5 Best Linux Laptops (2023): Repairable, Budget, Powerful

Linux will work on nearly any PC. I imply that actually. Remember the Intel Pentium 4 processor? It’s nonetheless supported by Debian Linux. That stated, Linux runs higher on some laptops than others. These days fairly a number of big-name PC makers even provide official assist for Linux, which means you’ve gotten someplace to show if issues go awry.

To assist you determine one of the best Linux laptop computer on your excellent rig, I’ve been putting in (or attempting to put in) Linux on each laptop computer I’ve examined for the previous three years. Almost all of them labored nice, however some have been simpler to get working than others. More than a number of of my favorites include Linux proper out of the field.

Be positive to take a look at our different shopping for guides, like Best Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, Best MacBooks, and How to Choose the Right Laptop.

Table of Contents

  1. Best for the Minimalist
  2. Best for the Maximalist
  3. Best Repairable
  4. Best for Hackers
  5. Best for Sysadmins
  6. If Your Budget Is Tight
  7. What to Look For in a Linux Laptop

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Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition was one of many first big-name laptops to ship with Linux and it stays the lightest, smallest laptop computer with Linux put in. This configuration sports activities a Twelfth-Generation Intel i7-1250U processor, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 1-TB SSD. It ships with Ubuntu Linux 20.04, however in my testing, it’ll fortunately run any distro from Fedora to Arch (Dell assist applies solely to Ubuntu although). When you are on the product web page, be sure you select Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as your working system (it defaults to Windows). 

For extra particulars on the {hardware}, see our assessment of the Windows model (6/10 WIRED Review). While efficiency was not nice with Windows, I’ve not discovered the identical to be true utilizing Ubuntu. The fundamental disadvantage to this machine is the dearth of ports. There are two USB-C ports, certainly one of which is your charging port. There is not even a headphone jack. 

If the Dell’s lack of ports leaves you wanting, that is the laptop computer for you. System76’s Pangolin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a 15-inch, AMD-powered monster of a laptop computer with each port a sysadmin might hope for. This config ships with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 250-GB SSD. You can configure the Pangolin with as much as 8 TB of storage.

The battery life is nice for the scale—it lasts all day in most use instances—but it surely’s not so good as the Dell. The keyboard, then again, is unbelievable and an actual pleasure to sort on. The one draw back is the quantity pad, which makes the trackpad off-center. The port choice is the place the Pangolin actually shines. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (with DisplayPort assist, however not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, and a full-size SD card reader. 

Most Repairable and Future-Proof

If you desire a laptop computer you possibly can improve, Framework’s Laptop is one of the best Linux rig for you. There are a number of flavors obtainable. I examined the second launch of the 13-inch mannequin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and liked it. Right now you possibly can preorder an AMD Ryzen 7 7040 or Intel Core Thirteenth-Gen sequence system with 32 GB of RAM, a 2-TB SSD, and whichever mixture of ports fits your wants for round $1,400. That will ship with no working system. When it arrives you possibly can set up Linux your self (or choose to ship it with Windows if you’ll want to twin boot). The solely catch is that the AMD mannequin ships within the third quarter of the yr, although the Intel model will ship in June. If you are okay with the previous-gen chips, you possibly can seize one at the moment.

I examined Ubuntu, which Framework helps, and Arch Linux, and each labored nice (although Framework doesn’t formally assist Arch). My solely gripe about utilizing the Framework is my gripe about nearly any Linux laptop computer: Battery life may very well be higher. 

The System76 Oryx Pro is available in both 15-inch or 17-inch fashions with Twelfth-Gen Intel processors and Nvidia graphics (both the 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPU). There are choices for a shiny, OLED 4K display, as much as 64 GB of RAM, and as much as 8 TB of SSD area. It’s not low cost, however the Oryx Pro is by far probably the most highly effective laptop computer on this web page. Like the Pangolin above, the Oryx ships with both System76’s Pop_OS! or Ubuntu Linux. Unlike the Pangolin, the Intel chip within the Oryx Pro means it ships with Coreboot, and open supply firmware.

OK, OK, it is corny, however there’s one thing concerning the Lenovo X1 Carbon Linux version that makes me need to set up Kali Linux and begin probing the espresso store Wi-Fi. Whatever the case, it is a slick laptop computer for these of us who suppose ThinkPads are, ahem, slick. That slickness comes at a critical worth although. For nearly double the worth of our different picks, you get a Thirteenth-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD (a lot of that is customizable). 

On the plus facet, you do get a pleasant 2K (2,880 X 1,800), OLED, anti-glare display. I’ve not had an opportunity to check this newest mannequin, however I actually just like the earlier launch (8/10, WIRED Recommends,) and the brand new model is primarily a spec bump. It’s continuously on sale.

Photograph: Lenovo

One of the beauties of Linux is that it requires fewer sources and maintains assist for older {hardware} far longer than Windows or macOS. That means you need not lay our a fortune on a brand new laptop computer; you possibly can breathe life into an previous one or seize a used laptop computer off eBay. I’ve been doing this for years, working my method by way of Lenovo’s X-series laptops (beginning with an X220, now an X14 Gen 1), however previous Dell and Asus laptops are additionally nice for Linux. If you choose to purchase used, take a look at our guide to buying used on eBay to be sure you get a great deal.

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