Best Linux Laptops: Linux is an open-source free computer operating system. Technically it is the “kernel” of the operating system. A Laptop that runs various Linux open source operating system such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat is known as Linux Laptop. Linux may come preinstalled on some of the laptops or you can even purchase the OS and install it. You can also install Linux OS in Windows OS laptop and both the OS can reside on the same machine which is known as “dual-boot” scenario. The three best manufacturing companies for Linux laptops are System76, ZaReason, and Dell.
Top 5 Best Linux laptops of 2018 to Buy
Acer Aspire 5
The Aspire 5 has thin, premium aluminum design with the hairline brushed pattern on its exterior. The notebook is black with silver accents. The Acer logo sits on the wave of ridges of its plastic chassis. The sturdy hinge allows bending the display parallel with the deck. It features special 180-degree lay-flat display for the best viewing experience. The Acer Aspire is a larger machine with a built-in 10 key for quick calculations in business use. The installed system is the Windows 10 Home, but, Linux Ubuntu and Mint will both run alongside Windows with a simple change to the security setting.
Acer Aspire 5 Tech Spec
- CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core to 3.4 GHz
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,400MHz) and 256GB SSD
- Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD (1366 x 768) multi-touch display
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-3.1 , 1 x HDMI 1.4, SD card reader, headset jack
- Connectivity: 802.11ac wireless LAN Gigabit LAN; Bluetooth 4.1
- Battery life: 7 hours 4-cell 3220 mAh Li-Polymer
- Camera: 720p widescreen HD webcam with dual array digital microphones
- Weight: 2.20kg
- Size: 381.60 mm x 263 mm x 21.60 mm W x D x H)
Acer Aspire 5 is a powerful notebook and is powered by Core i5-8250U 8th Gen processor and sports a 15.6 inch HD LED Backlit TFT Display that comes with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, so the picture quality is crisp and detailed. The notebook measures 381.60 mm x 263 mm x 21.60 mm and weighs 2.20 kg. The screen size is big enough for an enriching video game, surfing and video watching experience.
On the memory front, the laptop is equipped 256GB M2.SSD and 8GB of DDR4 RAM to store ample amount of data. It also has Nvidia GeForce MX150 with 2GB of GDDR5- RAM. All the features guarantee that Aspire 5 will deliver powerful performance.
The Aspire 5’s 15.6-inch screen presents vibrant colors on its 1920 x 1080 matte FHD IPS panel. It produces 334 nits of brightness which is above average (297 nits). With Acer Color Intelligence it brings colors true to life and alive. You can also filter out eye-straining blue light with help of Acer BluelightShield feature.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Acer Aspire 5 gives great typing experience with the key travel as short as 1.4 millimeters. The keys are very clicky and comfortable to type. The Aspire 5’s keyboard, which includes a number pad with original layout, has a refreshing matte finish. You’ll also enjoy a backlit keyboard for early morning writing or late night gaming projects. However white backlit is bright enough in dark environments and eye-straining
The 4.2 x 3.1-inch touchpad is smooth and has a firm click. It accurately recognizes all the classic Windows 10 gestures. It is Windows precision certified click pad. However, the left and right clicks are hard to register sometimes.
There is enough variety in the Aspire 5’s ports. A port on the left side includes security lock slot, Ethernet port, USB Type-C port, HDMI port, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 3.1 port and SD memory reader. Located on the right side are the power input, a DVD-RW double-layer drive, two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. We can also find the SD card reader and a Kensington lock on the left. The 3.5 mm audio connection and power port are on the right side, next to two status LEDs. Internet speed will give you all you need thanks to the 802.11a WiFi. The connection speed is up to three times faster than previous generations. It helps to maximize the portability of your laptop.
The Acer Aspire 5’s battery life is decent, but it won’t last a full workday. It has a built-in 48 Wh battery. The battery life will last for up to 7 hours but the system lasted 6 hours and 41 minutes on continuous web surfing with the bright screen. However, it all depends on its usage.
Webcam and Mic
The integrated webcams have resolution 1280 x 720 pixels, therefore, captures grainy, washed-out photos. It was also blurred when recording video and caused screen tearing. If a webcam is very useful for you then you should definitely go for an external one.
The microphone sounded lovely. Also, the speakers are loud enough to fill an entire room with a solid sound. It is loaded with Dual and Acer True Harmony Technology for a great audio experience. Through this innovative speaker design, you get deeper bass and more volume so that you get songs and videos with realistic audio clarity. Acer TrueHarmony ensures movies come to life and games are even more engaging.
Software and Security
The Aspire 5 comes with a bundle of its own brand-specific applications. Acer Care Center provides important information about system and utilities to manage and create backups. There is a Quick Access tab that provides three unique options. One cuts off power to the USB ports when the laptop is off. The second gives access to Bluelight Shield, which reduces blue light to protect your eyes, and last Color Intelligence, which automatically optimizes the image quality, according to what’s displayed. There is also the Power Button app, which functions like the Windows power button, but without a restart option.
The Acer Aspire 5 has no biometric security features such as a fingerprint reader. However, it supports TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module) and has a Kensington security lock on the left side for security purpose.
System76 Oryx Pro
System76 is known for its innovative creations. System76 has a decent range of laptops from small lightweight Lemur to top-end beast Oryx Pro. The Oryx Pro looks quite svelte, and the brushed aluminum top gives it a nicely understated design. The bottom of the Oryx Pro is plastic. The System76 Oryx Pro is one of the most powerful and customizable laptops in the market.
System76 Oryx Pro Tech Spec
- CPU: 6Th Gen Intel Core i7 up to 3.6 GHz Quad Core
- Display: 15.6” or 17.3 1920×1080 matte IPS display
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M or 980M
- Storage: 2xM.2 SSD,64GB DDR4
- Battery: 60 Wh
- Size: 15.6” (38.51×27.10×2.49cm) & 17.3” (41.71×28.70×3.00cm)
- Weight: 15.6” (2.49 kg)/5.5lbs & 17.3” (3.20 kg)/7.05lbs
The Oryx Pro features NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970M, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, 120 GB M.2 SSD, and a 256GB SSD. It has the 1080p matte IPS display. In addition, you can add 2.5” drive HDD/SSD is required.
The size of the Oryx Pro is not that big and nor is it that heavy. The laptop weighs about 5.5lbs for the 15.6″ version and 7.05lbs for 17.3” model. For the display, you get an option to select from 15.6” IPS display or a 17.3” matte IPS display with the resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. You can also add a 4K HiDPI15.6-inch display to your configuration. The optional HiDPI display has 3.1 million pixels than Retina, which enables sharp video thus allows users to play the most visually-impressive games at their maximum settings. Also, advanced thermal techniques keep the Oryx Pro’s high-performance CPU and GPUs cool while gaming or completing compute-intensive tasks. It has a good old fashioned fan, to keep the system cool. It is powered by 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-core processor with the clock speed of 3.6 GHz. It measures 15.16×10.67”x0.98” for 15” model, 16.42”x11.30”x1.18” for 17” model.
The Oryx Pro has room for quite a few ports like an Ethernet port and an SD card slot. There’s also 2 Mini DisplayPort, an HDMI port, 2 USB 3.1 Type-C ports, 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and both headphone and mic jacks. The GTX 1070 models even include a headphone amplifier.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Oryx Pro also offers a very nice Backlit keyboard and a multi-touch touchpad. It features slightly concave keys with a comfortable soft-texture finish and the perfect amount of travel and backlighting. The touchpad is quite responsive and responses to every simple gesture as well as advanced gestures. Also, the Oryx Pro’s speakers are impressively good as they are placed underneath the system and angled up toward you for a superior audio experience. System76 Oryx has good audio quality as it has stereo speakers, stereo mic etc.
The 60Wh battery managed to get about 1.5 hours out of the battery even when running a video editor, which is actually very less and unexpected. It comes with Linux pre-installed but you can install Windows and dual-boot if you want to use it for gaming or for windows development.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a stylish business ultrabook. It is the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad with a rugged and durable carbon fiber-reinforced roll cage that is ideal for mobile professionals as well as frequent travelers. This is an ultraportable laptop weighing just 1.13 kg and 0.62 inches thin.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Tech Spec
- CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400
- RAM: 4GB DDR3
- Screen: 14-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS, IPS display with 10 points multi-touch control
- Storage: 180GB SSD
- Ports: 2 USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet (via included dongle), headphone/mic combo jack, Lenovo OneLink connector
- Connectivity: Intel Centrino Advanced-N7260, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 720p HD webcam
- Weight: 3.15 pounds
- Size: 13.03 x 8.94 x 0.73 inches (W x D x H)
Design and Display
It also has the same, luxurious soft-touch lid and deck, which makes gripping and resting your wrists against the laptop a joy. The ThinkPad logos, which appear on the deck, are both black rather than the usual silver. And there’s a classy new red-and-gray X1 logo on the lower left corner of the lid. The X1 Carbon laptop is also available in a dark silver color.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook supports powerful 7th generation Intel Core i7-7600U processors with Windows 10 Pro OS. ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops with two different screen options. It has a 14″ FHD display with the resolution of 1920X1080 pixels and brightness of 300 nits. It also has 14” WQHD IPS display with the resolution of 2560×1440 pixels and brightness of 300 nits. Both 14-inch panels were impressive, but the HDR display was one of the most vibrant.
The screen has Dolby Home Theater v4 surround sound for an excellent audio. The screen size is big enough for an enriching gaming, surfing and video watching experience. On the memory front, the laptop is equipped with a hard drive of 256 GB and up to 16GB LPDDR3 RAM, thereby making it possible to store ample amount of data. There is also 1TB of SSD PCle storage. There is a fingerprint scanner, which as ever lets you power on the laptop and logs straight into Windows with just a single swipe. Simply touch the fingerprint scanner, or use the new infrared camera with advanced facial recognition technology to log in to your laptop.
Lenovo being thinnest ThinkPad has not compromised on ports. It has the strong port selection on both the sides. The right side houses one Type-A port, 3.5-millimeter audio jack and a Kensington lock slot. The left side contains the HDMI port, one USB Type-A port and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors. The laptop charges via either of the Thunderbolt 3 ports, using the included USB Type-C power adapter. Around back is a slot for a microSD card and where you’d put the SIM card for the optionally integrated LTE modem. The connectivity options available on the device are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0,1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0. It also supports an optical Drive, comes with Built-in HD webcam, Fingerprint Reader, 4 in 1 card reader, Backlit Keyboard. With the ThinkPad WiGig Dock, there’s no fumbling for cables or wired connectivity.
The speakers are positioned at the bottom of the unit and therefore you need to plug in some headphones or pair it with some Bluetooth speakers. It is loaded with Stereo and Dolby Home Theater v4 for a great audio experience. By default, the Dolby audio software will automatically adjust itself based on what app you’re using, but you can also manually select a sound profile for voice, music, gaming or other scenarios.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers world-class keyboard and has the great key travel of 1.8 millimeters making it comfortable to type on.
The X1 Carbon offers a red Track Point that is located between the G and H keys that help to navigate more efficiently and precisely than touchpad as it allows you to move around without lifting your hands off of the home row. There are two stages of backlighting, manually cycled by holding the Fn key and rapping on the space bar. There is an audio control button, for muting the speakers and the microphone. Also, the volume rocker has been moved back up to the top of the keyboard.
The 3.9 x 2.2-inch buttonless touchpad also responded smoothly and immediately to multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe. It uses Microsoft’s Precision drivers for accurate tracking and multitasking gestures. The button-free Synaptics unit is very responsive for the simple gestures and even more complicated gestures like four-finger application switching and pinch-zooming are well handled.
The X1 Carbon delivers up to 15.5 hours of battery life. Lenovo claims that the machine can go from 0 to 80 percent in just 60 minutes with its AC adapter. So it can easily boost your battery up to more than 12 hours.
Lenovo comes with a lot of built-in bundled software like Lenovo Web Start which is a browser with Lenovo’s custom web page, Lenovo Settings, and Lenovo Support. Adaptive Keyboard Settings is an app that controls the X1 Adaptive Function Row, camera gestures, voice recognition. The modern Lenovo Companion UI app is a hub for most of Lenovo’s custom apps. With Lenovo Quick Cast you can share files with other mobile devices on the same Wi-Fi network with this tool. Nitro Pro 8 is a PDF reader app freely available on all of its professional-grade systems. It is an alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader.
The Lenovo X1 Carbon comes with the lot of security features such as Match-in-Sensor fingerprint reader, which performs all of its storage and analysis on the same chip, in order to avoid hackers. There is also an optional infrared camera that will allow you to use Windows Hello facial recognition as an alternative to the webcam which comes with the Think Shutter, a physical cover for the lens for protecting you from images being captured by the hacker.
Dell XPS 15
Dell’s latest update to the XPS 15 is a marvelous and all-rounder. Dell XPS is a stylish and powerful Ultraportable laptop. It has a powerful processor, a decent graphics chipset, surprisingly good battery life, and an excellent screen.
Dell XPS 15 Tech Spec
- CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 630
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
- Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch display
- Storage: 512GB SSD (PCIe)
- Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) w/ PowerShare, 1 x HDMI 1.4, SD card reader, headset jack
- Connectivity: Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi; Bluetooth 4.1
- Camera: 720p widescreen HD webcam with dual array digital microphones
- Weight: 4 pounds (1.8kg)
- Size: 14.06 x 9.27 x 0.45 – 0.66 inches (357 x 235 x 11 – 17mm; W x D x H)
Dell XPS has the silver aluminum lid with a soft-touch black interior accentuated by smooth, rounded corners. It has the power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader in the top-right corner. It is powered by Quad-core clocked at a speed of 3.8 GHz and sports a 15.6-inch Infinity Edge, Silver that comes with a resolution of 1920 X 1080 pixels, so the picture quality is crisp and detailed. It measures 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.5-0.7 inches, the 4.2-pound and therefore XPS 15 is one of the slimmer notebooks. The screen size is big enough for an playing gaming, surfing, and video watching experience. On the memory front, the laptop is equipped with a hard drive of 256 GB and a 4 GDDR5 RAM, thereby making it possible to store ample amount of data
The XPS 15 has ports to allow for a solid work or gaming battle station. On the right side, there is a USB 3.1 Type-A port, an SD card reader, a Noble lock slot and a 5-LED battery status which displays battery level when a button is pressed. There’s another Type-A port on the left alongside a Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI 2.0 port for video, a headset jack and a port for the AC adapter. It also supports an optical Drive and comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for wireless connection. The XPS 15 also has a Kensington security slot.
The Dell XPS 15 has bottom-mounted speakers. It is loaded with Stereo and Dual Microphones, High Definition Audio with Waves MaxxAudio Pro for a great audio experience.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The quality of the keyboard is good. The 15-inch laptop easily fits trackpad and array of keys. The surface of the XPS 15 trackpad is excellent too, made of textured glass with a super-soft finish. A keyboard has shallow travel like the XPS 15 (0.7 millimeters),
The 4 x 3.1-inch touchpad provides plenty of space to navigate web pages and documents and was quick and responsive to boot. I had no problem pinch-zooming to enlarge or decrease images or doing a three-finger tap to launch Action Center.
The battery life of XPS 15 lasts for about 4 to 5 hours on the single charge which is comparatively very poor.
While I appreciate super-slim bezels, Dell and other companies have to find a better place for the webcam than positioned right above the hinge. When I launched the camera app, the “nose cam” lived up to its name, capturing my chest and nose in the shot. It took quite a bit of adjusting on my part to get an appropriate angle.
Software and Warranty
Dell pre-installed several helpful branded utilities, including Power Manager, which allows you to run diagnostics on the system’s battery as well as adjust fan speed and power consumption for more demanding tasks. Mobile Connect lets you access your smartphone from your laptop, including calling a Lyft or playing a mobile game like Futurama: Game of Drones. If you need to troubleshoot an issue, Dell also included Help & Support, which features informative videos, shows your warranty status and runs system diagnostics.
There are, however, more useful third-party applications such as Killer Control Center, which lets you prioritize network bandwidth. Dell also included McAfee Security and 20GB of cloud storage via Dropbox for a year.
Dell XPS 13
Dell has issued a substantial reworking of the XPS 13, with a new design that cuts down on overall size, adds new CPU options, and improves cooling and efficiency with more heat pipes and thermal insulation.
Build and Design
Dell has the different color option for its exterior. The exterior is a beautiful combination of rose gold and alpine white while the interior is always black carbon-fiber look. There is also a traditional black and silver option for those who prefer it.
The super-slim bezels are the reason this laptop is so small. They are, in fact, made from titanium oxide-coated fiber-glass. It’s a stain resistant coating that is surprisingly effective. The outer metal surface and the interior fiber-glass work together to create a laptop that is as light as it is solid.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad offer great typing experience. The keyboard uses chiclet-style keys with low travel. The keys are very responsive and because the laptop is so thin, the keys have 1.2 millimeters of travel. The 4.1 x 2.4-inch, buttonless touchpad provided extremely accurate navigation, without any sticking. The pad also responded immediately and accurately to multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.
The XPS 13 is running the best hardware. It is a high end, sleek and stylish, ultrathin laptop that weighs merely 1.2 kgs and it is powered by 6th generation Intel Core i7-8550U CPU with a clock speed of up to 3.2 GHz, and paired with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, a 1TB SSD and a 4K touchscreen.
Thanks to the new cooling system, ‘Gore Thermal Insulation’ which insulate the internals of the device. With the ‘Gore Thermal Insulation’, Dell is able to insulate the base and the palm rest from much of the heat generated by the laptop’s internals, and as a result, the device is more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Slimming the XPS 13 down to 0.46 inches, Dell had to compromise standard, USB Type-A ports and full-size SD card reader that appeared on all the previous generations. On the left side of the XPS 13, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can charge the laptop or connect to high-speed peripherals. There’s also a Noble lock slot and a battery gauge, which shows the charge level on a series of five white lights.
On the right, there is a 3.5mm audio jack, a microSD card slot, and a USB Type-C port, which can output Display Port video.
For networking, the XPS 13 uses a Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 chipset. For a rich audio experience, the laptop incorporates 2 x1W stereo speakers and Waves MaxxAudio technology.
The display is bright, vibrant and very sharp. It runs full HD 1920×1080 13.3 inch 4k InfinityEdge display. Dell’s InfinityEdge display turns its screen into what otherwise looks like an ultra-light 11-inch laptop. It is a non-touch display. This high-resolution screen will tax the GPU and CPU more which will affect battery life. The screen size is big enough for an enriching gaming, surfing and video watching experience
The UHD HDR display claimed to offer 413 nits of brightness. The display color gamut also measured 90 percent sRGB. HDR refers to High-Dynamic Range. A true HDR display is a 10-bit display and is capable of displaying 1.07 billion colors.
The 720p webcam is placed along the bottom of the XPS 13’s display, which is quite uncomfortable whenever it’s time for a video conference. It’s also compatible with Windows Hello so you can log in with just your face.
The battery life of Dell XPS 13 lasted for about 9 hours and 50 minutes with the 4K display. It is backed up by a 56Whr integrated battery. Dell claims the XPS 13 can run for 22 hours if you get the model with the lower-resolution 1920×1080 display.
Dell XPS 13 has few built-in useful utilities and some bloatware. Dell SupportAssist checks system health shows configuration information and helps you download new drivers. Dell remote Desktop lets you remote-control the laptop from another device. The system also comes with its fair share of bloat. Dell packs on a trial of McAfee LiveSafe and a Dropbox promotion, which gives new users 20GB of free space for a year.
Each above listed Linux laptop is the best with its powerful features. Lastly, it all depends on your requirements, how cheap you want, for what purpose you want, is it for business use or casual use, is it for gaming and many other factors. So think twice and match your requirements with the features of Linux laptop and then go for it.