My new System76 Lemur laptop

I will be starting graduate studies at Lawrence Technological University next week, and one of the things I needed for the upcoming semester was a new laptop. My school does not supply the nice Lenovo Yoga machines to graduate students for free like it does for undergraduates (graduates have to pay $95/credit hour, which as you might expect adds up quickly), and my beat-up Toshiba Satellite which I've had since starting my studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a freshman is starting to show its age.

This time, I felt confident enough in my experience with Ubuntu to leave behind Windows-based systems for good, at least for my personal machines. I could get just about any laptop nowadays and replace Windows on it with Ubuntu (then pray that it works with all the hardware and Secure Boot doesn't give me any issues), but I decided to do it right and get an Ubuntu machine from a reputable OEM. Thus, I decided to order a Lemur laptop from +System76 back in December, while they offered free shipping as a holiday promotion.

First, I had to ensure such a machine would meet my needs, but +Cassidy James Blaede was very helpful with that. I contacted him using Google Hangouts instant messaging, and he was very helpful in answering all of my questions. My main one was whether the Core i3 on the Lemur could support a Windows 10 virtual machine, should I need it for any coursework, and apparently it should.

I ended up ordering the System76 Lemur, with a Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 120 GB M.2 SSD (I still value speed over capacity, especially in this day and age when cloud storage is widely available). I also opted to get an external DVD-RW drive just in case, since neither the Lemur nor my personal desktop machine have built-in optical drives.

System76's website was very easy to use during the ordering process. A short while after the order was complete, I received a confirmation email and even a phone call from a System76 representative asking if I had any additional questions about my order. They went out of their way to make me feel like a valued customer, and I really appreciated that.

I received the laptop via UPS Ground shipping a couple days ago, but I was so tied up, busy and exhausted from setting things up at work and school that the package just sat in my room for a couple days. Today I finally got around to unboxing it, a process for which I have pictures below.










(First boot of the laptop, after setup. Notice the unique default wallpaper added by System76; others were available in the Appearance preferences after login.)


(This was not a default wallpaper, but I set it for something a bit more fitting of the laptop's namesake. The wallpaper is from megawallpapers.pw.)

The packaging was reminiscent of a nesting doll, and none of the boxes bore any System76 branding. But then I finally got in to the laptop itself, three boxes in, and it was like love at first sight. The laptop is very clean in appearance, and much lighter than my old Toshiba Satellite. There were no stickers cluttering it up like most OEMs plaster on their devices, except for one for the Intel Core i3 processor. The keyboard has a very nice Ubuntu key instead of the Windows key. :)

First boot showed me the OS setup screen, starting with the OEM-set default wallpaper and a language-select screen that's a bit different from the one I've seen in the past when installing Ubuntu from a LiveCD/DVD. The rest of setup was very familiar to me, and went by quickly.

I could not connect to our home network during setup for some reason, but connecting after logging into my new account was no problem. Neither was connecting to our home network printer, or my Google accounts for school and personal use. I also got a Logitech M535 Bluetooth mouse for Christmas, and connecting it went without a hitch as well. Basically, anything I needed the laptop to do, it did for me almost flawlessly.

The external DVD-RW drive I got with it was okay. It takes up two USB ports and is a bit noisy, but otherwise seemed to work okay. This will be handy for when we continue phasing out optical drives on our home machines.

My only minor gripe was that the charger for the laptop did not have a Velcro strap on it to keep the cable tied up when not in use, like both my old personal and school laptops had. A trip to Micro Center to look at what they have for cable organization should provide a fix for this, though.

Overall, the machine is fantastic. Of course, the real test will be when I start taking it with me to LTU for actual classroom use, but at home it is performing magnificently. I will be requesting my free System76 stickers soon. :)

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