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

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

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 just a few big-name PC makers even provide official assist for Linux, that means you could have someplace to show if issues go awry.

To assist you determine the very best Linux laptop computer on your good 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 had been simpler to get operating than others. More than just a few of my favorites include Linux proper out of the field.

Be certain 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

Special provide for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This consists of limitless entry to WIRED.com and our print journal (if you would like). Subscriptions assist fund the work we do day-after-day.

If you purchase one thing utilizing hyperlinks in our tales, we could earn a fee. This helps assist our journalism. Learn extra.

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, ensure you select Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as your working system (it defaults to Windows). 

For extra particulars on the {hardware}, see our evaluation 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 principal 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 may 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 dimensions—it lasts all day in most use instances—nevertheless it’s inferior to the Dell. The keyboard, however, is incredible 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’ll be able to improve, Framework’s Laptop is the very best Linux rig for you. There are just a few flavors out there. I examined the second launch of the 13-inch mannequin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and liked it. Right now you’ll be able to 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’ll be able to set up Linux your self (or choose to ship it with Windows if it is advisable to twin boot). The solely catch is that the AMD mannequin ships within the third quarter of the 12 months, although the Intel model will ship in June. If you are okay with the previous-gen chips, you’ll be able to 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 virtually any Linux laptop computer: Battery life could possibly 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 in regards to 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, this can be a slick laptop computer for these of us who assume ThinkPads are, ahem, slick. That slickness comes at a severe value although. For virtually double the value 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 aspect, 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 ceaselessly 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 needn’t lay our a fortune on a brand new laptop computer; you’ll be able to breathe life into an previous one or seize a used laptop computer off eBay. I’ve been doing this for years, working my means 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 information to purchasing used on eBay to ensure you get a very good deal.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Mighty Power Tools