Buy a Linux laptop: Star Labs laptops review

Linux users often face many difficulties, the most important of which is to find a computer that is compatible with the distribution they use, so that they enjoy using their preferred system without the headache of search for solutions and fixes that may be ineffective or useless.
Fortunately,after the increased use of Linux in the technical environment, some companies have begun to design and manufacture special computers that are compatible with the Linux system.
Today we will review one of the best open-source Linux laptop, which is highly efficient and which It has been in great demand in recent years.  
Star Labs offers the Linux community two  ambitious laptops models: the Top model and the Lite one “for Mini laptops lovers”, the two have Linux pre-installed and configured for you. Now we will address the specs of each copy as well as the pros and cons of these Laptops. Let’s go.
 

Star LabTop MK IV {alertInfo}

Star LapTop

Model
Star LabTop Mk IV
Fabric (Chassis)
Type II Matte Black Anodised Aluminium
Dimension/Weight
HxWxD: 1.48 cm (0.58 inches)x 31.43 cm (12.37 inches)x 21.60 cm (8.50 inches), Weight: 1.1 kg (2.4 pounds)
Operating system
Pre-installed: Ubuntu, elementary OS, Linux Mint, Manjaro, MX Linux or Zorin OS core (window 10 for extra $$).
Officially tested: Solus, Fedora, Opensuse, Kali, Deepin and more. Learn more.
Display
13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit matte display with IPS technology, 1920x1080 resolution at 160 pixels per inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, 178°viewing angle, Type: IGZO TFT-LCD.
CPU
2.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz or 1.1GHz hexa-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.7GHz
GPU (Graphics)
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory (RAM)
16GB 2666MHz DDR4 onboard memory
Firmware
AMI Aptio V (closed source), Coreboot (opensource)
Storage
240GB SATA Over-Provisioned SSD Storage or 480/960/1920GB PCIe Over-Provisioned SSD Storage
Battery & Power
45.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer, Up to 7 hours battery life,
60w USB-C Power Adapter
Wireless
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
802.11ax Wi-Fi; Up to 2.4 Gbps, 802.11ac/a/b/g/n compatible
 Keyboard and Trackpad
Backlit keyboard, Glass trackpad , Keyboard language: English (USA), English (UK)
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.1
Camera
720p HD
Audio
Stereo Speakers, Dual Digital Microphone
Port
USB Type C 3.1 with Power Delivery, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, DC Charging Jack, Micro SD Memory Card Reader, 3.5mm Headphone Jack.
Price
{getButton} $text={From £699≈824 USD (Official store)} $icon={info} $color={#e47911}

Pros{alertSuccess}

  • Designed and built with open-source in mind.
  • Built for Linux.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Fast and efficient on multitasking.
  • Turbo Boost processing.
  • Virtually silent.
  • Over-provisioning SSD: increases performance and IOPS - incredibly fast (Up to 3400MB/S sequential read speed and Up to 3000MB/S sequential write speed).
  • Switch seamlessly between energy efficiency and performance.
  • Good battery life (up to 7Hrs).
  • USB-C port.
  • Display glass overlay.
  • Anti-Reflective Coating: Star LabTop feature an ARC matte display that prevents glare, which make it suitable for outdoors use.
  • Power-efficient LED backlighting that produces bright and vibrant colours.
  • Lightweight and thin.
  • LED backlit keyboard.
  • Keyboard function lock.
  • Oversized glass trackpad “Enabling precise tracking and elegant gesture control”.
  • Detachable plugs for the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA included.
  • One-year limited warranty, One-year limited technical support.
👉 This is not all, you should read the special features, I am sure they will catch your attention and impress you or even blow your mind 🤯.
 

Cons {alertError}

  • On-board memory (RAM): even if 16 GB is more than enough for most of the Linux users, they should make the Ram replaceable and offer more Ram option (32GB for example).
  • Limited graphic card options: they should offer Nvidia or AMD options.
  • 1080p is a little bit low display resolution, at least they should offer 1440p resolution.
  • The bezels are wide; they could have made it narrow.
  • Only black color, they have to offer more color options.
  • No numpad.

Special Features{alertWarning}

  • Essential security features are included as standard such as the options to disable: Intel Management Engine, Wireless, Webcam.
  • The BIOS Embedded Controller and SSD receive automatic firmware updates via the LVFS.
  • Open-source Firmware: Coreboot is a fast, light-weight, energy efficient open-source firmware.
  • The ability to switch between AMI and Coreboot firmware at any time: in my opinion, this is a killer feature.
  • One USB-C port to rule them all (Charging, data transfer, video output).
  • Open warranty: This is a joke, no? No, this is what we call a true opensource laptop; you have one year limited warranty that allow you to truely anatomize your laptop using only a small Phillips screwdriver.
"take your laptop apart, replace parts, install an upgrade and use any operating system, all without voiding the warranty." Star Labs team.
  • 60W USB-C Power Adapter with USB-A port that supports QuickCharge.
  • Highly configurable firmware (AMI): changing the keyboard backlight timeout, Aperture Size, Power profile, Enabling/disabling Webcam, Wireless, Microphone, Ctrl Fn Reverse...
 

Star Lite MK III{alertInfo}

 
Star Lite

Model
Star Lite MK III
Fabric (Chassis)
Type II Matte Black Anodised Aluminium
Dimension/Weight
HxWxD: 1.36 cm (0.53 inches)x 28.30 cm (11.14 inches)x 19.20 cm (7.55 inches), Weight: 0.9 kg (1.98 pounds)
Operating system
Pre-installed: Ubuntu, elementary OS, Linux Mint, Manjaro, MX Linux or Zorin OS core (window 10 for extra $$).
Officially tested: Solus, Fedora, Opensuse, Kali, Deepin and more. Learn more.
Display
11.6-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit matte display with IPS technology, 1920x1080 resolution at 190 pixels per inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, 178°viewing angle, Type: IGZO TFT-LCD.
CPU
1.1GHz quad-core Intel® Pentium® N5000
Burst up to 2.7GHz, with 4MB Cache
GPU (Graphics)
Intel UHD Graphics 605
Memory (RAM)
8GB 2400MHz LPDDR4 onboard memory
Firmware
AMI Aptio V (closed source), Coreboot (open source)
Storage
240/480/960GB SATA Over-Provisioned SSD Storage
Battery & Power
30.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer, Up to 7 hours battery life,
60w USB-C Power Adapter
Wireless
Intel Wi-Fi 5 9642
802.11ac Wi-Fi; Up to 433 Mbps,  802.11a/b/g/n compatible
 Keyboard and Trackpad
Backlit keyboard, Glass trackpad , Keyboard language: English (USA), English (UK)
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.1
Camera
480p
Audio
Stereo Speakers, Dual Digital Microphone
Port
USB Type C 3.1 with Power Delivery, Micro HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, DC Charging Jack, Micro SD Memory Card Reader, 3.5mm Headphone Jack.
Price
{getButton} $text={From £399≈471 USD (Official store)} $icon={info} $color={#e47911}

Pros{alertSuccess}

MK III has the same pros (which you can read them above) as his "older brother", MK IV , with some slight differences, which are as follows:
  • Lighter: this little one weighs just 0.9 kilograms.
  • Over-provisioning SSD: Up to 560MB/S sequential read speed and Up to 540MB/S sequential write speed (despite the difference, this is still very fast).
 

Cons {alertError}

The two brothers (MKIII and MKIV) share the same cons (you can find them above 🔼), with some additional ones for MKIII, which we can summarize as follows:
  • Only AMI Aptio V firmware: even if the latter is very configurable, it should not be the only available choice, they must add the Coreboot option to this little ambitious boy. Now, you can install Coreboot on your Star Lite III laptop using fwupd by following this tutorial.
  • No WiFi 6: Star Lite features an intel WiFi 5 wireless card that offers you a max speed of 433Mbps, when the WiFi, which is featured by MK IV, offers you up to 2.4Gbps.
  • SD webcam: only a 480p webcam.

Special Features{alertWarning}

Star Light and Star LapTop share the same "special genes", except that Light lacks the gene responsible for switching between coreboot and AMI Aptio V due to the absence of Coreboot option in MK III (Lite).

My impression{alertImpression}

In summary, the Star Labs laptops can handle most tasks that you require as a Linux user, and is a highly rated Linux laptop. Fast, efficent and easy to set up. 
However, the Star Labs team should devote some attention to fix cons, listed in this humble article, in the future versions as that will gives us (Linux users) more choices and a better penguin 🐧 experience.
For Star Lite (MK III), let's be reasonable, the additional cons are acceptable, of course, except for the absence of Coreboot option, given the wide price difference between the two versions, which is approximately $350. However, Star lite delivers a solid performance that cannot be dismissed by mini laptops fans.
In addition, Most real buyers of this product are extremely pleased with their purchase and would recommend this Laptops to others. In general, Star Labs is one of the best open-source Linux laptops that really worth buying, and which can and should become even better.

Shopping time{alertShopping}


Disclosure: Please note that this Blog contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you. In addition, it is worth noting that all our reviews and recommendation are honest as lying is not part of our morals and because your trust is important to us. Read our full Affiliate Policy.

 

😮 Did you know that you can buy the incredibly fast Star Labs SSD, in addition to many other accessories that you can find below this paragraph?

ℹ️ Due to the constantly changing value of currencies, especially when converting from one currency to another, I saw the adoption of the official currency of the Star Labs in this article, which is the British pound (GBP).

  • Star Lite MK III "
 
Star Lite
 
 
  • Star LapTop MK IV
 
Star LapTop
 
 
  • SSD Over-provisioning Star drive 240/480/960/1920GB (incredibly fast)
 
📣 Do we miss something ? Let us know in the comment box below.
Djalel Oukid

Science teacher, PhD student, Master degree in Microbial biotechnology , Microbiologist, designer, video editor, podcaster & blogger. linkedin portfolio github

3 Comments

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  1. You didn't mention the prices, which makes these specs hard to evaluate.

    Also, if you click on one of the spec tables, it closes this window, and loads the table, but there is no way to get back to this page. Super annoying. Fix that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, welcome to my blog and Thanks for your comment and your suggestion.
      Second, I'm sorry for the inconvenients.
      In order to be honest and clear with you, mentioning the prize is contrary to the policy of Amazon Affiliate, which may lead to the ban of my account because the price is constantly changing. So please to see the price scroll down to the shopping box when you can find the prize, I hope this solves your problem.
      For the table problem; If you are using a computer, just press Esc or out of the picture to get back.
      If you are using the phone, simply touch the screen outside the picture frame.
      Alternatively, If the option to open the image in a new tab helps you or good for you, tell me and I will activate it for you.
      Finally, I hope that I have answered all your questions, and I'm sorry again.

      Delete
    2. The article is updated and it includes price now.

      Delete
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