Good news for Linux-loving thin and light laptop fans. You can now buy a Dell XPS 13 ultrabook loaded with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Now for the bad news: you may be in for some sticker shock. The laptop will set you back $1549.

Update: The price is now $1449.

Officially, it’s called the Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition.

Dell XPS 13 Sputnik Ubuntu ultrabook

To be fair, Dell is offering a pretty powerful machine for that price. The laptop features:

  • Intel Core i7-3517U Ivy Bridge processor
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB solid state disk
  • 6 cell, 47Whr battery (Up to 6 hours, 8 minutes of battery life)
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Headset jack
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, WiDi (wireless display)

Dell is targeting the ultrabook at developers, which helps explain the beefy specs. The company has been testing the Ubuntu ultrabook waters with Project Sputnik for months, and what you’re looking at here is the finished product, featuring a faster processor and more storage than the beta models Dell had been testing.

Unfortunately Dell is sticking with the 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display which may seem a little anemic to some developers.

The Dell XPS 13 measures 12.4″ x 8.1″ x 0.71″ at its thickest point and weighs just under 3 pounds. It has an aluminum and carbon fiber case with a magnesium palm rest area.

As an Ubuntu laptop, you don’t have to pay for a Windows license… but apparently that doesn’t save you much money. The order page does point out that there are no ultrabook palmrest stickers included though, so I guess that’s a good thing.

In addition to the Ubuntu operating system, Dell loads the laptop with a “cloud launcher” app that helps web developers simulate a cloud environment for testing apps before deploying them, as well as a profile tool with profiles for Ruby, Android, and more.

via Ars Technica

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19 replies on “Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabook launches… for $1549”

  1. WiDi!!! SWEET!!! can’t wait when this become standard on all devices in the future!

  2. You must be paying for the small size and weight. You can spec out a System76 Lemur Ultra with Ubuntu for $500 cheaper that is fairly similar, but a bit bigger and heavier. The Lemur comes with what looks like a higher performance i7 (3630QM), 14.1 in screen, 4.5 lbs, same size battery.

    Or, if size and weight aren’t a big consideration, for $1557 you can get a System76 Gazelle Professional with Ubuntu: 15.6 in matte 1920×1080 screen, 8GB Ram, 256 GB SSD, and i7-3840QM Processor ( 2.80GHz 8MB L3 Cache – 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading ).

    Unless developers are doing a lot of traveling, I don’t think they will go for the XPS 13. For $1500, and small size, I would be looking at a Mac Book Air.

    1. Comparing the XPS and the lemur is like comparing a porsche with a Renault …

    2. That is not a bit bigger and heavier. That is a lot when it comes to notebooks.

  3. It is nice. I’m not looking for a new laptop this year though, but that screen would be a dealbreaker. I have a 1440×900 screen on my current Thinkpad X200s and wouldn’t even think about anything smaller. I’d really like a little more in fact. Now if web pages wouldn’t hose me when I enlarge text and prevent expanding the width…. That kind of crapola is why laptop vendors are afraid of shipping higher density displays. The web and Windows aren’t optimized for them yet. But enough stuff on Linux can make use of it that I refuse to accept 1366×768 anymore.

    So Dell, if ya are listening I’m smack in the target demo for this thing as a decade long Thinkpad X series (and 570e before the X series started) user who hasn’t spent a hundred hours (excluding a few game jags outside of work) in Windows in all that time. I like small and light machines. But I won’t give up the display or keyboard to get one.

  4. What developer who makes a living on writing software would even use a low performance ultrabook? An ultrabook is powerful enough for most non-developers who care about looking good at the coffee shop but development tools can use up a lot of resources.

    The main benefit I see from this is that Dell is trying to get the drivers upstream so everyone can benefit. Hopefully they succeed and I might actually buy a Dell notebook if I know the hardware will work perfectly on Linux.

    1. Ya, Dell is better off announcing that they have dedicated resources to the open source hardware enablement of Linux on notebooks and will also make PCs compatible with Linux without any kludgy post-install workarounds.

      With that, they’ll probably sell more notebooks to both developers and consumers who want or plan to use Linux.

    2. They call it the Developer Edition, but if you read all of their marketing stuff, somewhere in there they explain what they mean by “developer”: *web* developer. Not those of us who get giddy about ‘make -j16’.

  5. I thought it was just a typo in your previous article but it’s LTS (Long Term Support) not LTE.

  6. Well , am I mistaken or the Windows version is 100$ cheaper then the Ubuntu version ?

    1. Ugh, pretty much a repeat of the Netbook fiasco. Back then you have 3 specs, the lowest being available with Linux, and the two higher ones with Windows. Thing is that they launched them with a mail in rebate, but only for the Windows models. End result was that the most expensive Windows model cost no more than the Linux model. Never mind trying to up-spec the Linux model as then you ended up with something that cost a bit more than the top model before rebate…

      I swear Dell gets their MS products for free once you take into account what they get paid to bundle bloatware and bulk discounts from MS.

  7. (as commented on Facebook also) What’s with the “xn--” texts that seem to be littering both truncated and full views of the articles at the moment?

    1. Should be fixed… I noticed a weird WordPress formatting issue that I was trying to fix. I ended up making it even worse for a few minutes.

      Let me know if you see any other problems. 🙂

      Also — FYI, I get email notifications of new comments almost instantly, but typically only check Facebook a few times a day. So the fastest way to bring something to my attention is probably through a comment or by using the Contact button at the top of the page.

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