LXQt Review – the replacement for LXDE. Very, very fast, even on old hardware.

Hi everyone. This time around, I decided to review LXQt, seeing at it will replace LXDE in Lubuntu soon. I thought it would be fun to see how much faster it was, and simulate a slow system to see how it responds.

LXQt – a hands on review in VirtualBox

As with a good few of my reviews, this is primarily a video, accompanied with a write-up and some discussion. Note that I recorded this video a while ago, so the chatter is kind of out of date – Cygwin part 2 and the Mint 19 review are both already out. The DSL post is already out as well, by the way.

The writeup

The (virtual) machine

Simulating a Pentium 4-era machine in VirtualBox seemed like a good idea, seeing as this is probably about the oldest hardware you’d run modern Linux on; while you technically can even run Gentoo on a 486, for it to be easy / user friendly, a Pentium 4 or higher is probably a better bet. Bear in mind that I was installing to and running from an SSD. Given the CPU execution cap, I think the CPU would have slowed it down a lot anyway. The VM had 1 GB of RAM, and a simulated single-core CPU running at 1 GHz, and 32 MB of RAM without 3D acceleration – not very fast.

First Impressions

LXQt started up and installed pretty quickly, which is impressive given our virtual hardware specs. I thought it was a bit of a shame that they didn’t adopt a more KDE-ish theme, because I like KDE, but then it makes sense to keep it looking familiar.

Probably the biggest thing I noticed though is that it was FAST. LXDE was never slow, but LXQt was amazingly fast, so much so I could almost forget what (simulated) hardware it was running on! It really felt almost like a new computer. That is very, very impressive, and I now totally see what people were saying about Qt being better than GTK for old systems.


This was very easy and fast, and I like the Calmeres installer, which I don’t think I’ve used before. It fits LXDE pretty well, and it got the job done quickly. I did speed it up by reducing the execution cap, because I didn’t have too much time to get this done, but even with that I think it would have installed inside 30-45 minutes, which is impressive. Even on new hardware, that’s pretty good. I can think of a certain popular operating system that sometimes takes an hour or even twice as long as that.

Default Applications

Note: Bear in mind that this is an unstable release of Lubuntu, so the preinstalled programs might change. It will also depend on which Linux distro you use.

Not a bad selection at all, especially for a lightweight distro. It came with Libreoffice, Thunderbird, a web browser, and K3B for burning CDs and DVDs. It even comes with an ebook reader and a software center. This is pretty good, especially for a lightweight distro.


There is a fair bit of room for customisation out of the box, which is nice. It was also easy to do, which is always a good thing. There weren’t any really beautiful themes, but who needs those when you have the Windows ME theme? I bet that brings back good memories XD.

In all seriousness, it would be nice to have some prettier, if more heavy themes to pick from by default. I imagine you can install them, but it’d be nice to have the option out of the box. I do like that you can change the taskbar theme though, it’s a bit easier to do than it used to be in LXDE. All the applications fit in nicely with it as well, so they’ve done a good job with the themes.


A nice new desktop environment that appears to run very quickly even on pretty old (simulated) hardware with no 3D support. There are some nice default applications, and a good set of themes. Installation was also fast and easy. All in all, a good experience, especially given this is a development release of Lubuntu, and, presumable of LXQt as well. I found really very few bugs.

That’s it from me for now, but I’ll have some more posts coming out soon 🙂


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About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm a self-employed software developer working on Free Software projects, as well as studying for my degree with the Open University. Being pedantic when it comes to detail is fortunately useful for both of these things! A strong believer in free software, I have a few pay-for programs available under the GPLv3 and enjoy reporting bugs and helping to improve various open source projects, including volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system.

2 Responses to LXQt Review – the replacement for LXDE. Very, very fast, even on old hardware.

  1. Javier Navarro says:

    Hi. In my humble opinion, I guess the simulation on a virtual machine doesn’t represent the reality in a P4 machine. Virtual machines are only useful to verify compatibility stuffs. However you can configure or emulate cpu clocks and a few other hardware things, you cannot assume the performance in a real “motherboard” because of its bus speed, RAM access timing and other real hardware stuffs. I worked around 14 years repairing computers and I used programming in assembler by hobby.

    • Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right, I just thought I’d try for something like a P4, so I gave it 1 GB of RAM and a ~1.2 GHz CPU, knowing that pentium 4s can be both faster and slower than that. I figure it’s probably not a million miles off, but yeah, it won’t be perfect. ? There are some pretty good ways of emulating raspberry pis and classic games consoles though I note, but I haven’t used them.

      I would have used a real P4 if I had one, but I don’t ?

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