|Specs at a glance: System76 Pangolin|
|OS||Pop!_OS 21.04 or Ubuntu Linux 20.04|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 5500U or Ryzen 7 5700U|
|RAM||8GiB DDR4 (upgradable to 64GiB)|
|GPU||AMD Vega 7 integrated|
|SSD||240GB to 2TB NVMe|
|Battery||49 Wh LiOn|
|Wi-Fi||Intel dual-band Wi-Fi 6|
|Display||15-inch 1080p matte|
|Entry-level price||$1,200 (Ryzen 5500U, 8GiB RAM, 240GB NVMe)|
This week, System76—probably the best-known Linux-only laptop vendor—announced the latest update to its lightweight 15-inch Pangolin laptop series. The newest models of Pangolin are available and shipping today; customers have a choice between a six-core Ryzen 5 5500U and an eight-core Ryzen 7 5700U processor.
Pangolin was already the first System76 laptop model to offer AMD Ryzen processors, with last-generation Ryzen 4500U and 4700U models announced last December. This year’s model bumps up both the processor generation and asking price significantly—last year’s Ryzen 4500U Pangolin started at $850, offering 8GiB of RAM and a 240GiB SSD in the entry-level trim. The new 5500U-powered Pangolin runs $1,200 for the same specs.
AMD Ryzen + Linux for the win
The increase in price likely reflects additional public awareness of mobile Ryzen’s outstanding Linux kernel support as well as its significant raw performance advantage over most competing Intel CPUs. Although we didn’t get the chance to test System76’s Ryzen 7 4700U, Acer’s 4700U-powered Swift 3—which isn’t even designed as an OEM Linux laptop—remains one of our all-time favorite systems for dedicated Linux users.
The Ryzen 4700U-powered Acer Swift 3 offered better battery life per raw watt-hour under Linux than nearly any Intel-powered competitor we’ve tested, in addition to Ryzen’s already-impressive raw performance.
We broadly expect the Pangolin to continue and even improve upon that trend—System76 generally begins with existing designs from upstream vendors like Sager and Clevo, but its engineers do additional integration work to significantly improve the Linux experience on its machines.
Specs and shipping
The new Pangolin weighs in at 3.6 pounds (1.65 kg) and—as always for System76—ships with your choice of System 76’s own Pop!_OS Linux or the better-known Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. It includes a 1080p matte display, a 720p webcam, gigabit Ethernet, Intel dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, a headphone/mic combo jack, and a 49 Wh battery with a 65 W (DC barrel) charger.
Base-model Pangolins start at $1,200 and come with a Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, 8GiB of RAM, and a 240GB NVMe SSD. Those with deeper pockets can upgrade to a beefier Ryzen 7 5700U processor, up to 64GiB of RAM, and up to a 2TB NVMe SSD. The RGB-backlit keyboard can also be upgraded with a choice of “clicky” Kailh Box Jade or “tactile” Kailh Box Royal switches—though selecting either keyboard upgrade bumps up the cost by $285 and (currently) delays shipping for that order until October.
Listing image by System76