When it comes to looking for an alternative laptop to Windows or macOS, 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 since most big-name computer manufacturers aren't making Linux laptops. There are still a few that come from those bigger companies, who also make some of the best laptops and best Chromebooks, but there are some great options from smaller players who have great reputations when it comes to standing behind their products.
These are the best Linux laptops you can buy
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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.
A budget option
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.
For those looking for an upgrade over the X1 Carbon, Lenovo has the answer with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6. This means you'll get a versatile 14-inch display that can be folded back, but also works with Lenovo's ThinkPad Pen Pro. In terms of power, Lenovo is making use of Intel's latest 11th-gen chipsets, while allowing you to configure the rest of the laptop to suit your needs.
Best design ever
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.
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.
For the creators
Most high-end Linux laptops offer fast processors and plenty of RAM, but System 76 adds NVIDIA'S latest graphics cards paired with either the new 11th-gen i5 or i7 processors. Play games in ultra high settings or develop them with power and style while making sure you have enough plenty of ports and storage to get everything done.
All the I/O
The Neptune 15" V2 from Juno Computers features a smooth 15.6-inch display with a 240Hz refresh rate, is powered by Intel's 10th-gen Comet Lake chipsets, and can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM. You can configure the Neptune V2 with one of NVIDIA's latest 30-series graphics cards, and there are plenty of ports to choose from, along with dual m.2 SSD slots.
The Juno Computers Nyx V2 laptop is an ideal starter laptop for that young developer, but can be configured to something with a bit more power. It makes use of Intel's 10th-gen processors, comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, and can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM.
One of the best aspects of opting for a Linux laptop is that just about every feature on the spec-sheet is configurable. But along with spec'ing out your new Linux laptop, the Star Labs StarBook is one of the sleekest looking laptops out there. The only potential hiccup you may come across is that you cannot upgrade the graphics and are limited to the integrated Intel Iris Xe onboard graphics.
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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