In the past, to get Linux on your laptop, you needed to get a laptop that shipped with Windows and then install your Linux distro on top of them. This usually means two main issues. The first being that you paid about $100 extra for Windows and then also, support in terms of drivers for the laptop were up in the air as your hardware may be supported fully, partially or not at all. But these days things are changing. There are many laptops that ship with Linux preinstalled. Meaning you get better hardware support and then save some bucks off for not paying for Windows. THANK YOU! So what are your options if you wanted a laptop with Linux preinstalled? Read along.
Dell makes some of the best PCs around. Quite recently, they have brought to market Linux based counterparts of some of their popular laptops. Specifically, the Dell XPS 13 is arguably the very best ultrabook laptop on the market and with a “Developer Edition” that ships with Ubuntu and packs some serious specs with variants of i5-4500U and i7-4500U, 8 to 16 GB of RAM and 128GB to 512GB NVMe SSD, QHD+ or Full HD with over 10hrs of battery life. There is also the Dell Precision 15 3000 variant with Ubuntu packing similar hardware as the XPS 13 above with an AMD FirePro W5130M GPU and up to 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD. It also packs decent battery life of up to 10hrs. As a major vendor of top class computers, you can’t go wrong with DELL. Check out Dell’s Linux laptops from here.
System76 is probably the most popular OEM in the world today when it comes to Linux PCs and they do provide some awesome laptops with Ubuntu (future editions will use POP! OS). The System76 Galago Pro with the latest 7th gen Intel processors (i5 or i7) and the more affordable Lemur laptops with the same 7th gen Intel processors (i3 or i7) are among the very best of PCs around. Both of these laptops pack up to 32GB RAM and 6TB and 5Tb of storage for the Galago Pro and Lemur respectively. You get an ethernet port, SD card reader, USB and Thunderbolt ports plus USB Type C/mini-Display ports. System76 laptops are not cheap and rightly so, they do not skimp on the hardware at all. Galago Pro starts at around $900 and the Lemur starts at $699. Some of their other ranges include the Bonobo and Gazelle series.
Purism’s laptops ship with their own Debian based Pure OS which seeks to provide users with top notch, security, privacy, and freedom. As such, Pure OS comes with the Tor browser and Duck Duck Go search engines amongst others. The hardware is also pretty impressive with the Librem branded laptops packing up to 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD or HDD. Purism Librem is available in Librem 15 (15.6inch), 13 (13.3 inch) and 11 (11 inch) variant with the last doubling as a tablet.
Zareason provides a range of Linux laptops with their Strata ($749), Verix ($1499), Mir($1699) UltraLap ($899) ranges and more. You get the latest 7th gen Intel i3 or i7 processors with up to 32 GB RAM and 2TB SSD. The coolest thing for me with Zareason is the host of distros that they support. You can have Ubuntu 16.08, openSUSE 42, Linux Mint 18 Sarah, Fedora 25, Debian 8, CentOS 7 or you can specify your very own distro. You can even request your Super (Windows or Meta) key to be customized with either the Ubuntu or Tux logo, pretty cool.
With the popularity of Google’s Chromebooks which are pretty cheap and quite capable for most users who tend to do most of their work in the browser, Alpha Universal doing one better brings to market the Alpha Litebook with slightly better specs than Chromebooks. Packing Intel Celeron 1.6Ghz CPU with 4GB RAM and a storage of 512 GB HDD or a combo with 32GB SSD. Alpha Litebooks ships with Elementary OS which is more capable than Chrome OS. Alpha Litebooks are quite cheap. You can also get the Alpha Centurion which packs more power with an Intel i7 processor and 8GB RAM.
The popular Entroware Laptop range provides the best in both style and function. Ranging from the affordable Triton to the mighty Athena, enjoy your Linux experience on the move. Whether you are a student or a professional, Entroware provides massively configurable lineup suitable for every use case. Entroware specializes in providing Ubuntu Linux based computing solutions and services for clients’ requirements. You can customize the hardware, choose your preferred Linux distribution and preinstalled selected software. Check out Entroware Laptops.
Those are not the only popular names out there. There are quite a few others out there who make awesome Linux laptops such as Minifree and Ubiquity with their FSF certification, Tuxedo computers, ThinkPenguin (Lenovo Thinkpads with Linux), Los Alamos, EmperorLinux and Linux Certified that you should also check out. There are also some Ubuntu certified systems that should work with Ubuntu out of the box that you can check out.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the are two main advantages of buying a laptop with a Linux-based distribution pre-installed. The first being not paying the extra $100 or more for Windows and the second being the support for all your hardware devices right out of the box. The names on this list provide excellent hardware at a great bang for your buck. If you already own a Windows PC or a MacBook, you don’t need to buy a new PC to enjoy Linux, you can dual boot or replace your OS with Linux. On the other hand, if you are in the market for a new Linux PC, Dell, System76 and the others got you covered with some great selections.
Mohd Sohail is a web developer and a Linux sysAdmin. He also loves to write how-to articles, applications reviews and loves to use new Linux distributions.