Touchscreen laptops eh.
I suppose they are the future.
Microsoft seem convinced we want to poke our fingers at Windows (I don't mean giving it the bird, which is tempting sometimes, those random updates eh!), which means most of the hardware on sale is adding support. I mean, I kinda get the concept if you have a Yoga type convertible device, but on a normal laptop like my XPS? It seems kinda pointless. Annoyingly, you just end up with fingerprints all over the screen.
A big downside of touch enabled laptops is that it has universally driven the market away from matte screens, something that was already happening in order to improve colour reproduction on displays. Aside from making these machines a right pain to use in indoor environments with a lot of glare, it makes them virtually impossible to use outdoors. Hey, now and then I want to sit in the garden on my laptop! Is that so much to task?
While considering this recently, I was wondering what was the cheapest (or, I guess, best value) laptop I could pick up with a matte screen for use in just such situations. If it was low cost enough and compact enough, it would offer the added bonus of being ideal for chucking in my bag when I didn't want to carry a £1000+ machine with me. My research brought me to the Dell Inspiron 11 3162, which Dell are currently selling for £159.99.
Specs wise, this thing is distinctly low end, in prime Chromebook territory. Intel Celeron N3050 processor, 2GB RAM (ugh), 32GB eMMC, but most importantly that matte screen (1366x768 at 11.6"). I do like the excellent build quality, patriotic red, white and blue palette (I kid, but the colours do look great) and the added bonus that by buying one, I get an additional charger I can use with my XPS (they both use the same 45W adaptor). Shipping such low specs with Windows 10 sounds like a recipe for disaster, but actually, it runs reasonably well, all things considered.
I've installed full fat Ubuntu on it and it runs well enough, but a light distribution would likely be ideal. Elementary OS is definitely a possible option, so I'll be trying that too.
I find it slightly frustrating that only the very basic spec model is sold in the UK, while other markets get more capable machines. India, for example, gets the same chassis but with 4GB RAM, 500GB hard disk and an Intel N3700 processor. Much closer to the specs I'd really like on this device. Oh and the screen and colours are the same!
Importing from India doesn't seem to be a viable option... maybe I need to petition Dell to bring that model to the UK and please, PLEASE, don't just replace it with the glossy, 2 in 1 touchscreen model. I want to sit in the garden and work.
Make it happen Dell. ☺