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This is just a short notice to say that I will try to install Windows alongside Linux on my laptop. This might not be very interesting in itself, but if something goes wrong, I would still like you to know why I might not be able to go online for a while. I hope the transition will be smooth, and if it is, I will soon explain the various issues of using Ubuntu for studying Chinese.

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Zepto Znote 3215W

Product: Zepto Znote 3215W

Six months ago, I bought a Zepto Znote 3215W laptop. After six months of use, I am now in a position to review this product properly. Before I begin, let me explain in what circumstances I have used the computer. My main reason for buying a laptop was related to education: I needed a laptop to take notes on lectures and to keep necessary digital data with me whenever I wanted to. In addition to this, my stationary computer at home is very unreliable, so having a second, newer computer as a backup makes me feel more secure.

Zepto is a Swedish company, selling tailored laptops fairly cheaply, which is why I became interested in the first place. They allow customers to choose a foundation, and then enable them to add, remove or upgrade components as they please. Operating system is optional, which is awesome for me, since I am running Ubuntu Linux on the laptop (apart from a minor fix with the sound, everything worked smoothly from the start). This is what I ended up with:

Zepto Znote 3215W
CPU: Intel Core Duo T2330 1,6 GHz 533MHZ
RAM: 1024 MB DDR2 PC5300 Org Zepto
HDD: 120GB SATA 2,5″ 5400RPM – SAMSUNG
DVD: SAMSUNG COMBO 6xx4w/6xx5WD/2xx5W
LAN: Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN
Power: Zn 2x25W 9 Cell Battery

Please note that the original package is much cheaper. I decided to upgrade a few things, including battery, HDD and CPU.

I spent some time comparing prices for computers with long battery time, and Zepto came out on top without much doubt. I am not sure if this is the case today, but paying roughly 5000 Swedish crowns (approximately $820) for a battery life of more than eight hours when idle was very good. Also, the figures mentioned on Zepto’s website is not false in anyway. When using the computer for normal, office-related tasks such as writing and editing text, the battery is good for at least six hours. I have not tested battery time with very high CPU usage, but I have no reason to believe that almost four hours should be wrong. This is with the added 9-cell battery I upgraded to.

Installation of Ubuntu is supported officially, which means that they guarantee that the hardware works with that distribution of Linux. The sound card needs updated drivers to work properly, but I had no problems fixing this, even though I have never used Linux before (a discussion thread helped me out). Another, minor advantage is the four USB ports (many cheap computer only have two). Furthermore, the computer is delivered with two power cords, which makes it convenient to leave one at home and keep the other in the bag.

My dealings with Zepto as a company have been satisfying, but since I did not experience any problems, I suppose I am not in a position to truly evaluate the company’s customer service.

There are several things which could have been better with this laptop. First and foremost, it is rather bulky. For me, this is not really a problem, but if you are aiming for something really lightweight, look elsewhere. However, if that is the case, you would probably not be interested anyway, because this computer is much cheaper than any of the slim laptops out there.

The keyboard could have been of better quality. I have accidentally managed to displace the backspace key, which is really irksome. I have glued it back in place and it works adequately, but of course I would have preferred if the keys had been fastened more securely in the first place.

Also, sound management is confusing and the special keys pertaining to mute, adjustment of volume and so forth, adjusts only one of several possible volume controls, frequently the one I do not use (i.e. the headphone volume).

To summarise this review, I think this computer does what I expected of it. I also believe that it does what it is advertised to do. It is a cheap, functional computer with long battery time, perfect for students. The negative aspects of Zepto 3215W can almost entirely be explained by the low price, and should therefore come as no surprise.

The laptop’s main advantage is its price.

The main disadvantage is its bulkiness.

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Av flera skäl har jag nu installerat Ubuntu på en annan dator för att testa om Linux är något för mig. Jag har haft två anledningar att inte köra Linux innan, men dessa båda har nu försvunnit av olika anledningar. Det ena är att jag nuförtiden är en användare och inte en mekare, varför Windows har varit trevligt hittills. Nu verkar dock Ubuntu vara så användarvänligt att det hittills tycks betydligt smidigare än Windows (det gick många gånger fortare och lättare att installera i alla fall).

Det andra skälet är att jag tidigare spelat en del nya spel, vilket är problematiskt med något annat än Windows. Nu har jag dock slutat med det och spelar mest gamla spel som lätt kan emuleras i Linux, så också det skälet har försvunnit.

Nu finns det egentligen bara fördelar med Linux, framförallt att det är gratis och open source och så vidare. Dessutom ser jag framför mig hur jag kommer att bli allt mindre sugen att använda Microsofts nyare produkter och det är nog en bra idé att prova ett nytt OS innan man känner sig tvingad att göra det.

När jag så fick tag på en begagnad dator (en Duron 1300 MHz, 256 ram) känns det givet att jag testar Linux på den. Är det någon av er som läser det här som sitter på 133 MHz SDRAM får ni väldigt gärna höra av er. Ubuntu flyter rätt bra, men 256 MB är ändå i minsta laget.

Jag har i alla fall fått det mesta att fungera nu, även om jag inte provat skrivare och scanner (vilket nog har störst potential att gå fel). Med en del hjälp lyckades jag också få Dvorak att fungera ordentligt, trots att jag inte kan hitta filer för den versionen jag kör. Eventuellt skriver jag ihop något om hur man gör utifall att någon annan skulle vilja byta.

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