Linux Laptop Recommendation

Hello all,

I recently installed Linux (Ubuntu 16.04) on my Raspberry PI and have been working using the command line. I find that I’ve really enjoyed it and I would like to install Linux on a laptop. Can anyone give me a recommendation on a cheap laptop that would be good for setting up a Linux environment? I would pretty much be doing only web development work on it, so I’m not so concerned about speed/power/etc. Just looking for something cheap that I could use to get better at Linux.


You should be able to throw a Linux OS on whatever you have (either dual-booting or replacing your current OS). Some hardware is better supported by Linux than others. I’ve mostly seen issues for sound and display. This would be my only warning about buying some cheap off-brand laptop. If you’re looking to buy a new laptop anyway and you know you only want Linux, look at laptops that come preloaded with Ubuntu. Not only will these have hardware that’s well supported, but you don’t have to pay for a licence you won’t use.

Of course, you can always just buy a used/refurbished/older model laptop and throw a Linux OS on it. Just spend an hour or two looking for known issues for the model in places like Linux discussion boards.


I’ve got Ubuntu 16.04 running on a ThinkPad E530 with reasonably minimal hassle.

I did have some issues with getting the optimal driver for my wifi card…and if I recall correctly there may have been an issue with my Nvidia graphics card. A little googling solved both of those.

From what I’ve seen wifi and graphics cards are the main offenders, but you might find some other issues with any hardware features, such as touchpads, touch screens, non-standard function/media buttons / webcams etc…

If you have your eye on a particular model of laptop and you want to do your due diligence beforehand, rather than just fixing everything after the fact - just spend an afternoon Googling known issues with the hardware and Linux.

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Hi there! I was using Ubuntu when I got dissapointed. Why? It’s very laggy and very slow enviroment, really. I used Linux for 3 years and switched to Manjaro, which is open source and very responsive. It does not require much power as Ubuntu does. Recently I bought Asus with new Core I3 CPU and I installed Ubuntu 16.04. It was very laggy and slow and I immediatly switched to Manjaro. Ubuntu is based on Debian and Manjaro is based on Arch.

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Hi jv88899,

I’d recommend looking into virtualization. Virtualbox would allow you to run Linux on Windows with little or no noticeable lag. It also helps to alleviate issues you might have with drivers (wireless usually being the most tricky). Not only does it allow you to quickly experiment with different distributions but you can create snapshots which act as restore points and allow you to revert back if tinkering damages the system.

I used Linux as my main OS for many years but reverted to virtualization after it became clear a number of devices would never be supported (ex. DisplayLink). I have no regrets whatsoever.


I also keep my Linux machines virtual. This has especially come in handy when I’ve decided to Do A Science and hosed up my system.

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I agree with @ArielLeslie that just about any laptop should work but do your homework (which you are doing). I’m a big fan of They build for the Ubuntu platform but you aren’t required to stay on Ubuntu. By building for Ubuntu you can be reasonably sure that the laptop or desktop should work with most distros. Personally I’m running Antergos (Arch-based) on a Lenovo E440 with no issues. I have run Manjaro on this laptop as well as Ubuntu Gnome and have not run into any hardware issues. I just checked ebay and an E440 can be had for $200 with an i5 processor and 8GB of Ram. Nice affordable place to start.


Get a Chromebook!

My only laptop is a Toshiba Chromebook, and I recently completed an in-person web dev bootcamp in a different city, so my only computing machine for 3 months was this Chromebook. Costs $250, is super light, battery is great, 4GB ram. Downfall is only 16GB storage, but that’s easy to fix with SD Cards/USB drives.

I use Crouton&Ubuntu for a full blown dev environment. I still keep ChromeOS and sometimes use a Cloud IDE, and because I love ChromeOS for any other daily use/tasks. It is easy to remove ChromeOS and install a full linux version if you don’t think its worth keeping ChromeOS.

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