Saturday, June 22, 2024

Expand your horizons with the help of the best Linux laptops


When it comes to looking for an alternative laptop to Windows or macOS, then you’re going to want one of the best Linux laptops. There may not be as many options running the Linux operating system as the competition as most of the big-name computer manufacturers aren’t making Linux laptops, so it’s helpful to know exactly what smaller companies have available. Thankfully, there are some great options from smaller players who have great reputations when it comes to standing behind their products. But there are also a few that come from those bigger companies, who also make some of the best laptops and best Chromebooks.

Pure Power

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8


Staff Pick

Lenovo is targeting the enterprise power user who wants Linux with this powerhouse. The Windows version is already one of the best laptops overall, so why not get the best but with Linux? With a 10th-gen Intel Core i5, up to 16GB of RAM, up to a 1TB SSD, and Fedora 32, this is a developer’s dream machine. The 1080p display is its only drawback.

From $2,145 at Lenovo

A budget option

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5


Chrome OS is Linux, and you can now run any Linux application natively on Intel Chromebooks — provided they’re powerful enough. Lenovo’s Chromebook Flex 5 is plenty powerful enough for everyday use and most Linux apps, and the price hits the sweet spot.

From $382 at Amazon $415 at Walmart

One sexy beast

New Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition


The Dell XPS 13 9310 is already a contender for one of the best laptops. Those wanting Ubuntu instead of Windows can enjoy the XPS 13 Developers Edition. It’s also filled with top of the line specs like a 13-inch FHD+ or 4K display, an Intel i5 CPU, and up to a 2TB SSD. There’s nothing this laptop can’t handle.

From $899 at Dell

Complete security

Purism Librem 14


Purism set out to build the most secure laptop ever, and the result is the Librem 14. Every hardware chip was not only chosen for Linux compatibility but with privacy in mind by using PureOS — software that starts at the bootloader and is built line-by-line to keep you secure. Plus, the Librem 14 is one of the few Linux laptops capable of providing 4K output to dual displays, in addition to the built-in screen.

From $1,499 at Purism

For the gamers

System 76 Lemur Pro


Most high-end Linux laptops offer fast processors and plenty of RAM, but System 76 adds Intel’s new Iris XE onboard graphics paired with either the new 11th-gen i5 or i7 processors. Play games in ultra settings or develop them with power and style.

From $1,200 at System 76

All the IO

System 76 Darter Pro


In a world where the IO is disappearing from our laptops, the Darter Pro from System 76 gives you all the ports you’ll need and more. There’s everything you could want including HDMI, Ethernet, mini-DisplayPort, and then some. With the built-in SD Card slot, the Darter Pro is one of the best Linux laptops for creators. You’ll also get some great specs, customized to your liking with up to 64GB of RAM, 6TB of total storage, and a 15.6-inch Matte FHD display.

From $1,100 at System 76


HP 17 Business Laptop


The HP 17 Business Laptop has the obvious focus on developers and the business market but features a massive 17.3-inch display, paired with the Intel Core i5 chipset and 8GB of RAM. There’s also two USB 3.1 ports, along with a built-in 4-in-1 SD card reader, and even a DVD+ burner, which is something that really is not found in laptops anymore.

$1,200 at Amazon

All the power

System 76 Serval WS


If you’re looking for a desktop computer in a laptop configuration, then the System 76 Serval WS is the way to go. This is a workstation laptop with the fastest GeForce GPUs, paired with desktop-level processors, and the entire laptop is configurable to your liking. Plus, the Serval WS comes in either 15 or 17-inch sizes, giving you all the screen real estate you’ll need.

From $1,249 at System 76

Start ’em early

Hack Laptop


The truth is that you don’t need the latest and greatest specs when you’re trying to use Linux on a laptop. And if your children show some interest in learning, you don’t necessarily want to spend an arm and a leg on equipment, but that’s where the Hack Laptop comes in. This laptop is actually an ASUS E406MA laptop with a 14-inch display, 4GB of RAM, and custom software to help your little ones learn the basics of coding with the help of Linux.

$300 at Amazon

Which of the best Linux laptops is right for you?

Buying a Linux laptop is just like buying any other: It’s useful to find one that fits both your price range and overall needs. That’s a bit of a sticking point compared to Windows-powered laptops.

Linux has been a niche “product” since its beginnings in 1991. Companies like Acer or Toshiba aren’t cranking out inexpensive laptops that run Linux and probably never will. Finding the best Linux laptop is easy because companies like Dell and Lenovo cater to the enterprise crowd, while small but very reputable companies like System 76 cater to the enthusiasts. In theory, you can install Linux on any laptop if you’re willing to go through the headache of finding the right configuration for the hardware inside, and that’s a good option if you’re technically inclined to do it. And lucky enough for it to work.

If you know you want a great Linux laptop, any on this list will serve you well. However, we recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It has everything you could need from a company that builds for enterprise users. Out of the box, you’ll get a 10th-gen Intel i5 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Plus, this ships with the Fedora 32 distro, so you won’t have to do anything on the software side when it arrives.

Chromebooks offer a bit of an in-between. ChromeOS is actually a locked-down Linux distribution in its own right (as is Android) and Google has enabled Chromebooks using Intel processors to actually run any correctly packaged Linux application in a native container. If we had to pick just one, it would be the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5, which is really versatile and would be great for everyone. The Flex 5 is also our pick for the best Chromebook, due to the power under the hood and that sweet reversible display.

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