Star Labs, maker of Linux-equipped PCs, is taking pre-orders for the StarFighter (opens in new tab) custom laptop. This rather well-specced and highly configurable laptop comes with Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4, a choice of Linux distributions from Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro and other configurable specifications. Privacy concerns are addressed via a snap-on magnetic camera and a Wi-Fi kill switch.
The StarFighter is a highly customizable machine. The base model of the StarFighter comes with a 12th-generation Intel i3 processor, but you can build your way to an 12th-gen i7, AMD Ryzen 7 (6800H) or even an Intel i9, all with integrated graphics. RAM can be configured all the way from 16GB to 64GB, though this depends on your processor choice, and storage from a 240GB SATA SSD to 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 flash, with lots of options in between. You can even slip in a secondary SSD if you need to, with another 2TB available. There's a pair of SODIMM slots and two M.2 sockets inside, so DIY upgrades aren’t out of the question.
There's a choice of screens, with the standard 16:10 4K (3840 x 2400) 60Hz panel being replaceable with a 16:10 1440p alternative that can manage up to 165Hz. This latter option also consumes half the power of the 4K screen. There's a choice of firmware - American Megatrends or Coreboot - and you can specify a custom keyboard layout, if that’s your thing.
Operating system options are legion, allowing you to specify Ubuntu (22.04 LTS (opens in new tab)) Elementary OS, Kubuntu, Mint (opens in new tab), MATE alternatives, XFCE front-ends, Plasma or Gnome versions of Manjaro, Zorin OS, or even Windows 11. There's even an option to have no OS at all.
The laptop features two Thunderbolt 4 ports (if you get an Intel model, they're USB 3.2 Gen 2 on the Ryzen 7 option), plus a single USB 3 Type-A, an HDMI, SD reader and a headphone jack. There's an interesting magnetic webcam module that snaps onto a port at the back of the screen, peeking over the edge toward the user, and it can be slipped into a recess in the chassis when you’re not using it. The magnetic connector uses USB, pointing to more possible upgrades. A hardware switch on the edge allows you to cut power to the wireless module, which when activated offers Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. The makers claim up to 18 hours of battery life.
The configurable nature of the laptop means it’s available at a lot of different prices, but the base cost is $1,677, plus taxes and delivery. Dispatch is expected in 4-5 months.