Do you have the curiosity to know about the Best Laptops For GIS To Buy in 2020? 🤔
We got you covered in this buyer’s guide. 🤴
Let’s get started.
A GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is a demanding software and if you are into GIS, then you already know you need a special laptop with advanced specifications and features to support the capacity of the software.
From creating and mapping geographical statistics to imagery and remote sensing, spatial analytics, data collection, and processing, GIS tasks are high-end performing tasks that typically involve capturing and processing of information and your regular laptop is not equipped to efficiently carry out these technical tasks.
For a smooth performance and the best computing experience, the laptop you should use to run your GIS software will need to have the latest technology and processor, a large storage space, the highest RAM option, a dedicated graphics card and a range of other advanced features that may not be available in your regular laptop.
However, there are dozens of laptops in the market from various brands with a wide variety of specifications and it can be overwhelming to pick out the right one that will allow you efficiently run GIS software like ArcGIS, QGIS, MapInfo professional, MAPublisher, Maptitude, and others.
Fortunately for you, in this article, we have rounded up 7 excellent laptops for GIS with powerful specifications and features that suit the system requirements for running GIS software.
At the time of our research on “Best Laptops For GIS”, we found a video about “14 Questions National Geographic Finally Answered” which is worth watching. 🤴🏆
Also, at the end of the review is a buyer’s guide which outlines the important factors to look out for before you purchase a GIS laptop. Now, let’s get into it. Below are the best GIS laptops currently available on the market.
Best Laptops For GIS: Our Top Pick
1. Microsoft Surface Book Laptop
First on the list is the Microsoft Surface Book 2. This is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best laptop for GIS on the market now.
One amazing feature of this laptop is the fact that it is convertible. In other words, the screen is detachable and you can use it either as a laptop or tablet.
This is great for portability. While still on portability, the laptop weighs just 3.2 pounds undetached which means it is definitely a lot lighter when used in tablet mode. You’ll find it useful if you tend to move around a lot with your laptop.
About its specifications, the Surface Book 2 comes with a powerful 1.9GHz 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U Quad-Core processor, 16GB of RAM which is more than enough to run a GIS software, 1TB SSD of storage capacity for fast and easy data access and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card to enable you play games and render thousands of polygons without a hitch.
The battery life of the laptop is equally commendable which isn’t surprising as there is a battery each in the display and keyboard of the laptop.
In laptop mode, you can get as much as 🔋 12 hours of battery life while in tablet mode, although slightly lower, the 8 hours of battery life is still quite impressive. Essentially with a full charge, you can get several hours of usage from this laptop.
The detachable screen has a 15-inch PS touchscreen display that offers amazing color reproduction with excellent viewing angles and bright images.
If you need a laptop that will be as pleasurable to look at as it is functional, then you can enjoy a second to none high-resolution display with the Surface Book 2.
Other noteworthy features of this GIS laptop Media Card Slot, Microsoft Surface Pen Platinum, USB 3.0 Type-A, USB Type-C. The only downside to this laptop is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3.
Also, the cooling system is not the best so when you run heavy-duty tasks on the laptop, you can expect it to heat it up. Nonetheless, it is still a great laptop and if the price is within your budget, then you should go for it.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Microsoft Surface Book Laptop that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- It is convertible and can be used as a laptop or tablet
- The laptop is equipped with powerful features for great performance
- Incredible battery Life
- High-resolution display with touch support
- It is relatively lightweight
- It has a sleek and portable design
- It is expensive
- Doesn’t come with Thunderbolt 3
- The cooling system could be better
- The Surface Pen has to be bought separately
In all, it doesn’t get better than the Microsoft Surface Book 2 if you need a laptop to run your GIS software.
2. Acer Aspire E 15 GIS Laptop
Next is the Acer Aspire E 15. Whether it is in battery life, performance or display, this laptop is built to satisfy the requirements of GIS students and professionals.
Regarding its build quality, the laptop is mainly made out of plastic, nonetheless, it still has a very solid construction and will last if it is well taken care of. The screen is a 15.6 inch 1080P IPS display which delivers life-like color reproduction with amazing viewing angles.
For its specifications, the Aspire E15 uses the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, the latest i7 processor on the market. With this processor, you can be assured of great performance which will allow you to run the demanding tasks of GIS software as smoothly as possible.
If you tend to multitask a lot with your laptop, then you will absolutely love the 8GB DDR3 RAM with a GeForce MX150 GPU. With the RAM, you can run as many programs as you like simultaneously without worrying about your laptop hanging off on you.
The entry-level GPU, on the other hand, allows for light and moderate gaming. The storage capacity comes in at 256GB SSD and if that may not enough be for you, don’t worry, Acer also offers an expandable storage slot for you to increase the system’s SSD/ HDD.
For the battery life, you can expect up to 🔋 12 hours of usage with a single charge before you will need to recharge it. 12 hours is plenty of time to get things done so this is quite impressive.
The laptop runs on Windows 10 so you won’t have to worry about updating the software. For its connectivity options, the laptop features 1 USB Type C port, 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI port, Bluetooth 4.1 and a card reader.
The unit weighs 5.3 pounds so if you like to move around with your laptop a lot, this might not be the most portable option for you as the weight can be an inconvenience.
However, weight aside, this laptop is a great product from Acer and we highly recommend it for GIS which makes it to put in our Best Laptops For GIS list.
- Solid-body construction
- An amazing display with accurate color reproduction
- Excellent specifications and great performance
- The laptop has great battery life.
- Runs on Windows 10 Operating System
- Lots of connectivity ports
- The design is basic
- The laptop is relatively heavy
With its high performance and moderate pricing, the Aspire E 15 offers great value for money and it is a purchase you will not regret.
3. Apple MacBook Pro
Apple is one of the most reputable tech companies in the world so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have one of the best GIS laptops which comes in the form of the Apple MacBook Pro.
This laptop is equipped with the Intel i7 Quad-Core processor for high-end performance, a 16GB RAM to efficiently handle multi-tasking and a storage capacity of 256GB SSD.
A particularly interesting feature of this laptop is the Radeon Pro dedicated graphics chip which has a 4GB VRAM capacity. These advanced specifications make the MacBook Pro a solid and powerful unit for GIS.
This laptop also features the Touch Bar which is great when you need to pick up the pace of the work. The Touch ID, on the other hand, is a security feature designed to keep your MacBook safe from hackers.
Now about the display, the 15.4-inch IPS screen comes with Apple’s Retina design and is capable of producing very clear and sharp images with excellent color reproduction. As common with Apple products, the MacBook has a sleek and modern design with impressive build quality.
For battery life, you can get as much as 10 hours of usage from the laptop. It weighs 4.02 pounds which is good enough for all it is fitted with. The MacBook Pro comes with a fair number of connectivity options including four USB Type C ports, a 3.5 mm stereo jack, Bluetooth 5.0 and WLAN.
However, it doesn’t feature USB-A or HDMI ports nor is there a slot for an SD-reader. Considering the fact that the laptop is stacked with so many features, the absence of these basic connectors is rather disappointing.
Talking about disappointing, as with all other Apple products, the MacBook Pro is somewhat pricey so if you are on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Apple MacBook Pro that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- Brilliant Retina display with incredible color accuracy
- Great performance
- Good battery life
- Sleek and modern design
- Superb build quality
- Features Touch ID and Touch Bar
- A wide range of ports for ease of connectivity
- Powerful GPU for smooth performance
- It is very pricey
- Poor selection of ports
Although the laptop is expensive, it is worth the money and if you don’t mind working on MacOS, then you should check this out.
4. Dell Inspiron i5577: Best laptop for ArcGIS pro
The Dell Inspiron i5577 is a laptop built to run GIS software. The screen is a 15.6-inch full HD TN panel with excellent viewing angles. The color accuracy is not exactly the best, but otherwise, the display is pretty decent.
The Inspiron i5577 is powered by an Intel Core i7-7700HQ which does a pretty good job of handling the heavy tasks that come with running a GIS software.
Dell offers this laptop with a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD hybrid storage capacity which offers more than enough space for the programs you will want to install as well as any personal data you may want to save to the laptop. The GTX 1050 GPU will also come in handy during intense gaming sessions.
Regarding its battery life, compared to the other laptops we have reviewed so far, expected hours of usage of the Dell Inspiron i5577 is quite low.
With normal usage, you can get a maximum of 6 hours, however, if you intend to run demanding software like GIS, with the heavy tasks and programs, the most you will get from this laptop will be 2 hours of usage.
So if you want a laptop you will use purely for GIS and nothing more, while this is an excellent choice, the poor battery life might be a hindrance.
The weight comes in at 5.7 pounds which we believe is heavy enough to be an inconvenience if you want a laptop you can carry around. However, if the laptop will be used more like a stationary unit, then its weight will not be a problem.
The system comes preinstalled with Windows 10 so there will be no need to update your software. Additional features in the laptop include 3 USB ports including a Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, an SD card reader and Ethernet jack.
Something else you might also want to watch out for is the fan noise. When running heavy programs, the laptop can get really noisy and while the noise is not loud enough to be a distraction, the fact remains that this Dell laptop doesn’t have a quiet operation.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Dell Inspiron i5577 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- Excellent performance.
- Solid build quality.
- Runs on the latest Windows 10 Operating System
- It has a noisy operation
- An IPS display would have been a better choice than the featured TN display
- It isn’t lightweight
- Poor battery life
All in all, the Dell Inspiron i5577 has some solid specifications and provided you don’t mind charging it regularly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go for it.
5. ASUS VivoBook S S410UN-NS74
If you are after a GIS Laptop that checks all the boxes for performance, portability, and design, look no further than the VivoBook S S410 from Asus.
The standout feature of this laptop is its sleek aluminum finishing and modern design as well as a thin and light body construction.
The thin body frame measures just 0.7 inches in width while the weight checks in at 3.2 pounds. If you need a GIS laptop you can easily travel with, the design of this model of Asus VivoBook makes it the best option for you.
Nonetheless, there is a lot more to this laptop than its design and build quality. The laptop runs on the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8550U quad-core processor to allow you to run your GIS programs as smoothly as you possibly can.
The RAM is an 8GB DDR4 with 2GB of NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU. You get 256GB SSD of storage capacity for all your personal data, GIS files and any other file you might want to save to the laptop.
The screen of the ASUS VivoBook S410 is a 14 inch Full HD display with excellent color reproduction, incredible viewing angles and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The ASUS VivoBook S S410 is also designed with a backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor to make typing as easy and comfortable as possible.
The essential connectors fitted in the laptop include USB 3.1 Type C, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, one headphone/mic port, HDMI port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.0.
Finally, with the 42WHr lithium-ion battery, you can get as much as 8 hours with a full charge which in our opinion is pretty decent.
Perhaps best of all is that Asus offers the laptop with a one-year accidental damage warranty against electrical surges, drops, fire, and spills.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The ASUS VivoBook S S410UN-NS74 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- Boasts excellent performance
- Premium design with the sturdy build quality
- It is lightweight and portable
- The screen display is brilliant
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Decent battery life
- Runs on the Windows 10 Operating System
- The graphics card can be better
Overall, ASUS VivoBook S S410 has pretty consistent performance and when coupled with its thin and lightweight design, you can understand why it is on this Best Laptops For GIS 2020 list.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent GIS laptop and being the second Acer laptop to be featured on this list is a testament to the company’s reputation in the tech industry.
However, Acer doesn’t bank on its reputation alone as the laptop delivers a great performance that matches the requirement of GIS software.
For its processing power, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is fitted with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core processor which can be turbo-boosted to a frequency of 3.80 GHz.
It is packed with a 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM) GPU, so whether you are multi-tasking, running lots of programs or gaming, this system will have no problems handling them.
The storage capacity is 256 GB SSD and you can always expand the systems storage capacity via the HDD slot. This way, you can have all the space you need to store your files and install programs.
The display is a 15.6-inch IPS screen with full HD resolution which is okay for a laptop in this class. The Predator Helios 300 is a pretty bulky laptop weighing almost 6 pounds so if portability is a priority for you, then this might not cut it.
The battery life is pretty decent as well. With normal usage, it can last for up to 7 hours but if you are performing a lot of heavy tasks or gaming, then you can expect a maximum of 3 hours here.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Acer Predator Helios 300 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- Brilliant performance with great graphics processing
- Excellent screen display
- Solid and durable body construction
- Illuminated keyboard
- Runs on Windows 10 Operating System
- The batter life is average
- Bulky construction
With the wonderful graphics processing and top-notch performance of this laptop, we highly recommend it for running your GIS software.
7. Dell XPS 15 9560 GIS Laptop
Dell makes its second appearance on the Best Laptops For GIS 2020 list and this time, it’s in form of the Dell XPS 15 9560. One of the most amazing things about this laptop is its rich and powerful display.
The laptop features a stunning 4K 15.6-inch touchscreen display which provides incredible viewing angles and brilliant life-like color reproduction. If you care a lot about the quality display, then you will absolutely love this laptop.
However, the price you have to pay for the gorgeous 4K display is average battery life. The XPS 15 can last for up to 8 hours which is still enough time to get a considerable amount of work done.
The laptop runs on an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM which can deliver incredible performance when you need to run the demanding tasks of GIS software. The laptop comes with a capable GPU – GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM for.
While it may not be the fastest graphics card on the market, it is certainly capable of delivering a smooth performance with gaming or 3D rendering.
The Dell XPS 15 9560 also offers the ThunderBolt 3 (USB Type-C) which allows for ultra-fast data transfer while charging the laptop as well.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Dell XPS 15 9560 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Laptops For GIS to get in 2020.
- Great performance
- Stunning 4K Display for a vivid and sharp display
- Superb build quality with spectacular design
- Features a fingerprint sensor
- Decent battery life
- Runs on Windows 10 Operating System
- It is slightly pricey
If you are a GIS professional, then this laptop is worth considering. From the incredible 4K display to the stunning bezel design, the Dell XPS 15 is as good as GIS laptops come.
Factors To Consider When Buying the Best Laptops For GIS in 2020
Here are a few things you need to put into consideration when you are looking for the best laptop to run GIS software.
GIS is a demanding software with heavy task programs so for a laptop to be ideal for GIS, it will need a powerful processor with high clock speeds of at least 2.2 GHz. Intel Core i5s and i7s processors and other multi-core (quad-core is recommended, could be higher) processors with TurboBoost technology can handle GIS programs efficiently.
A RAM size below 8GB will not be efficient at handling the multitasking for a GIS laptop. Ideally, it is advised that you go for RAM sizes 16GB and higher to accommodate large maps. Generally, the bigger the RAM, the better.
You will need a minimum of 32 GB of storage space on a solid-state drive (SSD) for a GIS software to run smoothly on your laptop. Most laptops offer high storage capacity so you won’t have problems finding a unit that meets this requirement.
If you tend to store a lot of data on your laptop, then, by all means, choose a laptop with a much larger storage capacity.
While an integrated graphics card can still work with GIS software, for optimum computing experience, it is best you for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. Not only are they better than the integrated GPU, they are also a better match for the graphic requirements for GIS.
📗FAQ’s on Best Laptops For GIS
Below are the couple of queries on Best Laptops For GIS that everyone is expecting to answer and I did include the same for my readers.
How much RAM do I need for GIS?
For running ArcGIS software, make sure you have at least 8GB of RAM but preferably 16GB or higher.
Can you use ArcGIS on Mac?
To run ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro on an Apple Macintosh computer, the Mac must be set up to run Windows.
How much RAM does ArcGIS Pro need?
Recommended: 8 GB Optimal: 16 GB or more
Does ArcGIS require graphics card?
Yes it is required For Optimal Performance
And there you have it, the best GIS laptops currently on the market. These computers are all equipped with advanced features and specifications and will allow you to run almost any GIS software smoothly.
Remember to check out out our buyer’s guide whenever you are ready to make a purchase to ensure that you go with a product that matches your unique preferences as well. Good luck!