System76 Lemur Ultra Laptop – Initial Review

I received my replacement laptop from System76, after the first one arrived with sodding great crack in the screen. I’m tossing together an unboxing video, and that should be done this evening, where you can hear my nasal dulcet tones describing the various holes.

I’m actually using the laptop itself to create the video. I recorded it using a Sony Handycam, which records MTS files. These are apparently a bit weird and proprietary, but luckily the Linux non-linear video editing app OpenShot can open and edit them. This is also a good test of the speed and responsiveness of the laptop. OpenShot appears to be quite simple, but it’s clear that some of the operations are tough on the laptop – especially the live preview. Maybe I can turn those off.

The laptop is good, all told. The case is plastic, and quite light, but seems sturdy enough. I haven’t done enough typing on it yet, but the keyboard is pretty good. The trackpad is great – very responsive, and the two-finger scrolling is very useful. I had to switch off the tap-to-click feature, for the obvious reason of unwanted clicks. The screen is nice and clear, with the resolution high enough for my needs.

It gets from boot to desktop in way less than 30 seconds, which is impressive to me. I’ll time it properly later. This is probably due to the SSD I upgraded to, instead if sticking with the HDD. Less space, more money, but the performance is great.

I’ve not used it for much apart from the video editing and web browsing so far, but the Unity interface is very smooth and responsive, which is a big change from the little Dell 10v that this laptop replaces. I like having a keyboard launcher built-in to the OS – just hit the Super Key (with the Ubuntu roundel logo rather than the Windows one) and type a couple of letters of the app you want, and it appears ready to start. Easier than using the trackpad. You can also open recent files and perform searches using this method.

As soon as I got it started, I performed an update to get all the software up-to-date. I also replaced Firefox with Chromium, removed Thunderbird, and installed a few more of my favourite apps.

I’ll get the video together and upload it soon. OpenShot is a bit of a learning curve, and I find myself going to forums to get answers quite a lot.