Best Linux Laptops Android Central 2020
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
- A budget option: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
- One sexy beast: Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition
- Complete security: Purism Librem 14
- For the gamers: System 76 Oryx Pro
- All the IO: System 76 Darter Pro
- For starters: Pinebook Pro
- All the power: System 76 Serval WS
- Start 'em early: Hack Key
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.
Chrome OS is Linux, and you can now run any Linux application natively on Intel Chromebooks — provided they're powerful enough. ASUS' great Flip C434 is plenty powerful enough for everyday use and most Linux apps, and the price hits the sweet spot.
The Dell XPS 13 9300 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.
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.
Most high-end Linux laptops offer fast processors and plenty of RAM, but System 76 adds an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series graphics card into the mix. Play games at ultra settings or develop them with power and style. And if you want a laptop with a bigger screen, there's a 17.3-inch option that features a 144Hz refresh rate and has a matte finish.
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.
This barebones laptop from Pinebook gives you the bare essentials to get started in the world of Linux. The Pinebook Pro sports 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and is comparable in performance to mid-range Chromebooks. There's also an unpopulated m.2 NVMe slot if you need (or want) to upgrade the storage.
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.
So we cheated a bit here, but the Hack Key is a really unique product that works with any Windows computer you own. This little device is a bootable USB Key with Endless OS pre-installed, and is the perfect way to teach your kids about coding on Linux. Plus, everything is saved directly to the USB Key, meaning your kids can start a project on one laptop, then pick things up on a different one.
Which of the best Linux laptops is right for you?
Buying a Linux laptop is just like buying any other; you need to find one that fits both what what you need it to do and your price range. 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 a the best Linux laptop is easy; 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 possibly 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 ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, which is really versatile and would be great for everyone. The C434 is also our pick for the best Chromebook, due to the power under the hood and that sweet reversible display.
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