I recently purchased a System76 Lemur.  To see why, look at my buying decision.

Here are my thoughts after using it for a few hours:

  • The keyboard is nice, but infrequently, I’ve found myself hitting a dead spot in the spacebar.  I can actually press the spacebar from a certain angle and it actually clicks and has tactile feedback, but doesn’t actually insert a space.  This is mildly annoying.
  • After using a bunch of different laptops with around 720p resolution for many years, it’s a breath of fresh air to use a 1080p laptop.  For me, on a 14” screen, I wouldn’t want any higher resolution, as it would make text unreadable, but it is now possible to run applications not in full-screen all the time.
  • The “up” button on the keyboard is in a weird spot for me.  I keep hitting the down button because I am used to laptop keyboards with shorter arrow key buttons.  Not a major problem, just something that I’ll need to get used to.
  • No middle mouse button.  Kind of annoying when using Linux.  Clicking both mouse buttons at the same time acts as a middle click though.
  • The monitor is very, very bright. I have the brightness at about 25% right now, higher than that starts to get hard on my eyes.  This means good things for using this in sunlight.
  • There’s some decent sound out of the laptop.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as tinny sounding as laptop speakers usually are.  Unfortunately, they’re pointed downwards, so the actual sound depends a lot on whether it’s on your lap or on a table.
  • The fan, under normal operation, is either off, or inaudibly quiet.  If you put the system under heavy load, it will spin up, and actually start making a loud noise, but so far I’ve only been able to do this by artificially loading the system.
  • No capslock indicator light.  Not the end of the world.
  • The lid scratches very easily.  If you want to keep your lid scratch-free, be very careful when flipping it over and opening it up to set it on something soft, and when placing anything on top of the closed laptop.
  • The bottom of the laptop doesn’t show “fingerprints”, but grease from fingers is quite visible.
  • The power cord has a 90-degree corner on it.  This works fine when the laptop is flat on a table, and is actually a lot cleaner and more professional than I thought it would.  However, when you pick it up while it’s plugged in, the cord points downwards, and gets in the way when you put it down.
  • Heat is pretty good, a lot better than other laptops, it’s nowhere near “burn your lap” hot.  There is only one fan, intake is under where your left leg would be, and vents to the left, so need to be careful not to block that flow.

Also, since there’s very little documentation around memory options, you can definitely mix and match memory.  I added a 16GB DIMM to the 4GB stock memory, which gives me about 20GB of usable memory, and an option in the future to upgrade to 32GB.  (However, the System76 16GB option is 2x8GB DIMMs)

Also, I was surprised at the speed that it was shipped.  When I last ordered a Lenovo, for instance, it took about a week for them to build it in China, then another 2 weeks for it to sail from China to Vancouver and shipped (train? truck?) across the country.  It was built and shipped out within 2 days, and UPS Express took 2 days to ship from California to Southern Ontario.