Linux is the OS of choice for people who want something more stable, customizable, and open than Windows.
Linux is available in many flavors, or “distros” with Kali Linux being a very popular one. Originally designed for security testing via ethical hacking and computer forensics, Kali Linux is completely free and open-source.
So, what’s the best laptop for Kali Linux? Honestly, anything that qualifies as a home computer. No, seriously- Kali Linux can be made to run on the lowest end hardware if you know what you’re doing.
We usually recommend machines with more security than the typical consumer laptop. Like enterprise laptops or workstation laptops. That’s why our top pick is the Lenovo ThinkPad P14s. Read on to find out why we chose this laptop.
Here is our list of 7 best laptop under 700 dollars price range:
This is the best laptop on our list for Kali Linux, thanks to its excellent processor and robust security suite. It is also extremely well-built, designed to handle small drops and vibrations.
The chassis is made from a mix of metal and plastic, which results in a tough but light package. As for performance, you won’t have any shortage of that thanks to the excellent Zen 2 based Ryzen 7 Pro CPU.
With 8 cores and 16 threads, this processor will make short work of anything you throw at it. Overall system responsiveness is very snappy, bootup times are fast thanks to the PCIe NVMe SSD, and applications load up almost instantly.
You get 10+ hours of battery life since this is a very energy-efficient CPU when you’re not doing stuff like video editing or gaming. And the 14” display looks sharp, with good colors (it’s IPS and 1080p).
This is basically a “lite” version of the ThinkPad P14s, except for the display which is larger at 15.6”. So if you liked the P14s, but wanted slightly more screen space, this might be the laptop for you.
It has a similar processor in the Ryzen 7 4700U, albeit with reduced multitasking capabilities since SMT is disabled here.
You still get 8 physical cores which is more than enough for most Linux users, even if you’re a heavy-duty user.
The 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD mirror what you get in the P14s, so programs open immediately and bootup takes under 10 seconds.
You get an IPS display with 250 nits of brightness. Nothing mind-boggling, but at least it’s not a TN panel.
Yeah, it’s a gaming laptop. But it doesn’t care which OS you run on it, and besides- Linux isn’t exactly a non-gamer-friendly OS anymore. Not with distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Pop!_OS, etc.
Now, you might be thinking- what about game support? And while Linux doesn’t support as many games as Windows does, the selection of games you CAN run on it is pretty large.
And it includes some very popular titles such as Dota 2, CS: GO, Rocket League, Borderlands 2, Minecraft, etc. Much of your Steam library is probably supported on Linux.
This is why we felt the Dell G5 is an excellent Linux gaming laptop unlike most other laptops on this list which don’t even have dedicated video cards.
This Dell does, an AMD Radeon RX5600M with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM- perfect for 1080p AAA gaming.
And most importantly, this mid-range laptop GPU is paired to an absolute hulk of a processor- the Ryzen 7 4800H. Simply put, one of the 3 fastest laptop processors in existence at the time of writing this article.
If you want a laptop that is well-built, backed by a warranty from a reputable manufacturer, and equipped with the latest in CPU tech- this is it.
It ticks all the right checkboxes and doesn’t break the bank. HP’s Pavilion lineup is renowned for delivering excellent value at reasonable prices, and this laptop isn’t any different.
It has a really nice IPS display which is perfect for casual gaming and movies, or even hobbyist-grade photo editing.
There is ample RAM for all your multitasking needs and a fast PCIe SSD with enough storage for all your programs and files.
You get 10 to 12 hours of battery life with light to medium usage, which involves web browsing, movies, word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
This is the kind of laptop we recommend for folks who’ve been using Windows all their life and only recently got interested in the advantages offered by Linux.
Want to tinker around with Linux? Here’s a cheap, no-frills laptop that isn’t so slow it’ll make you fall asleep.
Unlike some of the other laptops at this price point, the L210 has an actual laptop processor instead of an Atom or MediaTek chip.
It isn’t fast by any accounts, but you can make it fast with the right Linux install. We feel 4GB of RAM is plenty for the beginner looking to get a taste of what Linux is all about.
You can familiarize yourself with the terminal, use free word processing software, and browse the web. All on a really light 2.2lb laptop with excellent battery life and a keyboard that’s actually usable for typing more than 2 sentences at a time.
This is what ASUS cooked up to compete with Dell’s XPS lineup. It is their “enterprise/ content creator” laptop designed for serious folks doing serious stuff.
Which is why… it comes with a Comet Lake processor and last-gen integrated graphics? We really don’t know why Dell couldn’t just put an Ice Lake or Tiger Lake chip in this thing because that would have resulted in a substantial performance improvement while increasing battery life.
Not that this laptop is slow, it is plenty fast for most users. And a lot faster than a laptop with an Intel Celeron processor.
But it still begs the question as to why Dell went with the i7-10510U in an otherwise excellently built machine.
It has all the goodies you’d expect from a premium laptop like this- machined aluminum-magnesium alloy chassis, fingerprint reader, IR webcam, Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3, etc. But then the processor brings it all down a notch, which is a shame.
Another example of an otherwise excellent machine botched by a poor processor choice. With an Ice Lake or Tiger Lake chip, this laptop is almost perfect.
Almost… since it also has LPDDR3 RAM instead of LPDDR4/ LPDDR4x. Otherwise, it is an excellent laptop with tons of battery life and a very slim design.
The carbon fiber keyboard deck and palm rest give it a premium feel while also insulating your hands from the heat generated by the underlying components.
And it does generate a fair bit of heat thanks to that 14nm Comet Lake processor, which is why it’s a miracle Dell managed to give this laptop a 10+ hour battery life.
How To Select The Best Laptop For Kali Linux
Linux doesn’t have any special hardware requirements, it’s in fact one of the lightest software packages to run on any home computer.
Depending on the distro you’re using and the packages you’ve installed Linux will run just fine on most laptops. Even one with a slow dual-core and 2GB of RAM. So don’t get too bogged down on the hardware specifications.
Instead, focus on the laptop as a whole- how good is the keyboard, what type of display does it have (TN vs IPS), how much storage am I getting, etc.
And if you’re really serious about diving into the Linux ecosystem, get a laptop with physical kill switches for the webcam and WLAN. Like Lenovo ThinkPads with their “privacy shutter”.
Also, get a laptop with a dTPM module for data encryption. A fingerprint reader adds even more security.
Serious Linux users (like the ones who would use Kali Linux) should focus on a good keyboard with ample key travel and feedback, a nice 1080p (or higher) IPS display, solid build quality, and hardware-based security features.
As for the processor, anything above an i3 or Ryzen 3 will do for most people. Unless you’re gaming or doing video editing/ 3D modeling in which case you need a beefier setup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of processor do I need in a Linux Laptop?
A. It all depends on what you’re doing with your laptop. Just browsing the web and filling in forms? A simple dual-core Pentium or Celeron will get the job done.
Are you going to stream movies and play casual games? In that case, you need an Intel i3 or above.
If you’re a heavy-duty user who does a lot of debugging, testing, compiling, etc. you need a robust processor with the right amount of single-core speed and at least 4 cores.
Q. How much RAM for a Linux Laptop?
A. Linux can run on an ancient relic of a laptop from the early 2000s if you use the right distro and shave off all the parts you don’t need. It is an open-source OS in the truest sense of the word and you can tune it to fit your needs.
As a general guide, you don’t want to go below 2GB of RAM. Anything 4GB and above is perfectly fine for Linux since it isn’t as resource-hungry as Windows.
Q. What screen size should I be looking at?
A. Depends. Are you using your laptop to good around while learning Linux? In that case, 11 inches is perfectly fine. If you want a larger screen for coding and gaming, we recommend 13 inches and above. The ideal balance between portability and productivity should be around 14 to 15 inches.
Q. Do I need a graphics card?
A. Not really, unless you’re doing stuff like AI research, gaming, machine learning, 3D modeling, etc. If you’re just coding and watching movies you will get by fine with integrated graphics.
But if you do get a laptop with a dedicated GPU, try getting one that has AMD Radeon graphics. You’ll have a way better time with driver support. If you’re okay with closed drivers and want the best OpenGL performance, get NVIDIA.
Q. Which are the best brands for Linux laptops?
A. Generally speaking, there is no “best brand” for Linux. Lenovo maybe, because they have support for Linux distros built into the BIOS. Some OEMs can be finicky with Linux support in their BIOS but you’ll be fine for the most part.
You want to prioritize laptops that play off the strengths of Linux, like security. So get something that is enterprise-grade, with a TPM chip and kill switches for the webcam/ Wi-Fi. Lenovo ThinkPads fit this niche and are usually considered an excellent platform for running Linux.
We hope this article was informative and helped you choose the right device for running Kali Linux.
As we explained earlier, Linux is not a particularly hard thing to run. It’s one of the most customizable operating systems. And you can shave off as much or as little of the functionality/ features/ bloat as you need to, depending on the hardware you are using.
Our top pick is the Lenovo ThinkPad P14s because of its excellent Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U processor with 8 cores and 16 threads. This is a fast laptop, and it is extremely well-built with a combination of metal and plastic.
The chassis is tested for 12 different military-standard requirements (shock, vibration, cold and hot temperatures, etc.) and you get a notebook that is perfect for field use.
Most of you will use it at home or office, but if you ever wanted to take it outside you can rest assured this laptop will handle itself just fine.
The P14s also has a dTPM module for data privacy and a fingerprint reader for biometric security. We always recommend laptops that go above and beyond what is considered “consumer-level” when it comes to security.
Most gaming or school laptops don’t come with this level of security built-in, and as a Linux user, one of your main advantages over Windows is security. Having a laptop that builds on that advantage is nice.
For ultra low budget users who are new to Linux and just want something small and cheap to tinker with, there’s the ASUS Laptop L210.
Saurav has been writing about technology for the past 4 years, but has been a fan of all things computer related since he was 7 years old. He is a ghostwriter for multiple sites, and covers everything from PC hardware to chainsaws and mobile game development (yep, the guy has a lot of range).