Yes, when it comes to computers, size often matters. Apple realized that and created the MacBook Air. Many Apple fanboys responded with a “wow”, Jesus Jobs had created another incredible gadget. Of course it turned out that many companies had already manufactured computers thinner than the MacBook Air, but there is a good chance that you have not heard of any of them because they lacked the hype-machine that Apple can use now: The internet.
[Dell] also made a small computer once that you probably never heard of, the Latitude X1. It’s tiny, with a decent CPU, a good screen – and the best thing – I’ve got it right here.
Once upon a time we bought two X1’s at work, one of them left with an employee that decided to seek new challenges, while the other one was used by the CEO until he had filled it up with so much software it took 15 minutes to boot the poor computer. When he decided to begin using Office 2007 it was the final nail in the X1 coffin and we ordered a new computer for our increasingly frustrated, but fearless leader.
The messed up X1 ended up on my desk. It was battered and unusable, but as soon as Windows was replaced by Ubuntu it once again woke to life and has turned out to be quite a usable little thing. Installing Ubuntu was a total breeze, and all devices worked as expected – including the Wi-Fi card, and with WPA support this time. The battery life isn’t too bad either and the laptop will stay on for about two hours of normal use without the power cord plugged in. I’ve been using the X1 for some time now, and there are really only two fingers I can put my finger on.
First of all, the unusual keyboard layout will take a while to get used to, and since I don’t use it very often, I probably never get used to it. The X1 also gets unbelievably hot and if you have it on your lap for more than 5 minutes, you will get burn marks. Apart from that, it’s a great little computer.