Linux Laptop "Heavy DE" favorites?

Hey all!

I got a really good deal on a HP Spectre x360, the i7 model on Ebay, which I will be using for college and travelling.

Many would recommend using something like Mate, Lubuntu etc for good battery life, but I like the heavier DE's (Unity, KDE, GNOME?) but was wondering what all of your experiences with battery life and these different heavier DE's.

Supposedly you can get 8/9 hours-ish of battery life on Windows, and would like to get somewhere near that for college uses.

What DE do you guys use for your laptop? Just gathering thoughts before I install Linux on it.

Cinnamon would get you pretty far. From what i can tell linux does not do as well for battery life so you might get less than normal

I prefer to run vanilla Ubuntu with Unity when a machine has enough power, but even in the newest versions, my experience is that the battery life takes a significant hit. I haven't used KDE or GNOME much lately, so I can't directly compare, but I would speculate that you might get better battery life with either of those. You mention that you would prefer not to go with MATE, but just to add my two cents, the functionality has come up quite a bit, and something like Ubuntu MATE 16.04 might be worth a look.

Also, to second @Dje4321, how about Cinnamon?

I really like GNOME. Just press the Windows key and it shows all your windows, plus the different workspaces on the side. Of course, you can configure other DE's to do it, but GNOME does it out of the box.


Gnome's my favorite. I can't stand windows now.

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I get about 12h out of my T450s running ubuntu gnome - tlp and your ready to go; maybe use a dark theme and utilize the extension "Dim on battery power" to decrease screen brightness when unplugged automatically.

I use AwesomeWM on everything personally :T its convenient


then again I've also been trying out Budgie Desktop with GDM (Gnome Display Manager) it has it's quirks but the biggest con is it's best feature. the minimalism.


At one point I used GNOME with Fedora on my laptop, barely got through a 2hr lecture on a full charge. Switched to MATE and was able to get 4 hours with a bit of battery to spare.

I'm running Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 atm on an HP EliteBook 840 G2 (5th gen i7 model). Works absolutely fine. Battery life under Linux is shorter than under Windows obviously. Windows gives me about 9 hours I think, while under Linux with Gnome it is about half that. Still happy though, I like the way Gnome works and I am happy to trade some battery life for it.

I see absolutely no difference in my battery life whether I'm running KDE/GNOME or i3wm. I don't know if that's just me, but I'd assume it doesn't make that much of a difference.

EDIT: also, install TLP to try to squeeze some extra battery life out of it

Thanks for your thoughts, didn't quite realize how useful TLP is, so I will install that.

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It helps some people a lot more than others, just a heads up. I get maybe an extra half hour, because the screen on my laptop is a battery hog because of a bad design choice (and TLP can't do anything about that), while others can get an extra hour+ from what I've heard

Is it worth doing the extra tinkering? Some people say just let it do it's defaults.

Kde plasma 5 has the best battery life of all the heavy hitters. It tends to run better and is much more streamlined running on probably one of the most modern programmming languages (qt5). And you really can't beat it for out of the box Themability and ease of use to be frank.

However I have something for you to watch.. Watch LXQT it's gonna be like in qt with a modern breeze like look and so far it's fucking amazing and pretty for being so minimal

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Budgie aka chrome Os desktop on Linux haha

The defaults are really fine, unless you realy want to mess around granularly; only thing I did was turn off wlan when wwan connects, which saves a lot of power

I know it is hard with open source but Gnome needs to add a Tablet GUI (maybe phone as well) to its OS, and become the go linux distro. If a linux distro could jump into the surface hardware it would F*cking Kill!!! I would buy that HP today.

Hey I've got a suggestion for you.. Ever want something extremely lightweight but with kde plasma 5? Chakra linux is actually fucking fantastic


My opinion is,

Most DE are pretty much the same, if you are just clicking on apps and surf webz etc....

Gnome, unity, Cinnamon and mate are all GTK heritage and they are fine.

Openbox and awesome are said to be very good ( haven't yet tried them). My Understanding is that is namely due to customization. that is done yourself editing configs and really make it the way you want.

For me KDE is the best it looks nice and has lots of Eye candy effects. It is highly configurable and mostly from inside the DE not in terminal. Lots of underhood features i.e. "semantic desktop" and "widgets". I like the bundled apps such as "Krunner" which also to you phase google searchs, run apps,

you should also check out KDE "Activties" it has cool functions.

This article is a little bit naff but you may find it useful

Good luck and whatever it is enjoy !