The Dell Precision 5530 is a powerhouse with a few minor flaws

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My quest to seek out the right Linux laptop computer has taken me across the globe in the hunt for some type of nirvana that may examine off all my requisite bins. Stated laptop computer would wish to:

  • Run Linux out of the field.
  • Assist the most recent iteration of any given Linux distribution.
  • Be very cellular.
  • Provide greater than sufficient energy to run all the pieces I would like.
  • Embody a top-notch keyboard and trackpad.
  • Have a shocking show.

I notice that is a reasonably heavy ask checklist, nevertheless it’s a naked minimal for me in order that I can work in the best way I’m accustomed to. So when Dell provided to ship me a Precision 5530, working Ubuntu Linux, I used to be intrigued. In spite of everything, the final laptop computer they despatched me, the Dell 13 XPS Developer version, was an unbelievable piece of . So I assumed one other laptop computer, with the same kind issue, could be equally as spectacular.

Sadly, I used to be mistaken.

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Do not get me unsuitable, the Precision 5530 is a beast (Determine A). It checks off most of my checklist. However a few points flip this from a deal maker to deal breaker.

Let’s dig in and see the place it hits and the place it misses.

Determine A

The hits

First the hits. Let’s speak specs. In fact, you possibly can customise the 5530 so that it’ll blow away your concept of how a laptop computer ought to carry out. Nevertheless, I am going to checklist off the baseline specs so the place this machine begins. This is the checklist:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H Quad Core working at 2.Three GHz
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics.
  • Show: 15.6 UltraSharp FHD IGZ04, 1920×1080, AG, NT
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
  • Storage: 500GB 7200RPM SATA
  • Wi-fi: Qualcomm QCA61x4A 802.11 ac Twin Band 2×2
  • Battery: Three-cell (56Wh) Lithium Ion with ExpressCharge
  • Optimizer: Dell Precision Optimizer

These baseline specs alone ought to tick off loads of bins for many customers. And belief me after I say the Precision 5530 runs as quick as any laptop computer I used. Why? As a result of Dell shipped me a mannequin decked out with an Intel Core i9-8950HK six-core CPU working at 2.9 GHz and 32 GB of RAM (such a specced-out machine prices roughly $1,840.48 USD). So yeah, it screams. In reality, it is extra highly effective than my System76 Leopard Excessive desktop (which says one thing). That checks off the ability choice in my checklist.

Subsequent is the truth that the Precision 5530 helps Linux out of the field. The Dell shipped with Ubuntu 16.04 (extra on this in a bit), which runs very properly. Purposes begin up instantly and run as easily as any I’ve skilled. This checks off Linux out-of-the-box help on my checklist.

The keyboard and trackpad on the Precision 5530 are equivalent to the XPS. In different phrases, they’re the perfect in breed. In contrast to the nightmare that has change into the MacBook Professional butterfly keys, the 5530 keys are rock strong and with the right quantity of journey and contact. These fantastically backlit keys really feel like they might take an incessant pounding out of your fingers and by no means bat a metaphorical eye. Irrespective of your choice for keyboards, the 5530 is certain to please you. Similar goes with the trackpad. Though it is not as giant as these discovered on a MacBook (or as “glassy” feeling), the 5530 trackpad is slick and affords simply the correct amount of sensitivity.

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The one caveat is that getting any stage of multi-touch gestures working is not definitely worth the effort. The carbon fiber floor across the keyboard makes for a really particular human to machine interface. Its buttery clean and mocks fingerprints and smudges.

Though the show does have a caveat too, it nonetheless checks off the mandatory field. The 5530 show is crisp. With about an approximate one-eighth of an inch bezel, you get tons of display actual property, which lets you tile home windows and multitask like a champ. The caveat in query? Because of the display decision, some Linux apps (comparable to The GIMP) run with extremely tiny menus and toolboxes (a lot so, in the event you’re not very acquainted with the instruments, you may discover them exhausting to work with). Commonplace apps (comparable to LibreOffice and Firefox) don’t fall to this similar drawback.

The misses

There are solely two true misses with the 5530—neither of that are absolute deal breakers for everybody.

The primary miss (and this can be a deal breaker for me) is that the 5530 doesn’t help the most recent LTS launch of Ubuntu. Once I acquired the primary 5530, there was a networking difficulty plaguing Ubuntu 16.04. So, I upgraded Ubuntu to 18.04. Sadly, the 5530 would not help 18.04, and the one technique to get it to work was to log into Ubuntu utilizing Wayland. That was removed from optimum (despite the fact that networking lastly labored as anticipated). That very same laptop computer was despatched again to me, re-imaged. When it arrived at my doorstep, Ubuntu 16.04 labored as anticipated (together with networking).

After talking with a Dell rep, it seems the 5530 merely doesn’t help 18.04 in the mean time. The difficulty is a show driver drawback, one which hopefully will probably be resolved by the point 18.10 is launched.

The following miss is mobility. It is a matter of private style, however the 5530 is heavy. Granted it is not a 13″ ultrabook, however the beast has to weigh as a lot as my 2015 Pixelbook and my MacBook Professional mixed. Though that is not a dealbreaker, it definitely wants to come back into consideration for anybody who drags their laptop computer from consumer to consumer (or espresso store to espresso store). So in the event you’re in search of a pleasant, light-weight laptop computer, you’d greatest head again over to the XPS Developer version. In the event you do not thoughts lugging round a beefy laptop computer in your bag, the ability you acquire for this measurement is unquestionably a tradeoff value making.

Conclusion

In the event you’re in search of a powerhouse of a laptop computer that features one of many single greatest keyboards in the marketplace, and you do not thoughts that it is heavy and would not (at present) help the most recent launch of Ubuntu Linux, you can not go unsuitable with the Dell Precision 5530. It is a monster of a laptop computer that can serve you for a very long time.

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Picture: Jack Wallen

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