Purism Librem 13 Short Review? Is it Worth a Purchase?

Purism Librem 13 laptop is perfect if you’re paranoid. It’s a laptop with a webcam off switch, no own soldering irons anymore? Amazon could sell you one, but the temperature controlled ones cost more. It was like that when Radio Shack was still around too. My ThinkPad T430 also has a WiFi kill switch… Is there any alternative? Like modern hardware, as much as open source and freedom possible and a decent keyboard ? 13″ is perfect for me.

Librem 13 laptop review

This laptop is perfect if you're paranoid.

Posted by Circuit Breaker on Sunday, August 27, 2017

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Laptops 3 weeks 19 Answers 198 views 0

Answers ( 19 )

  1. Albert Hilton
    0

    6th gen CPU. So, what about the BIOS and AMT? BTW, 7th gen is good enough for playing Overwatch (not the i3 though.) and Intel is already out with 8th gen. I wish laptops had upgradable processors like they have upgradeable memory and disk space. (PRO-TIP: If you can’t upgrade the memory or the hard drive on your laptop, it is a piece of crap!)

    • Joaquin
      0

      It says that it has coreboot. Don’t know if it really does disable intel’s security though. I can upgrade my CPU on my laptop, but it is not really worth it (got a 2630QM and I can go max for a 2670QM).

      • Brian Denault
        0

        True. I just like to use stuff that lasts and can be expanded upon if I need it. As much as I would like to go out and buy that $2000 15 inch MacBook, a $500 dell laptop that runs a virtual machine and PuTTY is good enough for me.

        • Ronald
          0

          Even Desktop machines have limits on upgrading the CPU. To expect a laptop to have the same functionality or better is not really realistic. At least in my opinion.

          • Albert Hilton
            0

            Yeah, I’ve known that. Especially if you find out in the next gen, they change the distance between the pins as well as the number of pins on the machine.

  2. Vernon Robinson
    0

    Intel is weird, they have changed 6-7 chipsets for no damn reason… The next laptop I get, will be <14inches. I am fed up with big ones, I can do heavy work at home or work.

    • Ernest Newcomb
      0

      True. My boss insisted I use the Mac at work because of it’s 26-inch screen, which to be honest, isn’t that bad. It’s a shame I can’t squeeze in a game of solitaire while waiting for things to process or to counter job fatigue. On the plus side I get to program on a bigass screen.

      • Vernon Robinson
        0

        Use Homebrew etc. If you have admin access you can be everything. Just get a mech keyboard.

        • Ernest Newcomb
          0

          Totally! I’ve been using homebrew to add software. I don’t want to add Steam because it is a work computer though. I’m hoping to give Itch a try on my laptop this weekend using itch.io 🙂

          • Vernon Robinson
            0

            I like homebrew so much, I’m giving Linuxbrew (linuxbrew.sh) a try on a virtual machine. The good news, when I first used homebrew on the Mac (which I was utterly shocked my boss never used considering we’re in the web development business and he wanted an Apache setup) is that I logged ALL of my actions and saved them to files. I’m currently working on a script that will install everything the next time around that both Mac and Linux users can use. Hacker stuff will need to go in a different script because the boss didn’t want Wireshark snooping on the other companies in our building.

            • Jeremy
              0

              Every proper laptop I’ve ever owned (netbooks excluded, because they were not that great) has had a removable processor, even the consumer-grade Inspiron and HP Pavilions. The real problem is that there aren’t usually lists that tell you what processor is compatible with which laptop, so when I’ve upgraded the CPUs in a few laptops over the years, I had to resort to looking up the individual chipset in that laptop, and judge compatibility from there…which didn’t always work.

  3. Patrick Ortega
    0

    My ThinkPad T420 has a hardware wireless switch, and the webcam can be very easily disconnected by quickly lifting the display bezel. Oh, and it only cost me £250. It’s a nice piece of hardware too. 2.7 GHz i7-2620M, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 300GB HDD. The keyboard is excellent for programming and long-form writing. I think the only real downside for me is the display. The fact that it is so easily serviceable/modifiable is a huge bonus though.

    • Vernon Robinson
      0

      The problem with ThinkPads or any other US brand of hardware for that matter, is that the NSA has spyware capabilities embedded at the hardware level, which cannot be turned off or otherwise removed.The Librem, by Purism, being a US-based company, likely has used one or more chips in its design which are inherently insecure due to this NSA backdoor.

      • Patrick Ortega
        0

        You’re right, but there’s not a lot that you can do in regard to chip manufacturers. Lenovo is a Chinese company (which is a lot more unnerving than the US imo) too. I do believe that there are open chipsets that you can buy now, but frankly the threat of somebody with that level of capability is not a big concern to me.

        • John Riley
          0

          Does your T420 have a full keyboard on it? I tend to use the numeric pad on mine a lot for various things, and that’s kinda been the dealbreaker for me on a lot of laptops and whatnot.

          • Patrick Ortega
            0

            It’s a normal laptop keyboard, but there is a num lock key to allow some of the regular keys to act as digits if you are doing number work. Of course, the downside of that is having to switch between characters and digits. Otherwise, the key positioning is good for me. I do a lot of programming and typing so having easily accessible Home, End, Page Down and Page Up keys is essential. On the British keyboard model, the enter button is double sized too. Plus it has dual shift keys, which is a must.

  4. Joel McVey
    0

    That wifi switch? That was pretty common 10-15 years ago. It was the easiest fixes we’d see at the tech bench.

  5. Alejandro
    0

    This is too much money for a basic Linux laptop. Even if I had this laptop, I’d still put tape over the camera.  And some people say Macbooks are overpriced…

    • Logan Hill
      0

      I spent 385 euros for a ThinkPad T430, with NVidia graphics, 16 GB of RAM, 120gb SSD and 320gb SATA HD. Sure, it has a 2.6 i5, but gets the job done.

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