have you. 10% not working being for example fingerprint readers and usb 3.0 docks due to proprietary companies like displaylink refusing to support Linux systems.
However the new X1 carbon is overpriced like nothing I've ever seen. The only option if you need a reasonable Thinkpad is the t470s today but that is also very expensive. Lenovo board members came out saying recently that prices of computers will increase even more the coming year due to shortage in component availability.
In my opinion there's only one reason left for thinkpads which is a very particular fetish that 99% of the population does not use and that's the trackpoint. I use it and it is important to me but the rising prices of the thinkpads is even starting to put me off. The only other option I see then is the Dell xps 13" 9360 Developer edition. Why the developer edition? Because Dell spent some considerable money on adding drivers for killer and such to make the developer edition work effortlessly with Ubuntu and they have their own repos and some code available on github. The dell xps is in my opinion the best bang for the buck right now and is the laptop I'm looking at replacing my thinkpad X1 carbon.
I mainly watch media streams and do programming in Java, Python and C. I usually run Fedora or Gentoo. Gentoo being a little too heavy on any reasonable laptop you can carry without much effort for my taste and limits how agile you can be if you are missing a program and need to compile for an hour on a laptop to get going. So don't get a laptop for Gentoo because you'll end up with one of those portable workstations that are just stupid.
Oh and also, In terms of the built in graphics and Linux. Pre skylake we only have support for OpenGL 3.3 but on the newer models you get OpenGL 4 out of the box which enables you to be playing Bioshock infinite with Steam under Linux.
In terms of punch the integrated graphics is good enough for Civilization V, Europa universalis, HOI, stellaris, City skylines, awesomenauts and trine. All games available with Steam under Linux. Civlization VI is now also available for Linux but in my opinion that game is sadly a little too heavy for the built in graphics.
What is positive with the integrated graphics and not having dedicated is the increase in battery life, lower fan noise and in general a cooler laptop which I think are worth considering.
In general I try to think about getting a laptop as a laptop and having a stationary machine for heavy stuff. I.e if I want to max out Bioshock infinite and still play on my laptop I enable in home streaming in steam from my stationary Gentoo rig and I sometimes even direct streaming there just to make the laptop in my lap even cooler and more comfortable.
I appreciate all the advice in this thread. Though I am certainly considering a traditional laptop after weighing the options I am most interested in finding one of "ultrabook" form factor, not sure if thats just an intel specific word or what the market has adopted as the term for super thin laptops.
the HP Spectre looks beautiful, too bad all the reviews say it doubles as heating plate so to speak.
also important to me is being able to change the battery down the line, If im going to be spending for a premium product I'd like it to last me more than 600 cycles
When you say changing the battery, are you comfortable enough to open up the laptop by unscrewing the bottom because that is required on all ultrabooks like the Dell XPS and the X1 carbon and T470s.
Unscrewing the Dell XPS, X1 carbon and T470s is super easy. You just unscrew the screws and it lift the bottom off. With the HP Spectre you mention it's not going to be that easy and by looking at it I am guessing that HP does not encourage you to do so either with that product while both the Dell XPS and Thinkpads have manuals to actually unscrew the bottom of the laptop and change the battery.
Another option might be a straight Thinkpad T470 if you want the easiest replaceable battery in the world and still get a light laptop almost in the domains of ultrabooks. Dell might have an equal to that as well. However you will add some thickness and weight for that option and it will not be as stylish and look bulkier.
As you mentioned, looks of a laptop can sometimes be disregarded by some people but it's not irrelevant. Thinkpads are business machines and I usually see them in business and serious environments. They are not famous for their style and if they try that, like the X1 carbon you will be really paying up for it to look at least somewhat stylish.
By just saying that you want to change the battery I would pretty much drop Asus, Acer, HP and all those and just look at thinkpads and dells. I have been around Thinkpads forever and they like with the dell XPS prioritize the ability for you to personally be able to open up the laptop and changing things if you want to, like for example replacing the battery. I've looked at/serviced macbooks and Asus ultrabooks and too often they have disturbing plastic clips and things that break or are annoying as hell when you try to service the product yourself.
its like that for phones too, perhaps more so because there are only integrated batteries or worse unibody cases on highend devices. I live in China, and something great they have here is that the factory workers for all these well known brands often quit and go to open their own service kiosks. These guys are experts having assembled them, so I am not too worried about going to one of them in the circumstance I am unconfident of my own abilities. and make no mistake, there are legions of these folks competing with one another
I understand what you're saying. Also, I was in the Purism IRC and it seems they are trying to accomodate these things as well. The CEO even mentioning that hotswapable baterries are on his "when we can design our own cases from scratch" list (2018). Looking forward to more enthusiast brands entering the market
Yeah, I know what you mean. Everytime I need a part to replace I have to use Ebay and get it from China, like a replacement battery for my old X1 carbon. You guys have it all in terms of parts. (I'm from Sweden where we are the managers and service layer on top of our Chinese factories so we have to import everything)
I also have a Motorola (lenovo) Moto X with LineageOS ROM I built (because I'm a paranoid tinfoil hat kind of guy) and it's not convenient to change the battery but it's absolutely possible to do on that phone and open it up. I.e it's not glued together but there are some clips on the frame. Takes about 40 minutes to change the battery which is very decent imao and once again, Lenovo just showed me how straight away. I guess you also buy kind of the spirit of the thinkpad when you buy a thinkpad.
Anyway, as for myself. I am currently on the same path looking for a new GNU|Linux machine to replace my X1 carbon and currently the Dell XPS 13 9360 seems like the best option due to:
Surprisingly big battery (60Wh)
Ubuntu pre installed from factory
Very good IGZO screen (tired of lacking thinkpad screens)
Very good-looking machine (imao)
As easy to service as my X1 carbon
Might also add that Dell no longer uses the "developer edition" term when I contacted them because that would make it seem like it is made for a limited audience of developers while Ubuntu could in fact be used by far more people than just developers even though in most of the cases buyers are developers buying linux machines. Dell now uses the term Linux edition to include more people.
Purism if you want the hardware kill switches for the wireless and camera.
Past that I have the kabby lake xps 13 developer. Mine is the Rose Gold i7 8gb/256gb version with the QHD+ touch screen. I also have the surface pro 4. I have to say I prefer the surface pro 4's keyboard and trackpad over the dells.
I did an inplace upgrade on the dell swapping over to elementary. Overall I like the system though. It is very small and the screen is really nice. Because of how thin the bezel is the camera is in a weird spot(bottom left). They should have at least centered it. Still I don't really use webcams often so I don't care.
Another thing I don't like is it doesn't use the standard dell ac adapter that dell has used for pretty much everything. This is because the notebook is too thin for it. It does support charging over the usb c/thunderbolt port. I wish they just put 2 usb c ports on it and supplied a usb c charger instead.
If you want a linux ultrabook I'd recommend you take a good look at it. I've only had mine like a month but so far so good. In my case I went with the developer as I just wanted it to work out of the box. It did.