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Dev One laptop review: System76 and HP strike the perfect balance of form and function

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Software developer at work comic book style vector
Picture: Alexander Pokusay/Adobe Inventory

I by no means hesitate to heap reward over System76. In any case, they haven’t solely produced a few of the finest Linux {hardware} in the marketplace, however they’re additionally the creators of my each day Linux distribution (Pop!_OS) in addition to a proud champion of open-source expertise.

I’ve been utilizing a Thelio as my major desktop for a number of years, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the corporate to provide the right laptop computer. Don’t get me mistaken, the laptops they at present provide are stellar, however I’ve at all times been much less of a fan of Linux on laptops than I’ve been of it on the desktop. That’s to not say there’s nothing mistaken with Linux on a laptop computer, however there’ve been sure points that I consider have prevented it from excelling because it ought to.

The brand new effort by System76 and HP has modified my thoughts on that stance. Not solely have the 2 powerhouses confirmed they will work collectively to create a surprising piece of {hardware}, however they’ve additionally made it fairly clear the ability and adaptability of Linux could be harnessed for cell gadgets to sensible impact.

That’s the HP Dev One, a 14″ laptop computer promoting for $1,099.00 that was the product of each System76 and HP. It’s very a lot an HP laptop computer, solely powered by System76’s Linux distribution, and it strikes the right steadiness of kind and performance.

My solely problem with the Dev One is that it’s being marketed to builders and never the plenty. Sure, I get it, builders are a chief goal for Linux as a result of all the instruments are available and the working system is completely at house within the arms of any sort of developer. However the Dev One is simply too good of a laptop computer to solely be marketed to builders.

Earlier than we dive additional into the assessment, let’s speak specs.

SEE: Linux turns 30: Celebrating the open source operating system (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The Dev One specs

Right here’s how the specs sheet for the Dev One performs out:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 Professional 5850 8 CPU cores, 16 threads
  • Reminiscence: 16 GB (2×8) DDR4 3200 MT/s, 2 SODIMM slots, upgradeable to 64 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe 3×4 NVMe M.2 2280 SSD
  • Keyboard: Backlit, spill-resistant, Tuned Linux Tremendous Key
  • Show: 1,000 nits, 14″ diagonal FHD
  • Battery: HP Lengthy Life 3-cell 53 Wh Li-ion with HP Quick Cost
  • Ports: 2 USB3 Sort-A, 2 USB3 Sort-C, 1 HDMI, headphone jack, Kensington lock

There’s additionally a cool addition they’ve made to the chassis. In case you look very carefully on the webcam, you’ll see a bit of sliding cowl that strikes to the proper to completely block the digicam (Determine A).

Determine A

Picture: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The sliding digicam cowl on the HP Dev One laptop computer.

Let’s check out what makes the Dev One a laptop computer for all.

The Dev One’s keyboard and trackpad

To offer you an concept of the place I’m coming from, in response to Grammarly, I’ve written over eight million phrases since early 2021. Evidently, I write so much, so I do know what I like in a keyboard. And though no laptop computer keyboard will ever examine to the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard I take advantage of each day, the HP Dev One keyboard is among the finest I’ve used on a cell machine.

Beforehand, that title belonged to my Chromebook Pixel v2, however the Dev One keyboard has a really comparable really feel. The keys provide simply the proper suggestions, with out a ton of noise. Even higher, the Dev One keys really feel as if they may stand up to the intense beating of somebody who varieties as a lot as I may put it by way of.

Changing the Home windows key with a key marked merely tremendous, (Determine B) is a superb contact, as no Linux person desires to see the Home windows emblem on their laptop computer.

Determine B

Picture: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The delicate Dev One emblem is all class.

Though the trackpad on the Dev One can not compete with that of the Apple MacBook Professional, it’s nonetheless one of many higher I’ve used. The trackpad is as slick because the MacBook Professional M1, however not fairly as massive and doesn’t accommodate almost the variety of gestures as present in macOS, however that may at all times be a sticking level with Linux. And with the addition of a bodily proper and left mouse button (Determine C), the Dev One can accommodate any sort of workflow.

Determine C

Picture: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The Dev One trackpad is certain to please most customers.

And, sure, you’re seeing a bit of joystick above the B key. For individuals who favor cursor management choices, this will likely be a welcome addition.

The Dev One’s battery

The battery life on the HP Dev One is one of the best I’ve skilled on a Linux laptop computer. I can go a lot of the day with common utilization, which doesn’t embrace streaming quite a lot of media or compiling quite a lot of code. For anybody seeking to have a Linux laptop computer with a battery that may go the space, you’d be hard-pressed to beat this one.

The Dev One’s show

The Dev One’s show is unimaginable. Palms down that is one of the best Linux laptop computer show I’ve ever used. It’s shiny, vibrant, and its shade accuracy is stable. The one criticism I’d conjure for the Dev One show is because of the dimension of the laptop computer. As a result of it’s a 14″ machine, the show is a little more rectangular than I’m used to. Coming from the Chromebook Pixel and the MacBook Professional, I’m used to shows which might be a bit extra sq.. Nonetheless, that’s a tiny nit to choose, given you do get a bit extra side-to-side display actual property.

The Dev One’s working system

For me, that is the place the HP Dev One actually shines. It’s not simply that it’s Linux, it’s that Pop!_OS works so properly with each side of the {hardware} to create a wonderfully productive surroundings. The OS completely stands out on this machine, performing properly above what you would possibly anticipate.

What’s nice about Pop!_OS is that it may be the desktop you need it to be. On first boot, System76 has gifted customers with the power to decide on the format of their desktop. If you need a extra GNOME-like GNOME, then they’ve bought you lined. And when you favor a kind of macOS-like GNOME, that’s out there as properly.

With the Dev One, you get the selection between three completely different GNOME layouts in addition to the choice to allow/disable the COSMIC Desktop tiling characteristic, which many a developer will admire. So, yeah, the mixture of the HP Dev One {hardware} and the System76 working system makes this laptop computer a terrific alternative for almost any sort of person.

The Dev One is TCO Licensed

It ought to go with out saying that the HP Dev One is TCO Certified, which implies it meets all of the TCO certification standards for sustainability. To turn out to be TCO Licensed, a tool should observe the next standards:

  • Socially accountable manufacturing
  • Environmentally accountable manufacturing
  • Person well being and security
  • Product efficiency
  • Product lifetime extension
  • Discount of hazardous substances
  • Materials restoration

The Dev One even features a TCO Licensed desktop icon (Determine D) that launches the default browser to the TCO Certified Your Product page for extra info.

Determine D

Picture: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The TCO Licensed launcher is able to current extra info.

Will the System76/HP Dev One be your subsequent laptop computer? I extremely advocate you think about the chance.

If you wish to handle software program improvement tasks and processes, this TechRepublic Academy course geared toward project management can assist you’re taking your profession to the subsequent degree.

Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the most recent tech recommendation for enterprise execs from Jack Wallen.


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