The developers of the KDE desktop environment for Linux-based computers have partnered with Spanish PC maker Slimbook to release a laptop that comes with KDE software pre-installed.

The KDE Slimbook is 13 inch notebook that’s available with up to a Core i7 Skylake processor and which comes wit the KDE Neon operating system.

Slimbook is selling the laptop for 729 € ($780) and up.

The notebook has decent, but largely unremarkable hardware. A base model is powered by a Core i5-6200U processor and has 4GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 1920 x 1080 pixel display.

It has an aluminum case, a backlit keyboard, two USB 3.0 ports, a mini HDMI port, SD card slot, and a 6,800 mAh battery. There’s also an “external” Ethernet adapter, which sounds like it’ll probably be a USB dongle. The notebook comes with a 2-year warranty.

But you can also pay extra for a model with a Core i7-6500U CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 500GB of solid state storage, and 802.11ac WiFi.

The SlimBook measures about 0.7 inches thick and weighs about 3 pounds.

But it’s not really the hardware that makes this laptop special. It’s the software.

KDE is a desktop environment that works with a range of Linux-based operating systems, but the KDE Slimbook ships with an Ubuntu-based OS called KDE Neon which has been optimized for the experience. And the developers say the KDE Slimbook is “a laptop which has been tested directly by KDE developers, on the exact same hardware and software configuration that users get.”

So while you can install the software on any number of laptop or desktop computers, you may run into hardware compatibility issues with some systems. That shouldn’t be a problem with this laptop… and if/when issues do arise, it’ll help developers diagnose problems if they know that some users are running the software on virtually identical hardware.

This isn’t the first time the KDE team has ventured into hardware. The company tried to launch a tablet a few years ago, but things didn’t go very well for that project.

thanks Alexander!

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26 replies on “KDE Slimbook is a Linux-powered laptop for $780 and up”

  1. I’d still argue that the hardware is actually quite interesting. It is roughly the same weight as a DELL XPS 13 but unlike the DELL you can have good battery life (holy moly 6800 mAh) AND 16 GB ram. Dell forces you to go for the high res touch screen if you want 16gb ram, which then means 6-8 hours battery life – not enough if you ask me.

    So I think this is a very interesting piece of hardware. Yes, it would’ve been nice if it had Kaby Lake… The only thing missing, I think. And I’d like to see/touch one in real life 😉

    But I’m seriously considering this over the Dell XPS.

  2. ::sigh:: yeah they kinda went the roundabout way of doing this to push the agenda. Maybe spurred on by the “success” of Dell’s XPS 13 Dev Edition (fwiw I’m curious about the actual numbers for that) at scoring nerd cred and not much else.

    What we need is probably something that starts like that recent GPD Pocket (only better, NOT crowdfunded and cheap enough) and then move on to more midrangey SKUs. Especially if we’re talking about this baby step sort of a collaboration.

    $780 could buy me a proper Dell Vostro 14 V5468-50814G-W10 Laptop/ Notebook (i7-7500U, 8GB, 1TB, NV 940MX, W10H) fcol.

    1. Note that this includes 20% tax. Plus, calculate what you spend on a Dell XPS 13 with 16 GB ram.

  3. If it was smaller and had usb c charging, I’d be in. Lugging a power pack and cable is the worst part about laptops.

    What happened to netbooks? Asus launched the ee202 last year, but only in India (as far as I’m aware). I think what I really want is one of those with 4GB RAM, an Ssd and Linux rather than Windows. Why this not exists?

    1. Probably because Microsoft “persuaded” OEMs that it is in their best interest not to sell Linux based machines. Since the majority of business is Windows-laptops for most OEM’s, they have to comply if they want to be able to buy affordable OEM Windows licences to ship with those laptops (or suffer a competitive price disadvantage due to the price hike of their Windows OEM licences).

  4. I always see the value in supported, preconfigured Linux devices. For so many newbies, something like this is the best and only solution. For enthusiasts, supporting a company that “gets it” is a factor.

    The biggest problem I have always had with these rare devices is that they have always either been on very low-end hardware or way over-priced on adequate hardware.

    When Linspire pushed Linux Desktop, they got a lot of things right (pricing, including getting them on store shelves, user-friendly play store, etc) but their machines were terribly under-powered. Their playstore which looked fantastic didn’t take off – mostly because they did a bad job filling it with tons of (free) apps.

    I look at this machine and it doesn’t inspire. 16:9 aspect ratio (for the love of god, why!? why!?), their webpage marketing angle looks like they’re trying to hide stuff (horrible job NEON on a webpage that looks like it’s from 2001, including pics), an 8gb/i5/120gb system runs you $850 and absolutely nothing about support. I understand they’re trying to build a KDE Neon system but who exactly is their market?

    I wouldn’t go near this thing (seriously, 16:9!?) nor would I recommend it to newbs. In contrast, the Samsung Chromebook Pro has already generated lots of Linux buzz because they got enough right (including pricing though eMMC sucks).

    1. “seriously 16:9” -> right, point me to all those laptops with a different screen ratio… All 2 of them, if that.

      For a normal laptop, this is quite a nice one. Huge battery, you can get 16GB ram – and the price, way cheaper than a Macbook, despite the nice specifications 😉

      Also, keep in mind that the prices include 19% tax.

  5. If I’m going to spend this much, I can probably afford to step it up to a Macbook and triple boot KDE Windows10 and MacOS.

  6. Price is always the failing of pre-configured linux systems. Why would anyone buy this when they can get a Dell XPS or as Sean said, a Macbook Air for the same price? Linux systems need to be cheaper than comparable Windows machines, but they never are. Until that changes they will never sell in any significant volume.

    1. I fully agree. I want a laptop that is mass produced, not a whitebox special edition. I don’t expect Dell to do the same amount of software testing for linux, but I would like a discount off the price of a standard Dell laptop for a windows-less product. $30 is a nice start, but I would like at least $50.

      1. You’re never going to get one unless Linux becomes a mass-market OS on PCs, which seems very unlikely after all this time.

        1. I got my revenge by installing win10 on a homemade gaming rig while it was still free. I also put free win10 on 2 older PCs. I think I have my family’s Windows PC needs covered for 10 more years, or until Intel has a mainstream PCIe gen4 x16 CPU. I think the 10 years will come first.

    2. ^ This. I never understood why the XPS 13 Developer Edition cost $100-200 more than the similarly specced Windows version. I know that Dell installs Ubuntu and supports the OS install and software, but I’d rather save $100-200, but the Windows version, and then do the install myself. If I’m getting a laptop to run Linux, chances are I’m already comfortable troubleshooting my own PC problems.

      The one company that doesn’t seem to gouge is System76, and even their prices are on the high-end. And they’re typically cheaply made Clevo units with hardware problems, although their models the past few years have been better quality.

      1. Last time I checked, the developer edition was cheaper than the windows version. Although I understood, the smaller numbers of the DE justified a higher price imo.

      2. I think the Linux versions of laptops should be cheaper as well since the manufacturer isn’t paying $130 for a Windows Professional license or $80 for the Home edition (the approximate OEM Windows license cost to manufacturers if the computer isn’t gimped enough to qualify for cheap or free licenses). If the Windows version is using the exact same hardware and is cheaper I would rather have the Windows edition and install a Linux distro in a dual-boot environment. You can do 90% of what you need to do with a good Linux distro but there are a few things you need Windows for (the biggest is watching Netflix, forget that one on Linux unless you know how to compile your own code and can figure out how to make it work reliably).

  7. With a Macbook Air being on sale for $799, I might have trouble justifying it. But it’s great they’re trying. I should buy one for my mother in law so she can’t mess it up

    1. Auto login for her? You will keep the password so you have to run updates and install software for her? At least this is what I think you mean by “so she can’t mess it up”.

      1. So they can’t install windows stuff, is what I mean. Maybe disable auto updates.

        1. Expect to get calls as to why she can’t install any programs. I tried setting up a Linux desktop for my MIL, but I got tired of getting multiple calls/texts every day about why she couldn’t download XYZ game or ABC program. This is after showing her the Ubuntu Software Center and telling her she can only install programs through there.

          1. so gently asked … how quick does your MIL screw up a win system by such behaviour? how many calls provoqies that?

          2. About the same pace. I bit the bullet and set up a Mac Mini for her. For some reason, she understands the Apple App store and uses that even though Ubuntu’s Software Center is basically the same thing. But I choose my battles. She’s happy with her Mac, and we haven’t had any problems with it so far.
            She isn’t capable of mounting Disk Images and dragging an application from the mount into her Apps folder, so the App Store is a good alternative.

    2. I hope mother-in-law is paying for the laptop. However, I would easily give away a laptop to my own mother.

    3. Economies of scale. Apple is making a 50% profit on that Air, at least. They can strongarm Foxconn and abuse the cheap Chinese labor and get away with it. Plus, you are putting money in Apples bank account, which I refuse to do anymore. Slimbook is, I think trying to be fair, and ethical, two words Apple forgot the meaning of sometime around 2006. I still wouldn’t buy this machine, not with the Pinebook coming out in a month, admittedly this has much better specs than a Pinebook, but my computing needs are quite minimal.

  8. “But it’s not really the software that makes this laptop special. It’s the software.”

    So deep.

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