Ubuntu is a popular and free open-source operating system based on Linux. People installing Ubuntu on laptops that have had Windows pre-installed has not always been a great experience.
There are always several compatibility hurdles you may encounter – at instances, the Wi-Fi shuts down, or there may be an issue with the audio chipset or sometimes even the trackpad malfunctions! However, you can avoid these problems by investing in a laptop with the appropriate specifications.
This article lists the 5 best Ubuntu laptops that have Windows pre-installed but can also be used for Ubuntu.
Before diving into the details, you should first understand the kinds of compatibility hurdles that may pop up while installing Ubuntu on a Windows laptop. We shall first describe the basic requirements and then measure how these laptops compare with each other.
The primary considerations for predicting performance of a laptop are the processor and the graphics card. You should prefer an Intel Core processor, 7th generation or newer, for maximum compatibility and performance.
It may be obvious, but you should only install the most recent, LTS version of Ubuntu. The LTS version of Ubuntu means Long Term Support. By using an LTS version you will avoid many of the problems we discussed earlier.
For older versions of Ubuntu, an integrated graphics card can create some challenges. Nevertheless, these can be resolved by implementing a small code that would act as a compact fix or patch. Fortunately, in most situations, an integrated chip works perfectly with Ubuntu. Nvidia video card, on the other hand, has only been supported with the most recent versions of Ubuntu.
Normally, the previously mentioned drivers will work for you, but they are still not seamless. If you have problems, we suggest using an Ubuntu forum to discuss the issue with another user of the similar model. This can be of great help.
Our Top Picks for Best Ubuntu Laptops
1. Dell XPS 15
Dell XPS 15 is here to stay in the competitive marketplace having an exceptionally well-performing screen. With elevated brightness, an Adobe RGB 70% coverage and a contrast ratio of 1600:1 this model is one of the best Ubuntu laptops we've reviewed.
This makes its screen stand out amidst most of the other models and this is one of its few redeeming features for this Windows laptop that demands a lot of fixes before Ubuntu can function seamlessly with it. But the model’s feel is so precise that it somehow is worth all the additional inputs.
Like its display, its touchscreen is exquisite. As an additive, it functions perfectly well with Ubuntu. Compared to its previous model, Dell has improved the build in this beast. A sturdier model with an elegant finish is here to have eyes rolled towards it.
While audio is enhanced than the earlier versions, one can encounter a drop in volume when played on Ubuntu. Battery life while using Ubuntu with an intel GPU should last for an average of 3 hours. It is one of the best laptops available for Windows and it allows the use of Ubuntu but such a user is bound to run into a lot of problems.
Now it’s up to you whether you consider the model’s advantages being worth making the effort of setting up Ubuntu or not.
2. Asus Zenbook Pro
One of the alluring creations in the notebook series, ZenBook Pro is a masterpiece with a slim outlook, light weighing construction with a brilliant touch of elegance. Incorporation of intel i7 core is sufficient to run Ubuntu’s latest Kernel with extreme ease.
Additionally, it has upgradeable 16GB RAM and a large 1TB SSD that provides generous file storage space. With normal usage and using typical display brightness, the battery lasts for about 3 hours. The ZenBook has great connectivity with 3 different USB ports.
The 15.6" 4K display is amazing. Even better, it includes another 4K touch pad (with display capabilities) that can used as an advanced control surface. A digital stylus is included.
In terms of Ubuntu, it offers an easy and seamless Ubuntu installation. We consider it among the best Ubuntu laptops although the price will not satisfy the most budget-conscious buyers.
3. Dell XPS 13
A creation that is designed to possess various Intel processors from i5 to i7. It has upgradeable 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD adding the convenience of the user. Accommodating one of the leading dell infinity screens is a heavenly experience in itself.
Last on the hardware side - the graphics - is Intel Kabylake GT2. With an unending list of mesmerizing features, it has an elegant look like all models in the XPS series, an easy to use palm rest, an infinity screen that seems larger at 13.3 inches and a light weight of around 1.2 kg making it easily portable.
This outstanding creation comes with Ubuntu pre-installed along with no hardware compatibility issues. It even has a factory restore option for Ubuntu and has chrome and chromium pre-installed on the model.
The cons are that its track pad is not the best and it falls on the higher side of the price range making it an easy option for only the deep pocketed. However, the Ubuntu edition of this model is, in fact, cheaper than the Windows one!
4. Acer Chromebook 15
One of the cheapest models of its kind, this Chromebook has the largest screen of all in this category – an impressive 15.6 inches to have your eyes get wide with admiration.
While the screen quality is obviously not comparable to the best in the market, the significant reduction in price and the humungous size of its screen both excellently make up for the slightly degraded display quality.
Same can be proposed for other aspects of its hardware. When compared with Pixel and other market leader beasts, the specs are bound to fall short. But when considering its price, suddenly everything about this laptop seems good. So the Chromebook doesn’t have the best speed or the best processor but it is still not a disgrace.
It functions immaculately with multiple tabs open and high-intensity videos playing simultaneously. It actually functions perfectly well with all the average activities run by most laptop users. Now the cons are that the model does not have the most beautiful façade. It’s made of plastic.
The build doesn’t feel too sturdy which isn’t ideal for the rough users out there. Audio system works fine, whereas the power of the audio and its volume is sufficient for any laptop in this price range.
Moreover, Linux powering functions precisely. There might be a few hardware hindrances but they can be easily resolved. At exceptionally low prices this is one of the most sustainable and best Ubuntu laptops available in the market.
5. HP Chromebook 13
A marvellous creation of HP, Chromebook 13 is giving a tough competition to its opponents in the market. A high resolution that the machine offers is more than mesmerizing to grab your attention and help justify its price.
This HP model supposedly has a completely metallic body resulting in the high rates it charges. However, it's only after one buys it that they realize that the bottom half consists of a basic finish. HP claims that it’s composed of magnesium but is given a matte finish such that a better grip can be achieved by the user.
While that may be a relief for the consumer for it lets them realize that the model is sturdy, it is still not worth the extra premium the model charges. A 4K IPS screen, however, makes up to quite an extent for all these deficits.
With a giant battery life of over 11 hours including 8 hours with intensive working this unstoppable device is for sure to drop your jaws. Performance wise this model functions well but heats up too soon to create annoyance.
The keyboard area with the top end processors gets unbearably hot at several long duration usage scenarios. However, this model is successful in running Ubuntu seamlessly.
While the Ubuntu OS might require some configuration changes from the user’s end, it functions well independently as well. Moreover, the fixes required are easy to run and conveniently available on Google.
Bottom line is that the market has an array of good laptop models to offer for Windows. Surprisingly, most of them allow you to use Ubuntu on them with relative ease and convenience.
But then again, all these laptops are no crafted pieces of perfect and do face certain hindrance that require external intervention or fixing. With the internet taking an edge over the variable sectors all around the globe these codes and drivers can be easily availed using the internet and one can incorporate these small fixes themselves with just a tiny bit of research.
As a result, it depends on the user, as to how much sincere efforts and hard earned money they desire to invest in for the repair of one of their owned 5 best Ubuntu laptops.