My new laptop is a … Tuxedo

There is a cabinet in my workplace which contains 5 Dell laptops. Now there will be a 6th and probably last Dell laptop going to that cabinet since my new laptop is not a Dell anymore. And this is not for lack of trying. And I’ve tried also Acer, Asus, Lenovo, even Toshiba. This was part of the now standard 3 year cycle of laptop renewal: make a list of requirements, search for a few weeks, get mad, search again, compromise, buy a laptop. The compromise part seemed greater each time as there are fewer and fewer configurable options anymore. Yes, I understand, some research group knows better what laptop everyone needs but I am a stubborn person and my requirements where the following this time:

  •  16G, 120SSD + 500GHDD
  • 1080p, >= 14”, matte IPS
  • dual-band wi-fi ac/n
  • usb3
  • i7 4****
  • < 2.5kg

This was what I wanted for my new laptop and I am not going to say how I researched or was about to compromise on lot of these things to get a laptop from a big brand. Instead I will say that I found a laptop which did not required any compromise. And this laptop is a Clevo. Haven’t heard of Clevo? Well they are a taiwanese brand which makes a lot of laptops which then get rebranded as System76, Tuxedo, Maguay or many others. So my new laptop is a Tuxedo BU1402/Clevo W740SU. Buying from linux-online.shop.de assures EU warranty and fast delivery, not so fast since it was shopping season but since my laptop arrived on 24th I am not complaining a bit.

Here are the first positive impressions:

  • simple design: no extra buttons, no extra/unneeded features
  • nice build, shinny aluminum case
  • vertical screen angle is much much better than on my previous Dell E6410, horizontal angle and luminosity are about the same. It was quite well calibrated but if you want you can have my .icc profile (please note that icc profile DOES NOT WORK with default xorg-server which uses the fbdev drivers, you have to install xserver-xorg-lts-raring for the latest intel driver, this can mess a bit your packages :).
  • preinstalled linux worked great (except for camera which does not work but I don’t use it anyway. My bad, camera is (de)activated using fn-F10). If you are a bit paranoid you can install it yourself (extra info here)and don’t forget to remove zeitgeist.
  • quite a nice improvement in disk speed and usb speed
  • light

There is only one item which I don’t like and it bugs me is the TouchClickPad. There are no buttons, it’s jumpy, I have no middle click, absolutely horrible at first. Since this is the new trend I will have to dig into the options and find a solution.

Update 1: to map the middle click to 3 finger touch you only have to run in the terminal:

synclient TapButton3=2

or modify /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "touchpad catchall"
        Driver "synaptics"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
# This option is recommend on all Linux systems using evdev, but cannot be
# enabled by default. See the following link for details:
# http://who-t.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-ignore-configuration-errors.html
      MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
      Option "TapButton3" "2"
EndSection

Now I have: single tap – left click, two finger tap – right click, tree finger tap – middle click.

Update 2: to save brightness config between reboots just set your brightness to a desired value then look at the number in /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness. Modify /etc/rc.local to restore this value on reboot:

echo 2638 > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness

Update 3: gphoto2 and thus tethered capture does not seem to work, USB3 problem?

# gphoto2 --capture-image

*** Error *** 
PTP I/O error
*** Error *** 
An error occurred in the io-library ('Unspecified error'): No error description available
ERROR: Could not capture image.
*** Error (-1: 'Unspecified error') ***

Update 4: metallic sound in skype and other programs, cracking and sizzling sounds can be corrected by editing /etc/pulse/default.pa and adding:

load-module module-hal-detect tsched=0

Update 5: to have sensors (like xfce4-sensors-plugin) display processor core temperature just add the coretemp module to /etc/modules

Conclusions

All in all it seems to be a great laptop, I’m content with my choice, less content I am with the state of Ubuntu, it seems it’s a continuous way down having to spend hours and days to have everything in good working order.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Hi!

    How is the build quality, the fan noise, heat emission and the keyboard? Did you manage to make the touchpad usable, that is it’s not that bad anymore?

    I’ve hade my eye on the BU1402. Im looking for something thats durable, has a nice keyboard and ok battery life. In terms of hardware I’m looking for an IPS display, quad-core and just one graphics device. It also needs to be quiet during light work. Primarily I do programming and other light productive work, yet sometimes I would like to play the occasional game – thus I will probably run a dual boot system (windows and a debian based os called crunchbang). The tuxedo seems like a nice blend.

    I currently have a sony S15 that I’m really unhappy with, especially typing on it is horrible and the display can’t show any reds and has two whitespots. I used to have an Inspiron 1520 and I loved that keyboard (that laptop actually except for its weight), nice and stiff with relatively good keytravel, the sony is just too soft. The build quality has turned out to be really bad as it starts to fall apart and the fan noise in idle mode is really disturbing.

    Sorry for babbling, yet I wanted to give some context. Hope that you can leave some information as it is hard to find any user experience of the BU1402 on the web.

    Regards,

    Frederick

  2. Hello Frederick,

    Overall I am quite happy with the choice I made.

    There is a clear difference of the keyboard compared to the old dell but I got used to it quite easy enough. Now the old one seems weird. It’s also much easier to clean. I am very glad I did not choose the 15” version since I’ve seen/tested one of those keyboards with the useless numpad and I can only say they got creative with the keys so don’t expect to find the arrow or pgUp, pgDn on those keyboards. On the BU104 the keys are well positioned and the arrows and PgUp/PgDn are in the place you would expect them to be. So the keyboard is ok, no complaints.

    The touchpad is not so easy to get along but this seems to be a general trend and not just for this model. I went out and tested some ASUS, ACER and all have the same problem. Don’t like the touchpad. I revert to an external mouse as often as I can.

    The display is very, very nice. Finally I can see some real blacks on my screen. No comparison can be made with the old laptop. Better colors, much larger vertical angle of stability. I’ve also ran a spyder on it for calibration but it was already good enough. The screen however does not go 180, so it’s a bit more difficult to use a device which lifts the screen to eyes height.

    The laptop is light and I can feel weight difference. Good build. The only noise which sometimes surprises me is the hdd. I got a bit cheap and I regret not buying a large ssd instead of the ssd + hdd combination.

    It was a bit of trouble to install 12.04 on it and I am in 3.12 now with lots of troubles but this is to be expected with any new laptop, it’s ubuntu’s (and my) fault. Should have gone with a newer version. No windows here so I cannot say.

    Len

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