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The best Linux laptops of 2023

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The best Linux laptops of 2023


Years ago, I never thought I’d find myself in a position to write about the best Linux laptops on the market and have to narrow down the field. Back then, we were lucky to have maybe one or two options available. Now, you’d be surprised at how many laptops are sold with Linux installed, making it a great time for programmers using the open-source alternative to Windows and MacOS. 

With so many options, we can now be selective with how we spend our money. On top of that, we no longer have to do extensive research on other laptops to ensure every component will work with Linux. For those of us who’d been working with Linux for some time, that was more a bother than a problem, but for others, it was a major effort to track down chipset manufacturers and models that went into a particular laptop. Those days are long past and consumers can now simply purchase a laptop that ships with Linux installed, knowing it will “just work.”

Also: These are the absolute best Linux distros for programming

To determine the best Linux laptops on the market, I considered features like performance, design, cost and open-source support. Based on this, the Dell XPS 15 9520 is my pick for the best Linux laptop overall, thanks to its variety of configuration options that let you customize the laptop’s build to suit your needs. But you can check out the rest of the list to find the one that’s best for you. 

The best Linux laptops

Pros

  • Tons of configuration options
  • OLED display available
  • Decent battery life
Cons

  • Expensive at higher configurations
  • No fast charge feature

Dell XPS 15 9520 specs – CPU: Up to 13th Intel Core i9 | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 8TB SSD | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display type: LED or OLED | Battery life: 10 hours 

If you’re looking for a solid, dependable laptop that you can use as either your main Linux machine or to dual-boot Windows and Linux, the Dell XPS 15 9520 is the best choice. It has tons of configuration options, letting you choose up to a 13th generation Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of RAM, 8TB of storage, and a GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card. The 15.6-inch display uses either a 1920×1200 LED or 4K OLED panel for incredible detailing, color, and contrast. And with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, you’ll be able to connect secondary displays, charge devices, or transfer files from other hard drives to streamline your workflow.

Pros

  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card
  • 13th gen Intel Core i7
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support
  • 165Hz refresh rate
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not many Linux-supported games

HP Omen 17 specs – CPU: Intel Core i7-13700HX | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display size: 17.3 inches | Display type: IPS | Battery life: 5 hours 

While Linux-supported games aren’t exactly widespread, there are studios out there developing games for the operating system (about one percent of Steam’s user base says it prefers Linux over Windows or MacOS). The HP Omen 17 is built from the ground up to be one of the best gaming laptops you can buy, with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card, Intel Core i7-13700HX processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB solid state drive for storage. 

The 17.3-inch display produces great 1440p resolution as well as a 165Hz refresh rate to reduce annoying screen tearing and stuttering during intense action scenes. The Omen 17 supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity for faster, more reliable wireless internet speeds and better connections to wireless peripherals like mice and headsets. It also has one of the better battery lives of any gaming laptop, coming in at around 5 hours.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • 100 percent DCI-P3 color range
  • 4K OLED
  • Good battery life
Cons

  • Limited ports
  • Only one screen size
  • No SD card reader

Acer Swift Edge 16 specs – CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display size: 16 inches | Display type: OLED | Battery life: 11 hours

For creative professionals who prefer to work in Linux over Windows or MacOS, the Acer Swift Edge is a great option for a quality display as well as powerful components. The 16-inch screen provides excellent 4K resolution as well as up to 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut for ultra-accurate colors. It also has a 92 percent screen-to-body ratio, which means you’ll get more viewing and working area on your screen instead of wide, sort of ugly, bezels. 

You can also overclock the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor up to 4.7GHz for extra power when you need it for rendering 3D models, finished photos, or video files. The Acer Swift Edge has a lightweight design, coming in at just under 2.5 pounds, making it great for on-the-go creative professionals whose offices are wherever they happen to be that day.

Pros

  • Under $500
  • Great battery life
  • Anti-glare and blue light filter display
Cons

  • No Thunderbolt ports
  • Limited inputs
  • Somewhat dim screen

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 specs – CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 5 7530U | GPU: AMD Radeon integrated graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display type: IPS | Battery life: 12 hours 

If you’re just starting out learning how to work with Linux or are looking for an affordable laptop to use to refine your programming skills, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 retails under $500 while still offering premium-grade performance. It’s built with an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB storage drive, which makes it great for everything from web browsing and streaming to everyday office work. It also has an impressive 12-hour battery life, which means you can spend more time working and less time searching for an outlet to recharge. The 15.6-inch display produces 1080p resolution for great images and contrast while an anti-glare coating and blue light filter help reduce eye strain and fatigue.

Pros

  • 14.5 hour battery life
  • OLED display
  • Pantone validated display
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU
Cons

  • Expensive
  • No touchscreen option
  • Not 4K

Asus Vivobook Pro specs – CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display type: OLED | Battery life: 14.5 hours 

If you’re in the market for a Linux-capable laptop with an impressive battery life, the Asus Vivobook Pro is your best choice. On a full charge, you can get up to 14.5 hours of use, which means you’ll be able to work and stream all day and well into the night before you have to think about plugging in. The 15.6-inch OLED display gives you incredible colors, contrast, and detailing for more lifelike images. It’s also Pantone-validated for color accuracy, making it great for creative professionals and digital artists. 

The Vivobook Pro also keeps your work and personal information safe from unauthorized access with a fingerprint reader to replace traditional passwords with biometric log-ins. You’ll also get a ton of power and performance for rendering art and 3D modeling files, photos, and video with the GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card.

I chose the Dell XPS 15 9520 as the overall best Linux laptop for its array of configuration options which let you customize the laptop’s build to perfectly suit your needs. It also features two Thunderbolt 4 ports for connecting secondary displays, charging devices, or quickly transferring files. The display uses an OLED panel for enhanced color, contrast, and detailing while streaming movies and shows, creating graphics, or editing photos and videos.

Best Linux laptop

Price

CPU/GPU

RAM/storage

Dell XPS 15 9520

$2049

12th or 13th gen Intel Core, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060

Up to 64 GB, up to 8TB

HP Omen 17

$1700

13th gen Intel Core i7-13700HX, Nividia GeForce RTX 4070

16GB, 1TB

Acer Swift Edge

$1300

AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, AMD Radeon Graphics

16GB, 1TB

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3

$400

Up to AMD Ryzen 5 7530U, AMD Radeon Graphics

8GB, 512GB

Asus VivoBook Pro

$950

AMDY Ryzen 7 6800H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

16GB, 512GB

It depends on how much experience you have using the Linux operating system. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to opt for a laptop with lower-end components and configurations as well as a lower price. By opting for less sophisticated, less expensive laptops, you can cut your teeth on Linux without losing a ton of money if it turns out not to be your cup of tea. 

However, if you’re running with more experienced Linux crowds, you may want to consider laptops with more powerful processors and graphics cards to help you create programs or work with Linux source code.

Buy this best Linux laptop…

If you need…

Dell XPS 15 9520

A well-rounded laptop for running Linux. It features leading-edge components so you don’t have to worry about upgrades.

HP Omen 17

A gaming laptop for running Linux. With an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, you’ll be able to tackle just about any indie or triple-A title in your library or on your wishlist.

Acer Swift Edge

A Linux-capable laptop with an incredible display. It features an OLED panel that produces 4K resolution and is capable of producing up to 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3

A budget-friendly Linux laptop. For under $500, you’ll still get great features like Dolby audio support, a 15.6-inch touchscreen display, and fast charging.

Asus Vivobook Pro

A Linux-capable laptop with an impressive battery life. The Asus Vivobook Pro can provide up to 14.5 hours of use on a full charge.

What makes a machine worthy of belonging on the best Linux laptop list? Obviously, it has to work with Linux and not require the user to do any of the work to make that happen. Beyond that, here are the key features we considered when compiling this list:

  • Performance: I included laptops with current or last-generation components. This ensures that you’ll get the best performance out of your new Linux laptop.
  • Design: Not all laptops are designed the same way. I chose laptops with both eye-catching, gamer-inspired designs as well as laptops that would fit right in a traditional office setting.
  • Cost: Since Linux can run on just about any laptop as long as the hardware is supported, you can choose an older model (or even a used one) to load the operating system onto. This means you can save money on upgrades, especially if you’re just starting out learning Linux.
  • Open-source support: Linux is an open-source operating system. You can find tons of online communities dedicated to learning Linux, tweaking source code, and reporting issues.

Linux is an open-source operating system, created by Linus Torvalds, that is not only suited for desktops and laptops, but for enterprise-grade servers, container deployments, the cloud, and much more. Linux is available as a distribution and can be downloaded and installed for free on as many machines as you need.

This is a bit of a complicated answer.

Yes, you can run Linux operating systems on MacBooks, Mac Minis, and Mac desktops. But there’s a catch: you have to opt for an older model that uses an Intel Core processor instead of Apple’s own M1 or M2 chips. Apple’s silicon chips are starting to see Linux hobbyists and pros alike build support, but at the time of writing, the only reliable way to get Linux to run on an M1/M2 Mac is to use a virtual machine which is a type of emulation program.

The biggest hurdles you’ll have to face when using Linux over Windows or MacOS are the learning curve and general lack of support from brand-name software companies. Since Linux is an open-source operating system, there isn’t a single, unified version like there is for Windows 11 or macOS Catalina. This means that it’s much more difficult to program applications like games, video players, and even weather apps to work consistently across all versions of Linux. Different versions also mean that just because you’re familiar with Ubuntu, that doesn’t mean your expertise will be of any use on a machine that runs a different Linux dispo.

Also: Windows, Mac, or Linux? We compare the pros and cons of these computing platforms

Since Linux really only requires a USB boot drive, you can load Linux onto just about any laptop or desktop you come across; including older models with less powerful components. Here’s a short list of Linux-capable laptops I thought were great choices:

An Asus ZenBook 14 laptop on a grey background

BEST PRICE

Asus Zenbook 14 – Great OLED display

The Asus Zenbook is the little sister to the Zenbook Pro, and still gives you a great OLED display for content creation, digital art, and streaming. It also features a built-in blue light filter to help reduce eye strain during long days of work or binging your favorite movies and shows.

A Samsung Galaxy Book 2 360 laptop on a grey background

BEST PRICE

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 360 – Best 2-in-1 Linux laptop

This 2-in-1 laptop from Samsung is a great candidate for a Linux-capable laptop if you’re looking for a way to get the best of both traditional laptops and tablets. The hinge lets you use the Galaxy Book 2 360 as a laptop, in tent mode, or tablet mode for different applications.





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