Best Laptops for DJs & DJ-ing 2020 [Ultimate Guide]

As a DJ, the ability to mix and master sounds is either boosted or hampered by the tools used. In order to produce the best output, it becomes essential that tools such as the best laptops for a DJ be purchased.

We understand that there are a lot of laptops out there and most of them do not come with an advertisement tag of being the best for sound production. As a matter of fact, close to 90% of laptops do not come with tags that assign them for a specific use. Well, this is where we come in.

After several hours of research and testing, we were able to arrive at the top 5 laptops suitable for DJing. We made use of the criteria of performance, storage, display, connectivity and portability to arrive at our roundup.

In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner From Hours Of Research

Editor’s Choice

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Why is it better?

  • Upgradeable SSD storage
  • Fast 8th gen processor
  • Multi-user interfacing

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Read Review Details

The Lineup At A Glance

Reviews of the Best Laptops for DJs

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 – Best 2 in 1 Laptop for DJ

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is a flexible system. Apart from its use as a laptop, it can be used as a tablet as the stand is detachable. It offers great processing speed and long lasting battery life in a light package.

  • Versatile
  • Battery life is up to 13.5 hours
  • User-friendly with various operation modes (Mouse, Pen and Dial)
  • Portable and compact due to ability to function as a tablet
  • Affordable
  • Only 1 USB 3.0 port and it is not type C/3 or thunderbolt
  • Limited functionality for third party applications

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Key features & details

2-in-1

One thing that most DJs love to do is pump up the crowd and mix at the same time. However, not all laptops provide the flexibility for that. The hybrid laptop-tablet nature of the Microsoft Surface Pro allows this.

A DJ can choose to use the kickstand of the laptop on a stand or hold it as a tablet within their palms whichever option works.

Lightweight

For the Microsoft Surface Pro to effectively serve as a tablet, the design has to be thin enough that it does not take much space.

The weight of the laptop is barely up to 2 pounds effectively meeting the criteria of portable.

Therefore, for the constantly traveling disc jockey, this is a great laptop to have as it is hard to feel the weight of the laptop when traveling.

Multi-modes of operation

One great feature a DJ might look forward to in the Microsoft Surface Pro are the different modes of operation.

You can decide to use a pen, a mouse, a keyboard or just the touch screen depending on your preference.

However, note that you may have to pay a bit more for the added accessories.

Fast Processor

Shuffling between tracks and loading up a new playlist or alternating among DJ applications requires fast processing speed.

The Microsoft Surface Pro has an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U (quad-core) which is known for being a fast processor and ensures a lag free use of DJ software.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Processor1.3 GHz Core i5 8400T
RAM8 GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD
GraphicsIntel® UHD Graphics 620 (i5)
Display

12.3-inch Pixel Sense display

10 point multi-touch

Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life10 hours
Weight1.96 pounds
Other FeaturesUSB 3.0 Port, Surface Mouse, Surface Keyboard, Surface Pen, HDMI output and an built-in SD card slot

2. Apple Macbook Retina Display Pro – Best Laptop for Professional DJs

If you are a professional DJ, the Apple Macbook Retina Display Pro may be a good option for you. The size is compact making it easy to travel with, it has great speakers for personal sound production and has multiple connectivity options.

  • SSD storage
  • Lightweight
  • Dual core processor
  • Battery life of up to 10 hours
  • Great speakers for sound production
  • USB 3.0 and 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • No touchscreen
  • High price

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Key features & details

Professional Use

As most tech enthusiasts know, the Apple Macbook Pro unlike the iPad and iPhones are targeted at professionals. This is more evident in the specs included in the 15-inch model which enhance the performance of the laptop.

The criterion that make it a good investment for professional DJs is the fact that the Macbook has more than just a base label. You can mix and match various components to fit your profession.

For example, as a DJ, you will be looking at a fast processor and high SSD storage. It also has a touch bar that has a context-based use. Depending on the apps you use on the laptop, the MacBook with the touch bar provides shortcuts that create a seamless workflow.

Design

Apple has always been known for its futuristic design with other tech giants following in its steps. That is no different with the Apple Macbook Pro which comes fitted in a slim and light grey case. However, the chassis is no different from the previous models.

Display

Apart from the 15 inches of screen size that make it easy to view applications easily, the laptop also possesses True Tone display tech.

The technology has a sensor which adjusts the lighting of the screen to fit with the environment you are working in. So, if you are in a bar, at the park, at a concert etc, the laptop brightness automatically adjusts.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Apple Macbook Retina Display Pro
Processor2.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, with 9MB shared L3 cache
RAM32GB
Storage256 GB, 512 GB
GraphicsRadeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
Display15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Operating SystemMacOS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight4.02 pounds
Other FeaturesTouch Bar, Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, Fingerprint sensor

3. ASUS VivoBook S15 – Best Travel Friendly Laptop for DJs

ASUS VivoBook S15

A laptop that makes it easy to pick it up and move to the next gig is what the ASUS VivoBook S15 offers. It is lightweight and the battery can be recharged on the go.

  • Does not overheat
  • Durable Battery Life
  • 8th generation processor
  • Expandable storage device
  • Thin design makes it portable
  • No Thunderbolt port
  • Dull display

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Key features & details

Good Performer

The ASUS VivoBook S15 is packaged with hardware meant to give competitors like the Lenovo Ideapad 530s a run for its money. As a matter of fact, most techies believe it offers better value for money.

For fast processing, the has the intel 8th gen i5 core. It also possesses both SSD and HDD storage spaces. Both storage drives are upgradeable making it easy for DJs to access files and load music seamlessly.

The 8 GB RAM also makes multitasking easy. You can easily move from one DJ app to the other without any lag.

Varied Connectivity

The presence of varied ports on the ASUS VivoBook is what makes it user friendly. You can easily connect a device and transfer files or data you need for your DJing gig. The ports available include USB Type-C, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI and SD card.

Using the USB 3.1 port is 5 times faster than traditional USB 2.0. If you need to transfer music files from your phone to your laptop, this feature will come in handy as transfers of up to 1GB can be completed in less than a minute.

Travel Friendly

In DJing, you might find yourself shuffling from one location to another on short notice. What this means is that you might not have time to charge your laptop as you change gigs.

The laptop itself is lightweight making it easy to lug around but another feature that makes it good for travel is the fact that a power bank can be used to top up the battery life. This is possible due to the USB-C port.

Specification
Hardware specifications for ASUS VivoBook S15
Processor8th Gen Intel Core i5
RAM8GB
Storage128GB SSD + 1T HDD, 256GB SSD + 1T HDD
GraphicsIntel Integrated Graphics
Display15.6 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.7  pounds
Other FeaturesUSB Type-C, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI and SD card

4. ASUS FX504 – Best Budget Pick for DJs

ASUS FX504

If you are tight on money and need a laptop for DJing that ticks all the necessary boxes, the ASUS FX504 is a budget friendly option.

  • Does not overheat
  • Upgradeable SSD
  • Loud speakers
  • Pocket friendly cost
  • Matte panel to protect from sun glare during outdoor use
  • Lag when switching between apps
  • Battery life of 5 hours

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Key features & details

Heat Conduction

From experience, HP laptops are prone to overheating after a period of use. Going by the fact that DJing involves long hours of playing music, a system that can conduct heat properly is necessary.

The ASUS FX504 happens to be one of the best heat managers. The system can be optimally used without any worries about an overheating laptop. This is due to the anti-dust cooling system which serves a dual purpose.

Anti-dust cooling system removes dust that can lead to the damage of the laptop’s hardware and also keeps the device cool.

Display

The screen size of the ASUS FX5604 is up to 15 inches making it ideal for optimal viewing of apps. The laptop also has a matter panel designed to help reduce the glare of the sun during outdoor DJing activities. However, the laptop is not made for continuous use outdoors as it affects the screen visibility.

The screen resolution of 1920x 1080 pixels enable it to easily load up popular DJing apps like Serato and Tracktor Pro which have 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 720 screen resolution respectively.

Consistent Performance

ASUS FX5604 has the 8th generation core i7 processor which guarantees consistent performance.

Specification
Hardware specifications for ASUS FX504
Processor2.2 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM8 GB DDR4
Storage256 GB
GraphicsNVIDIA
Display15.6 inches ; 1920×1080 pixels
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 5 hours
Weight5.1 pounds
Other FeaturesAnti-cooling system

5. Apple Macbook Air – Best Macbook for DJs

Apple Macbook Air

Lightweight, sleek design, fast processing speed, long battery life and multiple connection options are what you do not find in all Macbooks. But, the MacBook Air offers this at a lesser price than the MacBook Pro.

  • Lightweight
  • Thin design
  • Fast processing speed
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Poor display
  • Limited physical storage

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Key features & details

Compact Design

In 2008, Steve Jobs pulled out the first MacBook from a Manila envelope and that has forever been a notable feature of the MacBook Air. The ultrathin design is what makes it a preference for individuals who are constantly on the go.

For DJs who move from one show or concert to the other, it is easy to appreciate this feature as it makes the laptop lightweight and easier to handle.

Performance Maximization

SSD storage is very important for the DJing profession as it allows fast retrieval of files. The MacBook Air offers up to 256GB of the SSD. The presence of 8GB RAM and 8th generation Core i5 ensure that applications load up with little to no lag in between.

Regardless of its fast processing speed which can be amped with the turbo feature, the Macbook Air lasts for up to 10 hours. For a DJ, the battery life is a major perk as then, it becomes possible to have a long set without worrying about charging.

Connectivity

For internet connection and file sharing, the MacBook Air boasts of Wifi, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth and a Thunderbolt port. Therefore, as a DJ it is easy to decide on whether you want to download music files or transfer from another source to your system.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Apple Macbook Air
Processor1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
RAM8GB
Storage128; 256 GB
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 617
Display13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology
Operating SystemMacOS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.75 Pounds
Other FeaturesRetina Display

Criteria used for evaluation

Performance

DJing is not a profession that places high demand on specs especially in the modern-day devices. However, when you have a live performance, you need a system that can handle the workload. Therefore, the processor and RAM matter a lot.

The processing power of the best laptop for DJs needs to be at least a core i5. If your budget allows it, you can go for the latest i7 as it makes it easy to multitask and load up heavy sound applications. RAM space is also an important criterion if you want your PC to perform at the highest speed. Therefore, we recommend getting a minimum of 8GB specially if you are into production alongside DJing.

Storage Capacity & Type

The storage capacity of your laptop affects your ability to manage an extensive library. DJing has evolved beyond the ordinary turntables to applications. If you are the type that uses a laptop for most of the shuffle, play and mixing, then you will need large storage space.

Most new laptops have sufficient space to handle audio sizes as they are not hefty. As a result, it would be best to get a laptop with space of up to 500GB. Remember we said that speed is important in DJing? . Therefore, you need to ensure the storage on the laptop is SSD as this type of drive makes it easier to retrieve audio files.

Display Size & Resolution

As a DJ statistics show you are likely going to spend 70% of your time with your eyes fixed on the screen display of the laptop. Therefore, the size should be comfortable enough to display your DJ software easily. The resolution of the screen also determines how far or how close the laptop can be from you.

If you are the type of DJ that loves to be mobile and prefers the use of a stand, getting a 15-inch notebook would be best. However, if you are sure of your stationary position during your set, a 12 to 13-inch notebook should suffice. A 17-inch notebook offers optimum screen display and resolution with DJing apps playing without any hassle however, it may be too large to port around.

Fast USB Connectivity

The role of a DJ requires mixing sounds and projecting such sounds to an audience. Your laptop speakers alone will not be sufficient to transmit the sound on to the intended audience. This is where USB ports come in.

An average turntable and AI require the use of USB ports for connectivity. Before making a purchase, consider the input and output specs of the system. Although supplementary USB hub ports can be purchased to extend the connectivity capabilities of a laptop, it is best to ensure that the system itself can carry out such function.

Therefore, the best laptop for a DJ should boast of fast USB connections. A system with a thunderbolt or C/3 USB fits the criteria of speed and high powered.

Travel-Friendly

Most DJs travel around for shows and since you are going to take your laptop with you, it becomes important that it can hold up against such transit. Therefore, in terms of travel friendly laptops for DJs, the PC needs to be lightweight but with a strong construction. Another component the laptop ought to have to make it travel-friendly is a long battery life.

It is not always certain that an outlet will be provided for your laptop to be charged during a show, therefore, the ability of your laptop to conserve battery while on the road matters a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much RAM Do I Need for DJing?

As a DJ, you will need to switch between DJ apps and your music files especially when you want to create a new playlist. Therefore, you need sufficient space on a RAM that makes this possible with little to no lag time in between. RAM size of 2GB should be the minimum spec of any laptop you get.

Is a Gaming Laptop Good for DJing?

The specifications of a laptop are what make it a good option for one activity or the other. The features of the laptop are what should be used to judge whether or not they can satisfy a need. Therefore, in most cases, it is possible to find that a gaming laptop can also function well as a laptop for DJing.

Can I download a DJ Software on MAC?

The MacOS allows for verified applications to be downloaded on it. As long as the application has been approved on the Appstore, it is possible to get a DJ software installed on a Mac.

Resources

  1. Si Truss, Best DJ Software: 10 Apps We Recommend, Tech Radar
  2. How Cast, How to DJ With a Laptop
Categories Reviews

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