My laptop recently died, so I had to look for a new one. I decided I couldn't go for a lower resolution screen (15" with 1920x1200), and it needed a decent graphics card so I could play some games (not just the on-board Intel GPU). My wife has a Dell XPS 13 and I liked the look of it (it looks surprisingly similar to a MacBook Pro though), so when I saw that it had a 4K display and an nVidia 750M, that was the one to beat. Even the MacBook couldn't beat it, but it was a very close call when I chose the XPS 15, the £700 price difference was just one of the factors.
Of course, the laptop had to come preinstalled with Windows 8.1, and along with it a bunch of crapware, including a whole host of Dell rebranded drivers and McAfee, so it was clear that even if I wanted Windows on it (which I didn't) it would need a reinstallation. I accepted the included 20GB Dropbox upgrade then promptly reached for the Ubuntu 14.10 installation USB stick.
I've had a pretty poor experience with Ubuntu so far though. Before my list of complaints let me say, I like Ubuntu and have used it and other distros for several years.
Here's my laundry list of issues so far:
- The WiFi adapter wasn't supported out-of-the-box, so we had to get a lot of packages using another machine and copy them onto a USB stick.
- I would have expected the accessibility mode to have a 'increased size' option to help people with vision issues, but since the installation dialog was TINY I was hunting for it too, to no avail.
- Display: 4K (3840x2160) resolution is unusably high for Ubuntu in it's current state. You can tweak it a bit to make system dialogs larger, but that doesn't affect most applications (like Steam, Chrome, Firefox)
- Graphics: nVidia 750M GPU is a complete PITA to configure, and even moreso to use.
- Touchpad: It occasionally has a life of it's own. It decides to click while I'm typing, which has screwed up this post several times.
- Touchscreen: Works for basic use, but as documented, multitouch doesn't work, which is a shame.
- Keyboard: Seems to have some lag/miscommunication issues. I'm not entirely sure whether it's my touch-typing on the new laptop's keyboard or that the keyboard/OS is having issues. I can usually 'feel' when I'm typing incorrectly, but I'm occasionally seeing characters typed with switched positions or even missing characters completely when I'm sure I've typed correctly. Not having dedicated Page Up/Down and Home/End keys is also incredibly annoying. The function key is also in the wrong place for my liking. To me (admitedly a long-time ThinkPad user) it should be on the left so it's easier to find.
- Randomly Ubuntu will decide it doesn't like me anymore and it will freeze. I have to swap to a text TTY outside of X and back to regain control.
- Video in browsers is unwatchable. It has horizontal glitches, and if I maximise the browser window (not full screen video) I get other flashing graphical glitches all over my screen.
- The graphical glitches also happen on for fullscreen video. This gets even worse, with the framerate going down to around 3fps updating a third of the screen at a time (Both HTML5 video and Flash).
The graphics issues are possibly due to my nVidia drivers, but I've tried many different options, and my current configuration at least allows me to play a few modern games (Cities: Skylines, Besiege, Race The Sun) with the resolution turned down to 1920x1080, and even then the framerate and responsiveness leaves a lot to be desired (Race The Sun is unplayable).
On a side-note. The rubbery surface surrounding the keyboard and trackpad... I don't like it. The XPS 13 has a much nicer feeling surface (although she likes mine more).
For gaming, I'm seriously considering installing Windows 8.1, which is my absolute last resort.