I’ve been using a second-hand MacBook Air from 2011 that I bought for 150 euros up until 2022 and it was time for a change. Rather than buying another MacBook -which I don’t think they’re developer friendly anymore, both in terms of hardware and software- I thought I’d give Linux a try and decided to buy a brand new Tuxedo Computer. They have their own OS based on Kubuntu (KDE + Ubuntu) so I thought that would get rid of any driver incompatibility or hardware problem.
This is my review after 1 year of usage.
1 x TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14 – Gen6
- Omnia Display | 3k 16:10 90Hz | Intel Core i7-11370H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4 GB
- 16 GB (1x 16GB) 3200Mhz CL22 Samsung
- 16 GB (1x 16GB) 3200Mhz CL22 Samsung
- 1000 GB Samsung 980 PRO (NVMe PCIe 4.0)
- 1000 GB Samsung 980 PRO (NVMe PCIe 4.0)
- Keyboard with TUX super-key
- Keyboardlayout ENGLISH US ISO (EN-US international)
- Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 Series (802.11ax | 2,4 & 5 GHz | Bluetooth 5.2)
- TUXEDO_OS 22.04 LTS (ENCRYPTED)
- without Windows
- USB to LAN Adapter – Type-C – 1000MBit USB3.1 1GBit
- 24 months / 2 years warranty
- EU power cord | F C6
- TUXEDO Logo
- Assembled within 1-3 weeks when in stock
Price: 2.021,01 EUR
1 x Price adjustment: -176,47 EUR
Sub-Total, no-tax: 1.844,54 EUR
Shipping: 0,00 EUR
Total, no tax: 1.844,54 EUR
To give you an overview on the waiting times, here’s how it went for me:
- 13th March 2022: Purchased laptop
- 16th March 2022: In preparation
- 17th March 2022: In production
- 19th March 2022: Shipped from their facilities by UPS
- 23rd March 2022: Arrived at my office (located in Barcelona, Spain)
Total: 10 days
This laptop has an incredible form factor. Small yet featuring a 3K 14″ display and an amazing weight at just 1 kg, lighter than most modern MacBooks. The case is not metallic but has a hard plastic feel, it doesn’t look cheap though. It gets finger smudges over time.
During the purchase process you are offered to customize your chassis with a custom logo instead of the Tuxedo’s one. The problem is that it costs 50 euros which I find a bit expensive. I understand it is not cheap to do, specially since it alters the production cycle to have to deal with someone submitting their logo and getting it the right format, etc. But from a marketing point of view, if I come to the office with my own logo, that would get a lot of word of mouth and it would be a nice marketing strategy.
Fan and temperatures
I’m using this laptop in the most power saving/economy mode possible (see my comment on the Battery) and the most CPU/GPU intensive tasks I do are compiling code and watching 4K video. The fan doesn’t get too loud and the computer stays at an acceptable 50°C (122°F) up to 65-70°C (150-160°F) when at high usage.
Screen is great.
The brightness can be turned super low to 1% which is great to watch stuff at night in complete darkness without straining your eyes.
The 16:10 ratio is also great for versatility and working with two windows side by side.
Unfortunately, it came with a dead pixel at 1/3rd by 1/3rd of the screen, which makes it super noticeable. And it sucks so much to have a brand new retina screen spoiled by a damn dead pixel.
Keyboard is good, but the keys get the screen dirty and it’s kind of embarrassing for other people to see, considering I wash my hands constantly.
By the way, to turn on the back-lit keyboard press Fn+Space. You can toggle between low/high/off.
I’m not sure why they decided to point the speakers down but the sound is really weak and trebled, there’s no bass and the volume is so low that I can’t understand when in a movie there’s people whispering. I can’t do video calls either. Not that I buy a laptop for its High Fidelity sound, but not being able to hear during a meeting is frustrating and not something I would expect from a 2,000 EUR laptop.
Now, with any Linux installation, I would usually start tinkering with sound drivers, configurations and libraries but considering both the hardware and software come from the same company, I assume they’ve already tested everything much better than I would ever get, so it’s already at its best configuration.
Same as with the speakers, all video calls started with the other people pointing out to speak louder. I now always carry earphones with this laptop.
I love that the webcam has a wide angle, which makes the picture look much more professional. What I don’t like about it is that you need to be in a well lit room in order for the webcam to work well at all.
Touch pad (7/10)
Huge and beautiful, clickable on a 50% of the area.
What I don’t like is that by double-tapping on the top left you disable it, but that accidentally happens quite often while writing which is annoying, specially when you already have the F9 key that disables/enables the touch pad, why have the same functionality twice? Specially when it is prone to happen accidentally.
Using their recommended Tuxedo OS (Ubuntu with KDE Plasma) is good, I come from Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE) and while it has more bells and whistles, it includes quite a few great apps such as Dolphin (file explorer), Konsole (command line terminal), Spectacle (screenshot tool), Plasma Search (like Alfred or Apple’s Spotlight).
The OS comes with the Tuxedo Control Center which provides tools to tweak the fan and energy consumption.
I haven’t had any incompatibility issues with drivers so far, which is good.
Although I had problems with Kernel updates which can be scary and a deal-breaker for non-experts:
The battery sucks hard. I went for the Tuxedo OS which is what they recommended and was getting one hour and a few minutes of battery by just browsing the web with Chromium at the default settings, nothing installed but Chrome, without listening to music or playing videos, something completely ridiculous for a brand new laptop.
I’ve had to disable all KDE Desktop Effects and Compositor, limited the CPU. disabled the NVIDIA graphics card, selected the “Cool and Breezy” profile, and moved the Power Profile to “Power save”, essentially converting a $2,000 laptop into a $1,000 one. By limiting everything I have been able to get 3:00 to 4:00 hours of battery. But it’s a shame I am running this laptop at half speed of what I paid for just to be able to get by a meeting without my charger.
Charging is also really slow, takes around 2-3 hours to fully charge. Considering the short battery life and long charging time, it limits your portability and you need to really manage well your time, specially if you move around a lot.
On the positive side, you can charge this laptop with a 60W+ USB-C charger on any of its two ports which are conveniently placed at either side. I’ve also tried to charge the battery with a 15W USB-C (the one from my phone) in case I ever forget the big charger but it doesn’t work, it would have been a life saver but I guess there’s some protection in place to avoid such a low wattage for some reason, I’m not an expert so just know you need 60W at least, 15W won’t work even if you leave it all night.
FYI one year later, the battery health is at 62%. I can barely do a 25 minute video-call before the battery running out, that is, with all power saving settings enabled and the graphics card disabled… Very disappointing.
Customer Service (6/10)
I can live with most flaws this laptop has except for the battery lasting an hour and a half and taking two and a half to charge. I was pretty sure there was something wrong. So on 1th June 2022 I submitted a support ticket to get some help and find out what was wrong. Here’s the response times of everything so you get a feel of their Customer Support responsiveness (times are in 24h format):
- 1st June 2022 08:00: I submit support ticket regarding battery life
- 1st June 2022 08:00: Tuxedo automated message confirmation of ticket received
- 1st June 2022 11:38: Tuxedo team replied asking for more info
- 3rd June 2022 07:35: I submit System Diagnostics tool
- 3rd June 2022 12:06: I receive a “just don’t use it” reply
Yes, their reply is to just not use the NVIDIA card I just spent 470 euros on, why the hell did I buy it? Why the hell did you not warn customers about it?
Hello Mister Esteve, thank you very much for your e-mail. The battery life is not as long because the Nvidia graphics card is active. The Nvidia graphics card draws a lot of power. That's why the battery runs out more quickly. It is better to use the internal graphics card. This graphics card is energy-saving. To switch the graphics, look into your Panel. You should see our Tuxedo Control Center Icon. Right-Click on it, select Graphics and choose there the built-in Option. Is the battery life longer? For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. -- With kind regards [AGENT NAME REDACTED] Service- & Support-Agent
Regardless of their useless message to just not use the 470 euros you paid for, they reply fast. Still, the solution is unacceptable to say the least.
Final score and conclusion
Final score: 5.6 out of 10
While I haven’t found any hardware-driver incompatibility, some of the hardware is subpar for a 2,000 EUR laptop. I’m forced to use an under-clocked device to be able to have an acceptable work tool and there’s some things I can’t do such as having a video chat when there’s some background noise or working for half morning running on battery without the worry of needing a plug.
As the CTO of a fast growing food delivery startup (250 new hires in less than 2 years) I have sourced a lot of new laptops and I am pretty confident the next ones won’t be Tuxedo, I bought it for myself to test it and find a new laptop provider away from the usual Big Corp. I don’t believe they are as well thought as a ~2,000 euro laptop should be and don’t find them usable in an office environment.
Other brands that are Linux user-friendly and I will be checking out as Tuxedo alternatives: Slimbook, Framework, System76, VANT, Purism, Kubuntu Focus, ThinkPenguin, Star Labs, Nitrokey, LWL, MintBox, Dell or Lenovo.