As I described in my battlestation post, someone’s “battlestation” is how his or her desktop is setup and configured. In this post I discuss my “mobile battlestation” or my laptop that I take with me when traveling or leaving home.

Mobile Battlestation

Brief History of Laptops Link to heading

My laptop history is fairly short:

  • IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T42 (2005-2010)
  • Apple MacBook Pro Mid-2010 MC373LL/A (2010-2015)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 Gen 3 (2015-current)

I got my first ThinkPad right as I started college. The T42 served me very, very well. It was always dependable, solid battery life, an amazing keyboard, and plenty fast for the time. I remember learning Java and using Eclipse on it with no issues at all. I cannot exactly remember, but I believe I bought it through IBM, but Lenovo was already doing the manufacturing of the ThinkPad line at the time.

After college I played with a Mac mini for a number of months to see if I would even like OS X. I finally decided to try to make the switch to using OS X full time. After five years I had to admit that fully moving to OS X would never happen. I found the Linux ecosystem much more to my liking. Yes, OS X is incredibly polished and the app store makes things very easy. However, during graduate school I found myself always going back to Linux to do development on. And considering I do my day job running Linux, giving up on OS X made a lot of sense.

Mobile Battlestation

Criteria Link to heading

To move away from the MacBook Pro was back with Lenovo. After a very short time I had my heart set on the Carbon X1. Here is why:

  • Light
  • Long battery life
  • Linux support
  • Great screen
  • Great keyboard

The only other option I considered was the Lenovo ThinkPad T450. While a bit cheaper and had the ability to expand, but that was not something I needed. I wanted light and fast. If I needed to have lots of memory or storage I would be using my desktop or a remote system in the first place.

Laptop Link to heading

For me, the Carbon X1 is brilliant.

Mobile Battlestation

Here is how it lines up with the criteria above:

  • It is light, seriously light at 2.877 lbs. I was really tired of hauling the heavy 5.6 lbs MacBook Pro around. Carrying this around with me while traveling is painless.
  • It had a very long battery life for long plane trips. It has been with me to Germany and various trips inside the US and being able to use it an entire travel day without recharging is amazing.
  • Solid Linux support out of the box with Ubuntu.
  • High res screen is beautiful at various brightness levels.
  • Amazing keyboard - when I moved to the MacBook Pro it was OK, but nothing like the T42. This reminds me why I liked the T42 and ThinkPad keyboards.

Mobile Battlestation

Here are the specs on my system:

  • Intel Core i5-5300U Processor (3MB Cache, up to 2.90 GHz)
  • 8GB DDR3L-12800 1600MHz RAM
  • Samsung SM951 M.2 PCI-Express 256GB SSD
  • 14" WQHD+ (2560x1440) (300 nit) screen

Mobile Battlestation

My only complaint about the system is the trackpad. There are times where my hand will brush the trackpad and move the mouse all over the screen. It took a little getting used to when moving back from the MacBook Pro, however it does still happens from time to time.

Mobile Battlestation

Linux Link to heading

On my laptop I run the latest Ubuntu development release.