Best Linux Laptop of 2021 for College Students | One PC Panda

Best Linux Laptop of 2021 for College Students

Linux is another popular operating system that’s known to be open-source, free, and probably the most secure compared to other well-known OS. In addition, it also offers more freedom, privacy, and better security against viruses and malware as it’s much less vulnerable. During its first launch, not many consumers considered buying laptops using the Linux OS due to its limited compatibility with apps. However, in recent years, it is slowly adopted in different fields of industries, businesses, home users and even by college students as a better alternative to Windows and macOS. We listed down the top Best Linux laptops of 2021 for college students that might just be suitable for your school work and course programs. 

Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

Dell XPS 13 is the smallest 13-inch laptop but tops many lists for its features and high-end capacity. This also includes being one of the most popular best Linux laptops of 2021. It’s a beast and a favorite of many developers for being customizable, having multiple connectivities, and delivering real experience using its pre-installed Ubuntu Linux. It makes a great overall laptop for Linux users. However, it was designed with developers in mind and not so ideal if you’re into gaming. It also retails at $1,000 which sits on the pricey side as compared to its Windows counterparts. 


Processor: 11th gen i5/i7 processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.2 GHz)

GPU: Mesa Intel Xe Graphics

RAM: up to 32 GB RAM


Display: 13.4″ FHD and UHD options; InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display

Connectivity: Killer Wi-Fi 6 support, Bluetooth 5.0, fingerprint reader

Operating System: Ubuntu Linux 20.04

Battery: 4-Cell Battery, 52 Whr

Buy if:

  • You are looking for a perfect Linux laptop - high-end, high-performance, and solid build 

  • You want a thin, light, and slim but powerful laptop 

  • You want a hassle-free, factory preconfigured Linux high power hardware 

  • You are looking for a laptop specifically designed for developers

Don’t buy if: 

  • You need a Linux laptop that can handle heavier graphics intense programs

  • You need a gaming Linux laptop 

  • You are looking for a budget laptop 

System76 Oryx Pro

System76 Oryx Pro

System76 is one of those brands that solidly build powerful and portable Linux laptops. However, it’s  System76 Oryx Pro that takes the cake as it is probably the first to be considered by users that need heavy workloads and high-end GPUs. It’s the best gaming Linux laptop in the market by far and was recently upgraded. Sizing options from 15-inch or 17-inch laptops, it offers users Open source BIOS, switchable Hybrid NVIDIA, and Intel graphics at 144Hz refresh rate


Processor: 11th Gen Intel® Core i7-11800H (24MB Cache, up to 4.6 GHz), 8 cores – 16 threads

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q or 3080 Max-Q

RAM: up to 32 GB RAM

SSD: 2x M.2 SSD

Display: 13.4″ FHD 15.6" or 17.3" 

Connectivity: 1 x Thunderbolt™ 4, 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1

Operating System: Pop!_OS 21.04 (64-bit), Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit), or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64-bit)

Battery life: 9 hours

Buy if:

  • You are looking for an overall powerful and high-performance Linux laptop

  • You want a gaming Linux-enabled laptop

  • You want a customizable pre-installed Linux OS with dual-boot for Windows

Don’t buy if:

  • You are on a limited budget, not more than $1000

  • You want a 4K display option 

  • You want a light and portable laptop to bring anywhere

Purism Librem 14

Purism Librem 14 is said to be the most secure laptop ever and one of the best Linux laptops of 2021. It was built with carefully selected chip-by-chip hardware specially designed for enhancing privacy, security, and freedom. It’s a solid 14-inch, powerful, and security-focused laptop that has hardly any closed-source firmware. No other laptops in the market are comparable to its high level of security. It has a physical kill switch and switchable GPU to Debian and is one of the few capable dual displays in 4K output. However, for a privacy-designed laptop, like many Linux laptops, it comes with a hefty price tag of around $1470. If you’re looking for a Linux laptop that is comparable to MacBook Pro, then this laptop might be a great alternative. 


Processor: Intel Core i7 10710U Comet Lake Processor (24MB Cache, up to 4.6 GHz), 6 cores – 12 threads

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620

RAM: up to 64GB RAM


Display: 14″ Matte Screen

Connectivity: USB 3.1 Type-A , USB 3.1 type-C w/ PD, HDMI 2

Operating System: PureOS (Debian Linux)

Battery: 3-Cell Polymer, Battery, 66.8Wh battery

Buy if:

  • You want an ultraportable and ultra-secure laptop 

  • You like a Linux enabled laptop that focuses on privacy and security

  • You want a laptop with switchable OS and a physical kill switch

Don’t buy if:

  • You’re looking for a laptop less than $1200 

  • You want a streaming laptop with a good webcam, audio speakers, and mic

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

This classic laptop is in its 9th generation and remains one of the powerhouse models up to this day. It’s a powerful and premium laptop in its overall features. Add either Ubuntu or Fedora Linux OSes and you have a high-performance, world-class, and heavy-workload capable developer’s laptop.  Its super portable and thin carbon-fiber reinforced chassis provides top-tier durability.  It also comes pre-installed with a solid Dolby Atmos audio system and  Dolby Access perfect for customizing audios for games, movies, music, and even online meetings. 


Processor: 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz), 4 cores – 8 threads

GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs

RAM: up to 32 GB RAM


Display: 14″ Matte Screen 16:10 FHD, WQHD, and 4K UHD

Connectivity: HDMI, USB-A ports, Thunderbolt 4, Fingerprint Reader, And Wi-Fi 6 Support

Operating System: Ubuntu or Fedora Linux OSes

Battery: 3-Cell Polymer, Battery, 57 Whr battery

Buy If: 

  • You want a high-performance system, super lightweight, portable, stylish, and durable Linux laptop

  • You are looking for a Linux laptop that can provide good displays even outdoors

  • You want a matte 16:10 screen ratio, long battery life with many ports, and solid speakers

Don’t buy if:

  • You’re looking for a gaming laptop 

  • You’re looking for a high-quality built-in webcam for streaming

  • You’re on a budget of less than $1,000

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

While a great number of Linux installed laptops are on the pricey side, this Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is actually one of the most affordable and perhaps the best Chromebook in the market today.  This 13-inch touch display is a 2 in 1 device perfect for Linux beginner users. It’s a solid laptop with a powerful workhorse that runs both Android and Linux desktop applications. What makes this a great deal is that it auto-updates until June 2028 and it syncs fast and easily better than Windows.


Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7 (8MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz), 4 cores – 8 threads

GPU: Intel Iris Xe



Display: 13.5-inch, 3:2 touchscreen

Connectivity: 2 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen Type-A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x microSD, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Operating System: Chrome OS

Battery: 3-Cell Polymer, Battery, 56WHr battery

Buy If: 

  • You want the best 2-in-1 Chromebook in the market at a reasonable price 

  • You want a solid utilitarian design

  • You need a heavy-duty device for multitasking, office work, and streaming

Don’t buy if:

  • You want a Chromebook that supports Stylus (No Stylus support)

  • You’re looking for a lower budget Chromebook

A great number of laptops and notebooks models today are Linux-enabled. Most of them are for hardworking, heavy loaders and power users.  Nowadays, it’s easier to find the ideal and right Linux laptop that would cater to your everyday life, business, and a high-demanding job at competitive prices.


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