Purism’s first smartphone is set to launch this year, but the corporation got its start making laptops that ship with free and open source software and privacy-oriented features like physical kill switches for the mic, camera, and wireless radios.
Now Purism is updating its laptop lineup with new models sporting upgraded processors. And by upgraded, I mean the Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops now ship with a 7th-gen Intel Core i7-7500U processor… a chip that was first released in late 2016.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s still an improvement over the 6th-gen Intel Core chips Purism had been using. But the Purism Librem 13 has a starting price of $1399 and the Librem 15 sells for $1599 and up. That’s a lot of money to spend on a laptop with a processor that’s more than two years old… especially since 8th-gen Intel chips have twice as many CPU cores and processor threads and offer up to 40 percent better performance in some situations.
That said, sticking with Intel Kaby Lake chips allows Librem to use open source Coreboot firmware rather than proprietary firmware. And it’s not like there’s a lot of competition in the Linux laptop space. There are a few other companies that will sell you a PC that comes with Ubuntu or another GNU/Linux distribution pre-installed, but you probably won’t get the hardware kill switches, disabled Intel Management Engine, and other features that come with Purism’s products.
These are obviously laptops for a niche market — folks willing to pay a premium for privacy, security, and software freedom. But if you’re in that market, I suppose it’s nice to have the option to pick up a model with a new(er) processor… even if it’s a little overdue (Purism had originally planned to make the switch to 7th-gen Intel chips in 2017) .
The Purism Librem 13 version 4 features a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel matte display, an Intel Core i7-7500U processor, and at least 4GB of RAM and 120GB of solid state storage (it supports up to 16GB/6TB (2TB NVMe + 4TB SSD).
Purism’s Librem 15 version 4 has the same processor, memory, and storage options, but it ships with a 15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel matte display.