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Hands-on: The Purism Librem 15 builds critical confidence into a slim laptop

The Librem 15 laptop, from a remoteness and freedom-oriented Linux PC builder Purism, aims to be a answer for those who wish ultimate information protection. After holding this laptop for a prolonged spin, we can safely contend it delivers entirely on confidence and privacy—though not surprisingly, during a responsibility of other features. 

Stealth looks

purism librem 15v3 left side portsAlex Campbell

The slim and neat pattern comes yet apparent logos.

One of a initial things we beheld after opening adult a box is that there are really few specifying facilities on a Librem 15’s exterior. There are no logos on a laptop’s lid, shade bezel, or keyboard, save for a Purism trademark on a Super (Windows) key. Keep looking and you’ll finally find Purism’s trademark printed on a bottom of a PC, out of steer and out of mind. 

The well-spoken aluminum framework and trackpad give a Librem 15 a reward feel same to a Macbook Pro or Razer Blade Pro. While it’s good to see and touch, a aluminum also loves to attract fingerprints. If we wish to keep a laptop looking spotless, keep a microfiber cloth and a amiable cleaner handy.

The 1080p shade of a Librem 15 has a matte finish and rather slight observation angles. While we tend to extol laptops with wider observation angles, a Librem 15’s reduction feels like a confidence underline instead of a bug, creation it harder for meddling eyes to peek during your desktop. Installing a remoteness filter over a shade would work better, yet this is a good start. 

Hardware

purism librem 15v3 gutshotAlex Campbell

The blueprint of a Librem 15 creates it easy to use or ascent parts. The RAM (left), Wi-Fi label (center left), and SSD (right) are all simply permitted yet serve disassembly.

The hardware in a exam section is impressive, yet there are a integrate of important details. First, a Core i7-6500U CPU is a small old, a Skylake chip, charity 200MHz reduction bottom magnitude (2.5GHz contra 2.7GHz) and 400MHz reduction turbo magnitude (3.1GHz contra 3.5GHz) than a Kaby Lake iteration of a chip, a Core i7-7500U. Both chips work with a TDP of 15W, have a same instruction set, and offer 4 threads. The Librem 15 will perform good with many tasks we chuck during it, customarily a tad slower than a newer Kaby Lake chronicle of a chip.

The other large disproportion is Purism ‘s preference to go with a Qualcomm Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radio instead of an Intel chip. The Atheros AR9462 is an 802.11n (Wireless-N) chip, and does not support 802.11ac wireless speeds. Note that we wouldn’t see 802.11ac speeds for internet browsing or downloading unless we paid for 50Mbps (or higher) use from your ISP anyway. But if we are regulating an 802.11ac router, this laptop can’t take advantage of a additional speed. 

purism librem 15v3 lsspciAlex Campbell

Nearly all of a vital hardware on a Librem 15 is current-gen Intel. However, Purism opted for an Atheros WiFi label for confidence reasons.

While going with a comparison 802.11n customary seems ban on a face, there are some engaging reasons to do so. The chip Purism chose uses a Ath9k driver, that is utterly mature on Linux, definition Wi-Fi connectors sojourn stable. On tip of that stability, a Ath9k label has an open firmware, while a newer Atheros (Ath10k) and Intel (iwlwifi) cards do not. For those looking for additional privacy, carrying an open firmware helps encourage we that your network trade isn’t being sniffed by a third party.

Connectivity includes a span of USB 3.0 Type A ports on a right side, assimilated by an HDMI pier and a USB 3.0 Type C port. The left side of a laptop facilities dual USB 2.0 Type A ports, a headphone jack, and an SD label reader. The laptop lacks a Kensington lock, yet a customarily times I’ve ever seen one in use were in a open library, a school, or on arrangement units in an wiring store. 

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