Nova Custom NV41 or Star Labs StarBook?

Nova Custom NV41 or Star Labs StarBook?
Please share your opinion, which of these laptops would you choose for Qubes OS and why?
Price doesn’t matter.

I wrote a long review about the NovaCustom NV41, if it helps, the comments from other may be also interesting


For Your Information

EDIT: Written after the next post.
I own neither device. I seriously do not have the money to purchase either. Still I thought the latest information, that NV41 now worked with HEADS, might be relevant to your consideration, As you said, it is about your threat consideration.

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Thank you for your answers!

In fact, I’ve been following Nova Custom for a long time and waited for them to release Heads to purchase their NV41 laptop.
But recently StarBook from StarLabs was certified by QubesOS and now I have to choose which of these devices to choose.

Heads support is a huge plus for NV41, but in the same time Heads is not mandatory for my threat model.

Based on the feedback and information that I was able to find Starbook in general assembled much better, his keyboard and trackpad are better than the NV41 and the processor is a bit newer.
Also I like the appearance of Starbook, it looks a bit more modern and “premium” and visually it is more consistent with the price than the NV41.

I am more interested in the opinions of people who have considered both laptop options, which one they chose or plan to choose and why. What was the deciding factor for you?
It would be even better to hear from those who own both devices, if there are any.

Unfortunately, there is no official detailed information what is supported on certified devices and what is not under Qubes OS.
So, you probably should expect everything to work (which can be not true).

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I ordered a Starbook in max configuration several weeks ago. I ended up sending it back for several reasons: horrible fingerprints, noisy fans (in quit mode too warm for me), i sadly experienced instabile internet issues. Youtube videos were lagging on my external display. + they do not refund the vat!!!So I lost approximately 300 Euros. Support however was promt and good.

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VAT, you mean.

StarLabs are UK based.
I dont know where you are based - if you are outwith the EU, the supply
is an export, and VAT should be charged at 0% rate
If the supply was reversed by refund, and VAT was charged on the
initial supply, then you should be paid back the VAT. If the VAT was
raised in error, this is definitely so.
Go back to them and get that money back.

I am based in the EU, Germany. This is their policy that can be found on their website. Official response from the support team was not encouraging.
They advised me to ask german customs…well I will try that…thank you!

Ok, I’m not so familiar with that case.
AFAIK they should still charge VAT at 0%, and it is the German
authorities who would have raised VAT, and will now deal with refund of
VAT. This should have been clear on the original invoice.
I’d be interested to know why StarLabs are including VAT on those
supplies, and how they are accounting for it.
Best of luck.

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No idea how it works for UK, when importing stuff from outside EU, you pay the price without VAT to the seller, and then the customs will make you pay VAT + some taxes.

I bet UK has a deal with EU about this though :sweat:


It doesn’t matter where you buy from. If VAT is included in the price, it’s part of the deal and on the return/refund the seller must refund that as well.
Same with shipping(to you).
Despite what it says on their website.

If you paid with Visa or anything alike, call them and describe the situation.
They should take care of that.

Nova doesn’t have this kind of shady policy regarding this and in fact state they will refund the entire amount paid by the customer.


Or StarLabs could be registered for VAT in Germany, and raising German VAT
themselves. But in that case they should be refunding the VAT themselves.

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That is not true.
It would be nice if it were, but it is not.

Your credit card idea is good though.

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There’s a Right of Withdrawal.

For online purchases there’s a full shipping refund.

This should be applicable for EU-zone.

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Well, you’re assuming that a) the claim was made within 14 days, and b)
the machine was returned within another 14 days.
Those are big assumptions, and neither is obvious from what was said.
Also, the Right of Withdrawal does not apply to custom built purchases -
I dont know what the specification/build was, other than it was “max”: nor do you.

Otherwise, there’s a UK right to repayment for faulty goods, but it isnt
clear that the goods were faulty.

As I’ve said, not my area, but the invoice should show who raised
the VAT: if it was in Germany, then it should be Germany that repays,
which is what StarLabs have advised.

I have a NV41 and other than the keyboard being a bit rattly, it’s worked pretty well. Nova Custom is pretty responsive and it’s easy to talk to the Dasharo team via matrix. Plus HEADs support is now out.

I’ve had issues finding reviews on StarLab’s most recent offerings. Most of what I’ve seen people talk about is their StarFighter model and how delayed it’s been.

I have been trying a number of different modern laptops with Qubes. Lately I’ve been focused on finding a good 16 inch model for it. Every one has some kinda random issue that prevents me from using it. I keep going back to the NV41, which just works.

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Well, to clarify some issues: the bill included VAT. “Max” configuration was, i7, 64 gb ram and 2 tb ssd. I still have a yaml file. The return was on time: within 5 days after I requested the return. I requested help from paypal and german customs. Let us see what they say. Overall, unfortunately very bad experience…

I Have the @novacustom NV41 for many months and I am agree in general with what you can read on the @solene review

I am happy with this laptop and will continue to promote around me.

I have no idea for the StarBook but if you are inside european country it could be more smart to avoid custom fees issue.