Star Labs has been selling Linux laptops and desktops for years, but now the company is expanding into tablets with the StarLite Mk V.

Up for pre-order for $498 and up, it’s a 2-in-1 tablet with a 12.5 inch, 2880 x 1920 pixel IPS LCD touchscreen display, support for a detachable keyboard cover, 16GB of RAM, and an Intel Processor N200 chip based on Alder Lake-N architecture.

In other words, this year’s model has a faster processor, a bigger (and higher-resolution) display, and more memory than the StarLite MK IV that launched nearly two years ago. It also has an entirely new form factor, since older models were clamshell-style laptops while the new model is a tablet that can be configured with an optional keyboard cover for an extra $101.

That keyboard features backlit keys, a trackpad with support for multitouch gestures, a kickstand to prop up the tablet, and magnets to quickly connect to the pogo pins on the bottom of the tablet.

The StarLite Mk V features LPDDR5-4800 memory and PCIe Gen 3 solid state storage (entry-level models come with a 512GB SSD, but the tablet can be configured with up to 2TB of storage).

Ports include two USB 3.2 Type-C ports, a micro HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. The tablet has a 38 Wh battery and comes with a 65W USB-C power adapter that can plug into either of the USB ports.

Wireless capabilities include support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 and the StarLite Mk V has 2K front and rear cameras, stereo speakers, and dual microphones. Star Labs says the system can support up to two 4K/30Hz external displays.

The tablet measures 283 x 203 x 9mm (11.2″ x 8″ x 0.4″) and weighs about 900 grams (2 pounds).

Of course, the main thing setting this tablet apart from Windows hardware with similar specs is that it comes with a choice of GNU/Linux distributions pre-installed, including Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Linux Mint, Manjaro, MX Linux, or Zorin OS… although users can also pay extra to have Windows installed if that’s something you’re looking for.

It also ships with the open source Coreboot firmware rather than proprietary BIOS/UEFI software, and Star Labs says that the Intel Management Engine has been disabled.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the StarLite Mk V is up for pre-order now, it’s not expected to ship for 8 or 9 weeks, which means if you order one today you probably won’t receive a tablet until late October at the earliest. But Star Labs is offering a substantial discount for customers who pre-order: retail prices are expected to start at $713.

Update: While there’s no mention of stylus support on the product website (yet), Star Labs says the tablet does support pressure-sensitive digital pens, and the company is “looking to produce a stylus ourselves now, due to popular demand.” More details will be added to the website soon.

via @starlabsltd and Hacker News

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  1. Star Labs confirmed, in their X (ugh) account, that the Star Lite V did, indeed, support active pens, and they were thinking of making one themselves…

    1. Good to know, being unable to draw with something like Krita would be a big reason to pass this up in favor of a device that could.
      (You can just keep saying twitter you know, no one’s stopping you. I know I don’t like confusing the display server with the website.)

  2. A suggestion to Brad: make images links to their full resolution counterparts and disallow direct access (ie only accessible via javascript clicks on the images)

  3. I would like to know if this device has a free BIOS/UEFI, I have been using GNU/Linux for years, but it is practically impossible to get a totally free system today. Thank you

      1. I think it’s a good point for Linux users, although then you can’t install modern Windows (BTW this can be other good point too 🙂 )

    1. It ships with Coreboot so it doesn’t hve proprietary firmware BIOS or UEFI. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have blobs and, even worse, a hidden SO+CPU inside you can’t control but it having access to all your system (including “update” i.e. communicating with outside, sending and receiving data and making changes). If you want to get rid of all that and take back full control of YOUR COMPUTER (you paid it so only you would have final control) you must go to very old hardware con x86 supporting Libreboot, or going out of x86 world (and even there there is very little market).

      1. Im glad I was wrong about it not having Coreboot or Libreboot. I would’ve bought this instead of my current device 3 years ago.

  4. I love this! The young me would have bought this impulsively. The old me is asking how I would use this vs my laptop linux.

    Maybe someone might know… can this tablet dual boot a privacy respecting x86 Android?

    1. I like it too. I feel spoiled to even be alive in a day where such things running on Linux are a reality. My first and only “tablet” device ran Windows 7 and most of its functionality broke under 2 years of use even though it sat in only one location and was basically used like a laptop and it costed more as it was a first of its kind at the time.

      1. Tablets appeal to artists and engineers as well as people who work in enviroments that require gloves. Their question is valid and you’re rude.

        1. For non-artistic purposes capacitive styluses will do the job, they even often given away for free as branded souvenirs.

    1. You know it is not too difficult to buy a stylus nowadays right, with just a simple search. Luckily it is not tied down to a particular device or vendor who has a monopoly on it. For example Amazon alone literally sells thousands of different options, starting from a few dollars and up:

      Any one who wants a stylus can choose the style, thickness, color and price to their own personal preference.

      1. Cub75 was most likely referring to the apparent lack of pressure-sensitive stylus support.

  5. Would you rather have super fugly “App” icons littering your screen as the fashionable modern UI does (chromebook, android, apple, gnome) or a highly functional usable desktop to organize all of your files with Or be limited to a useless colorful “pretty” anime wallpaper that serves only as a highly distracting backdrop?

    Please give us a good windowing manger + a usable functional desktop that we can customize to our specific use cases.

    1. Ubuntu and Manjaro have KDE options, unless KDE doesn’t count as usable and functional and customizable enough.

  6. Really decent entry spec (16GB RAM, 512 SSD), really good price… I have a recent Surface Pro that is more powerful, but if this existed when I was last looking to buy a new computer, I think I would have gone for this.

    The distros they offer are not my favourite though. I wonder if they have any kind of extra drivers or whatnot that they install on the distros they ship, or whether one could just use any mainline distro just as well. Does anyone know this?

    1. I wish it were a little bigger, like the 14in Samsung s9 display with stylus support. If they got it under $650 it would be a must buy.

  7. Linux version of iPad Pro. Needs a stylus. If it could connect quickly connect to a PC as a drawing pad/external monitor, that would be a nice feature. Most drawing pad/external monitors don’t have batteries and can’t operate independent of the host PC.

  8. I like it and the price is not too horrible either.. However, can I install Pop!Os on it instead? Will Pop!Os be able to work well on its hardware? I don’t want to use Ubuntu and while I love both MxLinux and Linux Mint I don’t think those are necessarily the most interesting options for a touchscreen. Zorin and Manjaro I wouldn’t use either. Manjaro may be highly polished UI but for me, Manjaro defeats the point of Arch. Elementary I have nothing against, just don’t have any interest in.

      1. Based on but is not Ubuntu. It doesn’t really promote the Ubuntu brand either. Both are pluses over Ubuntu.

  9. looks nice, very nice. today is to expensive for me, but for other people meyne not

    question is how many blobs is inside

  10. Would you look at that, it’s fanless. This would be really interesting to me if I wanted an actual tablet, but my convertible laptop is doing just fine.