With a 15.6″ screen, a dual-core i5 processor and 8GB of DDR3 RAM German company Rockiger‘s Satchbook might read like a MacBook Pro, but it comes with Ubuntu preinstalled.

Rockiger isn’t a name I’ve heard before, but given the company is primarily focused on the German market that’s not surprising.

Like most 15″ laptops the Satchbook isn’t the prettiest thing to look at. Its internals more than make up for this: –

  • 15.6” display (1366×768)
  • 2.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) Processor
  • 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • Intel GMA 3000 graphics
  • 500 GB SATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm
  • DVD Burner
  • 6 cell battery (estimated at 8 hours run time)
  • German keyboard with numeric keypad and Ubuntu key

Amongst the ports and extras are:

  • HDMI out
  • Webcam
  • VGA out
  • 3 x USB
  • Audio in/out
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • Ethernet
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi b/g/n

Rockiger also chuck in a cheat-sheet of keyboard shortcuts too – a commitment to the OS and its users that I can’t help but admire.

The price? A rather pricey £997 ($1400/€900/AU$1320)

10% of every laptop purchase is donated to open source applications, amongst them video editor OpenShot and word processor AbiWord.

How does it compare to others in the market?

It may be pricey, but are its competitors in the Ubuntu-laptop market?

The System76 Pangolin Performance base unit boasts the same processor, the same screensize and the same graphics for just £494/$699. This ‘saving’ costs you 3/4 of the RAM and half the HDD size.

What happens when you ‘configure’ the Pangolin to match the Satchbook? It still comes out cheaper, costing just $950/#675.

For around the same price as the Satchbook (£971/$1370) System 76 offer the ‘Serval Professional’ (read our review of it here).

The Serval Pro comes with a faster, quad-core i7 processor, the immensely powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M GPU and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question…

With a unit to test I’m unable to provide any performance comparisons, but the specifications of the Satchbook will see Ubuntu fly on it. The price, however, likely won’t fly.

Capable ‘Ubuntu laptops’ already command a premium over Windows-based versions.

Rockiger should be commended for choosing Ubuntu and embracing open-source so whole-heartedly. Germans who can afford to ‘vote with their wallet’ wouldn’t find Rockiger a bad name to choose.

Tip | Marco

Hardware laptops satchbook ubuntu