Ubuntu is a free operating system that represents a serious alternative to Windows. Some suggest that it has significant advantages over other operating systems especially in terms of security and privacy. We’ve reviewed the best laptops for running Ubuntu.
Many users complain about Windows and antivirus “bloatware” which comes preloaded on their new laptops and slows down their computing speed, but if you have Ubuntu this problem could potentially be solved.
If you are interested in exploring substitutes (like Ubuntu) and moving away from more familiar operating systems, you will need to look for a laptop that can easily support them.
For Ubuntu, you will need to make sure that Linux-based drivers run well with your system. Fortunately, the Ubuntu homepage features a list of hardware that is fully compatible with the operating system. For your own peace of mind, you should review this page before making a purchase.
Additionally, using Ubuntu on laptops with Windows already installed is sometimes problematic but not necessarily unfeasible. If you plan on using Ubuntu from the outset and do not require the Windows OS at all, buying a laptop with Windows pre-installed represents a waste of money as you will be paying for the license for Windows that you will not need.
In terms of specifics, the official Ubuntu homepage offers a page with guidelines and a list of recommended minimum requirements to run the operating system effectively. These are the bare minimum requirements:
- 2 GHz dual-core processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 25 GB hard drive space
- VGA-capable of a minimum 1024×768 resolution
- One of CD or DVD drive or at least a USB port to install
- Internet access
While these specifications can be found in many laptops these days, there are some setups out there that represent a better value for money and potentially smoother functionality.
The Best Laptops For Ubuntu In 2020
Depending on what you want to use the laptop for more generally, you will want to consider other specifications as well. After examining the available literature and several reviews, this list of ten of the best laptops to run Ubuntu can hopefully lead you in the right direction. So you can find a Linux-capable laptop to complete whichever tasks you need to do with your computer.
This notebook lands on the budget-side of the laptop cost spectrum, although its specifications represent a good value for the money. It features an Intel i7 Core processor (which can support speeds of up to 4.0 GHz) while the base version has a more modest 1.8 GHz. It also contains 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage space.
These specifications allow it to easily meet the minimum specifications for running Ubuntu. The 15.6” HD display (with resolution up to 1920×1080) makes for excellent visualization and the dedicated 2 GB NVIDIA graphics card allows for many contemporary games to be supported with ease.
It comes with 3 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 port to house any accessories you might need to use. It is listed as having 15 hours of battery life and also has a DVD drive (just in case). At 5.27 lbs, it is a little on the heavy side although this should not stop you from considering this solid choice.
- Fast processor for the price
- Battery life and power are solid
- Heavy in terms of weight.
- The physical build is basic and not for everyone.
The Acer Predator Helios is highly popular for many applications and so it is natural to include it in almost any list of “best laptops” of any kind. Based on its high-end specifications, this gaming laptop can easily support the use of the Ubuntu operating system.
With a 15.6” screen and a maximum resolution of 1920×1080, the display makes games look great. The 3.8 GHz Intel i7 Core, 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage space make running ordinary applications extremely smooth. The powerful 6 GB NVIDIA graphics makes it excellent for gaming.
Moreover, all of this is available at a very reasonable price point. With 2 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 ports and 7 hours of battery life, this machine is also highly flexible. If you are looking for a solid gamer laptop to run with Ubuntu, look no further.
- Excellent specifications for the price point.
- The build is not bulky despite the power of the laptop.
- Highly popular.
- The keyboard backing color only comes in red.
- The metallic casing shows fingerprints easily.
This Lenovo ThinkPad almost resembles a MacBook in terms of its aesthetics, and its specifications are nearly as impressive. While this setup is more on the pricey side, it seems to be worth it as it boasts 2.8 GHz of processing speed, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage space and only weighs 2.51 lbs! It is very flat and takes up little space, making it highly portable.
Naturally, as it is included on this list, it is more than capable of running Ubuntu smoothly. And it still has a 14-inch screen with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080. The integrated Intel graphics do not make it ideal for gaming or graphical applications, but for basic computer tasks (and even computing tasks that require a bit more processing speed), this machine is perfect.
Typing is very comfortable given the layout of the keyboard. As a bonus for those who are security-conscious, it features both a fingerprint reader and facial recognition software so that your Ubuntu is not loaded without your knowledge.
- Extremely light.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
- Good for professional office applications.
- Graphical capabilities lacking.
- Expensive price point.
4. Dell XPS 15
This offering from Dell provides a number of enticing features that not only allow Ubuntu to run easily but also allow it to serve as a full replacement for a desktop computer. It easily connects with other accessories such as external hard drives and monitors in case you need to expand your workspace.
Linux generally tends to run very smoothly on Dell machines and with a 2 GHz processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage space, this laptop is no exception. The 15.6-inch monitor makes for comfortable viewing and the dedicated NVIDIA graphics run day-to-day applications with ease. It weighs in at 4.4 lbs and so is mid-range in terms of build.
- Powerful specifications.
- Dell machines run Ubuntu easily.
- Expensive price point.
- Only 2 USB ports.
If you are looking to run Ubuntu for basic school, university, or professional applications like animation, consider the Acer Chromebook 15. This setup comes standard with the Chrome OS, but it can easily accommodate Ubuntu instead. The screen is a major selling point, as at 15.6” and with a possible maximum resolution of 1920×1080, this is quite large for a Chromebook.
It weighs only 3.97 lbs. and comes with a touchscreen and backlit keyboard for enhanced convenience. Its general specifications are solid as well. With a 2.5 GHz Pentium N4200, 4 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of SSD storage space, this represents an excellent value. Integrated Intel HD graphics do not make it ideal for gaming per se, but if you are satisfied with a solid work computer then consider this setup!
- Fast processing speed.
- Excellent value for money.
- Solid battery life.
- 4 USB 3.0 ports.
- Lacks an HDMI port.
- Graphics not ideal for gaming.
If you are looking for a basic but speedy way to run Ubuntu on your new laptop, then look no further than the HP Chromebook. It is no mystery why this is currently rated as an “Amazon Choice” product. With a basic (but quick!) Intel Celeron N3060 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of eMMC SSD storage space this system is ideal for those who need a straightforward and no-nonsense machine for everyday tasks.
The Intel HD graphics are good for video and at 2.51 lbs. this build is highly portable and sleek. As a Chromebook, it ships with the Chrome OS although configuring it to run Ubuntu is straightforward.
- Excellent price.
- Perfect for basic applications like web browsing and word processing.
- Very light.
- The processor is on the lower-end for running advanced applications.
- Limited ability to run more demanding programs.
This Lenovo ThinkPad is perfect for the business professional who no longer wants to be confined by the Windows operating system. While it can run Windows with ease, this machine is also easily able to accommodate a transition to Ubuntu. Its “ultrabook” specifications also make it ideal for any applications you are likely to encounter in the office.
These include a 2.3 GHz Intel i5 Core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of HDD storage space. With a screen measuring in at 14” and a maximum resolution of 1360×768, this setup has a reliable business-like feel. It is responsive and fast which makes it ideal for getting down to work and getting things done.
With 2 USB 3.0 ports, this laptop errs on the side of practicality and not on the side of leisure (read: gaming). With an estimated 8 hours of battery life, you are sure to find that this dependable laptop can run Ubuntu and help you succeed in your professional life.
- Ultrabook specifications.
- Sleek professional look and feel.
- Graphics not ideal for gaming.
- Lacking ports.
Some laptops already come with Linux pre-installed. If you are looking to simplify your experience in getting Ubuntu up and running quickly, then consider any of the offerings from System76. The Galago Pro, for example, comes with Ubuntu as the default operating system.
It comes with either a 13.3” or 14” monitor, an 8th generation i5 or i7 Intel Core processor, up to 32 GB of RAM, and an SSD hard drive with up to 1 TB if you require (and if your budget can afford it)! The basic model is very affordable and the thin and lightweight build make it highly portable to allow you to run your Ubuntu-based programs from anywhere.
Some nice bonus features include backlit keys to illuminate your keyboard if you are working late as well as several varieties of ports to accommodate any accessories you could think of. The integrated Intel graphics are also very decent. Consider this model if you are truly looking for something different.
- It comes with Ubuntu pre-loaded.
- Lightweight design.
- Trendy computer from a non-mainstream company.
- Can be difficult to find in some countries.
- Fully loaded models can get expensive.
This high-end Apple model of the MacBook family is one of the least budget-friendly but most capable laptops on this list. With a 15-inch screen measuring at 2880 by 1800 pixels, its display is very sharp.
While it naturally does not come with Windows installed, the MacOS can be replaced with Ubuntu quite easily with the specifications embedded in this setup. The 2.6 GHz Intel i7 Core processor is more than sufficiently fast to run Ubuntu with ease. And with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage space, this laptop is sure to run any programs in the open-source operating system with ease.
On top of that, the MacBook Pro comes with a dedicated Radeon Pro 560x graphics card with 4 GB memory which is excellent for gaming. The 4 USB 3.0 ports are handy for other accessories. All in all, the sleek design of the MacBook family is hard to beat for aesthetic appeal. Consider this option if you have the money to spend.
- Sleek design and color.
- Beautiful sharp display
- High-end specifications.
- Touch bar sensitivity can be problematic.
This offering from Dell is a heavy-duty option for those who need a proper workstation for various computer tasks. Fortunately, not only does the hardware support Ubuntu but it can also be chosen to be preinstalled in lieu of Windows. With a screen size of 17.3” and wide viewing angles, this laptop is excellent for graphics applications.
Its specifications are similarly impressive with a 3.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad, 32 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage space. It runs more basic programs with ease. Moreover, while the basic version available on Amazon is presented here, upgraded versions can be found directly on the Dell website.
- Impressive specifications.
- Good for graphics work.
- Option to come with Ubuntu pre-installed.
- Heavy in weight (though for a powerful computer this could be expected).
With these suggestions, exploring the world of alternative operating systems like Ubuntu should be easy. Looking through this list, there is a laptop for almost every computing need you could have. We hope you have found this covers the best laptops for running Ubuntu.
Consider the pros and cons of each laptop, as well as the price point, to find a machine that is right for you. You might want to check out the best laptops for data science or the top laptops for engineering for some further ideas.