Users looking for extreme performance in a Desktop Environment can look no further than LXQt. It’s lightweight, extensible, powerful, and attractive out of the box. In this LXQt review, we cover the experience of using LXQt – including first impressions, notable features, and performance – and discuss who should use LXQt and why.
Immediately, I’m struck by the look and feel of LXQt. It blends together a distinct Linux and KDE Plasma styling that makes for a DE that doesn’t feel too much like anything else. It’s a really unique experience. Everything looks good, the theme and icons aren’t ancient-looking, and the system is simple without being spartan.
LXQt is much the same as LXDE, as you may guess from the name. It follows a traditional desktop paradigm – there’s an application menu with a search function in the bottom left, a system tray in the bottom right, and some icons in the panel for favorite or common applications. There’s also a workspace switcher, giving a layer of user experience that not every DE does. Desktop icons are included as well, something unfortunately rare in today’s Linux Desktop.
It’s pretty quickly noticed that LXQt is quite simple, however, and that the simplicity is the main focus. It’s so lightweight and flexible that it can be forced into just about every configuration imaginable.
One of the great features of LXQt is the qterminal. It was written for LXQt, and it’s one of the best terminals I’ve looked at. Not because of any visual appeal but because it supports tiling out of the box and is much more minimal than a tool like tilix. It also has super simple keyboard shortcuts, so if you keep it to four subterminals, you can quickly navigate with Alt + Left, Right, Up, or Down. qterminal is a highly functional and lightweight terminal emulator, and I love that it’s built into a DE like this. It makes me feel like, for all the other features I miss by using something as minimal as LXQt, I get to use such a special terminal.
PCManFM-Qt File Manager
While it may seem like any other file manager on the surface, there’s a lot packed into this little file manager. It’s easily one of the easiest file managers I’ve ever used to get to the root file system. This can be incredibly useful for newer users who don’t want to dive right into the terminal, and it’s just nice to have. Also, there’s great tabbing functionality, which is great for keeping track of directories across disks that aren’t just a click or two away. Overall, for such a lightweight program, it packs a big punch.
There are some missing user-friendly features in LXQt, but there are a couple of really great shortcuts. One is the display brightness keys for laptop users, which is Ctrl + Shift + F6 or F7. Another really great one is the ability to drag windows to the side of the screen and have LXQt cycle through the available desktops until you find one you want to place that window on. This is so great for moving windows around desktops without messing too much with keyboard shortcuts if you don’t want to.
Performance on LXQt, just as on LXDE, is excellent. It’s incredibly light on resources, using just 340 MB RAM and less than 1% CPU usage. However, more so than just being light, it feels light. It’s so responsive. When I click on an icon, the program just opens. When I move windows around, it hops to work immediately. I feel completely in control of my system when I’m using LXQt.
The Cons of LXQt
While there are many great parts of LXQt, there are some downsides. One of them is the lack of window-tiling keyboard shortcuts out of the box. As someone who regularly works with only one display, I can say that this would be a dealbreaker for me. I tile windows constantly, and the inability to do that would severely impact my workflow. Additionally, for those users looking for a cohesive feel to their DE, LXQt may not be for them. It’s assembled from parts, and it feels disjointed in practical use. It feels like someone sacrificed everything to give a lightweight, fully-featured desktop. That’s not necessarily bad, just something to watch for.
Where to Experience LXQt
There are a variety of ways, but one of the best I’ve seen is Lubuntu. It’s a friendly base that adds many nice look-and-feel touches to LXQt that make it that much friendlier to use. I really like the overall coloring and theme. It highlights the potential beauty of such simple Desktop Environments, which is a reminder, I think, we all need on occasion.
Who Should Use LXQt
Similarly to the w LXDE article, the user who should use LXQt is the user who is looking for the most performance out of the box at the expense of everything else. You may be on a system with limited RAM and CPU horsepower and looking to maximize your experience, or you may just value minimalism or simplicity over cohesion. Regardless, LXQt is a great choice.