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Being fed up with Yosemite, I decided to order the new Dell XPS13 (2015 edition) after reading a few reviews. I've installed Ubuntu 14.10 on it.

Installing Ubuntu was (as expected) straightforward:

  • you go to the BIOS (F2 when the Dell logo shows up on screen)
  • boot from an USB disk with Ubuntu (page to the instructions)
  • use an ethernet -> usb adaptor since the wifi doesn't work out of the box with the broadcom driver
  • select what ever you want for the disk setup (I went with dm-crypt / llvm / btrfs)
  • once it's installed and you're logged in as your user, install the wifi package (apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source)

then at this point you have a “functional” laptop.

Sadly, there's still a few issues so far with Ubuntu 14.10:

  • no sound (I don't really mind for now, I use my phone/tablet to listen to music / watch youtube and stuff). There's a ticket to track the problem
  • as is the keyboard (there's a bug where a key can be repeated a few time)
  • the touchpad is ... touchy. I need to hold the button down for a second before it get registered, and there's some kind of issues where it get lost. But I think this is fixed with newer kernel (need to test).

But there's also the good stuff!

  • the screen! really awesome definition. The resolution was properly detected, didn't tweak anything
  • the keyboard is nice, however I'm looking for a solution to swap fn and control
  • the battery last, I get about ~7 hours of battery life with normal usage

Hardware

The hardware is attractive. It's really small (smaller than the MBPr 13”, but probably a little bit bigger than the MBA 11”). It's light. There's 2 USB ports, 1 SD card (that's one of the reason I went with this model instead of the carbon x1).

My main complaint is the 8GB limit, I would have prefered 16GB. Not having a broadcom wireless card would have also been nice (maybe they will change this for the developer edition ?). But (and that's the main difference with Apple :), there's a manual and instructions on how to replace the wireless card. The good alternaties seems to be the Intel 7260ngw (I might replace the card).

For the curious, here's the output of dmesg and lspci.

I'll update this page with more details / information in the next few weeks (I'm currently on a 3.16, I'll try the 3.18 during the weekend).

Updates

  • I've replaced the wireless card with the Intel 7260ngw. Opening the laptop is easy, but replacing the card was not that easy. Fixing the antenna is kind of a pain. However, the quality of the signal is way better now.