The 5 Best Linux Laptops (2023): Repairable, Affordable, Powerful


Linux will work on almost every PC. I mean that literally. Do you remember the Intel Pentium 4 processor? It is still supported by Debian Linux. However, Linux runs better on some laptops than others. These days, some big-name PC manufacturers even offer official support for Linux, so you have someone to turn to if something goes wrong.

To help you find the best Linux laptop for your perfect system, I’ve installed (or attempted to install) Linux on every laptop I’ve reviewed over the past three years. Almost all of them worked great, but some were easier to get working than others. Quite a few of my favorites come with Linux by default.

Be sure to check out our other buying guides too, e.g. B. Best Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, Best MacBooks, and How to Choose the Right Laptop.

Table of contents

  1. Best for the minimalist
  2. The best for the maximalist
  3. Most repairable
  4. Best for hackers
  5. Best suited for system administrators
  6. When your budget is tight
  7. What to Look for in a Linux Laptop

Special offer for Gear readers: get one 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to and our print magazine (if you wish). Subscriptions help fund our daily work.

If you buy something through links in our stories, we may receive a commission. This supports our journalism. Learn more.

Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition was one of the first major laptops to ship with Linux, and it remains the lightest and smallest notebook with Linux installed. This configuration features a 12th Gen Intel i7-1250U processor, 32GB of RAM (soldered) and a 1TB SSD. It ships with Ubuntu Linux 20.04, but in my testing it runs fine on every distribution from Fedora to Arch (Dell support is only for Ubuntu though). Once you are on the product page, make sure you select Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as the operating system (default is Windows).

Check out our Windows version test (6/10 WIRED Review) for more hardware details. While performance wasn’t great on Windows, I’ve found that the same isn’t the case on Ubuntu. The main disadvantage of this machine is the lack of connections. There are two USB-C ports, one of which is your charging port. There’s not even a headphone jack.

If the Dell’s lack of ports has got you tired, then this is the laptop for you. System76’s Pangolin (8/10, WIRED recommends) is a 15-inch behemoth of an AMD-powered laptop with all the ports a sysadmin could ever want. This configuration comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB RAM (soldered) and a 250 GB SSD. You can configure the Pangolin with up to 8 TB of storage.

Battery life is good for its size – lasting all day in most use cases – but not as good as the Dell. The keyboard, on the other hand, is fantastic and really fun to type on. The only downside is the number pad, which makes the trackpad off-center. The Pangolin really shines when it comes to port selection. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (with DisplayPort support but not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack Combo jack and a full size SD card reader.

Most repairable and future-proof

If you are looking for a laptop that you can upgrade, Framework’s laptop is the best Linux rig for you. A few flavors are available. I tested the second version of the 13-inch model (8/10, WIRED recommends) and loved it. Currently, you can pre-order an AMD Ryzen 7 7040 or 13th Gen Intel Core system with 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and whatever connector combo works for you for around $1,400. This is delivered without an operating system. Once it’s available, you can install Linux yourself (or ship it with Windows if you need dual boot). The only catch is that the AMD model ships in the third quarter of the year, while the Intel version ships in June. If you’re okay with the previous generation chips, grab one today.

I’ve tested Ubuntu, which supports Framework, and Arch Linux, and they both worked great (although Framework doesn’t officially support Arch). My only criticism of using the framework is my criticism of almost every Linux laptop: the battery life could be better.

The System76 Oryx Pro is available in either 15-inch or 17-inch models with 12th Gen Intel processors and Nvidia graphics (either 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPU). There are options for a glossy OLED 4K screen, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 8TB of SSD storage. It’s not cheap, but the Oryx Pro is by far the most powerful notebook on this site. Like the pangolin above, the oryx will also come with Pop_OS! delivered by System76. or Ubuntu Linux. Unlike the Pangolin, the Intel chip in the Oryx Pro means it ships with Coreboot and open-source firmware.

OK, OK, it’s cheesy, but there’s something about the Lenovo X1 Carbon Linux Edition that makes me want to install Kali Linux and try the coffee shop WiFi. Anyway, this is a slick laptop for those of us who think ThinkPads are, um, slick. However, this flexibility comes at a high price. For nearly double the price of our other offerings, you get a 13th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD (much of which is customizable).

On the plus side, you get a nice 2K OLED (2880 x 1800) anti-glare screen. I haven’t had a chance to test this latest model yet, but I really like the previous version (8/10, WIRED recommends) and the new version is primarily an improvement in specs. It’s often on sale.

Photo: Lenovo

One of the beauties of Linux is that it uses fewer resources and maintains support for older hardware much longer than either Windows or macOS. That means you don’t have to spend a fortune on a new laptop; You can breathe new life into an old laptop or secure a used laptop on eBay. I’ve been doing this for years, working my way through Lenovo’s X-series laptops (starting with an X220, now a T14 Gen 1), but old Dell and Asus laptops are also great for Linux. If you decide to buy used, take a look at our guide to buying used on eBay to make sure you get a good deal.

Source link

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *