Dell XPS 13 Ubuntu ultrabook gets a price cut, now cheaper than the Windows version

Dell has knocked $100 of the price of its first ultrabook to ship with Ubuntu Linux. Yesterday the company started selling the Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition for $1549. But some astute observers noticed that the price was $50 more than Dell was charging for an identical Windows ultrabook.

Now you can get the Ubuntu model for $50 less than the Windows version. It’s available from Dell for $1449.

Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

That’s still a lot of money to pay for a laptop, but the price now better reflects the fact that Dell doesn’t have to pay Microsoft a license fee for Windows software.

On the other hand, the developer edition laptop doesn’t include any so-called “bloatware” such as free trials of security software, office suites, or games. So Dell also isn’t getting paid to include any software on the laptop — something that sometimes helps offset the price of Windows computers.

The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition ultrabook features an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB solid state disk. It has a 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display (which is probably the least impressive characteristic of an otherwise pretty impressive machine).

It measures 0.71 inches thin, weighs less than 3 pounds, and has a case made of aluminum, carbon fiber, and magnesium.

Dell calls this a developer edition laptop, and is targeting it specifically at web developers. But I think primarily the company wants to make it clear that this is a laptop designed for customers who are comfortable with Linux software, and the developer moniker should help ward off folks just looking to save a few bucks on a well specced portabled notebook.

  • Jones

    Maybe I’ll start buying Dell notebooks when their drivers actually make it upstream. I currently buy ThinkPads since there’s a large Linux user base who often provide workarounds for the hardware issues or provide patches to upstream developers.

    • SomeOne

      It’s easier for a private individual to do stuff like that because there is less chance that they’ll be sued. The biggest problem for these guys is that they just assemble other people’s IP. They don’t design much, so the original device maker like Synaptec for the touch pad, or wireless card manufacturer actually have to OK Dell to not only make those changes to their drivers and then release them into the wild, or Dell has to get into writing custom drivers, ground up drivers, for everything it sells, which isn’t likely to happen.

      Whenever I see people complain about this I wonder if they understand the mechanics of that market and the restrictions the OEMs are under on this stuff. Dell is already making next to nothing making this thing, their profit margin is like 8%, and it’s only that because this is a higher end product where they cut corners on the screen. They’re not making Apple or Intel money on these things.

      • JB

        Why would they get sued for providing patches to existing open source drivers in the Linux kernel?

      • Someone Else

        He probably just pulled out those “facts” out of his ***.

    • Ajay

      Well, I just got a kernel update for Ubuntu 12.04 and some of the updates from Dell’s PPA are included in it (ie. trackpad fixes).

      Of course, I’m not sure if these changes are just backported from newer kernel versions or if Dell actually provided the patches. Also, Ubuntu/Canonical aren’t exactly well known for pushing patches upstream so may be locked to Ubuntu.

  • GraveDigger27

    This is a pretty hefty price to pay for a Ultrabook running Ubuntu. I have a year old ASUS laptop that I paid half as much for that I recently upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and I run various Linux distros using VirtualBox (including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Magela and PearOS), Since Ubuntu is upgraded twice a year it’s far easier just to create a new virtual machine and try out the features of the new version.

    Seems like this is a premium priced product…

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  • sam

    You call 256GB of disk space powerful? And at such an outrageous price?

    • Juju

      Dell uses Samsung mSATA SSDs. For comparison, a Crucial 256 GB mSATA goes for $200. Samsung mSATAs aren’t sold in retail but if we compare the prices of Crucial and Samsung SATAs, the Samsung mSATAs could be more expensive than the Crucial ones.

      Also, look at the rest of the specs. An i7 can often add over a $100 over an i5 for negligible real world performance. Dell is also probably charging a lot for the 8 GB of RAM since it’s likely soldered like the previous XPS 13. Then there’s the usual premium pricing of ultrabooks in general right now.

      The price makes sense for the components when compared to other ultrabooks. Of course, I’m not sure the premium price of ultrabooks in general are good enough for adequate sales. I for one wouldn’t buy any ultrabook right now. The price you pay for just looks is too much.

  • CameronN

    SSD and i7 IvyBridge? 1500 is definitely worth it.

  • Yak

    A shame that we’re not seeing touch-enabled laptop/tablet hybrids yet for Linux. Laptop only designs, even if they *are* ‘ultras’, feel like yesterday’s tech.

  • Visitor

    And then there’s the price point…hence it made sense for me to purchase a new Apple laptop. When will you dev’s (and user’s) realize that OS X is basically the Linux that everyone wants? Everyone doesn’t include sys admins, people that like to hack at things because their shit’s never working, and old school Linux guys ignorant to the fact that OS X comes from the SAME line of blood that Linux comes from….

  • mode1bravo

    As soon as you plug this thing in it’s obsolete. Lenovo has much better laptops for a lot less money with a full 1080p display. Dell is just loading Linux so it can move old stuff out of it’s warehouse. And there’s no way they are only making 8% margin on it either. They are marking it up and getting premium margins too. I sure won’t fall for it that’s for sure.