Since I switched from macOS to Linux, I’ve secretly been hoping that Fairphone would release a laptop. Then I came across this project, and it felt like a dream come true; it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. A upgradabe/repairable 13-inch laptop that’s powerful enough for my day-to-day work and has a trackpad at the centre of the chassis. Perfect!
Then I had a chat about it in the elementary OS community, and @cassidyjames pointed out that the resolution (2256x1504) may be an issue. At first, I wouldn’t believe him. I figured that some combination of HiDPI scaling and/or font scaling would make it workable. Sadly, after trying many combinations, I think he’s right. The resolution will be a blocking issue. For me, at least, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Currently, I’m using a 13 inch Dell XPS 4K with an external 27 inch 4K monitor. I chose the XPS with a 4K display because that would allow me to work at 2x scaling on both displays, as using different scaling factors doesn’t work well with X.
Let me summarize some possible options.
Everything is too large, and there is not enough space to work comfortably on the laptop display. This setting does play nice with the external 4K monitor, though. Using a smaller global font size makes it better on the laptop screen but worse on the external monitor.
Everything is too small on the laptop screen. An external 4K monitor also wouldn’t work, so it should be replaced with something that’s okay at 1x scaling. Like an ultrawide monitor at 3440x1440, for example. Using a larger font size would help the laptop screen, making it worse on the external monitor.
3. Using fractional scaling
Fractional scaling on Linux is not very well supported. Some distros are doing better than others, but there are still many issues. Ubuntu considers it a Beta feature, and by the looks of it, it’s more like Alpha. And with fractional scaling, an external monitor becomes unusable unless it’s a massive 4k monitor.
4. Using a different distro
Choose a distro that’s doing a decent job with fractional scaling. Yes, that’s probably the best option, but also my least favourite one. And while KDE is considered best at it, there are still many problems with scaling in applications.
Cassidy is right to suggest the 2880×1920 (1440×960@2x) or 3000×2000 (1500×1000@2x) resolutions. Having the option to choose a higher DPI screen would be the ideal solution, even at the expense of battery life. And I’d gladly pay a premium for it too.
I may be wrong, but I think Linux users are a substantial part of the target customers for this kind of product. And with the current resolution as the only option, it feels like support for Linux is an afterthought.
Again, I adore this product, I really love it. But unfortunately, the resolution is a massive deal-breaker.