Monday, January 14, 2013

Divorcing Apple - Part 3

Divorcing Apple - Part 3

You’ll remember from part 1 that I’ve decided I want a divorce from Apple, and I’ve decided to get engaged to Ubuntu on a Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook.

In part 2 I detailed the actual install, and how it wasn’t that hard, even if you want to dual boot. Single boot would be very very easy.

So after the bake off, and the install, what next? Whats the XPS 13 and Ubuntu 12.04 like to get just right?

When Ubuntu is running to make it more similar to Mac and OSX:

  1. How to view hidden files in ubuntu linux: ctrl-H
  2. Take screenshots like Mac: applications>system tools>system settings>keyboard>shortcuts>screenshot choose your key command
  3. Like Quicklook ie press keyboard to get a preview?: Install Sushi from Software Centre


  1. Add information panels to the menu bar eg: CPU speed, CPU load
  2. EncFS works with Dropbox just great
  3. So does BitCasa
  4. and AeroFS
  5. I can read/write to the NTFS partition, as well, out of the box

Hardware Summary

Compare MacBook Pro 13" (2011 model pre Retina), MacBook Air 11" and Dell XPS 13

Tech Capabilities
MBP: Dual Core CPU with boost to 2.6GHz, 4 GB or 8GB RAM, 128 or 256 GB SSD
MBA: Dual Core CPU with boost to 2.6GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 or 256 GB SSD
XPS 13: Dual Core CPU with boost to 2.6GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 or 256 GB SSD

Size & Weight:
MBP12.8"8.94"0.95"4.5 lbs
MBA11.8"7.56"0.68"2.3 lbs
XPS 1312.4"8.1"0.71"3 lbs

MBP: 1280 x 800 (pre Retina)
MBA: 1366 by 768
XPS 13: 1366 by 768

While not 20/20 my vision is pretty good, and these screens are very similar to me.

Battery life:
Apple advertise "up to whatever hours", in reality on my MBP I didn't usually get more than about 4 hours with regular web browsing use. The MBA and the XPS 13 seems similar ie all three in the real world get about 4 hours. Other reports on Apple battery life seem to agree

All three have full size backlit chiclit. I like them, others disagree.

Build quality:
The Apples do have very good build quality with the unibody construction and the Dell is not far behind: even though the bottom case is plastic.

MBP: Gbit ethernet, 2 x USB2, 1 x Firewire 800, SD Card, Mini-DP
MBA: 2 x USB2, Mini-DP (current model replaces a USB2 for a USB3)
XPS 13: 1 x USB2, 1 x USB3, Mini-DP

Price? Here in Australia:
MBP: A$ 1,588.99  comparable model ie 4GB / 128GB (non-Retina, SSD upgrade)
MBA: A$ 1,249.00 comparable model ie 4GB / 128GB
Dell XPS 13: A$1,299.00 comparable model  ie 4GB / 128GB

What does this mean? Well if you were considering buying a Mac Air, the XPS 13 is very similar from a price, hardware and specification aspect. On the XPS 13, the LED even ‘breathes’ when its suspended or hibernating and there is a quick press button for battery charge on the right hand side.

There is only one thing which is definitely better with Apple hardware: the power connector which changes colour when the battery is charged.

Update: on to part 4 to find out which apps you'll need on Linux / Ubuntu to give the same functionality as you get on OSX.

1 comment:

previouslysilent said...

does the XPS not have an expresscard slot and an SD card slot?