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The 5 Best Laptop For Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a Linux distro that can technically run on every modern laptop. But that doesn’t mean that you should run it on every laptop. 

Some options are better than others. However, the reality of the situation is that every laptop has certain advantages and disadvantages – which is why finding the best one for you can be challenging. 

That’s why we wrote this article for you. It should make the process of finding the best option a bit easier. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it!

Specifications to Keep in Mind

While checking the description of a laptop, some of the first things you’ll notice are the CPU, GPU, RAM, and more things like that. These are more important than the average person may think. So, here’s all you need to know about them as quickly as possible: 

  • OS: The most common pre-installed operating systems are Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS. Windows laptops tend to have better chances of working flawlessly 
  • CPU: We wouldn’t recommend anything less than a quad-core processor – unless you’re on a budget. Most Linux distros may be more lightweight than Windows, but you’ll still need a decent CPU to multitask without slowdowns
  • GPU: The average person will be just fine with integrated graphics. But, gamers and anyone who is interested in 3D rendering will need a dedicated graphics card
  • RAM: Most people are fine with 4-8GB of RAM memory. But, more demanding users and professionals can use 16 or even more
  • Storage: SSDs are the norm now as they offer faster boot times and make the laptop feel faster. We wouldn’t recommend getting a laptop without one
  • Battery life: Look at the average battery life – not the actual size of the battery. That’s because different laptops have different power demands
  • Display: Smaller displays may be worse to look at – but they also increase the overall portability of a laptop. So, pick something that offers a good balance between size and portability

Our 5 Best Laptops for Ubuntu

Now that you know what to look out for before buying, it’s time to check out some laptops. Some of you may also want to pay attention to some minor details as well; keyboard quality, build quality, bezels, etc. 

1: Acer Aspire E15

Great Battery Life

If battery life takes priority over anything else, the Aspire E15 is one of the best picks for you. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX150
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6 LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: Up to 15 hours but you can expect 6-7 or a bit more with “normal” usage 
  • Weight: 5.27 pounds

Acer claims that the Aspire E15 can get up to 15 hours. However, 7 seems to be more realistic for most users. 

Other than that, you’re also getting 8 gigs of RAM, a medium-sized SSD, and a decent processor as well. The somewhat thick bezels can definitely feel ugly for some people. But, other than that, there are almost no downsides. 

Just keep in mind that while there is a dedicated graphics card, it’s not really your best bet for gaming. Don’t get us wrong. It can handle most titles at 720P at 60FPS which is definitely impressive. But, for about the same money or just a bit more, you can get something with a GTX 1650 instead – which is vastly superior.

Pros: 

  1. Great battery life
  2. Decent specs for the price
  3. Can handle a bit of gaming
  4. Display offers a good balance between size and portability (Though it may be a bit too big for some)

Cons: 

  1. A little bit on the heavy side

2: Asus ZenBook 14

Numpad on a Portable Form Factor

As we all know, the only laptops that come with a Numpad use at least a 15.6 screen. After all, you need a bit of room to add it without making the keyboard smaller. However, Asus came up with the smart solution of adding a virtual Numpad on the touchpad – which is useful for those who want both a Numpad and a portable laptop. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX150
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 14-inch LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: 8 hours on average 
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

With that being said, do keep in mind that last time we checked on the Ubuntu forums, this feature doesn’t work on Ubuntu. So, our best guess is that you’ll have to dual-boot with Windows to take advantage of it. 

Leaving that aside, the ZenBook 14 is all-around a very portable machine. Extremely lightweight, decent battery, half a terabyte of SSD storage, powerful processor, 16 gigs of RAM out of the box; pretty decent in general. 

The only thing that doesn’t fit a somewhat expensive laptop is the MX150 which is a mediocre GPU by 2020 standards at best. But, then again, we suppose that it was necessary for the ultrabook form factor. 

Pros: 

  1. Very lightweight and portable
  2. Plenty of storage and RAM out of the box
  3. Great battery life
  4. Powerful processor
  5. The Numpad is a welcome addition (Even though many users complain about how it affects usability – and it also doesn’t seem to work on Ubuntu due to driver issues)
  6. Thin bezels

Cons: 

  1. Numpad only works on Windows (At least at the time of writing this article)
  2. Low-end GPU on a bit of an expensive laptop (Probably a necessity to keep that ultrabook form factor)
  3. A bit expensive

3: Asus VivoBook S15

No Compromises

The VivoBook S15 is a laptop that “Just works”. It’s a decent mid-ranger that offers decent specs for mid-range users without introducing any major flaws. So, if that’s all you need, then this may be one of the best picks for you. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U
  • GPU: Integrated graphics
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6 LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: Around 5 hours with casual usage
  • Weight: 3.97 pounds

However, if you’re even slightly interested in gaming, you’re probably better off looking into something else. Integrated graphics are just not suitable for it – especially Intel’s. Unless you’re stuck with them and you don’t mind playing at 20FPS with low resolutions and settings. 

Other than that, there really are little to no downsides. The 15.6-inch display has extremely thin bezels which makes it feel more like a 14-inch laptop. And while the battery life could definitely be better, 5 hours of usage are not exactly bad either. For a point of reference, most gaming laptops tend to die after an hour or two of heavy usage. 

Pros: 

  1. Extremely thin bezels
  2. Beautiful design (Even though that’s largely a matter of personal preference)
  3. Solid build quality
  4. Relatively lightweight

Cons: 

  1. Arguably a bit expensive for what it offers
  2. No dedicated GPU

4: MSI GF63 Thin 9SC

Best for Gaming

If you’re a gamer, then this is your best bet from this list. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6 LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: Forget about it
  • Weight: 7.55

The GTX 1650 may be a budget GPU, but it’s still enough to handle most titles at 1080P 60FPS which is definitely more than we can say for most laptops at this price point. 

As with every gaming laptop, the overall weight and battery life are pretty much the only downsides. While gaming, the battery will likely die before a full hour. With casual usage, you can expect to get maybe 3 hours. But, if you generally need 5 hours or more, you’re better off sticking with one of the above options. 

The 7+ battery-life claim from MSI probably refers to just leaving the laptop open without doing anything as we’ve yet to see anyone who managed to get anywhere near that. 

Pros: 

  1. Great for 1080P gaming
  2. Big SSD
  3. Feels sturdy
  4. The backlit keyboard is a welcome addition

Cons: 

  1. Heavy
  2. Bad battery life

5: Asus Chromebook Flip

Our Chromebook Pick

Most Chromebooks are made to be very lightweight and portable with great battery life while mostly being capable of office tasks and the Chromebook Flip is not an exception. 

  • CPU: Intel Core M3-8100Y
  • GPU: Integrated Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC
  • Display: 14-inch LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: 8-10 hours on average
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Of course, keep in mind that you can’t do a lot of demanding tasks with a dual-core processor like the M3. But, as far as casual use is concerned, this is definitely more than enough. 

If there’s one downside, then that’s definitely going to be the 64GB eMMC which is slower than a “Traditional” SSD and, well, the 64 gigs of storage that it offers. All things considered, this is a bit expensive for the specs that it offers. 

Pros: 

  1. Lightweight
  2. Slim
  3. Thin bezels
  4. Great battery life

Cons: 

  1. Dual-core CPU
  2. A bit expensive for the specs that it offers

Wrapping Up

Those were our top picks. If that’s a bit too much information to take in with one take, here are all the pros and cons as fast as possible: 

  1. Acer Aspire E15: All-around a great laptop with good battery life with the only downside that it’s a bit heavy compared to other options
  2. Asus ZenBook 14: A powerful laptop that brings a Numpad with it while also being super small and lightweight – but it’s a bit expensive and the Numpad only seems to work on Windows for now
  3. Asus VivoBook S15: A mid-range laptop without any major downsides – except that it’s a bit expensive for the specs that it offers (It’s also not suitable for gaming)
  4. MSI GF63 Thin 9SC: Best option for gamers – but the battery life is bad and it’s also heavy
  5. Asus Chromebook Flip: One of the slimmest and portable laptops in this list – but the dual-core CPU can be a deal-breaker for some – especially at this price point

That’s all for now. We hope that this guide helped you out with your decision. If there are any questions, feel free to let us know about them in the comment section down below!

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Charlie Noon

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