If you are a professional or a hobbyist looking for the best laptop for Kali Linux or penetration testing, then you are at the right place. Here, I have reviewed the top Kali Linux laptops available on the market today. Also, I have defined the buying guide to purchasing the best laptop for pentesting. So, take a cup of coffee and sit back to read the info ahead.
Best Laptop for Kali Linux
Though Kali Linux is not as much popular as the other Linux distros like Debian or Ubuntu, it is a far more helpful and recommended platform for the professionals who want to test the security weaknesses of a system through white hack attacks. I will not explain the need to buy the Kali Linux supported laptop in details as you may already know it well. So, let’s go to the product reviews.
1) Acer Aspire NX.M89AA.003; V5-131-2887 Laptop
I will start one of the top sought laptops for Kali Linux. It comes with enough 4GB RAM and a powerful processor. It has very light specifications which are perfect for the Linux distros.
Specifications for Acer Aspire V5-131-2887 Laptop:
- Intel Celeron 847 processor with frequency of 1.1GHz
- DDR3 RAM with 4GB memory
- Built-in Linux Operating System
- 11.5” display size
- Hard disk space of 320GB which runs at 5400rpm
- Latest wireless 802.11 b/g/n/a standard support
What I Like
- It comes with a perfect sized keyboard with comfortable touch functions
- 1280x720P resolution gives clear view while you use Linux applications
- Processor is powerful yet operates calmly and quietly
- Battery life is good and runs almost up to 6 hours
- Lightweight design makes it extremely portable and easy-to-carry during travel
What I didn’t like
- Sometimes, it faced issues in wireless connectivity
- The life of the battery is good but can be better
- Touchpad works little slower than expected
Easy to use functionality, great specification, and intuitive features make the Acer Aspire V5-131-2887 is an excellent value for money laptop for Linux programming and pentesting.
2) Asus X551 15.6-inch Black Laptop for Pentesting
Asus launched the dual-core, stylish design, and affordable laptop to boost your testing and coding skills with Kali Linux. It will help to ease your daily computing tasks like working with documents, surfing the web, coding in the Linux terminals, and especially doing penetration testing.
Specifications for Asus X551 Laptop are:
- Dual-Core N2830 Celeron processor from Intel with 2.41GHz rate
- DDR3L RAM with 4GB memory
- SATA hard disk with 500GB storage
- 1366x768P resolution on a 15.6” big screen
- One USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, and an integrated reader for your SD memory card
- Battery life of 4 hours after full charge
What I like
- It is available at relatively low price than other Kali Linux laptops, so it’s suitable for the beginners
- Stylish yet durable design and high connectivity
- The processor and RAM are good enough to handle multiple tasks at a time
- The storage space is standard for the price with a good read/write speed of almost 500RPM
- Though it performs better on Windows 8.1 & Windows 10 OS, it offers versatile performance on the Kali Linux too
What I didn’t like
- It does not have inbuilt Bluetooth support
- There is no optical drive present
The ASUS X551 is a budget Linux laptop which offers an adequate performance. It comes with premium looks, valuable quality, and trust from a well-known brand of Asus.
3) IBM ThinkPad R51 14″ Ubuntu Linux Laptop
The R51 ThinkPad from IBM is a real power-pack system for the Linux lovers. This mainstream laptop has a faster Intel Pentium processor & high-end graphics to give you an excellent unit on your table.
Specifications of IBM ThinkPad R51 Laptop are:
- 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M / Celeron M Processor
- Intel Extreme Graphics 2 Coprocessor
- DDR SDRAM with 512MB memory
- Bigger 14” TFT LCD with Radeon graphics
- Hard disk space of 40GB
- 802.11b/g wireless standard support
What I like
- It provides faster performance for mobile work
- Keyboard functionality is comfortable
- Bigger, wider screen to view sharp and clear contents
- Multiple modules support including DVD-RW drive
- It is a more business laptop than a multimedia purpose system
What I didn’t like
- Sound is slow and points towards the desk rather than the person sitting in front
- If you switch to Windows OS, then you will miss the Windows key on the keyboard
- The higher models are expensive compared to other in-class laptops
If you are looking at pentesting laptop, then this IBM machine is a perfect choice for you. But if you are also a fan of movies and games, then you need to think twice before purchasing it.
4) Apple MacBook Pro MJLT2LL/A 15” Laptop
When you look for the machine with a reliable battery life with a commanding performance, then you will find the Apple MacBook series laptops at every place. And this MJLT2LL/A pro machine is one among them. It even allows using different Kali Linux illustrations side by side.
Specifications of Apple MacBook Pro MJLT2LL/A Laptop are:
- 15-inch wide retina display
- Intel i5 dual-core processor with turbo boost of up to 3.7GHz
- The battery life of 9 hours after a full charge
- AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card with 2GB graphics DDR5 memory
- 512GB storage space on hard disk with 16GB RAM
- 4.5 pounds lightweight design
- Bluetooth 4.0 and wireless 802.11ac connectivity
What I like
- It has a faster booting speed, especially beneficial when you load higher OS
- Sturdy yet stylish built with retina display always looks beauty
- Longer battery life compared to other in-class laptops, so I can use it during travel without worrying about the power
- Superior performance with speedy connectivity
- I can customize its touchpad sensitivity which helps greatly for using different applications with different settings
What I didn’t like
- The memory is fixed, I can’t upgrade it
- No DVD drive and no Ethernet connection port
If you are not bounded by budget and want a super-fast, feature-loaded, and highly durable Linux laptop, then the Apple MacBook Pro MJLT2LL/A is one of the best options to go with.
5) Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS 15.6-inch 4K Laptop
The Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS is a more than a professional laptop bundled with the identical external look yet has some noticeable internal changes compared to its predecessor. This notebook machine is great for the personal users as well as for the office users who stick to one device for the longer period.
Specifications of Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS Laptop are:
- 7th generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor which works at a 3.5GHz speed
- 15.6” larger touch display
- DDR4 8GB memory which is expandable up to 32GB
- SSD with the storage capacity of 256GB
- 3840x2160P (4K) resolution which is great for gaming
- 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GDDR5 graphics
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- Bluetooth connectivity and compatible to the latest wireless standards
What I like
- It is the world’s only InfinityEdge screen with 15.6” display size that gives you views like your smartphone
- Compared to the Apple MacBook Pro, it has thinner design almost 59% less which makes it slimmer and more stylish
- Truly lightweight with weight of 3.9 pounds allows me to take it everywhere without extracting anything from my bag
- The backlit keyboard makes the work comfortable even in the dim light
- 90% recyclable parts turns it into an environment-friendly model
What I didn’t like
- Price can keep many users from buying it
- Battery life could be better
For the people who are looking for a 15” powerhouse laptop for pentesting, then the Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS will turn into a good choice for them.
Best Laptop for Pentesting – Things to Consider
I have reviewed the top Kali Linux supported laptops & any of them can turn into an excellent choice for penetration testing. But, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while buying a pentesting laptop. Check the guide below.
The things you need to consider while buying a Kali Linux Laptop for Penetration Testing are:
1) Memory Capability
2) Storage Capacity
4) Graphics Card
6) Battery Life
RAM is the most important and vital element of the processor, especially if you are buying the machine for checking the security of any system. The recommended RAM for a pentesting laptop is 4GB. If you have good enough budget and can go with 8GB or higher, then it is better.
The modern laptops come with SSDs which are faster and performing better than the HDDs. However, if you are low on budget, you can still pick up a machine with hard disk drive. The minimum recommended storage capacity is 250GB for the Kali Linux laptop.
The processor is the brain of a computing machine, and it should be the best for your budget. So, keep an eye on the specification of the processor you are getting in the machine. For the pentesting task, the minimum recommendation is the i5 processor. If you can go a little extra than your budget, choose the device with core i7 CPU.
Along with the processing power, the graphics also matter. Though AMD is a well-known brand for computer GPU, the NVIDIA clearly outperforms and has no competition with it when it comes to a laptop. Intel GPUs also performs well on Linux machines.
The laptop compatibility is the thing you should consider always. It should support multiple Operating Systems like Kali Linux, Windows, Mac, etc. The connection capability of a laptop also matters. It should come with the Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity with the support to the latest standards. Also, it should come with enough USB, HDMI, and other input ports to connect your devices as per the usage.
The battery life should be good enough to do the pentesting on your laptop. The time of the battery backup also depends on the processor, GPU, and the size of the display your laptop has. It’s recommended to check the hours the battery can power up your machine, especially if you will be using it for frequent travels and in the field. If you buy a laptop with a removable battery, then it will be more convenient to use it with an extra battery backup.
And finally, the budget is also an important thing to consider. Check the price of the laptop and match the specification with your requirements. If you find it is good enough to fulfill all your needs, then you should also go a little bit over your budget, if the laptop is costly.
Apart from these, the warranty, portability and the native Operating System of the laptop also matter. So, check them too.
I hope the product review and complete buying guide will help you to get the best Kali Linux laptop for pentesting. Keep the list of the requirements you need from a laptop and check the specification of the product mentioned by the manufacturer. It will help you to take the right decision.
I continuously research and look for the improvement here. So, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below and spread your knowledge with the world.