About a week ago, I wrote a post that outlined how I got my new(-ish) Dell Latitude XT2 set up to work as a convertible tablet notebook running Ubuntu Linux. For the most part, it’s working well. I knew a few things would be problematic when I purchased the machine but there are always a few things that appear (or disappear!) once you’ve got the machine in your hands. For instance, getting the machine set up was far easier than I thought!
There was definitely a learning curve to using the stylus but I think I’ve got it down. It was time-consuming getting CellWriter up and running but it’s now recognizing my handwriting with about 95% accuracy the first time.
I don’t do a lot of customization when it comes to Ubuntu because I find that it works quite well for me out of the box. I use Firefox and Thunderbird for web browsing and email management because they suit my needs the best. In fact, on my MacBook, it’s my email program of choice!
About the only additional software that I put on the machine is Dropbox, which is essential for storing and syncing files across diverse platforms. In addition to my XT2 and my MacBook, I’ve got an iPad, an iPhone, and a desktop workstation that runs Ubuntu Linux as well as Windows 7 in a virtual machine. Although Google Drive is nice to use for Windows and Mac, there is not a native Linux version…yet.
Here are some observations, concerns, and positive surprises that I’ve noticed with my machine:
- I think that I resolved the wireless issue that I described in my first post by forcing the BIOS to disable the cellular data/WWAN and Bluetooth antennas. Now, the switch on the sides only controls the wi-fi antenna.
- I am getting about 2.5 hours of battery life from the machine with wi-fi on and marginally more with it off. The battery indicator in Ubuntu shows the machine starting from about 80% battery life. The battery is called a battery slice and I can find replacement batteries from third-party manufacturers for inexpensive if I notice that battery capacity starts to diminish. (By comparison, my MacBook gets about 5 hours of life with wi-fi on.)
- I purchased — and ultimately returned — a 3M privacy filter for my machine. 3M’s online utility recommended what size of screen I should purchase, which I did. But upon installing it, the measurements were just off.
- The machine runs warm. Using an infrared thermometer, I’ve gotten temperature readings in excess of 115º F, which definitely precludes lap operation. It’s warm – but tolerable – wn I use it in tablet mode in my arm. I haven’t done any extended writing sessions with it yet, though.
- The XT2 uses a smaller-than-standard 1.8-inch hard disk drive instead of a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive. A search on Newegg shows that only 1.8-inch drives these days are SSDs, which might be interesting for speed and power consumption but nevertheless expensive!
- Getting the machine set up was much easier than I anticipated.
- The speaker, despite being a monaural speaker on the left-hand side of the machine, is surprisingly good! I don’t keep music on there but I have Spotify‘s Linux preview edition on there and it works well.
More thoughts and observations will be shared when I think or observe them!