5 Best Linux Laptops

The Lemur Pro isn’t the best choice for graphics-intensive tasks like gaming or video editing (see below for some more powerful devices with dedicated graphics cards), but for everything else, it’s the best you can get One of the laptops.

Dell’s XPS 13 Development Edition was one of the first big-name laptops to ship with Linux, and it remains the lightest and smallest laptop to come with Linux. This configuration comes with a 12th Generation Intel i7-1250U processor, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 1-TB SSD. It ships with Ubuntu Linux 20.04, but in my tests it happily ran any distribution from Fedora to Arch (although Dell support is only for Ubuntu). When you are on the product page, make sure to select Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as the operating system (Windows is the default).

For more details on the hardware, see our review of the Windows version (6/10 Wired Comments). While performance isn’t great on Windows, I haven’t noticed the same on Ubuntu. The main drawback of this machine is the lack of ports. There are two USB-C ports, one of which is a charging port. There’s not even a headphone jack.

If the Dell’s lack of ports makes you want them, this is the laptop for you. Pangolin for System76 (8/10, recommended by Wired) is a 15-inch, AMD-powered laptop monster with every port a system administrator could wish for. This configuration comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB RAM (soldered), and a 250 GB SSD. You can configure Pangolin with up to 8 TB of storage space.

Battery life is good for this size—it lasts a full day with most use—but it’s not quite as good as the Dell’s. The keyboard, on the other hand, is great and a joy to type on. The only drawback is the numeric keypad, which makes the trackpad off-center. Port selection is where Pangolin really shines. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (supports DisplayPort, but not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack, and a full Size SD card reader.

Most repairable and future-proof

If you want a laptop that can be upgraded, Framework’s Laptop is the best Linux installation for you. There are several versions to choose from. I tested the second version of the 13-inch model (8/10, recommended by Wired) and loved it. Intel Core 13th-generation chips start at about $1,400 with 32 GB of RAM, a 2 TB SSD, and any combination of ports that suits your needs. This product does not come with an operating system. You can install Linux on its own when you receive it (or optionally install it alongside Windows if dual booting is required).I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but There is also an AMD version available.Framework is also taking Pre-orders for the new 16-inch modelThe 16-inch model is equipped with AMD Ryzen 7040 series processors.

I tested the Framework’s support for Ubuntu and Arch Linux, and both work fine (although the Framework doesn’t officially support Arch). My only complaint about using Framework is the same complaint I have about almost all Linux laptops: the battery life could be better.

System76 Oryx Pro is available in 15-inch or 17-inch models with 12th generation Intel processors and Nvidia graphics (3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPU). You can choose from a glossy OLED 4K screen, up to 64 GB of RAM, and up to 8 TB of SSD space. It’s not cheap, but the Oryx Pro is by far the most powerful laptop on this page. Like Pangolin above, Oryx comes with System76’s Pop_OS! or Ubuntu Linux. The Intel chip Pangolin in the Oryx Pro means it comes with Coreboot and open source firmware.

Okay, it’s corny, but there’s something about the Lenovo X1 Carbon Linux version that makes me want to install Kali Linux and start probing coffee shop Wi-Fi. Regardless, for those of us who think ThinkPads are great, this is a great laptop. Ahem, that’s tricky. This cunning comes at a high cost, though. For nearly twice the price of our other options, you get a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD (much of which is customizable).

On the plus side, you do get a nice 2K (2,880 x 1,800), OLED, anti-glare screen. I haven’t had a chance to test this latest model, but I really liked the previous version (8/10, recommended by Wired,), the new version mainly improves the specifications. It often sells for around $1,700.

Image source: Lenovo

One of the advantages of Linux is that it requires fewer resources and supports older hardware much longer than Windows or macOS. This means you don’t need to spend a fortune on a new laptop; you can breathe life into an old laptop or pick up a used one off eBay. I’ve been using Lenovo’s X-series laptops for years (starting with the X220 and now the T14 Gen 1), but older Dell and Asus laptops are also great for Linux.If you choose to buy second-hand goods, take a look Our guide to buying used items on eBay Make sure you get the deal.

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