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Elementary OS Loki and Kernel Updates on HP x360 Spectre

UPDATE May 19, 2017: Elementary just updated their ISO with the latest hardware enablement stack. I haven’t had a chance to test this yet, but definitely give that a shot first before using the instructions below if you are installing from scratch!

Yes, it is finally working for me! Here’s the quick back story:

I purchased a HP Spectre x360 13″ laptop. Specifically, the Kaby Lake model (13-ac023dx). As you can imagine from the about screen, I’m pretty happy with the specs, not to mention the thin and light form factor.

Setting this machine up at the beginning with Elementary OS Loki was a bit of a tricky proposition given that the WiFi chip isn’t supported in the kernel version that ships with the current Elementary ISO. That was pretty easy to work around with a tethered connection to my phone providing network access to run some updates. What I didn’t realize at first, however, was that by upgrading the system and running a kernel that supported my wireless I also inadvertently disabled my bluetooth support. I noticed recently after wanting to connect some external bluetooth speakers to it.

After a bit of digging and a lot of experimentation, I found the following setup routine that works flawlessly:

  1. Install Elementary
  2. Connect to the internet via a USB ethernet adapter or via a tethered mobile device
  3. Run basic updates

  4. Install TLP for battery savings, and bluetooth tools in case you need them later

  5. Update your system (and kernel) to the latest for 16.04 LTS

  6. Install the magical linux-firmware package:

  7. Reboot one last time

At this point, there’s a two small things that still don’t work quite right:
– Auto screen rotation
– Top bar speakers (bottom speakers work fine) – I’m anxiously watching this thread

You may notice from the screenshot that I’m not just running the 4.8 kernel included in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS updates. After using the above steps to get things running, I used Ukuu to update my kernel further (but can always boot back to the official 4.8 kernel at any time via GRUB).

I’m also quite happy to report the battery life is wonderful!

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