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I want to buy a new business laptop where I want to install Ubuntu 18.04 as OS with following characteristics:

  • price up to 2000 €
  • ability to use 2 external monitors (must have)
  • touchable display (must have)

Have you some recommendations for me? And some experiences, because I read in some articles with driver problems when using a docking station for two external monitors.

  • I might have an idea or two, but need a little more info. What type of business use cases would you have? Would you need a GPU? Is there any Windows programs you need? If so, would you mind dual booting or would you rather run them in VMs? What's your time frame for a new laptop? – rustynuts Jun 12 '19 at 22:57
  • The new business laptop is mainly used for programming web pages in sector real estate market. So i don't need a very good gpu for rendering complex graphics. On the new laptop there is ONLY Ubuntu 18.04 installed and i don't need any window programs. And i want to buy the new laptop within the next 2 to 4 weeks. – Stef Jun 14 '19 at 8:12
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Short, spec based recommendation is the Lenovo X390 Carbon.

I'm assuming you're in Europe but not the UK, so the price on Lenovo's Irish site is €1730-1800 (i7, 16GB soldered RAM, 512GB-1TB SSD). Changing keyboard to German, French etc is free. When I checked on the Irish site, a 1TB SSD was only €30 more than a 512GB and they're giving away a free Moto One Phone :-).


Super long version, because upgrading to a new Linux based machine (even without the work and touchscreen reqs) is always a dice roll:

  1. Touch Screen, under €2k

There's a number of great touchscreen laptops that are conveniently around €2k e.g. Dell XPS variants, Lenovo X1 variants, HP Spectre and Envy variants, Huawei Matebook X etc.

  1. Work use case, 2-4 week horizon, Ubuntu 18.04, touch screen and under €2k

Because your livelihood depends on it, you can't afford downtime with installation, driver issues (funtime imo), support communication and returns uzw. However with current support, the touch screen requirement on Linux is limiting. Do I have any experience with touch screen laptops running any version of Ubuntu? Nope. But at least someone else does. Forums show others who have Ubuntu installed on similar Lenovo laptops with/out touchscreens without issues.

So you'd like Ubuntu 18.04.02 LTS Hardware Certification. The Hardware Certification is usually based on a manufacturer installed version of Ubuntu rather than a standard Ubuntu, but it is very encouraging nonetheless. Having 18.04 support listed by Lenovo themselves inspires further confidence that you've taken as many steps as you can to mitigate risk.

As of now, 18.04.02 LTS hardware certified and touch screen leaves the Lenovo X390 Yoga and X1 Extreme. Under €2k leaves the X390.

  1. X390 business extras

Loads of ports: Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI (next section for dual external monitors), 2 x USB Type A ports, micro SD card slot which can have a SIM slot for LTE.

The charger is 65W via USB-C. Less cables, less hassle.

The X390 Ubuntu hardware cert lists Wacom in the hardware details. For this kind of money, its nice to doodle in a meeting while pretending to take notes. The pen slots into the machine and automatically charges.

Yoga flexibility - laptop, tent, tablet.

Thinkpad keyboard.

Privacy cover for camera.

The only known downsides I can foresee at this point would be the lowish screen brightness at 300 nit and the fingerprint scanner is currently not supported, probably never will be.

  1. My own dual external monitors and docking station experience

I'll try not to moan too much...I've had nightmares with proprietary TB3 docks, even on Windows with drivers and BIOS up to date. Almost all I've seen require Windows drivers. Even if those work, you'd have spent nearly €200 for the chance it might work with some functionality on Linux :-O. I used Windows To Go for automatic BIOS (saved a little Unetbootin time) and driver upgrades. With Bitlocker enabled, that kept privacy invasive corporate IT away.

Now I just connect one monitor via HDMI and the other through a generic USB Type C hub into a TB3 port. The hub has another HDMI port for the other monitor, USB ports for peripherals and an Ethernet port. No dongle mess. Am I downgrading the bandwidth of a TB3 port to USB 3.1? Yes. Am I limited to 2 monitors on HD? Yes again but I don't care, because it works on every screen, every time, needs no power supply and cost a fraction of a TB3 dock. A similar setup should work for all/most Linux laptops.

You could walk into Saturn/PC World etc during off peak hours with a live 18.04 USB and try any docks/hubs you have access to. Make a deal with the sales rep that you'll buy if dual external monitors work etc.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks (!) for your long answer and the detail information. Very good explanation. Have a nice day. And you've right. I'm a European from Germany. – Stef Jun 16 '19 at 10:45
  • Gern geschehen 👍 – rustynuts Jul 2 '19 at 17:51

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