System76 Starling 3 Netbook Review

Recently, I began a position which allows me to ride the bus to and from work, giving me a lot of free time to read or develop. My home laptop is a 15.4″ widescreen which is a little too much to tote around on the bus, so I decided to purchase a netbook. After a few months of researching, I found one that I really wanted.

I had never even heard of System76 until one day when I saw a man close to my age on the bus using one. You know how you can somewhat tell when someone is using Linux (intense look, typing quickly, half-smiling like they have a secret)? This interested me, so when I got home and googled System76 I was happy to see that my assumption of the man using a Linux netbook was correct.

System76 Starling – Starling NetBook

First of all, when I opened the box for my Starling, I was happy to see that there wasn’t a whole lot of junk inside the box. There was a computer, some packaging to make sure it survived shipment, and a power cable. There was no manual per se, only a single-page welcome with a couple of Ubuntu stickers. The manual and any documentation for the computer is available online at If this kind of thing puts you off to buying a computer, maybe it’s not the right choice for you. If, on the other hand, you believe in the ease-of-use provided by Ubuntu Linux, more powerful and higher-quality hardware than most Windows netbooks, you should probably read on.


Color options for the Starling NetBook

The Starling NetBook comes in either finish: Obsidian Black or Coral Red Soft Rubber

Display: 10.1″ HD WSVGA Super Clear Ultra-Bright LED backlit (1024 x 600)

Networking: LAN (10/100), WiFi

Wireless: 802.11 bgn

Dimensions: 10.47″ x 7.28″ x 0.72~1.0″ (WxDxH)

Weight: 2.0 lbs.

See the System76 for complete base options and available upgrades. Continue reading for a summary and review.

I chose the Starling for a number of reasons:

  • I love Linux
  • I wanted a portable computer
  • I wanted extra memory for software development
  • I wanted more than 80GB or 160GB of storage
  • I wanted a display that wouldn’t hurt my eyes
  • I wanted trustworthy hardware

Thankfully, the Starling answered all of my needs and more.

My Upgrades

I chose the Coral Red Soft Rubber finish.