new laptop?

1:00 am gear

I’ve been thinking of getting a new computer for some time and of course I really love the ZaReason business model. The idea of buying a new computer that comes with the free distro of my choice is just so amazing. I’m thinking of getting the Terra HD. I’ve read a few of the reviews, but have you tried it? Should I get one?

16 Responses

  1. Tom Says:

    That Atom is dog slow. Something like an Atom N550 or a AMD E350 would be a lot faster. If you buy it only with SSD and two gigs of RAM.

  2. Brad Says:


    I ‘ve not tried that model but I have purchased a MediaBox 420 (?). Absolutely a great company to deal with. They love Linux and helping Linux users. They will answer all your questions and have you feeling like you are in good hands with people that care about “your” computer. Additionally, get on their mailing list. They send out emails now & then re: freebies, sales, new products and general good Linux hardware news.

    I send no luck, you won’t need it with ZaReason, 😉


  3. Bokal Says:

    I’d say it looks a lot like the hp 5101 rebranded, which is a very good point.
    If you can handle the Atom processor weakness, go for it.

  4. Leon Says:

    I’d get a Thinkpad X220. Same size, faster, up to 24h of battery life. Available without Windows.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Seconding the recommendation for an X220. Try for a discount (upwards of 40% off).

  6. Sumana Harihareswara Says:

    My household has bought multiple ZaReason devices. I’ve had mostly good but some bad experiences with ZaReason stuff. Watch out for:

    * tech support emails — if you don’t hear a response the same day, escalate in case something fell through the cracks (e.g., support@ vs techsupport@ email addresses).

    * hardware faults — a year or two ago, one laptop came with faulty memory, another with a faulty power supply. Of course they repaired them both under warranty, but still.

    * power management — under GNOME at least, if my laptop’s awake and plugged into AC, and I remove its cord, it says basically “oh no 0 battery going to sleep now!!” and goes to sleep and then I have to wake it back up, upon which it’s fine.

  7. Sumana Harihareswara Says:

    I wrote to support about the power management issue and got:

    “Hi Sumana,

    Can you load up terminal and type the following for me please?

    sudo su

    press enter, enter your password, and press enter

    gconftool-2 –type bool –set /apps/gnome-power-manager/general/use_time_for_policy false

    press enter, and restart

    This is a known Gnome bug on certain machines since the past few Ubuntu releases and will hopefully be resolved soon. Please let me know how it goes, thanks!”

    Not at a ZaReason machine right now so I can’t try it, but at least there’s a known workaround.

  8. Sri Ramkrishna Says:

    Hi Karen!

    I had the pleasure of meeting ZaReason folks at Linux Northwest. They are totally down on doing a completely GNOME OS type thing. That would be pretty exciting don’t you think to have a hardware vendor willing to sell laptops/desktops with GNOME OS?

  9. Jesse Watson Says:

    I am doing some work on my preteen nephew’s laptop for him. A friend’s dad recently installed a wireless chip in it for him since it is an older model and was not able to automatically connect before that like newer models. The kid tells me before the the guy made the upgrade it worked really fast, but now that it has the internet is goes really slow and freezes all the time.

  10. Best Laptops Says:

    Yes , you should get a new laptop, it’s amazing

  11. Mackenzie Says:

    I’ve got a Terra HD. I’ve had some problems with it that, afaik, are limited to the first two out the door because they were caught early. One of my friends who has what I think is the current firmware has a little trouble with wireless. The kill switch for the 3G (which she doesn’t have) also acts as wireless kill switch, so she needs to turn wireless on in two places (both the actual wireless switch and the 3G one). I’ve got 3G on mine, and the switches work independently / correctly for mine.

  12. Joseph Says:

    I have a Terra HD. It’s quite nice, save for an ACPI bug which causes the lid state to get stuck in the ‘closed’ position when it’s closed. (To be certain of getting it back to the ‘open’ state, you have to reboot into the BIOS and then close and reopen the lid.) It can be worked around, but it’s annoying (the backlight isn’t automatically turned off when the lid is ‘closed’ and the laptop won’t suspend when you close it the second time). After working with mjg59 on it a bit, it looks like perhaps the lid state is being tracked through the intel video instead of ACPI on Windows. Since the ODM says it works with Windows, no fix for my model is forthcoming. 🙁

    The company is pretty nice, though. Perhaps they’ve fixed this in a more recent model? Other than that, it’s a pretty darned nice netbook.

  13. MrEricSir Says:

    The ZaReason folks are nice, but they’re not particularly attentive to issues with their products. I’d stay away.

  14. Joseph Says:

    The kill switches also work independently for mine, fwiw.

  15. karen Says:

    Thanks for all of your responses! It’s really a lot to think about. I definitely would prefer to by my laptop from a company like ZaReason, but I need to make sure they have what I need. I think it would be easier if I didn’t want something so lightweight.

  16. Adam Williamson Says:

    I’d definitely second the concerns about the CPU; that thing is going to be _really slow_. It would also definitely be worth getting the upgrade to at least a 7200RPM hard disk, preferably an SSD. That will make a significant difference to performance.

    The Thinkpad someone cited above is a very nice choice for a Linux-friendly, powerful ultraportable. I run a Vaio Z, but you could never class Sony as ‘Linux-friendly’ =)

    Of the other ZaReasons, the Strata Pro 13 is doing pretty well at 13″ 3.5lb. That’s pretty competitive weight in that screen size category. I suspect you’d be happier with that one as a sole machine than the Terra HD. I’d bump the RAM to at least 4GB and, again, go with a 7200RPM HD or an SSD.

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