We tested one of the best laptops from the Spanish brand Slimbook, a brand specialized in Linux (also compatible with Windows) that stands out for its build quality and good brand support for its users.
Slimbook, the Spanish brand of notebooks that has captured our attention
A few weeks ago, he was completely unaware of this particular brand. I was thinking about renewing my laptop and was having trouble finding a product I could trust. It is difficult to find a good laptop at a reasonable price, with good construction and durability.
They told me about Slimbook, a Spanish brand specialized in Linux, and from the first moment I was interested in trying one of their equipment. During these days we have spoken with them and been able to test the Slimbook Excalibur, its largest aluminum laptop, and today I will tell you about my experience.
We have been using the Slimbook Excalibur these days, using both Windows 10 and a Linux distribution (which we will talk about later). If you have no interest in Linux it is a good laptop, but if you are a Linux user you will fall in love.
Slimbook Excalibur Technical Features
- 15-inch LED screen, FullHD resolution.
- 8th generation i5-8250U and i7-8550U processors.
- Also available on 7th Generation i5-7200U and i7-7500U with Nvidia 940MX GPU.
- 120 GB SSD in M2, expandable up to 1 TB.
- Option to include a second SATA hard drive, mechanical up to 2 TB or SSD up to 1 TB.
- 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, expandable up to 16. It is not soldered to a board and you can expand it.
- Complete aluminum design (with the exception of the antenna, which is made of plastic).
- Backlit keyboard with numeric keypad.
- 720p webcam.
- 48.8 Wh battery, between 4 and 5 hours of actual use.
- WiFi ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
- 1 USB C.
- 2 USB 2.0
- 2 USB 3.0
- SD card reader.
- Jack port for microphone and earphone.
- Measurements: 37.4 x 24.5 x 2 cm.
- Weight: 2.2 kg.
Design, connectivity and keyboard
The first thing one thinks when looking at a Slimbook brand laptop is that looks like a Macbook, one of the old. A completely metallic and aluminum design. An aluminum that is present even in the large frames that protect the screen. A design that is neither original nor unique, but at least pleasing and iconic.
Silver-colored aluminum feels stiff and robust. The build quality of this Slimbook laptop has no fault in its experience. It is not a team for those who are looking for something original and distinguished, but for those who are looking for a robust and reliable work machine.
The Slimbook Excalibur is a device with a 15-inch screen that it’s not exactly light (The brand has two other teams, the Pro 2 and the Katana much more portable), but at least it is a complete team. On the left side we have the charging connector, 2 USB 2.0, a jack port that serves as a microphone or headphones and a reader for SD cards.
On the right side we see 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and a USB C connector, which does not have a load capacity. We can optionally acquire adongle for USB C that gives us 3 USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports. I have been able to use this dongle and it is very convenient to facilitate the connection of all the peripherals on the desktop.
We like the keyboard a lot. It is low-key, although it has a minimum travel that makes it comfortable to work on it, a backlit keyboard, which in the Excalibur includes a numeric keyboard, not so in the 13-inch models. Instead of the Windows key, we will have the Tux key, the Linux penguin. Don’t worry, the key has the same function.
A good professional team that does not stand out in the multimedia
Thanks to its construction and keyboard, the Slimbook Excalibur It is a team with great potential for professional use. Does this team meet day by day?
The most remarkable thing about the Slimbook Excalibur is its sound and temperature. It uses 8th generation Intel processors, like most laptops on the market, but it is extremely quiet. Its only fan remains silent most of the time we are using the equipment, activating only when we ask it for heavy tasks.
I have used the computer these days to blog, surf the web, and schedule, and the fan has rarely turned on. Only in those moments of maximum performance will we notice that they are active.
Slimbook ensures that the autonomy of the Excalibur offers us about 4 hours of autonomy for real use. It does not seem like much, but at least they are figures of real use, and not like most teams, where they promise you 13 hours and in the end they end up being less than half. In my use during these days, using the equipment at maximum brightness, each charge lasted me about 4 and a half hours. It is not suitable to survive a work day away from the plug, but it is adequate.
It is not a team that seems especially good in the multimedia section, clear weak point of Excalibur. The screen is FullHD LED, with a modest quality. It is not an IPS panel, and you can see it in the viewing angles of the panel. It is a panel that you can get used to and work comfortably with, but if you work in video editing and professional photography we only recommend this equipment for use together with an external monitor.
Its speakers also do not stand out, neither for power nor for quality. They have the quality to be able to watch videos sporadically, they are speakers that are in the average.
A good laptop if you use Windows
The performance of this equipment is adequate for this equipment, and its use experience is not very different from what we can get with any other Windows 10 computer. As a disadvantage of the Slimbook, it does not include Windows by default, and if you want to have it pre-installed, you will have to pay the price of an official license.
If you are a student and have a license for Windows 10 students, you can contact the brand to install your license in the assembly process at no additional cost, something that you should consider if you have the possibility.
what is outstanding when you use Linux
If you are not interested in Linux, you can skip this section.
It is the differential factor, what will make you decide Slimbook on another brand. If you are a GNU / Linux user, you will love everything we are going to tell you below.
If a license was required to install Windows, the Linux installation is free, and Slimbook will install the distribution you choose in a long list that is on their website. 13 distributions in which we have 4 flavors for Ubuntu, but also the presence of Debian, Linux Mint, Cent OS, Open SUSE, Manjaro, AntergOS, Fedora, Elementary OS and KDE Neon.
It is very important to point out the wide catalog of distributions to choose, because at Slimbook they made sure to choosehardware compatible with all these distributions. It’s not like when you test Linux on a laptop and things are missing or drivers fail. Linux support here is native and functional.
Throughout my life I have been through three laptops, and only in two of them the experience with Linux was acceptable. If you want to use Linux, it is very lazy to inform yourself about the billions of notebooks that exist, in which one is going well, badly, or has to be adapted. The guarantee of operation and compatibility is a strong point of this brand, and it must be said.
Choosing an operating system does not imply being tied to it. We have consulted Slimbook, and you can format the system as many times as you want, whichyou will keep keeping the warranty.
KDE Neon, a good distribution to not miss Windows
In my personal experience, is the best Linux experience that I have never tried, and would say that it is the first time that I have not returned with suspicion to Windows (in my old computers, the autonomy with Linux only worsens compared to Windows). I have first tried KDE Neon, a distribution that is easy to make the jump from Windows.
KDE is a very complete and easy to use interface and application set. We have a lot of customization in the settings, a good file explorer and a small store to get applications without much effort. It is easy to install applications like Telegram, Discord, Chrome or Steam (of my 115 games, 53 are compatible with Linux). System performance is slightly more fluid than Windows 10 (with the exception of video games).
Perhaps one of the best tools is KDE Connect. It is enough to install the application on the mobile and that both devices are on the same network to stay connected. Notifications from your mobile will be present on the PC, you can also send and receive files wirelessly and without limits (such as Airdrop on Mac and iPhone, but on Linux + Android) and share the clipboard between both devices. KDE Connect allows you to also use your phone as a multimedia controller, as a trackpad, or as a slide show. It is brutal.
The best and worst of the Slimbook Excalibur
Finishing the analysis, it is time to tell you what we liked most and least about the Slimbook Excalibur, a team with strengths and weaknesses that are worth noting. Its strengths are as follows:
- Linux experience with full compatibility: It is the highlight of this particular team. Using a free operating system sometimes means having worse performance or compatibility problems, but in this case there is no doubt. Thehardwareandsoftware They fit perfectly, and it shows in everyday use.
- Build quality: It is not an original design, being based on old Apple equipment. But it is a good design, it feels robust and it works.
- Temperature and loudness:If your work does not require a lot of demand (office automation, writing, programming) you will find a silent team. Even if you stick it in, it’s cool equipment that doesn’t make too much noise.
- Connectivity and keyboard: Ports for everything you need, a keyboard that is comfortable in long hours. If you are not convinced by those new laptops that need adapters for everything, it is a factor to consider.
- Expansion and repairability: It is a computer that does not have the RAM welded, so we can expand it by removing the cover. We can also change the M2 SSD and add a second SATA hard drive (with how cheap the SSDs are now, so as not to do so).
- The brand allows us to open the equipment (we will lose the guarantee if we break it in the process) and they sell components in case we want to make repairs on our own. However, their official technical service is in Spain, and they offer a fast, efficient and affordable service.
There are also things that we did not like about this team. Today there is no laptop that is perfect for everyone, and this team proves it.
- Right now, the basic model has 4 GB of RAM, and making the jump to 8 GB is a bit expensive. As in any other brand that assembles custom equipment, the extensions have a somewhat high price. The expansion of the disk, however, gives us the possibility of adding our own hard disk for 9 euros (the cost of picking it up at your house).
- The Excalibur screen has disappointed us a bit. If you could have an IPS panel for a little longer, it would be a much better team.
- The price of the Windows 10 license: It is not a Slimbook problem, since being a small manufacturer they do not have the option of accessing low cost licenses. If you want to use Windows 10 and apart from having a less competitive price unless you already have a license that you have obtained on your own.
- USB C does not charge the battery: Be able to charge the laptop battery with apowerbank USB C will be a great added value.
To whom we recommend the Slimbook Excalibur
Slimbook is a small manufacturer, for good and bad. Be intended for a specific audience It gives them that air of a specialized manufacturer, but also of a niche product.
We have already discussed it several times during the review. If you are a professional who uses Linux, Slimbook should be in your first options. If you do not know Linux, we recommend you know a little more about this system, because you still get some surprise about how complete and functional it is.
If you want Windows and do not have access to a license, it is a good laptop, but it doesa quality / price ratio loses attractiveness. There are several questions that one should ask about what one values on their laptop, and the strengths and weaknesses that we have discussed are the best way to understand if the brand is made for you.
Slimbook offers premium notebooks, durable, easy to repair and with the best Linux experience. A team with no surprises you can trust.
Slimbook surprised me for good. Perhaps the Excalibur will not be the team you will choose, as I prefer teams in a more compact format. If you consider buying the Slimbook Pro 2 as the main equipment, in its version with QHD + IPS screen, a device that is just as powerful, but lighter and with even better connectivity.
It is not a brand that I would recommend blindly, but if you have read this review, you surely have a better idea of the brand value and philosophy. If it fits what you are looking for, Slimbook will delight you.
Slimbook official website.