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Back To School: Ubuntu Laptop Pick

August 30, 2009

Ubuntu School LaptopAs Ubuntu popularity grows, more and more students are recognizing the added features and potential savings offered by an Ubuntu laptop. We’ve decided to recongnize an Ubuntu laptop we feel is a sure thing for students of any age or price range. Netbooks and laptops are the students solution to computing because of obvious portability reasons. One thing many students find frustrating is the higher cost of laptops and netbooks compared to desktops with similar specs. The biggest reason that Ubuntu laptops can save you money over Windows laptops is that companies like Dell are able to lower the price of Ubuntu-installed laptops because they don’t have to pay for the operating system. Ubuntu can be added to almost any computer by creating and booting to an installation disk however for compatibility reasons buying pre-installed Ubuntu laptop may be the best choice for newbies.

This laptop comes with Ubuntu 8.10 but any users have reported a successful upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04 using the upgrade option within the operating system or by using a Ubuntu 9.04 installation disc. The Inspiron 15n features an Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200 2.0 GHZ processor and 3 GB of RAM. Users can burn CDs and DVDs on an 8x dual layer DVD+/-R drive and this laptop features the popular 15.6″ glossy, wide-screen display. The Inspiron 15n also comes with 802.11g wireless and is available in several cool colors for around $40 extra. Selecting brightness upgrade when purchasing a Dell laptop may be a smart move. Many laptop users feel that $25 for a brighter, more vidid screen is worth the money. If you enjoy using compiz fusion and subtle gaming, the Intel X4500HD graphics card included in the Inspiron 15n is a great choice and the only option with this laptop. Users report seeing little or no system slow down on the Compiz medium setting but this video card may not be ideal for any sort of in-depth gaming. All in all this laptop received great reviews from the Ubuntu community without any major problems to report. One thing that helps is Dell does include licensed codecs for mpeg formats, including mp3, and avi formats. This means no installing Ubuntu restricted extras, everything should work out of the box. The Dell Inspiron 15n is available for $514 plus shipping.

Things you might add:

Intel Core 2 Duo T640(Faster): $50
WLED(Brighter Screen): $25
9-Cell Battery: $75
4 GB RAM: $25
320 GB Hard Drive(More Space): $50
Bluetooth: $20
1.3 Megapixel Webcam: $25
Colors: (pacific blue, ice blue, promise pink, cherry red, alpine white, jade green): $40
BeginLinux Ubuntu Training Videos: $20

Ubuntu Installed Dell Inspiron 10vIf you’re on a lighter budget Dell is also still offering the Inspiron Mini 10v. This smaller laptop comes with Ubuntu 8.04 pre-installed and features a 10.1″ screen, an Intel Atom 1.6 processor, 1GB of RAM, and the 1.3 megapixel webcam all for $299 on Dell. The laptop keyboard is 92% the size of a traditional laptop keyboard according to Dell, which makes it feel less like a toy and more like a tool. This is, in my opinion one improvement over many smaller netbooks that require a learning curve to use because of the smaller keyboard size.

If you’re truly interested in using the Ubuntu operating system I highly recommend a pre-installed option over installing on an existing computer. Besides the obvious points of compatibility, quality, and cost, i have one more. Buying Ubuntu installed computers is the only way to create more Ubuntu installed laptop and netbook options in the mainstream marketplace.

Visit the Dell Ubuntu products page.

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