Help me choose first Linux laptop (Dell XPS 13 vs System 76 Pangolin)

Hey,

Been considering getting into Linux for years, but been busy with my medical career and haven’t found the time. Now as EU laws and regulations are clamping down hard on privacy and anonymity online I feel the time is now, if ever.

Rob Braxman recommended a Intel 7000- or 8000-series Dell XPS 13, for Linux.
I watched the video of Wendel (been a huge fan, all since TekSyndicate days) reviewing the System 76 Pangolin.
Maybe other worthy contestants?

I can buy a second hand Intel i7 10510U Dell XPS 13, for 424 USD.
The System 76 Pangolin goes for 999 USD.

Grateful for any help on this matter.

Writing this first Level1Techs forum post on a Macbook Pro Late-2013 model laptop. Loving the keyboard (pre-butterfly switch nonsense) and trackpad. Don’t love Apple and Google (YouTube) owning my data…

Best regards,
DrPanda

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While I really like System76 and want them to succeed, I’d trust Dell more just because you have the ability to properly have good hardware security your Linux install.

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I bought an xps 13 off ebay for around $400 listed as refurbished about a year ago and when it arrived the webcam would not work and didn’t even show up in device manager, I thought about keeping it any way since I don’t have much use for a webcam but the next day the speakers stopped working. I returned it and while it may have been just bad luck, once I thought about it, if you have the extra money it makes sense to me to buy the newer system.
I know synthetic benchmarks don’t always line up with real world results but when the difference is so massive it’s going to be faster.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+7+7840U&id=5322

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-10510U+%40+1.80GHz&id=3549

I have never purchased anything from system76, so I can’t comment on their quality.

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Thanks, for your reply!
What do you mean by “good hardware security your Linux install”?

Hmm, maybe better for privacy to but second-hand? Sounds like you got real unlucky with that lemon.

I recently got into a rabbit hole with the HSI score of fwupdmgr you want good security scores when you can, especially for work.

The picture below has an HSI:2 score

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I bought a System 76 Pangolin in November 2021 and I’m very happy with it. The battery died on me once but I got great service from System 76 to order a replacement battery and they had a good visual guide on how to replace it myself.

I’ve been running Pop!_OS even since I bought the device and I love it. Ask me anything about it if you need more info.