Reasoning

I’m not a huge fan of Apple products, been using mostly linux during my professional career (d’oh). I can appreciate the overall hardware build quality (well - at least when it lasts), easy of use (it just works) and all that jazz, but after working on MBA for two years I decided to look around for new machine that would serve me for another few years (hopefully).

Hardware

I was a little bit astounded how hard it’s to find good Macbook Air replacement in reasonable price range. And for me ‘reasonable’ = cheaper than buying new Macbook Air/Pro with similar specification.

After googling a lot I ended up with Zenbook UX303LN that I paid for around $1200 total - 13” laptop (FHD, glare, non-touch version), packed with i7-5500U processor, 12GB of RAM (4GB soldered + 8GB stick), 256GB SSD drive (replaceable) and GT840 graphic card - I would say it’s a good bargain, considering it’s specs and build quality. One con worth mentioning: way too loud touchpad (if you use tap this obviously won’t be an issue for you), could be a little bit more precise - you can say whatever you want, but Apple simply nailed their touchpad technology and that’s one thing I’m missing :P.

Software

My laptop came without OS, I decided to go with Ubuntu 15.04 - Gnome 3 flavor (after trying out new Mint). To ‘fix’ focaltech touchpad (two finger scroll was no worky) I installed Kernel 4.0, later decided to upgrade Gnome to 3.16 (staging ppa) - and overall system seems stable, I think it crashed like once for no apparent reason so far :P.

Known issues:

My apps replacement:

And that’s more or less it - the rest of the apps I’m using are available for all popular systems (SublimeText, VLC, Clementine, Skype, Telegram etc.). Additionally I installed Windows to utilize that GT840 power - I’m not really a huge gamer (anymore), but I must was amazed how smoothly this little piece of hardware can run even newer titles. So from time to time I dual-boot into windows, log into steam and unleash my inner-child ;).

Tweaking Gnome

Decided to go with icon-less dektop, some useful links and preview below.

  1. Some pretty cool extensions I recommend checking out - huge kudos to the original authors!

  2. conky with customized Gotham theme. While we’re at it, some tips for conky:

To get transparent background:

own_window yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
own_window_argb_visual yes
own_window_colour 000000
own_window_argb_value 100

Also if you’re having height issues (eg. conky is cut off at the bottom) you can try playing with minimum_size X Y setting.

Didn’t even tried custom themes yet, Gnome 3.16 out of the box looks pretty damn slick. Here’s the result:

-> End result <-

So that’s it, so far system runs smoothly and I’m happy with usability as well with overall look&feel :).