A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Dell's latest Ubuntu notebook, the XPS 13 "Developer Edition", also dubbed "Sputnik 3". This is the kind of notebook that most Linux fans would love to have; it packs in a fast Intel Core i7 dual-core, a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a crisp 1080p 13.3-inch display. As fantastic as the XPS 13 is, though, its $1,549 price tag puts it out of range for a lot of people.
The upside to that is that Dell offers a decent range of other Ubuntu notebooks, but as mentioned in the earlier post, things could be improved. With Dell tackling the high-end, what about the low-end? Or perhaps, ultra low-end?
ASUS is on it. In an announcement this week from Canonical, we learn of two notebooks from ASUS that are targeted at those who prefer to spend their $200 or so on hardware, not ~$150 on hardware and then ~$50 on the side for a Windows license.
What we have as a result is the X201E-DH01 (price unknown, as it's currently sold-out), and 1015E-DS03 ($199.99, as of the time of writing), both of which are very attractive given their ultra-low pricing.
Both models feature Intel's Celeron 847, a circa mid-2011 dual-core CPU which runs at 1.1GHz, while the X201E comes in a slightly larger form-factor (11.6-inch, versus 10.1-inch) and bumps the RAM from 2GB to 4GB. For storage, both include a 320GB hard drive.
Although low-cost notebooks like these can prove perfect for those who simply want the cheapest notebook possible, Canonical is focusing more on education than anything - and though it's a little rare to see in headlines, this involves the USA specifically, and can benefit teachers or students alike:
As Ubuntu, and all the software bundled on it is free, there’s no licence fees in the purchase price which significantly reduces cost. This is perfect for students and institutions, both of whose finances can be hard pressed.
That's something I can definitely get behind.