There's a new Linux laptop in town. The Spanish PC vendor Slimbook and the Linux desktop non-profit KDE have united their efforts to release a new high-end Linux laptop: The third-generation KDE Slimbook.
This slender laptop comes in two versions. The KDE Slimbook 14 and, the slightly larger, KDE Slimbook 15. Other than the screen size, 14 and 15.6-inch full HD IPS LED displays, the two are essentially identical.
The only other major difference is in the batteries. The Slimbook 14 only has a 47‑watt‑hour battery, with an estimated life of five hours of real use. Its bigger brother features a 92.6‑watt-hour battery, which can last up to nine hours.
Each is powered with a 2.9GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4800 H processor. This 8 core and 16 threads CPU is a significant upgrade from the second-generation Slimbook's 2.5Ghz i5-7200 at or 2.7 GHz i7-7500 processors. Actually, the Ryzen 7 4800 H is an impressive CPU for any laptop. According to the latest Passmark benchmarks, the Ryzen 7 is easily the fastest of all common laptop CPUs.
By default, the Slimbook comes with 3,200Mhz 8GBs of DDR4 memory and 250GB NVMe SSD. It also comes with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and single USB-C, USB 2, HDMI, and RJ45 Ethernet ports. When it comes to Wi-Fi networking, it uses the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 chipset. For graphics, the laptop relies on Ryzen's built-in 1.6Ghz AMD Radeon Graphics with seven dedicated graphics cores.
You can upgrade the Slimbook to 64GBs of RAM and 2TBs of SSD storage.
Both models come in an attractive magnesium alloy case. The 14-inch screen version weighs not quite two and a half pounds, while the 15.6-inch model weighs in at 3.3 pounds.
The system also comes with added privacy options. You can disable hardware components such as the webcam, mic, and wireless interfaces from the BIOS.
The laptop uses the KDE Neon Linux desktop operating system. This is built on top of Ubuntu 18.04. KDE's developers are working hard on moving Neon to the recently released Ubuntu 20.04.
Unlike Ubuntu, which uses GNOME as its default desktop, Neon, as you'd expect, uses the KDE Plasma desktop and KDE applications as its defaults. It is not, however, compatible with Ubuntu's own KDE branch, Kubuntu. Neon, somewhat like Fedora, is a cutting edge Linux distribution with KDE's latest and greatest programs.
The company behind this laptop, Slimbook, is dedicated to Linux. Its team is made up of Linux sysadmins and open-source developers. It's partnered with KDE since it started in 2015, but it also supports other Linux desktops.
Pricing for the Slimbook 14 starts at 899 Euros with the 15 going for 929 €. In American dollars, that would be, as of July 23, 2020, respectively $1,042 and $1,077. To ship a Slimbook to the United States, or any country outside of Europe, it will cost you an additional 120 € or $139. All purchases include a donation to the KDE community.
Is it worth it? I haven't seen one yet, but from what I've seen of how fast the AMD Ryzen 4000 runs on other systems, I'd be tempted to buy it. If I were buying one, I'd go for the KDE Slimbook 15, with its significantly bigger screen and much more impressive battery life.