Laptops

The 5 Best Laptops For Kali Linux | Complete Buyers Guide

Linux can work on pretty much any modern machine. But that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and pick the cheapest PC out there. There are certain criteria that you can use to find the best laptop for Kali Linux or any other OS, really.

However, with so many options out there, finding the best choice can become a rather gruesome task. That’s why we decided to write this article for you! So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it!

Things to Keep in Mind

As we mentioned above, there are certain criteria that we can use to find out the best laptop. Those can greatly differ from person to person – depending on personal preferences and such. 

Here’s all you need to know: 

  • OS: No need to worry about finding something with Kali Linux pre-installed. You can install it yourself on any modern laptop – even on a Mac
  • CPU: You don’t need a ton of processing power for things like penetration testing. But get at least a quad-core Core i5 – just to be safe
  • GPU: A dedicated graphics card is not needed. Pretty much anything goes – unless you’re a gamer, in which case, avoid iGPUs like the plague and get at least an Nvidia 10xx card
  • RAM: 8GB is the sweet spot for most people. 16GB is not always necessary but it’s better to have spare memory rather than worrying about running of RAM all the time
  • Storage: Get an SSD. Anything should do. If you need a lot of storage on a budget, consider getting something with a small SSD for the OS and a big HDD for storage
  • Battery life and portability: Quite possibly the most important thing for a Kali Linux laptop. After all, you’ll probably be using the laptop with the battery quite a lot
  • Display: Anything will do. Choose whatever fits you best

Our Top 5 Laptops For Kali Linux

Learning what to consider before purchasing a laptop for Kali Linux is key when looking for a new upgrade. Having said that, let’s put this knowledge into practise and see what our best five laptops for Kali Linux are this 2020.

1: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E590

Budget Pick

If you need something that’s as affordable as possible but still gets the job done, we wouldn’t’ recommend anything cheaper than the ThinkPad Edge E590! It’s a business laptop that can handle any basic task you throw at it (Except gaming – unless you’re desperate).

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U
  • GPU: Integrated graphics (UHD 620)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD 
  • Display: 15.6 LCD display at 1366×768
  • Battery: 4-8 hours with casual usage
  • Weight: 4.68 pounds 

As a business laptop, one huge pro that it has over consumer laptops is that you can upgrade or repair it extremely easy. All business laptops provide easy access to the internals. 

Now, since you’re getting both an SSD and an 8th gen Core i5, you should be able to perform most tasks without any massive issues. Also, you should be able to replace the RAM modules with 8 + 8 sticks in the future for a relatively cheap 16GB RAM upgrade. 

If there’s one big downside that’s definitely going to be the iGPU that can’t handle modern titles – unless you’ve got really low expectations. There is also no doubt that the design is not the most beautiful and that the screen resolution is horrendous. But, if you only need it for work, then that shouldn’t matter too much anyway. 

Pros: 

  1. Decent battery life
  2. Very easy to service or upgrade
  3. Decent specs for the money
  4. Relatively cheap
  5. Relatively lightweight
  6. One of the better keyboards that we’ve tried on a laptop

Cons: 

  1. Bad display
  2. Outdated design
  3. No dedicated GPU (Shouldn’t matter if you’re not a gamer)

2: Dell XPS 15 9570

4K Touch-Screen 

If you love laptops with touch screens, then the Dell XPS 15 is quite possibly your best option. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750U
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD 
  • Display: 15.6 LCD IPS display at 3840×2160 (4K)
  • Battery: About 10 hours with casual usage
  • Weight: 6.25 pounds

Apart from touch capabilities, the display also offers a 4K resolution! And you may think that this would be bad for battery life, but reviewers have mentioned that they get 10 hours or more with everyday tasks. But, still, take that info with a grain of salt since battery life will greatly differ depending on what you’re doing with the PC. 

Now, with a 15.6-inch display and 6.2 pounds of weight, this isn’t exactly the most portable laptop on the market. But we’d say that it’s not exactly heavy either. 

Since it offers a 1050 Ti, you can enjoy a bit of casual gaming as well – but don’t expect to get blown away with it. For those of you who may be wondering, gaming on a Linux machine is entirely possible nowadays with either a Windows dual-boot setup or Steam proton and native Linux games as well!

Pros: 

  1. Good specs
  2. Good for low-end gaming
  3. 4K touch display
  4. Beautiful design with thin bezels

Cons: 

  1. A bit heavy compared to other options
  2. Expensive

3: Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe

Very Lightweight

If you need something powerful yet very portable and you don’t care about gaming, then the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is the perfect fit!

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U
  • GPU: Integrated graphics (UHD 620)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD 
  • Display: 14-inch LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: About 6 hours with casual usage
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

At about 2 and a half pounds, this is as lightweight as a laptop can get. And don’t let the relatively small size fool you as it comes with a power-saving Core i7-8550U! Not to mention that it offers 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of SSD storage right out of the box.

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe may be powerful, but if you’re interested in gaming, then you’re out of luck. After all, there is no dedicated GPU and while the UHD 620 can run some games, well, let’s just say that you need to be a little bit desperate to game on it. 

Pros: 

  1. Very powerful 
  2. Lightweight
  3. Sleek
  4. Lots of storage and RAM out of the box

Cons: 

  1. No dedicated GPU
  2. Bad quality control from Asus

4: MSI GV62 8RD-034

Our Top Mid-Ranger Pick

Coming in at less than $1000, this is one of the most balanced options on this list. It gives you a little bit of everything at a mid-range price. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750U
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Display: 15.6-inch LCD IPS display at 1920×1080
  • Battery: 2-3 hours of average usage – maybe half of that while gaming
  • Weight: 4.8 pounds

You get a backlit keyboard, a very powerful CPU, a budget GPU, plenty of storage with an SSD for the OS and apps, and a backlit keyboard as well. As we mentioned above, just a little bit of everything. 

Granted, the 8 gigabytes of RAM can prove to be a big downside for heavy multitaskers. But, if it comes down to it, don’t forget that you can install up to 32GB!

If you’re a gamer, the GTX 1050 Ti is plenty powerful to run even modern titles with at least 30FPS on 1080P. But, again, don’t expect to have your mind blown at this price point. 

Pros: 

  1. Powerful processor
  2. Plenty of storage with the HDD along with an SSD for the OS and apps
  3. Lots of ports
  4. Backlit keyboard is a welcome addition
  5. Good balance between portability and size
  6. Good value

Cons: 

  1. Bad battery life
  2. Thick bezels

5: Acer Predator Helios 300

Gamer’s Choice

This is all around an outstanding choice for gaming, penetration testing, and everything in between. 

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9759H
  • GPU: GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB Nvme SSD
  • Display: 15.6 LCD IPS at 1920×1080 144Hz
  • Battery: 68 Wh, up to 6 hours
  • Weight: 5 pounds

The only downsides that it has compared to some of our other options is that it’s not the most lightweight, doesn’t come with a lot of storage, and doesn’t offer the insane battery life of the Dell XPS series. 

Other than that, for the money that you’re paying, this is an insane deal. We’re talking about a 144Hz display, 16GB of RAM, a Core i7, and a GTX 1660 Ti! 

Overall, it’s a premium gaming laptop without a premium price tag. Hard to go wrong with it. 

Pros: 

  1. Powerful processor
  2. Powerful graphics card (Can run almost every game at 1080P 60FPS with high settings)
  3. High refresh rate display
  4. 16GB of RAM out of the box

Cons: 

  1. Mediocre battery
  2. 256GB of storage is small for a laptop – but there is the option of adding more

Wrapping Up

That’s all we’ve got for now. If that’s too much information to take in at once, here are all the pros and cons as fast as possible: 

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E590: The cheapest offering in this list. It offers all of the basic specs that you’ll need but that’s about it. Not suitable for gaming
  2. Dell XPS 15 9570: All around a great choice for those who want great battery life along with a touch screen – but it’s also a bit expensive
  3. Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe: By far the most lightweight pick – but it has battery life and it’s not suitable for gaming
  4. MSI GV62 8RD-034: Offers a little bit of everything and is all around a decent choice – but its battery life is the worst in this list
  5. Acer Predator Helios 300: Most powerful option in this list, superb value, and the best for gamers – but it doesn’t offer a lot of storage and battery life is mediocre at best

So, as you can see, it’s all about weighing positives and negatives then choosing whatever suits your needs. Unfortunately, there is no universal option that works for everyone and everything.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to let us know about them in the comments section down below!

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Charlie Noon

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