Need some fedi folks recommendations. I'm looking to get a new laptop, old one goes back to the company when I leave.

Only need it for web browsing, watching Twitch, etc. Nothing super powerful.

Was looking at Pinebook Pro, but those aren't expected in anytime soon.

I know about and but they start at like $1k and are waaaaay more than I need.

Anyone have some good, relatively inexpensive (few hundred US dollars), basic laptops they'd recommend? Obviously powered.

lol I think I've learned that Lenovos REALLY are the way to go. Seems everyone really loves used ones.

Thanks all! :-D

@joostruis I've thought about that, definitely, but aren't a lot of new Chromebooks more difficult to get Linux on? Definitely don't want to be in Google's ecosystemd.

@ozoned I'm looking at refurbished Lenovo laptops myself. eBay, Amazon, and Lenovo site. I had a ThinkPad T420 that served me well for years with Linux Mint.

@djwfyi definitely done that in the past and it was a good work horse. Keeping that on the back burner though. Thanks!

@djwfyi @ozoned my vote goes for a refurbished ThinkPad T420.

This is what I'm using for 5 years now :)

I replaced the hard drive for a SSD and added some RAM as well.

I also avoid electron-based app on that laptop cause it slows down like crazy.

@djwfyi ah ! I also replaced that just before COVID slapped us all !

Had trouble finding one online back then though.

I hope you'll find one 😅

@bchhun and... Ordered a replacement fan for my T420. Maybe I can bring it back to life!

@djwfyi ohh you will :) there are good guides online to replace it

@bchhun @djwfyi @ozoned I have Ubuntu 22.04 running on a Thinkpad T-410, but it might be a bit to heavy, I'm actually looking for a light Linux desktop

@boilingsteam Definitely an excellent guide. Thank you! Probably going to end up with a used Lenovo and that'll come in handy.

@ozoned I have an Lenovo E580 which I used for work (web dev) and still would be if they didn't buy me a fancy dell. It is now the family computer.

The good thing about it is that it is all upgradable. Buy cheap and then upgrade when have the money. Its not super in terms of sound and visuals but it does play Minecraft!

We don't have a lot of spare cash as a family of 5 so went in with a budget of 500 quid. Worth that money for sure. Chromebooks are quite cheap and are running Linux in someway...

@ozoned If you’re willing to do a little assembly work, a low-spec (i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD) Framework Laptop DIY Edition will cost around $850.

@ozoned I’ll back the Thinkpad recommendations.

Stay away from the models where the RAM is integrated with the mainboard. (Lenovo, what were you thinking?!)

Anyway, get a decent refurbed model, slap your favorite distro on it. Consider swapping out the HDD for an SSD when you have a bit of cash lying around.

@ozoned I've had good luck with refurbished HP business laptops off eBay. Those are usually lease returns that get refurbished to pretty near new condition. They're extremely good value if you can look past the odd little scratch on the bottom or remains of asset stickers.

The Elitebooks and Folios generally run Linux very well and somebody has already paid the windows tax before. 😄

@ozoned Would a coreboot machine from work?

(One issue, of course, is that you mentioned dollars, and they are in England...)

@ozoned Most Linux-y laptop enthusiasts go with Lenovo. I have one which I got for $30 which would be too light for you (ssh CLI is fine). My wife has an x201 which would be at the low end of fine. I usually shop on eBay, then cross reference comments for the model on other sites (like Amazon--I don't shop there, but their reviews help!).

@ozoned Newer but not newest T or X series thinkpad with an i5 and an SSD. Very high bang for the buck.

@ozoned I don't know if that is self fulfilljng.? I recommended you one which I got because I thought everyone liked them. Where did it all start?!

@joshuaCrewe lol I've had a LOT of feedback on this post and everyone, save for a few, has recommended used Lenovos. :-) Like 85% of folks suggest a used Lenovo. :-) So just saying it really does appear to be the way to go. lol

I might have a lead on a used Pinebook Pro though, so I'll play with that and if it doesn't live up to expectations, definitely going to pick up a used Lenovo, because I think I'll be thrown out of the Linux community without one now. :-D

@ozoned if you do end up getting a pinebook, I'd be interested to know how it works out for you!

@joshuaCrewe Absolutely will let you know! I plan on getting a Pinebook Pro and a PineTab EVENTUALLY, some day. Just depends on if I find it used or not. So might end up with multiple machines.

SUPER interested in the PineNote as well, but not willing to put the time into it, until it's somewhat usable as a note taking device and ereader.

@ozoned I've never understood the tablet form factor. An open ereader on the other hand! I thought you'd be able to flash custom ROMs on kindles by now.

@joshuaCrewe i'm more interested in if it can be similar to laptop replacement.

Also My 5 year has an amazon kindle his grandparents bought him and i'd also like to get him into something privacy respecting. They're very intuitive for kids.

@ozoned I am always at a loss as to what to do with the kids and technology. They really want an iPad like they have at school!

@joshuaCrewe We monitor his tablet usage closely. We've put a few PBS kids games and the app on it. He only gets it rarely. I think he had it two days ago and before that it was a week+ .

I don't mind him being into technology, but I'm not a fan of iOS or Android based things are they're pretty much addiction machines.

We play games together though and even let him play some games himself, but we're basically always right there.

@ozoned Honestly? I'm still using the same Thinkpad from 2014. Most of them run Linux well and are great for casual and semi-pro uses.

@ozoned go buy a used laptop from a pawn shop sometimes they have good performance cheap cost ones in

depends on stock usually if they are overstocked they will hook you up

and most worthwhile pawn shops test them before selling them

@ozoned I've had good luck with Thinkpads over the years, and also some of the business-grade Dell Latitude E-series (look for the ones with metal cases, the Trackpoint-type pointer in the keyboard, and the dock connector on the bottom).

I still use a Dell E6410 daily. Great machine—just add an SSD.

If you want something minimalist and small, @retroedgetech has reportedly had success getting Coreboot (open source firmware) onto some Dell Chromebooks, turning them into regular Linux laptops.

@kadin @ozoned @retroedgetech One big plus of older Thinkpads and also older Latitudes that I did not see mentioned so far is their great haptics. Both lines had very nice built in keyboards in the past (Dell up to the Latitude 6440 and Lenovo until X220). You won't get those on a modern laptop. And as business notebooks they were built to be serviced and repaired by IT people, so they usually have great repairablity.

Depends on what you need and how you use it. Pinebook Pro and many Chromebooks are ARM based, thus offer a good battery life and no issue with Intel Management Engine (ME) and other benefits of RISC architecture.

On Pinebooks Pro you get Privacy Switches and there are scheduled back in stock on late June 2022.

On some Chromebooks (eg Asus C201 - Rockchip 3288-C Quad-Core 1.8GHz with 4GB RAM ) you can use Libreboot and various Linux distributions.

@ozoned hi! In my eyes, refurbished is the way to go, just look for former professional Dell, Lenovo or HP laptops. They usually cost a third of what they were worth 3 years ago.
I've been using a refurbished Dell Latitude 7270 I bought 3 years ago for 350€ and couldn't be happier about it. It has great Linux support, excellent repairability / extensibility (I added 16 GB of RAM), over 5 hours of battery and more power than I need.
Good luck on your quest!

@ozoned oh, and sorry, I just realized your question is old enough for you to have found what you wanted already :blob_sweat:

@badumtss lol no worries at all. :-) I still appreciate folks taking the time to make a suggestion. :-)

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!