In this article, we will look at the top Linux distributions optimized for laptops.
Over the past few years, the mainstream Linux distributions significantly improved all its components, making it a compelling choice for new or old laptops. Thanks to their customizability, low resource requirements, and vast community support, they have become a go-to choice for many laptop users. However, with so many Linux distributions available, choosing the right one can be daunting. In this article, we will explore the top Linux distributions optimized for laptops.
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Factors to consider while choosing a Linux distribution for your Laptop
Several factors must be considered when choosing a Linux distribution for a laptop. The first factor is hardware compatibility. Not all Linux distributions work well with all hardware, so choosing a distribution compatible with the laptop’s hardware is essential. The second factor is the user’s experience level. Some distributions are more user-friendly than others, making them a better choice for beginners. The third factor is the purpose of the laptop. Some distributions are optimized for specific use cases, such as gaming, multimedia editing, or hardcore-development.
- Hardware compatibility with modern CPU, GPU and peripheral support
- User experience with Linux
- User-friendliness w.r.t. desktop usability
- Stability of the Linux distribution of choice
- Application availability
The following list should cater to most of the everyday use cases of your laptops.
Best Linux Distributions for Laptops
If you are someone who has recently switched over from Windows and is looking for some beginner-friendly distros, then Linux Mint might be the one for you. It is a fairly lightweight Linux distro that somewhat resembles Windows in its appearance. It also comes with a lot of feature-rich applications. It comes with three main variants as per desktops:
All the above three desktop environments feature legacy desktops, which are icon and traditional menu driven. Furthermore, Linux Mint includes its own set of native tools such as file transfer, remote connection, USB writing and more, making it easy for you to get started on your new Laptop without worrying about software.
In addition, wireless devices, printers and scanners work out of the box with Linux Mint. Hence it can be the best choice among all the distros listed here.
You can download Linux Mint from the below link and learn more here.
Fedora KDE Edition
Fedora KDE Edition provides a user-friendly and powerful computing experience for users who prefer the KDE Plasma desktop environment. The KDE Plasma desktop is known for its modern, sleek, and customizable interface.
It is particularly well-suited for use on laptops for several reasons. Firstly, it provides excellent power management features optimized for laptop use. This means you can expect longer battery life when running Fedora KDE Edition on your laptop, as the operating system will efficiently manage power consumption. It’s worth pointing out that power management features are mostly built-in in all distros. However, the KDE Plasma desktop exposes the controls for you more effectively.
Secondly, the KDE Plasma desktop environment is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor the interface to your specific needs and preferences. This can be particularly useful on a laptop, where screen real estate is often limited. KDE Plasma provides a range of customization options that can help you optimize your workspace, including creating virtual desktops and customising your desktop widgets.
Another key advantage of Fedora KDE Edition for laptops is its extensive hardware support. Fedora is known for its commitment to providing up-to-date drivers for the latest hardware and technology. You can expect excellent performance and compatibility on your laptop, regardless of the make and model.
Ubuntu LTS Desktop
If you are not a fan of the legacy look of Linux Mint or Fedora, then your best choice is the Ubuntu LTS edition for your laptop. Ubuntu LTS (Long-Term Support) version is the most popular and stable distribution. It is designed to provide stable, secure, and reliable performance over an extended period.
Ubuntu LTS releases are supported with security updates and bug fixes for up to five years, making them an excellent choice for users who value stability and predictability. You can quickly run Ubuntu LTS on your laptop with minor maintenance and upgrade for over five years without significant effort for re-installation.
Ubuntu team ensures that the operating system is optimized for performance and efficiency, making it ideal for systems with limited resources. This means that Ubuntu LTS can run smoothly on older or less powerful laptops, providing users a fast and responsive experience even on low-end hardware.
However, it’s not a good idea to run Ubuntu LTS on a laptop which is five to six years old at any given time.
That being said, Ubuntu LTS comes with a few basic applications. Hence you may need to customize by installing several Ubuntu apps as needed. Ubuntu, by default, uses the GNOME desktop environment. However, there are options for official flavours with more desktop variants (e.g. Kubuntu, Lubuntu or Xubuntu) which you may consider as per your taste.
Developed by System76, Pop!_OS is specifically designed for Laptops. American computer manufacturer System76 created Pop!_OS for their own hardware lineup, which also includes laptops. Based on Ubuntu and powered by a customized GNOME desktop, it is one of the best alternatives for your laptop.
Feature-wise, it comes with a few cool customizations which you may not find by default in other distros, such as:
- Auto Tiling
- Separate Workspaces
- Stacking Windows
In terms of security, Pop!_OS is designed with privacy and protection in mind. It includes features like full-disk encryption and secure boot, which help protect your data and prevent unauthorized access. It also includes the latest security updates and patches, ensuring that your system is always up-to-date and protected against the latest threats.
Among all the distros in this list, elementary OS is the most beautiful distro by default, with a promise of stability. ElementaryOS’s Pantheon desktop is known for its sleek, modern design, simplicity, and ease of use. It is an excellent choice for laptops, especially for those who prefer a minimalist and user-friendly interface.
The operating system is optimized for performance, making it an excellent choice for laptops with limited resources. It also comes with a range of power management features that help conserve battery life, allowing you to use your laptop for extended periods without recharge.
The major advantage of elementary OS is the AppCenter, a curated application repository specially designed for elementaryOS. The AppCenter has hundreds of applications for every need. Alongside, you can take advantage of a vast collection of Flathub apps or native apt packages.
All of these are possible thanks to its Ubuntu LTS base, which promises ultimate security and consistency. You can use elementaryOS for your laptops if you are looking for a macOS-style look by default in Linux with long-term stability in mind.
A few more choices which you may try
Although the above list is perfect considering all possible use cases, if you would like to explore further, you can try the following distributions for your Laptop. They are equally good.
- Debian with Xfce desktop edition [Installation guide]
- Ubuntu Budgie
- MX Linux [Installation guide]
Choosing the right Linux distribution for a laptop can be challenging. In this article, I have outlined a few choices based on my experience and running Linux on laptops over the years. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced user, there is always a distribution that will meet your needs. I hope you find the Linux distro of your choice for your laptops.