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 pen-testing. 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 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 detail as you may already know it well. So, let’s go to the product reviews.
1. Alienware AW174R4-7006SLV-PUS
Alienware is among the best laptops in most categories and Kali Linux is no exception. This particular model comes with a wide variety of features that I love. Let’s explore them:
Specifications of the Alienware Laptop are:
- 16 GB RAM
- NVIDIA GTX 1070 capacity
- 1 TB HDD
- 256 GB SSD
- 17-inch screen
- 7th Generation Intel Core i7
- Windows 10 operating system
It has a full HD display with an IPS panel and anti-glare properties. The brightness is 300 nits.
It also has Tobii IR Eye Tracking
It has high thermal design power, which keeps it cool even during high performance
Upgraded Alienware TactX keyboard with n-key rollover
Superb Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi connectivity
It has an excellent build quality
No optical drive
Battery life is short
It tends to overheat
The trackpad is not very easy to use[/i2cons][/i2pc]
If high performance is high on your list, you should not think twice before going for this laptop. Of course, you will have to compromise on the battery life but for stationary work, it is worth it.
2. Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop
Dell is another leader in the world of laptops. Its laptops are also priced fairly, making it a good choice. This particular laptop has received a lot of love from its users and I personally like it as well.
Specifications of the Dell SPX 15 7590 laptops are:
- 15.6 inches with 4K UHD display
- OLED Infinity-Edge Anti-reflective Display
- 9th Generation Intel Core i7
- 16 GB DDR4 memory
- SD card reader
- Windows 10 operating system
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
The laptop has an amazing design – it is slim and weighs very less
It has advanced WiFi 6 technology
Mainly a work laptop but you can play some good games as well
Discrete and powerful GPU
Upgradable memory and storage[/i2pros]
It gets hot when used for a long time
It comes with unwanted bloatware[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This Dell laptop is easily one of my favorites due to its many great features. If it had the better thermal cooling capacity, it would be the best in its league.
3. Acer Predator Helios 300 Laptop
Anyone looking for an easy-to-use laptop that aids penetration testing will love the Acer Predator Helios. It has all the features you need and maybe a few additional ones as well. Here are some of its specifications:
Specifications of the Acer Predator Helios 300 Laptops are:
- 15.6 inches will full HD display and 144 Hz refresh rate
- 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics Card
- 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard
- 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
- Multiple connection options
- AeroBlade 3D Fan (4th Gen)
- 6 hours battery life
3ms response time
32GB DDR4 memory
It has excellent brightness at 300 nits
Comes with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
Has an iCarp Wireless Mouse[/i2pros]
The USB-C port does not support display
Windows 10 is not activated[/i2cons][/i2pc]
4. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Flagship Laptop
Those who are looking for a large laptop that comes loaded with multitasking capabilities will love the Lenovo Ideapad Y700. It is one of my top picks because it has various features that suit my work preferences. Here are more details:
Specifications of the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Laptop:
- 17.3-inch full HD laptop with IPS display
- Quad-core power and discrete graphics
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M – 4 GB
- 802.11 ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
- 1 TB + 128G SSD storage
- 16 GB DDR4 memory
- JBL Speaker with Dolby
- Windows 10 Operating System
It comes with a good and easy to use backlit keyboard
It has a media card reader
It has Y700 thermal cooling that keeps the laptop cool during serious work and gaming
Short battery life
Leaves visible fingerprints on the trackpad
Subwoofer will not work with Linux[/i2cons][/i2pc]
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 is unbeatable as a work laptop. It is also fairly priced, which is one of my main considerations.
5. Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS
The Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS is more than a professional laptop bundled with an identical external look yet has some noticeable internal changes compared to its predecessor. This notebook machine is great for personal users as well as for office users who stick to one device for a 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 compatibility to the latest wireless standards
It is the world’s only InfinityEdge screen with a 15.6” display size that gives you views like your smartphone
Compared to the Apple MacBook Pro, it has a thinner design almost 59% less which makes it slimmer and more stylish
Truly lightweight with a 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 turn it into an environment-friendly model[/i2pros]
Price can keep many users from buying it
Battery life could be better[/i2cons][/i2pc]
For the people who are looking for a 15” powerhouse laptop for pen testing, 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 pen-testing laptop. Check the guide below.
The things you need to consider while buying a Kali Linux Laptop for Penetration Testing are:
- Memory Capability
- Storage Capacity
- Graphics Card
- 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 pen-testing laptop is 4GB. If you have a 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 a 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 pen testing task, the minimum recommendation is the i5 processor. If you can go a little extra than your budget, choose the device with a Core i7 CPU.
Along with the processing power, the graphics also matter. Though AMD is a well-known brand for computer GPU, NVIDIA clearly outperforms and has no competition with it when it comes to a laptop. Intel GPUs also perform well on Linux machines.
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 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 pen testing 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 pen-testing. 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 make the right decision.
I continuously research and look for improvement here. So, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below and spread your knowledge with the world.