I can’t pass up an interesting, cheap and small laptop. I’ll always have a use for them somewhere. Recently I’ve managed to pick up two Lenovos, and it’s interesting to see how varied and strange the laptops are from one another. They are both from the same manufacture, yet might as well be from completely different companies.
The first was the Lenovo S21e, which I picked up from Amazon for a good deal – $179. Sure it has only a 32GB EMMC “ssd” and 2G Ram, but I’d figure I’d get Linux on it easily. How soon I forgot the BayTrail of tears. Ubuntu was more easily installed than on the Acer Switch, but the trackpad and then Wifi had issues and needed custom kernels. I ended up just putting Windows 10 back on it. It has a nice keyboard, decent screen and is thin and light. You need a USB ethernet dongle if you don’t want to use Wifi.
Then I saw the Thinkpad 11e-G2 on Woot and had to grab it. It’s an AMD E2-6110 Quad-Core with a real SATA 2.5 spinning disk. I wanted to grab a modern laptop with 2.5 drive for a SSD and most importantly, have a on-board ethernet port. This had both and also a real DIMM (4GB) that you can upgrade to 8GB. Ubuntu 15 installed perfectly. Trackpad, ethernet, wifi and bt all work flawlessly without any changes. The laptop is a little thicker and the screen is junky, but for the price it’s a great spare Linux laptop for when I need one. They keyboard is very nice with a little roughness to the keys that feels nice while typing.