Bonobo Extreme Review
I used to have a
Dell Inspiron XPS 13 Developer Edition.
It was fine, but I needed something with a better graphics card because I wanted to learn
some of the new OpenGL features by prototyping
a 3D space flight simulator game.
I decided to buy the Bonobo Extreme laptop
which comes with Ubuntu pre-installed.
This thing is a monster. It's huge, bulky, and heavy. Check out the power brick:
Yes, that is a standard IEC 60320 C13 power supply cord going into the laptop brick.
Here are the peripherals:
- Plenty fast and performant. Handles any game I've thrown at it, no problem.
make -j8 like a boss.
- The Ubuntu logo on the super key instead of Windows logo is pretty fun.
- Drivers and everything work out of the box. This is huge.
- Battery life is surprisingly good for this beast of a machine.
I can get upwards of 4 hours easily. Of course this goes down when I run
the CPU or GPU hot.
- The keyboard button to turn off the LCD display is surprisingly handy.
- The built-in speakers are loud and sound decent for a laptop.
- Dead pixels after 1 month of use. Now I'm 8 months in and I have an entire column of about 20
dead pixels in a row. Based on reading the
support forum this is normal.
Sometimes it tries to connect to a wired network when there is no network cable plugged in.
This may be an Ubuntu bug.
The power cable is not a perfect fit. It feels like you must jam it in there
and it's not clear when it is "in".
Every two weeks or so, the system has a complete hardware failure and powers off.
It's not due to heat, it's a weird hardware problem. And it's not only me; my
room mate has the same laptop and it happens to him too.
It's not possible to push Shift+Home or Shift+End, which is an extremely common and
handy shortcut when text editing. I'd rather give up the entire numpad than give up
Shift+Home and Shift+End.
It took me a long time to not accidentally press spacebar with my left thumb when I
wanted to press Alt. Spacebar goes pretty far to the left.
The key between Spacebar and Right Alt is completely useless. It displays a pipe and
backslash on it ("| \") but it actually inserts a "<" or a ">" depending on
whether I press shift. None of these 4 things are more convenient than the canonical
position of the respective key it replaces. I'd rather have the traditional key that
pops the context menu for the widget that is in focus.
There is a button to put the computer to sleep which is between Mute and Volume Down. I
press it on accident sometimes.
- It is difficult to click without moving the mouse.
- The difference between left click and right click is subtle. It's very
easy to do the wrong one.
I noticed that the HDD LED flashes whenever I toggle numlock. I wonder why that is.
It doesn't do that for caps lock.
Lots of room for improvement. I think it's overpriced given the problems that it has.
Getting a powerful machine for which you know for sure all the drivers will
work with Linux is nothing to sneeze at. However, it's probably worth it to spend your
money on a system for which the hardware has undergone more quality assurance.