So my trusty old Toshiba Satellite T130 has started to fail. The keyboard has started to go wrong, it seems to miss out random keystrokes, which is really annoying. It’s a shame, because apart from that the machine is still working fine. But I decided that it was time for it to be replaced. I didn’t want to spend very much money on a new laptop, because the old Toshiba was running Elementary OS very nicely. So I didn’t need a super fast processor or anything. I ended up going for the cheapest laptop with 4GB RAM that I could find. So I am typing this on a Lenovo ideapad 100 15iby. It was less than £190, which is pretty reasonable I think. So far I am pretty happy with it.
This machine does feel cheap. It seems very plasticy and the touchpad buttons rattle a little bit as I type. I don’t think that it is as robust as the Toshiba, but for the price, it seems like a good value. It only has a Celeron processor, but it still seems to fly along when running Elementary OS. When I first got the machine, it was running Windows and that was a slightly more painful experience. Although I only kept Windows for a few minutes – just long enough to apply the firmware updates from Lenovo so that I had the most recent BIOS. After that, I blew everything away and installed Elementary OS Freya from a DVD (the Ideapad does have an internal DVD drive). I don’t have anything against Windows, but I don’t think that I’d be happy running Windows on this laptop – I think I would find it too slow on this hardware.
I had no problems installing Linux, everything worked right out of the box – even the special volume and brightness buttons on the keyboard.
After installing the OS, the next things I installed were:
- Kate / Konsole (for coding in C)
- Chrome (and the Chromecast plugin)
- Nim / Nimble / Aporia
- TLP in the hope of getting more out of the battery
The Ideapad version I’ve got does not appear to have Bluetooth (I think that it’s an optional extra on this machine) but I managed to find a tiny Bluetooth dongle on Amazon that seems to do the trick. So anyway, let’s see how it goes!