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3 Best Ubuntu compatible laptops

One of the major issues in adopting Linux is hardware compatibility. There are many components for which there are no dedicated drivers yet (eg. Atheros wireless cards). You may compile and install drivers in some cases (eg. Broadcom CrystalHD). But in many cases this may not be possible. Therefore it is essential to do your due diligence and find out the configuration that works well in Linux or Ubuntu before your purchase. To help such customers, Ubuntu offers a list of Ubuntu certified hardware. I have found this list to be a bit outdated. Previously, Ubuntu also offered a list of supported hardware components that work with Ubuntu or fixes to make them work with Ubuntu. This program has since been discontinued and many of the help documents are obsolete. But you may still find Ubuntu compatible laptops or hardware that may work in your case. In this post, I present, the top 3 Ubuntu compatible laptops (out-of-the-box no modifications/upgrade) that are available that the time of writing this post.

Ubuntu Compatible Laptops

Ubuntu Compatible LaptopsIn the list below you may find that out of the 3 laptops, 2 of them are ASUS. I personally have had good experience with ASUS. I am impressed with their 1 year comprehensive warranty that comes with almost all laptops. I accidentally spilled coffee on my laptop and fried my motherboard. ASUS replaced it for free. Without further adieu, here is the list:

ASUS N53SM-AS51 15.6-Inch Laptop

ASUS N53SM-AS51
ASUS N53SM-AS51
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Intel Core i5-2450M Dual Core (2.5GHz)
  • NVIDIA GT 630M 2G
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
  • 6GB DDR3 1066MHz, 2 SODIMM Sockets, up to 8GB
  • 750GB 7200RPM
  • DL DVD±RW/CD-RW
  • 2.0 megapixel
  • Premium sounding speakers co-developed with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower
  • Battery: 6-cell
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs. (with 6-cell battery)
  • Others: Multi-card reader and several ports

Warranty: 1 year comprehensive warranty (include accidental damage, which is rare to find).
Pros: Great hardware, graphics, audio, HDD speed, gigabit LAN, wireless N, USB 3.0, RAM, and Warranty
Cons: No Bluray, Gaming issues in Linux/Ubuntu (cannot use Optimus features)
Ubuntu Compatibility: Great compatibility except if you are an avid gamer. Hardcore and video intensive games may not run well. 30 seconds or less boot and shutdown times. One of the better Ubuntu compatible laptops.

ASUS A53E-AS31 15.6-Inch Laptop

ASUS A53E-AS31
ASUS A53E-AS31
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 15.6-inch HD display (1366 x 768)
  • Intel Core i3-2350M (2.3 GHz)
  • Intel GMA HD
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
  • 4GB DDR3 (1333 MHz SDRAM, 2 x SODIMM socket for expansion up to 8GB SDRAM)
  • 750GB 5400RPM
  • DL DVD±RW/CD-RW
  • 0.3 megapixel
  • Altec Lansing speakers
  • 6-cell
  • 5.72 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
  • Others: Multi-card reader and several ports

Warranty: 1 year comprehensive warranty (include accidental damage, which is rare to find).
Pros:Good hardware for everyday use, gigabit LAN, wireless N, audio, USB 3.0, and Warranty
Cons:No Bluray, no dedicated video card, low resolution webcam, and low RAM (enough for Ubuntu and can be upgraded to 8 GB).
Ubuntu Compatibility: Great compatibility and very good laptop for everyday use. No major issues identified. 30 seconds or less boot and shutdown times. One of the good Ubuntu compatible laptops.

Dell XPS XPS14-10909sLV 14-Inch Ultrabook Laptop

Dell XPS XPS14-10909sLV
Dell XPS XPS14-10909sLV
  • Intel Core i7 3517U Processor 1.9GHz
  • 8 GB DIMM RAM
  • 500GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD and 32GB mSATA SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M 1GB
  • 14-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 802.11bgn
  • Waves MaxxAudio® 4.0
  • Weight 4.6 pounds
  • Others: Multi-card reader and several ports

Warranty: 1 Limited Warrant.
Pros: Great hardware, gigabit LAN, wireless N, audio, graphics, battery life, 32 GB SSD, and USB 3.0
Cons: No cd/dvd/bluray drive. Lack of Linux support for NVIDIA Optimus technology (See Ray’s comment in the Comments section).
Ubuntu Compatibility: Great compatibility and very good laptop for everyday use. No issues. 30 seconds or less boot and shutdown times. Lack of Linux support for NVIDIA Optimus technology (See Ray’s comment in the Comments section). Overall, one of the good Ubuntu compatible laptops.

So there you go; the best Ubuntu compatible laptops of 2012. Please note that the above recommendations are only guidelines. As always do your research, read reviews, and determine whether a laptop you are interested in is capable of doing what you want to do in Linux. If you have found other laptop models that have worked well for you, please share it with us.

UPDATE (9/17): Updated Ubuntu compatible laptops list to modify Dell XPS XPS14 based on Ray’s comments. Thanks Ray for pointing out that there is lack of Linux support for NVIDIA Optimus technology in the Dell model as well.

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About the author

Anand

Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.

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