14 votes

Walmart's $250 laptop review

28 comments

  1. wundumguy
    Link
    Someone should show this laptop to guy saying all laptops suck these days

    Someone should show this laptop to guy saying all laptops suck these days

    4 votes
  2. [15]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    Wow, that actually seems like a great option for a budget laptop, especially since the memory slot and both SSD slots can be upgraded. I think that trackpad issue would drive me crazy, but I...

    Wow, that actually seems like a great option for a budget laptop, especially since the memory slot and both SSD slots can be upgraded.

    I think that trackpad issue would drive me crazy, but I wonder if it is a software or hardware issue? The screen brightness probably would not bother me though.

    I'm currently holding out for the mythical Surface Go 2 to release, since I want my next laptop to be something I can actually draw and take notes on, but if I weren't looking for a 2-in-1, this laptop, or one of its slightly pricier variants with a better processor, would probably be my pick.

    3 votes
    1. [7]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, surprisingly for $250 it looks like it might just be the single best option out there at the moment... and apparently all the hardware in them works just fine under Linux too, which makes it...

      Yeah, surprisingly for $250 it looks like it might just be the single best option out there at the moment... and apparently all the hardware in them works just fine under Linux too, which makes it even more appealing IMO.

      The trackpad issue might be a deal-breaker for me too, since that would personally drive me nuts, but this review is actually the only one I have seen mention it... so it's entirely possible Linus just got unlucky and got a bad trackpad. And the only other problem I have read about with the Motile laptops so far was a couple people on reddit complaining about bricking them when they updated the BIOS, and so having to return them. But anyone with IT experience knows how temperamental BIOS updates can be, and how easy they are to botch, so I dunno how much weight I really put on those accounts.

      5 votes
      1. [6]
        Halian
        Link Parent
        Perhaps you could plug in (or pair) a mouse? That's what I do with my laptop, because I have a deep antipathy for trackpads.

        Perhaps you could plug in (or pair) a mouse? That's what I do with my laptop, because I have a deep antipathy for trackpads.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          cfabbro
          Link Parent
          I much prefer mice to trackpads as well, but sometimes there just isn't space for them so having a functioning trackpad is kinda necessary. I prefer trackpoint nubs to trackpads too, but sadly not...

          I much prefer mice to trackpads as well, but sometimes there just isn't space for them so having a functioning trackpad is kinda necessary. I prefer trackpoint nubs to trackpads too, but sadly not many laptop manufacturers besides Lenovo seem to include them nowadays.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Grendel
            Link Parent
            If you want something external that works well in tight spaces then a trackball would be your best friend.

            If you want something external that works well in tight spaces then a trackball would be your best friend.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              My old roommate used a trackball instead of a mouse for his desktop computer, and was so good with it he could actually play Startcraft and other online RTS games at highly competitive levels...

              My old roommate used a trackball instead of a mouse for his desktop computer, and was so good with it he could actually play Startcraft and other online RTS games at highly competitive levels using it. But me? Whenever something went wrong with his comp and he needed my help to fix it, I would often try to use his trackball at first... but I would always inevitably give up after only a few minutes due to the sheer frustration it caused me, and then go grab one of my spare mice instead. :P

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Grendel
                Link Parent
                Was it a thumb or finger trackball? If it was a finger trackball you might give the thumb ones a try. I think they are easier to get used to.

                Was it a thumb or finger trackball? If it was a finger trackball you might give the thumb ones a try. I think they are easier to get used to.

                1 vote
                1. cfabbro
                  Link Parent
                  Apparently I have really horrible coordination in my thumbs, because it was a thumb one. :P

                  Apparently I have really horrible coordination in my thumbs, because it was a thumb one. :P

                  1 vote
    2. [7]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      Have you looked at the Chromebook Pixel at all? Especially now that they can run Linux and Android apps, they're a great. They have a stylus for drawing too.

      Have you looked at the Chromebook Pixel at all? Especially now that they can run Linux and Android apps, they're a great. They have a stylus for drawing too.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        I'm not sure how much I trust Google with my whole OS. I only recently finally got off GMail.

        I'm not sure how much I trust Google with my whole OS. I only recently finally got off GMail.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          Wes
          Link Parent
          Well it is open-source. You can always review the code, or look at reports from others that have. Definitely more confidence then you'd get running a closed OS.

          Well it is open-source. You can always review the code, or look at reports from others that have.

          Definitely more confidence then you'd get running a closed OS.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            sron
            Link Parent
            I thought Chrome & Chrome OS were mixed source? The base being open source (Chromium) and the Google bits on top being closed source. Might be wrong there though

            I thought Chrome & Chrome OS were mixed source? The base being open source (Chromium) and the Google bits on top being closed source. Might be wrong there though

            2 votes
            1. Wes
              Link Parent
              That's true. I don't know exactly which parts are closed, but I'd guess it's those that connect to Google services. So login features, crash reporter, that sort of thing. Though everything else -...

              That's true. I don't know exactly which parts are closed, but I'd guess it's those that connect to Google services. So login features, crash reporter, that sort of thing.

              Though everything else - the renderer, Javascript engine, all the meaty bits are open.

              1 vote
      2. [2]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Didn't the Chromebook Pixel get discontinued a few years ago? Do you mean the PixelBook or the Pixel Slate? The PixelBook looks neat, but costs way more than I want to spend on my next device. The...

        Didn't the Chromebook Pixel get discontinued a few years ago? Do you mean the PixelBook or the Pixel Slate?

        The PixelBook looks neat, but costs way more than I want to spend on my next device.

        The Pixel Slate on the other hand is a lot cheaper and looks very cool, it also seems to be priced competitively with the Surface Go. However, all the Pixel Slate's storage options are eMMC, which is very slow. The Pixel Slate Keyboard also looks to me like it would be awful to use, but the optional Brydge G-Type Keyboard looks fine.

        I don't know, the eMMC storage is a massive con in my opinion, but it's not like I have a lot of options to choose from. I expect the Surface Go 2 to release this year, but if it doesn't, or it turns out to no longer meet my criteria, I would probably consider the Pixel Slate.


        I am of course assuming that Linux can be installed natively, replacing Chrome OS, on the Pixel Slate. If I can't drop Chrome OS from the device, I'm not buying it. Being able to run Linux inside Chrome OS doesn't cut it for me.

        1 vote
        1. JXM
          Link Parent
          My bad, I was referring to the Pixelbook. There do seem to be a lot of guides for installing Linux but I agree, it is pricey.

          My bad, I was referring to the Pixelbook. There do seem to be a lot of guides for installing Linux but I agree, it is pricey.

          1 vote
  3. [2]
    moocow1452
    Link
    Caution: $250 doesn't seem to be a stable price, since it's up to $300 now. Plan accordingly.

    Caution: $250 doesn't seem to be a stable price, since it's up to $300 now. Plan accordingly.

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Ah, yeah that sucks. It appears to have jumped $50 since yesterday. Trying to capitalize on the press, I guess? :(

      Ah, yeah that sucks. It appears to have jumped $50 since yesterday. Trying to capitalize on the press, I guess? :(

      2 votes
  4. [5]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Damn. I bought my laptop for uni work mostly, gaming was secondary considerations. If I had that among my choices, fuck yeah I would've gotten that one. I don't even use trackpad, and screen...

    Damn. I bought my laptop for uni work mostly, gaming was secondary considerations. If I had that among my choices, fuck yeah I would've gotten that one. I don't even use trackpad, and screen brightness, while better is to be desired, is not a deal breaker for such a price.

    1 vote
    1. [4]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      I agree that screen brightness isn't as important for a $250 laptop, but I still think there's a minimum threshold for usability. It seems like it would be almost unusable in any sort of bright...

      screen brightness, while better is to be desired, is not a deal breaker for such a price.

      I agree that screen brightness isn't as important for a $250 laptop, but I still think there's a minimum threshold for usability. It seems like it would be almost unusable in any sort of bright lighting.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        What sort of situations can you envision where this is a concern? I can only think of a few. The library for the uni I was studying at had overhead lights. Could be an issue if you're sitting...

        What sort of situations can you envision where this is a concern?

        I can only think of a few. The library for the uni I was studying at had overhead lights. Could be an issue if you're sitting under one of those with your screen open wide forward. Or, I dunno, working while someone points a flashlight at the screen?

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          JXM
          Link Parent
          If you’re outside I could see it being a problem. A lot of students like to hang out in the courtyard at the college I went to and do their work while enjoying the nice weather.

          If you’re outside I could see it being a problem. A lot of students like to hang out in the courtyard at the college I went to and do their work while enjoying the nice weather.

          3 votes
          1. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            That's a good point. The only time we have a good-enough weather to be outside is just at the start of the year.

            That's a good point. The only time we have a good-enough weather to be outside is just at the start of the year.

            1 vote
  5. [5]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Every Linus Tech video feels like a goodbye now. I love the channel just for nerd entertainment, almost none of the videos are of real use for me. I just like to see weirdly charismatic people...

    Every Linus Tech video feels like a goodbye now. I love the channel just for nerd entertainment, almost none of the videos are of real use for me. I just like to see weirdly charismatic people behave like human beings while conveying highly accurate information about technology.

    The channels will most certainly remain good after his retirement, but Linus is not just a force in front of the camera. Some things are bound to change.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      I totally agree. It's fun just to watch them goofing around with technology. There's often not a lot of substance to their videos anymore (although they occasionally do a deep dive) but almost all...

      I totally agree. It's fun just to watch them goofing around with technology. There's often not a lot of substance to their videos anymore (although they occasionally do a deep dive) but almost all of Anthony's videos are very informative.

      4 votes
      1. cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Anthony is my fav for exactly that reason. I'm really glad to see him in more and more videos lately, and hope the trend continues as Linus begins taking more of a backseat.

        Anthony is my fav for exactly that reason. I'm really glad to see him in more and more videos lately, and hope the trend continues as Linus begins taking more of a backseat.

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Part of that is just that it's fundamentally difficult to have "substantive" content 365 days a year, which is their current release schedule. Nvidia doesn't make a new GPU every week, nor does...

        Part of that is just that it's fundamentally difficult to have "substantive" content 365 days a year, which is their current release schedule. Nvidia doesn't make a new GPU every week, nor does AMD or Intel make a new CPU every week.

        You can't have a 20 minute researched investigation every day either. With a daily release schedule, sometimes you just have to run fluff. That fluff, which almost certainly has higher margins, pays for the reviews and the in depth investigations.

        4 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          And I like the fluff. It's good background noise if you're a hardware geek.

          And I like the fluff. It's good background noise if you're a hardware geek.

          3 votes