Laptop owned since May 2018. Review last updated May 2018.
This review page is for subjective material about my experience with this system. Hard specs and usage notes are found on the parent page.
Pre Purchase Assessment
My previous daily driver: Thinkpad X200
I love my X200, and it took years for me to finally come around to the notion of replacing it, but eventually I just couldn't justify keeping it. Just running Chromium consumed all of the 8GB of RAM, and the system struggled to keep up with anything more than basic tasks. My criteria for a new laptop was 1) disabled Intel ME, and 2) similarly portable to my X200. So I started with System 76 and Purism as the vendors, and tossed in Lenovo just for old times sake.
Eventually I wound up with three laptops:
- Purism Librem 13
- System 76 Galago Pro
- Lenovo Thinkpad Retro
I don't like Purism. At least I used to, recently I've been reevaluating my stance on their company as they continue to hold to their stated values and make fewer faux pas.
The Librem 13 ticks several boxes for me. It's privacy centric, which I appreciate. It has a nice netbook form factor. And the overall design is aesthetically pleasing to me.
Unfortunately it has meh specs, especially for the price point.
System 76 has been on my radar for a while, and while I have reservations about working with too small an outfit (since that limits community support and parts availability), I also would prefer to support a small company that aligns with my values than a giant company that actively partners with Microsoft et al.
The Galago Pro is listed as Maximum Portability on the website, and is also the only laptop in the 12" netbook class I'm interested in. Unfortunately the portability spec seems to be based on how thin the laptop is, rather than its suitability for being carried around and used away from a desk.
The system specs were amazing, however, and even with everything tuned the way I want (16G RAM, 500G NVMe drive, nice CPU) it was cheaper than the other two options.
I love my Thinkpads, but Lenovo's newer offerings leave a lot to be desired. So even though the Thinkpad Retro doesn't have any privacy awareness, it exists as the closest physical hardware I can find that will let me continue to have a good ol' Thinkpad with modern specs.
Unfortunately the Retro had meh specs and was very pricey, which phased it out of lineup pretty quickly.
|Overall: Form > Function|