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Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro Review (2024): A Top Linux Laptop

Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro Review (2024): A Top Linux Laptop

The other thing I noticed is the European-style keyboard. Tuxedo sent me a German keyboard, which is fine, I touch type anyway, so once I set the layout to US in the settings, the keyboard was mostly fine. Except for the Enter key. Most US keyboards use what’s known as an ANSI design, which features a long thin Enter key. Tuxedo uses an ISO-format keyboard, which has a taller Enter key with another key to the left of it. This is helpful for European users because it provides another accent key, but it’s definitely something that will trip you up for a bit if you’re used to US keyboards. I got around this by remapping the extra accent key to Enter (using Input Remapper), so that even if I mistyped, I got the result I intended.

Otherwise the keyboard was quite nice. The keys are on the tall side for a chiclet-style keyboard and have a satisfying amount of travel. I was able to type just as fast as I do on my Thinkpad T14.

Tuxedo also offers a wealth of keyboard customization options. You can put pretty much anything you want on the keyboard, including nothing. You can also have your custom logo etched in the lid.

The InfinityBook Pro is built around an Intel Core i7-13700H. The model I tested had integrated graphics, but there is an option to configure your InfinityBook Pro with a high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. I never felt the need for it, but if you plan to do anything more than light gaming, that’s probably the way to go. (The screen refresh tops out at 90 Hz, which is fine for gaming but not quite as fast as some displays.) I did a good bit of video editing on this machine, and while that did get the fan spinning, it was plenty fast for my needs.

Speaking of fans, the InfinityBook Pro 14 is equipped with a dual-fan cooling system, which is double what you’ll get in most thin laptops of this design. It works well, too. Even as I exported large 5.2K video footage down to 4K, the laptop never got too hot to have in my lap.

As with most Linux laptops, battery life is good, but can’t match new MacBooks. Doing our usual battery drain test (looping a Full HD video at 75 percent brightness), the InfinityBook Pro managed 6.5 hours. I haven’t felt constrained by battery life in the months I’ve tested the InfinityBook Pro. I liked the brightness at about 40 percent for web browsing and document, so that’s generally where I left it unless I was editing photos or video. Average use, at 40 percent brightness, generally got me between nine and ten hours. A full day’s work and some change. This can be further improved and tweaked using Tuxedo’s excellent Control Center app (more on that below).

Ports on the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 4

Photograph: Scott Gilbertson

Ports on the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 4

Photograph: Scott Gilbertson

The InfinityBook offers more ports than you might think. There’s a Thunderbolt 4/USB-C port that can charge as well, a USB-C 3.2 Gen2 port, two USB-A ports, a full-size SD card reader, HDMI port, headphone/mic port, and a separate power plug. The latter is the fastest way to charge up, though you can use a standard USB-C cord to charge. You’ll want want a 100-watt charger, though. My 60-watt charger worked, but under heavy load—exporting video for example—the laptop drained power faster than it could charge. Tuxedo’s website has a whole page devoted to the best settings to charge from USB-C.

The trackpad on the InfinityBook Pro is large and responsive. It did occasionally pick up my palms as touch events while I was typing, but I prefer to turn off tapping anyway.

It Runs Tuxedo OS, or Other Linux Distros

Screenshot of Tuxedo OS

Tuxedo via Scott Gilbertson

Like System76, Tuxedo laptops ship with a customized OS based on Ubuntu Linux, though they will run just about any Linux distribution. (I tested Fedora to see if it worked and Arch because that’s what I use most of the time.) Tuxedo OS, which is built around the KDE desktop, provides a good, beginner-friendly Linux experience.

The 10 Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers of 2024

The 10 Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers of 2024

The mobile app has a wealth of options, and the web interface is even more in-depth. It’s easy to split bands or set up a guest network. I also found that the app recognized most devices correctly (sometimes, it’s difficult to identify devices from the attributed hardware names in router apps). And there’s support for AiMesh, which means you can easily add other Asus routers to expand your Wi-Fi system. The dedicated backhaul channel, the way the router speaks to its nodes and vice versa, is extremely fast, ensuring you get the full speed of your internet connection even from that node you placed near the backyard.

On the downside, my XT8 node initially refused to update its firmware, which took a couple of attempts to fix. I also had an issue with my Sonos speakers disappearing, but resolved it with a factory reset. Overall, using the XT8 has been a smooth experience. It’s easy enough for just about anyone to operate, but the depth of options will satisfy power users.

Best Budget Mesh Router

This affordable Wi-Fi 6 package folds in parental controls and antivirus protection while delivering decent coverage and performance, making it ideal for an average family home. I tested the AX1800 3-pack, and it was very easy to set ’em all up. The three routers are quite small and sport a cylinder design that blends in well. This is a dual-band system (2.4-GHz and 5-GHz). There are two gigabit Ethernet ports on each router.

Coverage and speeds are OK, falling well short of the Asus XT8 but beating the Eero 6 (below). The app is straightforward, and it’s easy to set up a guest network. TP-Link’s HomeCare is free, and it enables antivirus protection powered by Trend Micro and robust parental controls. It’s a breeze to set up profiles with time limits and scheduled bedtimes, there are basic filters by age, and you can review activity on both the app and website.

The Quality of Service feature lets you prioritize activities like gaming or streaming or set priority devices. Importantly, you can split the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands to show as two separate Wi-Fi networks. This is handy, as some smart home devices only operate on the former band. Similarly, there’s a mixed mode for WPA2 and WPA3 security. Only a few devices work with the newer WPA3 standard, and some routers force you to choose one or the other, which can lead to issues. This mode ensures all your gadgets are on a compatible standard.

The web interface is basic and doesn’t add much, so I preferred using the easy-to-use app. However, it’s a little slow to update, and settings are still limited. It didn’t recognize many devices and listed obscure hardware manufacturer names, making it tough to figure out which devices to add to my kid’s profiles.

It wasn’t the speediest performer, but this system is fast and dependable enough for the average home. If you have a connection that’s 500 Mbps or better, it might be worth upgrading to the Deco X60 AX3000.

Best for Smart Homes

Amazon’s Eero 6 mesh system is one of the easiest to set up, offers fairly wide coverage, and delivers stable connectivity. It’s an elegant system, available as three identical routers or (a bit cheaper) as a main router and two small nodes. The Eeros blend in on a table or shelf, though the compact design leaves no room for any ports. (There are just two gigabit ports on the routers and none on the nodes.)

Although the basic Eero 6 was one of the slower systems I tested, particularly at longer distances, the speeds from the nodes were close to what I got from the main router. There were no drops, and it proved adept at sharing limited bandwidth. The mobile app is straightforward, giving you an overview of connected devices with the option to pause the internet and set up a guest network. I was also able to create profiles, group devices, set schedules, and fix bedtimes. Unfortunately, content filtering, other parental controls, advanced security, ad blocking, and activity insights require an Eero Plus subscription at $10 per month or $100 per year.

5 Best Linux Laptops (2023): Repairable, Budget, Powerful

5 Best Linux Laptops (2023): Repairable, Budget, Powerful

Lemur Pro is not the best for graphics-intensive tasks like gaming or video editing (see below for some more powerful rigs with dedicated graphics cards), but for everything else, this is one of the nicest laptops you can get.

Best for the Minimalist

Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition was one of the first big-name laptops to ship with Linux and it remains the lightest, smallest laptop with Linux installed. This configuration sports a 12th-Generation Intel i7-1250U processor, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 1-TB SSD. It ships with Ubuntu Linux 20.04, but in my testing, it will happily run any distro from Fedora to Arch (Dell support applies only to Ubuntu though). When you’re on the product page, make sure you choose Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as your operating system (it defaults to Windows).

For more details on the hardware, see our review of the Windows version (6/10 WIRED Review). While performance was not great with Windows, I have not found the same to be true using Ubuntu. The main drawback to this machine is the lack of ports. There are two USB-C ports, one of which is your charging port. There isn’t even a headphone jack.

Best for the Maximalist

If the Dell’s lack of ports leaves you wanting, this is the laptop for you. System76’s Pangolin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a 15-inch, AMD-powered monster of a laptop with every port a sysadmin could hope for. This config ships with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 250-GB SSD. You can configure the Pangolin with up to 8 TB of storage.

The battery life is good for the size—it lasts all day in most use cases—but it’s not as good as the Dell. The keyboard, on the other hand, is fantastic and a real pleasure to type on. The one downside is the number pad, which makes the trackpad off-center. The port selection is where the Pangolin really shines. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (with DisplayPort support, but not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, and a full-size SD card reader.

Most Repairable and Future-Proof

If you want a laptop you can upgrade, Framework’s Laptop is the best Linux rig for you. There are a few flavors available. I tested the second release of the 13-inch model (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and loved it. The Intel Core 13th-Gen series chips with 32 GB of RAM, a 2-TB SSD, and whichever mix of ports suits your needs start for around $1,400. That will ship with no operating system. When it arrives you can install Linux yourself (or opt to ship it with Windows if you need to dual boot). I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but an AMD version is also available. Framework is also taking pre-orders for a new 16-inch model. The 16-inch model is available with an AMD Ryzen 7040 Series processor.

I tested Ubuntu, which Framework supports, and Arch Linux, and both worked great (though Framework does not officially support Arch). My only gripe about using the Framework is my gripe about almost any Linux laptop: battery life could be better.

Best Dedicated Graphics

The System76 Oryx Pro comes in either 15-inch or 17-inch models with 12th-Gen Intel processors and Nvidia graphics (either the 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPU). There are options for a glossy, OLED 4K screen, up to 64 GB of RAM, and up to 8 TB of SSD space. It’s not cheap, but the Oryx Pro is by far the most powerful laptop on this page. Like the Pangolin above, the Oryx ships with either System76’s Pop_OS! or Ubuntu Linux. Unlike the Pangolin, the Intel chip in the Oryx Pro means it ships with Coreboot, and open source firmware.

Best for Hackers

OK, it’s corny, but there’s something about the Lenovo X1 Carbon Linux edition that makes me want to install Kali Linux and start probing the coffee shop Wi-Fi. Whatever the case, this is a slick laptop for those of us who think ThinkPads are, ahem, slick. That slickness comes at a serious price though. For almost double the price of our other picks, you get a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD (much of this is customizable).

On the plus side, you do get a nice 2K (2,880 x 1,800), OLED, anti-glare screen. I have not had a chance to test this latest model, but I really like the previous release (8/10, WIRED Recommends,) and the new version is primarily a spec bump. It’s frequently on sale for around $1,700.

If Your Budget Is Tight

Lenovo X14 Gen 1 laptop

Photograph: Lenovo

One of the beauties of Linux is that it requires fewer resources and maintains support for older hardware far longer than Windows or macOS. That means you don’t need to spend a fortune on a new laptop; you can breathe life into an old one or grab a used laptop off eBay. I have been doing this for years, working my way through Lenovo’s X-series laptops (starting with an X220, now an T14 Gen 1), but old Dell and Asus laptops are also great for Linux. If you opt to buy used, have a look at our guide to buying used on eBay to make sure you get a good deal.

Apple MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 16 Inch) Review: Untouchable Performance and Battery Life

Apple MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 16 Inch) Review: Untouchable Performance and Battery Life

All that power must eat away at battery life, right? Surprise: Battery performance has gone way, way up. While WIRED reported a mere 12 hours of running time on the older M2 model, I got a jaw-dropping maximum of 19 hours and 20 minutes of YouTube video playback time during my testing. That is more than enough time to watch movies flying all the way from New York to London and back without having to recharge—and that was on High Power Mode. Note that battery life will vary significantly based on screen brightness; I ran three different power tests and managed just over 15 hours with a fully bright, all-white screen.

The use of High Power Mode did have one major impact, however, and that was on fan speed. While the MacBook Pro isn’t exactly quiet under load while using the automatic power mode, when I flipped on High Power Mode, things got decidedly raucous. I measured the fan volume at 60 decibels when rendering at full tilt—the highest level I’ve seen since I started formally measuring fan volume.

Most other features on the system haven’t been touched, probably because they were already best in class and didn’t need further upgrades. The 16.2-inch Liquid Retina display, at 3456 x 2234 pixels, remains impossibly sharp and appropriately bright—though there are plenty of significantly brighter displays on the market if that’s your jam. Note that it doesn’t include a touchscreen, and it does retain the uglyish “notch” in the top center of the screen, where the 1080p webcam is located.

2023 Apple MacBook Pro M3

Photograph: Apple

The impossibly good six-speaker sound system remains top shelf, and is probably three speakers more than most users will really need on a laptop. The trackpad and keyboard are still solid, with the latter retaining the full-height function key row and power button with its embedded fingerprint reader. Connectivity options haven’t changed meaningfully and continue to include three USB-C-Thunderbolt-USB 4 ports, a full-size HDMI output jack, an SD card slot, and Apple’s long-running MagSafe port. The MagSafe cable is color-matched to your device, but the beefy 140-watt power adapter remains boringly white.

The 16-inch version of the MacBook Pro with M3 Max starts at $3,499, which makes it slightly more expensive than the similarly no-holds-barred Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2. You can, of course, crank your MacBook Pro’s price tag up to well over $5,000 by maxing out your memory and storage options. And don’t forget to throw in a $19 polishing cloth to keep everything nice and shiny.

5 Best Webcams (2023): 1080p, 4K, Pan-Tilt-Zoom Cameras

5 Best Webcams (2023): 1080p, 4K, Pan-Tilt-Zoom Cameras

Not every webcam is an upgrade over the built-in one on your laptop. These are the models I tested that ranged from merely unimpressive to ones that made me look like the subject of a second-grade art project.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio for $120: It says it’s a 1080p webcam, but there’s a catch—that’s only for recording video. Using it for video calls restricts you to 720p. My coworkers commented on how out-of-focus I constantly was. The white balance was so off that I looked more orange than an Oompa Loompa. And the exposure was so blown out that I never stopped looking like I was living through the last scenes of The Lighthouse. There was also a lot of lag in my movements and bad motion blur.

Logitech Brio 500 for $100: I’m struggling to think of a reason why Logitech decided to make the Brio 500 mount via an adhesive patch on its bracket, which is not meant to be removed once placed onto a laptop or monitor. What if you want to use it on multiple computers, as many of us do, or if you swap the case on your laptop? The adjustment is wacky, too. The webcam is held onto the base via a magnet. Panning the cam downward often pulled it off the base instead of adjusting the angle, and swiveling it left or right caused it to loosen so much it wouldn’t stay put. That meant I kept having to pull it off the magnetic stand, screw the mount back down, and reposition it—and then not adjust it during the rest of the Zoom. That said, the image quality of its 1080p resolution, white balance, and color contrast was quite good, if not excellent, and it came with a USB-C connection and a physical privacy shutter. The autofocus could stand to be a touch quicker. Other positives are that you can get it in black, white, or pink, which is two more colors than most webcams offer you.

Logitech Brio 300 for $60: The image quality is lacking on this one. Even in a fairly well-lit room, my picture was grainy. It also did weird things with the white balance as it autofocused. The field of view is quite narrow at 70 degrees and non-adjustable, so the image onscreen is up in your face. You’ll want to scoot back quite a bit so everybody else isn’t looking up your nose. Like the Brio 500, it comes in black, white, and pink, connects via USB-C, and has a physical privacy shutter. There are better options for this price without these image quality oddities.

Razer Kiyo Pro for $100: Although it looks similar to its cheaper, non-pro sibling, the Pro ditches the light ring and instead relies on software to compensate for low-light conditions. I resented having to download the Razer Synapse app to get a decent image out of the Kiyo Pro. Yes, fine-tuning settings is a very WIRED thing to do, but most people just want to plug their webcam in. Once you fiddle with the app settings, the picture image is sharp and beautiful. However, it has the same overly obvious autofocusing as the regular Kiyo, and it’s also a little overpriced. It’s not a bad pick, but again, the Logitech Brio can do 4K/30 fps, as opposed to this camera, which tops out at 1080p/60 fps.

Creative Labs Live! Sync 4K for $60: I was skeptical about a 4K resolution webcam for this price, and my skepticism was validated in the wildly-strange white balance that turned me and everything faintly orange. It may be the only webcam that made my room look darker than it actually was. The Creative Labs app is available only for Windows, leaving Mac users out in the cold. The privacy shutter is a rubber cap you put on and take off. The bit that holds it to the webcam when it’s off is flimsy enough that if you’re rough or careless, you could rip it off, but it’s nice that it isn’t plastic, which would weaken over time. A minor issue is that the black cap blends in with the black webcam and lens, so that at quick glance it could be hard to tell whether the cap is on or off. The USB-A plug is also a downside. These days, a new webcam really ought to have a USB-C connection so as not to mandate using a hub.

Cisco Desk Camera 1080p for $125: Not to be confused with Cisco’s almost identically named Desk Camera 4K. I tried the 1080p, 8-megapixel version in a variety of natural and artificial lighting, but my fellow Gear Team members and I couldn’t help but notice that no matter how I used it, the video looked overly pixelated. Unless a webcam can make me look as good pixelated as Axel from Streets of Rage, then I want smooth video that actually looks like it’s 1080p. During Zooms, the Desk Camera 1080p had trouble with focusing and zooming, frequently and jarringly refocusing but never getting it quite right.

Logitech StreamCam for $101: The StreamCam did weird things with its white balance, constantly auto-adjusting from one extreme to the other. It was a very nouveau art house vibe having everything on the screen to go from blinding, brilliant blue to toasty, volcanic orange and back. And back, and back again. It swivels left and right, but the swivel is unstable, so the StreamCam wobbles around a lot, especially if it’s mounted on a laptop. On one of our many Zoom meetings, a coworker asked if I was on the deck of a boat. The only great thing about it is that it uses a USB-C cable, while most other webcams use USB-A.

Anker PowerConf C300 for $100: It’s not a bad webcam, but when I checked the price my eyes bugged out a little, Daffy Duck-style. The picture image on the Anker just didn’t look as sharp. While its white balance and autofocusing were … fine, it just isn’t worth the triple-digit price, not when the sharper Logitech C920 and Razer Kiyo exist.