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El Cheapo


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It's amazing to see the difference in quality between a Lenovo Thinkpad and one of their el cheapo consumer laptops like the Flex2-15D.

The Thinkpad is solid, well-designed, easy to work on, and runs Linux perfectly. The Flex2 is plasticky (although the hinges on the dsplay are strong enough.) It was a nightmare to open up and replace the HDD with an SSD. I even had trouble in Windows with it, as the wifi card kept crashing all the time. It is an Atheros card so with Linux it works fine.

However I could never get the internal microphone to work on any of the applications like Skype or Google Meet. Now with Arch it appears that the internal mike will work. Sorta.

Maybe the latest kernels I got with Arch fixed the problem. I was able to use PAVUControl to mute the right channel on the mic and then it will record stuff - although it is still very staticky and muffled. Apparently Linux recognizes the mic as a stereo appliance when it most definitely is not.

The solution is to plug in one of those omnidirectional mic/speaker boxes you can get from Amazon. This works fine and also has much better sound if you plug it into a USB3 jack.

You get what you pay for.


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I have the E420 purchased used maybe six years ago...can't remember now.  It's been a great laptop.  The only issues I've had is the screen developed dead pixels that were growing.  So I replaced the screen...easy fix.  The other problem is the touch pad and "nipple" quit working.  That happened after I spilled a little bit of tea on the keyboard and didn't open it up to dry properly.   I never really used the touch pad or nipple...I prefer a mouse.   When I was working, I had access to an air compressor so I would blow the keyboard off every so often.  That hasn't been done in well over a year.  Anyway, I really have been pleased with my Lenovo Thinkpad.  I don't know anything about the Flex2.

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Aside from the internal mic issue (which I am sure is hardware related) the Flex2 has been a good Linux machine. After upgrading the HDD to an SSD I have run Linux Mint and MX-Linux on it. Recently it became my go-to machine for Arch Linux and it runs that very well. It was a crashbox when runnig Windows 8.1 and 10 but now it's a champion. Another example of the power of Linux.



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