Jon Leaman

Pangolin Review

Love this thing. I’ll provide some of my critical review here.

First impressions: the case is a fingerprint magnet. The keyboard is functional, but a little squishy in areas. It doesn’t drive me crazy, but it’s a little annoying. The rgb doesn’t make up for it. I’d prefer to ditch the rgb and have a better keyboard. The speakers suck.

Support is awesome. Their system is a little funky and relies heavily on email. While I don’t think it’s something to brag about, it doesn’t get in the way, which is critical. The team is quick to do what is right. I had a “bad” hard drive and they were going to ship out a new one, but it turned out to be a compatibility issue, which drives me to my main reason for choosing the Pangolin, or should I say System76: their support.

I wanted a linux laptop with AMD. The price tag, unfortunately, is probably 30-50% premium over other manufacturers that see greater volume, but none of those other players are offing linux support. And the real alternative for native linux support would be Pure, which, as a security advocate, has a mission statement that aligns closer with my core beliefs, but their ability to deliver, especially if you demand AMD, is not on par with System76. Also, their premium is certainly above System76.

I had some clear goals with this laptop and my home setup that I needed to hit, and I have been able to with very little blockers. Mainly, I wanted my Windows desktop out of my office, away from my desk, and headless in my basement. I’ve been able to do this. Admittedly, you could do this with any OS and any manufacturer, but this basically worked out of the box and you’re supporting a company that is doing the right thing, despite what the populous is demanding.

Here’s the short of my dream setup, that is now a reality. Move your tower to the closet and use Moonlight to stream games to your laptop, powered by Nvidia’s incredible streaming technology. There are some gotchas: RDP locks all other sessions, so use VNC to get around that. Headless systems aren’t supported, so you’ll need a “ghost HDMI” adapter that is basically an HDMI dongle that tricks your computer into thinking it’s a monitor – an early 2000-esque fix and I love it. Now I can stream games, and my desktop, to my laptop to get everything done I was doing before, but I’m on a PopOS machine built by the same people who assembled the software.

I’m a happy camper.

p.s. the speakers suck. I’d definitely pay to upgrade these tin-can sounding things. Most of the time I’ll be on headphones, but it’s bad. If someone from System76 is reading, let me know if there’s an option to upgrade these things.

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