Running a laptop on Linux is a good alternative if you have a low-end laptop. Linux is lighter than Windows and its efficiency is comparable to Mac OS making it a good choice if you want a faster laptop or get something close to a MacBook without having to pay a lot of money. And luckily for you, this article is all about finding the best Linux laptop that suits your wants and needs.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the different laptops that work well with Linux as well as the various features that make them an appealing choice. We will also be looking at the different criteria in picking a good Linux laptop.
Recommendations for March 2021
Best Linux Laptop in 2021 Reviews
Dell XPS 13 7390 – Amazing Portability and Design
When it comes to laptops for Linux, Dell is the best choice since the majority of its laptops were designed to be compatible with Ubuntu and other Linux platforms. With this being said, why not start with one of Dell’s most successful and popular laptops, the Dell XPS 13 7390.
Considered to be one of the best Dell laptops and ultrabooks on the market, the Dell XPS 13 7390 features impressive specs with its Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a magnificent FHD display with its almost 13.3-inch screen that almost qualifies as a 14-inch laptop thanks to its narrow bezels.
Asides from that, the laptop has the quality and impressive design making it a quality pick both inside and out. Being an ultrabook, the laptop is easy to carry around allowing you to work anywhere at any time without the strain of having to carry a heavy laptop.
Although not the product we’ve linked to, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu 20.04 which makes it a good choice if you don’t want to install Linux yourself into your Dell laptop thanks to Dell’s partnership and dedication to making its laptop work well with Linux based systems.
Overall, the Dell XPS 13 7390 is a good first choice if you want a trusted and reliable laptop for Linux.
Recommended Configuration for Dell XPS 13 7390
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Touch Display | Storage: 256 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight: 5.69 pounds lbs
Acer Aspire 5 – Good Value
If you’re looking for laptops with Linux, you’ll notice that you’ll find brands like Dell, Lenovo, and HP constantly popping up on the internet. Acer laptops weren’t simply designed to run with Linux like Dell laptops are.
However, this doesn’t mean that all Acer laptops are bad with Linux. Just like with everything else there are a few exceptions and the Acer Aspire 5 is one of the exceptions. It’s one of the best laptops to run Linux mint with and you can easily dual boot with Windows 10 and install Linux on it as well.
Asides from compatibility, the laptop is pretty good specs-wise for its price. It has a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. It also has a pretty reliable GPU as well and its 15-inch FHD display is pretty impressive for its affordable price.
What’s more is that If you install the Linux Distro, “Linux Mint” on this computer, it will run even faster making up for its not so powerful specs. Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is a good affordable choice for a Linux Laptop, plus it’s very rare to see an Acer Linux Laptop in the first place.
Recommended Configuration for Acer Aspire 5
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U processor| Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8 GB DDR4 RAM | Screen: 15 6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display| Storage: 256 SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life:5 hours | Weight: 5.74 pounds
GPD Micro PC – Pre-installed Ubuntu Mate
The GPD Micro PC is probably the most unique laptop on this list. This model comes from the GPD company, which is based in Shenzhen China. But what separates this laptop from the rest is its extremely small size. It’s only 6 inches in size and it weighs about 1.03 pounds making it the most portable laptop on this list.
But with portability comes the price of power. Don’t expect this laptop to be the super high end since it sports an Intel N4100 processor which is relatively powerful considering the laptop is only 6 inches in size. It also has 8 GB of RAM for you to use as well so it’s not that bad.
But this is where the Ubuntu Mate 18.10 comes in, Linux operating systems are known to run faster than Windows so even with it’s not so powerful specs, you can expect the GPD Micro PC to run smoothly and effectively.
Overall, the GPD Micro PC is a good choice if you’re looking for a portable laptop that already comes with a Linux distribution software.
Recommended Configuration for Razer Blade Stealth 13
CPU:Intel N4100 processor | Graphics: lntel HD Graphics 600, | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 6 inches (1280 x 720 )Display| Storage: 128 SSD| Operating System: Ubuntu Mate 18.10 | Battery Life:5 hours | Weight: 1.03 pounds
ASUS Chromebook Flip – Rugged And Durable
Is one of the most portable and durable designs on this list. It might not be as portable as the GPD Micro PC. Thanks to its durable design, this laptop is able to withstand a drop up to 4 feet so you know this one is going to last for a long time.
Specs-wise, it isn’t that impressive with its Intel Gemini Lake Celeron N4000 Processor and Intel HD Graphics 615. It also has 4 GB of RAM which isn’t suited for modern-day Windows 10. However, this laptop runs on Chrome OS which is lighter and faster than Windows so its not really a problem.
What’s even better is that this Laptop is also compatible with Linux especially since it has Crostini is a way for Chromebooks to run Linux apps and programs easily on a Chromebook making them essentially compatible.
So you don’t have to worry about the ASUS Chromebook Flip being unable to install Linux systems since its highly compatible. It can easily install Linux distributions like Archi Linux with ease.
Overall, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is an impressive Linux laptop despite now being designed to be Linux for Linux in the first place like the other Linux Laptops on this list. And you can thank Crostini for making all this possible.
Recommended configuration for ASUS Chromebook Flip
CPU:Intel Gemini Lake Celeron N4000 Processor| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615| RAM: 4 GB RAM| Screen: 14-inch Touchscreen, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 64 GB | Operating System: Chrome OS | Battery Life: 10 hours |Weight: 3 lbs
Dell XPS 15 7590 – Powerful Laptop
Dell XPS 15 7590 is one of the best Linux Laptops along with the Dell XPS 13 7390. However, the Dell XPS 15 7590 is an ideal choice for gaming thanks to its extremely powerful and versatile specs.
Being one of Dell’s top products, they’ve made sure that shi laptop isn’t just powerful but also versatile as well since it can handle a lot of tasks and it’s been designed to prevent compatibility issues with open source programs and operating systems like Linux.
Specs-wise, this laptop is the most powerful one on this list featuring since this model comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU containing 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. It also has decent storage with its 512 GB solid-state drive. With specs like this, you can play most AAA titles with ease as well as run resource-heavy editor software and applications.
And although not all games are compatible with the Linux operating system, you can easily solve this problem by relying on third-party apps and other open-source applications.
The laptop also has an amazing display giving you a 4K resolution of its screen that is absolutely eye candy for most people. Not to mention its infinity edge display greatly reduces the bezels as if it wasn’t there at all.
Overall, the Dell XPS 15 7590 definitely deserves to be one of the best laptops for Linux thanks to its superb specs and compatibility.
Recommended Configuration for Dell XPS 15
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H Processor | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 15.6″ 4K UHD (3840×2160) Touch Display, | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 8 hours| Weight: 4 pounds
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 – Upgradable Workstation
Lenovo is the second most dedicated brand when it comes to Linux compatibility. They have tons of desktops and laptops that support the Linux operating system so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues when buying Lenovo.
With that being said, not all of their products are Linux compatible so you’ll have to check if they’re compatible with Ubuntu as well as other Linux distributable like pop _os. Thankfully just like the Dell XPS series, the Lenovo Thinkpad series is well known for its compatibility with Linux systems.
Linux users will love to know that the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is fully compatible with Arch Linux, pop _os, Ubuntu, and other operations systems. It’s also good to know that this laptop is highly upgradable as well being able to expand its 16 GB RAM up to 40 GB and its 512 GB SSD to a 1 TB SSD.
Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is one of the best Linux laptops when it comes to working thanks to its upgradable specs as well as long battery life that can last up to 16 hours. Being compatible with most Linux distributables also makes it a very appealing choice.
Recommended Configuration for Lenovo ThinkPad T490
CPU: Intel Quad Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel UHD 620 GPU | RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 14 inch FHD (1920×1080) | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 16 hours| Weight: 3.41 pounds
HP 14 – Cheap and Affordable
When it comes to a good price and reliable specs, then HP 14 is one of the best laptops on this list. This laptop features decent specs with its AMD Athlon Silver 3050U, AMD Radeon Graphics, and over 8 GB of RAM. What’s nice about this laptop is that its 14 inches in size making it a little bit portable.
It’s also very reliable to use on hot sunny days as well since this laptop also features an anti-glare W-LED display allowing you to use it even when the sun is at full force. Asides from this, the laptop has a fairly reliable battery life of up to 6 hours which is amazing considering its price.
But it would work even better if it ran Linux instead of windows and fortunately for you, the HP 14 is known to be highly compatible with multiple Linux systems like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Arch Linux, and so much more!
Overall, if you’re on a budget, then the HP 14 is definitely a good choice for you, and since it’s known to be compatible with a lot of Linux based systems, then you can expect it to run a Linux operating system quite well and make use of its decent specs.
Recommended Configuration for Acer Chromebook 15
CPU: AMD Athlon Silver 3050U| Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics| RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM | Screen: 14-inch HD SVA Anti-glare W-LED Backlit display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 6 hours | Weight: 3.24 lbs
Dell G5 15 – Linux Gaming Laptop
Most gaming laptops aren’t designed to handle Linux which causes complications when gaming or running programs.
Thankfully the Dell G5 15 doesn’t have this problem. Manufactured and produced by Dell, this laptop was made to be Linux compatible and it will be able to run most Linux based applications and systems with relative ease. It may have some problems here and there but its definitely better than your average gaming laptop.
Now when it comes to gaming, the Dell G5 15 is no joke. It has extremely powerful specs with its Intel Core i7-9750H CPU allowing for faster load time, 16 GB of RAM for multitasking, and an Nvidia Geforce Gtx 1650 GPU to run those graphically heavy games.
Asides from these amazing specs, the Dell G5 15 is known for its amazing cooling system. The laptop features an s dual-fan cooling system that dramatically reduces heat and prevents overheating which also prevents the fans from making a lot of noise as well.
Now you can enjoy a nice and quiet gaming session as you blow up tanks with your rocket launcher!
Overall, the Dell G5 15 is one of the best laptops for gaming that also happens to be compatible with Linux. It’s a good alternative to the Dell XPS 15 7590 since they have pretty similar specs except that the Dell G5 15 i is probably going to be much quieter thanks to its advanced cooling system.
Recommended Configuration for Dell G5 15
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core I7-9750H processor | Graphics: Nvidia Geforce Gtx 1650 GPU | RAM: 16GB| Screen: 15. 6-Inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED backlight Non-Touch narrow Border IPS display| Storage: 256GB SSD and 1TB SATA HDD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 7 hours | Weight: 8.58 pounds
Apple MacBook Air
The Apple MacBook Air is an impressive piece of hardware that boasts an impressive design and powerful specs. Not to mention that it contains two Thunderbolt 3 ports making the laptop highly connectible as well.
The laptops feature a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor which are pretty impressive for its price. It has an Intel Iris Plus Graphics GPU which is pretty good for an integrated GPU and over 8GB for those multitasking needs.
What’s great about Linux is you are free to choose the operating system and its version allowing you to choose the best Linux distributable to use. Now couple that with the Macbook Air’s powerful specs then you can choose the best configuration that suits you the best.
A lot of people have replaced their Macbook Air’s OS with a Linux based system and the majority of them found it easy to install Linux on a Macbook. You can also dual boot the OS as well but if you want to keep both Mac and Linux systems.
Recommended Configuration For Apple MacBook Air
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 2560×1600 FHD IPS Retina display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Mac OS | Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.8 lbs
ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Lightweight But Durable
Just like the Dell XPS 15 7590, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is also a very powerful laptop that is highly compatible with Linux. Expect the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to easily run programs and apps making it a good laptop for resource-intensive work.
What we like about this laptop is the extremely long battery life which is perfect for work and its HDR display of 3840 x 2160 pixels which also makes it a good editing laptop as well. However, its greatest feature would probably be its durability and weight.
This laptop is relatively light despite its high specs thanks to its carbon fiber weaver which protects the laptop from impact allowing it to last for a very long time. The hinges can also be turned 180 degrees so don’t think that only its surface is durable as well.
Overall, if you want a durable laptop that will last for a long time, then you should go for the Thinkpad X1 Carbon.
Recommended Configuration for Thinkpad X1 Carbon
CPU: 10th Gen Core i7-10510U processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM:16 GB | Screen: 14-inch LCD 1920×1080 resolution (400 nit); 3840 x 2160 VESA400 HDR with Dolby Vision (500 nit) | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 19.5 hours | Weight: 4.6 lbs
Criteria for Choosing a Linux Laptop in 2021
One of the most important things when it comes to choosing a Linux Laptop is the distros. Linux laptops don’t necessarily have to have Linux pre-installed on them which is why it’s important to think of the distro you plan to use.
Distros is a distributed version of Linux that comes with its own perks and way of doing things.
Now when it comes to the Distro, there are tons of choices from. Each distro brings something new to the table as well as its own interface and advantages. We highly recommend getting Ubuntu if you’re a beginner or Linux Mint since it has a very similar interface to Windows.
Not all Linux distros are compatible with all pieces of hardware. To be honest this is the most difficult thing about running or using a Linux based operating system. There’s so many and all of them aren’t necessarily compatible with all the laptops out there.
Thankfully there are plenty of forums and resources out there on the internet that can give you insight on whether or not a distro is compatible with a certain laptop. We recommend using this resource if you’re planning to use Ubuntu.
The CPU or processors is the brain of the computer and it handles running and processing your applications. Needless to say, you need to consider the type of processor you will be using for your system.
Thankfully Linux isn’t as heavy as Windows and you can run it even with older processors like Intel Core 2 Duo. However, if you plan to run high-end applications on your laptop it might be good to consider an Intel Core i5 or even an i7 depending on the type of apps you plan to run.
RAM is probably one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to choosing a Linux laptop. You’re going to need a lot of RAM especially if you plan to dual boot Linux with another operating system.
If this is the case, then you need at least 4 GB of RAM to maintain Linux and another operating system. But if you plan to just use Linux alone, it’s possible to run a 2 GB RAM laptop with ease considering you choose the right distro.
Last but not least we have storage. Storage isn’t just important to just Linux laptops but to every computer in general. Make sure that the Linux laptop that you’ll be choosing has at least 128 GB worth of storage space for all of your personal and work-related files.
If you’re planning to use heavy and big programs, then investing it a much larger storage space is a good idea. You can also choose a highly upgradable laptop like the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 if you want to expand your storage space in the future especially if you don’t have the money for it right now.
Choosing a good Linux laptop will allow you to run programs more easily as well as do things more convenient. All of the laptops on this list will work with at least one Linux distro so you won’t have to trouble yourself in knowing whether they’re Linux compatible or not.
Choosing the best Linux laptop might seem intimidating at first but all you really need to look out for is compatibility as well as your preferences. We hope this was helpful to you and we would appreciate it if you would mention anything we’ve missed so far down on the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Will Happen to My Laptop’s Warranty If I Install Linux?
It depends on the brand. Some brands say it does while others don’t. Generally speaking, installing Linux will void the software warranty of your laptop since you have tampered with the main operating system.
However, it shouldn’t void your hardware warranty since the hardware wasn’t touched. Still, it really depends on the seller since some staff will say the hardware warranty is voided since there’s a small chance that tampering with the OS could have caused some hardware issues.
Is it Possible to Install Linux on an Older Laptop?
Yes. A lot of people install Linux on their older laptops since it tends to run better.
Is it Possible to Create Your Own Linux Distro?
Yes you can! There are even programs that help you do this like the Linux Live Kit.
Can You Install Linux on a Macbook?
One of our suggested computers is a Macbook so yes.
Is Linux Hard to Learn?
Linux seems very intimidating at first but it isn’t that hard to learn. Ordinary people use Linux every day so no, it’s not that hard. It does take some time though since you’ll be learning new ways on how to do things differently from Windows and a Mac.
Are Popular Software Titles Compatible With Linux?
Linux is a popular operating system so it’s a given that a lot of software titles are compatible with them. However not all software is compatible with Linux. Thankfully you can solve this problem by using compatibility software like “Wine” for Linux / Windows programs and “Darling” for Linux/Mac OS programs.