Top 10 Best Laptops for Kali Linux and Pentesting [Buying Guide] Reviews 2020

Best Laptops for Kali Linux and Pentesting: We all get a little intimidated when we see people coding and programming, etc. A major use of coding is to create websites and games. This is an extremely intricate business and requires complete attention, knowledge of the skill, and the right tools for it to complete successfully. Lack of even one of these things can result in major disasters.

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Once the websites or games, etc. are created, the creators tend to go through a period of trial where they navigate their site to find loopholes and vulnerable aspects of the sites which can be improved. This process, in the professional world, is known as penetration testing or pentesting. Since the creator is hacking into their site, the word hacking comes into play as well. But, since it is a legal and the correct way, hence it is also called ethical hacking.

Now, this search for loopholes and other aspects can go sour quickly if one doesn’t have the right tools needed to carry out this task. This is why we’ve made this list of the good ones. Keep on reading to get some insight into the best laptops for pentesting right now, what criteria to keep in mind, and get an answer to some more of your questions.

Our Picks of Top 10 Best Laptops for Kali Linux and Pentesting Reviews in 2020

1) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

In today’s day and age, we all want the most convenient things. This is why Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a great choice. With a total weight of around 1.1 kg and a thickness of 14.9mm, it is lightweight and will never be a burden if you plan on carrying it around or want to travel with it. The laptop goes through quality checks 200 times and is spill-resistant as well.

Even though it is smaller in size, the display is wide keeping in mind the other ultraportable. 14 inches in size, the maximum resolutions you can set for the display is 2560 x 1440. It has some other display settings for you to browse through as well including the 1920 x 1080 pixels and a UHD display with 3820 x 2160 pixels. The display also has anti-glare settings so you don’t have to worry about squinting your eyes during those late-night pentesting sessions.

It has 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8665U with vPro, 16GB PC memory, and 1TB storage space available. Windows 10 Pro as the built-in operating system, the functioning is smooth and consistent.

Lastly, the creators have also kept in mind the element of privacy and there are two new features called the PrivacyGuard and PrivacyAlert. Through the former feature, people sitting next to you won’t be able to sneak a look at your screen while the latter will show you an alert message if some tries to peek at your screen.

Pros
  • It is very lightweight
  • There are additional features for privacy purposes
  • A fingerprint sensor is included for safety purposes
  • Fast-paced performance
Cons
  • The battery life isn’t as good as advertised

2) Dell Inspiron 13 5000

Dell Inspiron 13 5000

Next up we have the Dell Inspiron 13 5000. With a 15.6 inch display, you can have the ultimate viewing experience. The LED is a touchscreen and is backlit as well. The specs for the screen are FHD (1920 x 1080).

Coming to the aspect of performance which is of utmost importance in a laptop for pentesting, this one has an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor in it. The CPU speed is 1.3GHz, with 8MB cache and a processor count of a total of 4. The graphics coprocessor is Intel UHD graphics and can provide a good viewing experience.

Dell Inspiron 5000 is also adequately well-equipped in the area of storage with a hard drive space of up to 512 GB SSD with the help of which you can easily work on a large amount of data and save tons of files on your laptop without worrying about it lagging, It is perfect for everyday use due to its resilient settings and is one of the best laptops for Kali Linux.

Lastly, the laptop has two 3.1 Gen 1 USB, one HDMI, one of the 2.0 USB, one media card reader, and the usual microphone and headphone jack. Windows 1O Home is the built-in system, it comes with the Edge Web Browser and a lot more for your ease and convenience.

Pros
  • Lots of internal memory space
  • Comes in an affordable price range
  • Various ports for USB purposes
Cons
  • Has some mic issues

3) ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17

We are aware that penetration testing can get quite lengthy and complicated at times. In such situations, you need to have the best laptop on hand when it comes to being able to handle lots of data and processes at the same time. The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 is great for this purpose because it is known as a gaming laptop and can work on something on a larger scale.

It has an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, 10 generations in it which is the latest one right now and can guarantee you smooth and efficient functioning. It also has the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8B GDDR6 accompanying with the ROG Boost to accelerate the performance.

The display of the laptop is curated keeping in mind the high graphics needed for gamers. It has a 300Hz 3ms and is of a wide 17.3 inches in size. Other than that, it is also full HD with IPS type display and 1920 x 1080 pixels. 

Space and storage shouldn’t be an issue as well with 16GB RAM and 1TB PCle SSD. You can easily manage large spreadsheets with a huge amount of data and high storage requiring apps on this one. There is also additional space for three SSDs if you want to further expand your space. Furthermore, there is a ROG intelligent cooling thermal system to prevent your laptop from heating up.

Pros
  • Close to no noise with a well-ventilated exterior
  • RGB keyboard and Light Bar
  • ROG G Sync compatibility for smooth gaming
Cons
  • It might be a little bulky for users who are looking for something small and compact

4) ASUS VivoBook S15

ASUS VivoBook S15

Starting from the elegant display system, it has a screen of about 15.6 inches and the resolution of the screen is 1920 x 1080. Other than that, to make it look like one of a kind, there are tiny bezels on the sides of the. These make it stand out subtly and bring out the colors of the screen even more.

Next up, coming to the performance aspect, this laptop by Asus has the latest generation; 11th in it. Furthermore, you will get Intel i7-1165G7 processors which can guarantee you the best performance so far. Either it’s your daily routine work or other intricate tasks like pen-testing or data handling, you can trust Asus VivoBook S15 to do the job for you.

The one area where all other laptops seem to lack is the battery life and ASUS seems to have topped it as well. The laptop can last you around 7-8 hours of tasks that are not too intense. These 7-8 hours include zero amount of charging time. Before the testing was initiated, the laptop was charged to full capacity and it managed to last around 7-8 hours.

It comes with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD hard drive. Other additional benefits we derived were the top-notch sound system and lots of ports. These ports include two USBC 2.0 Type-A ports, a thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, one USB 3.2 Type-A port, and a headphone jack with a micro SD card reader as well.

Pros
  • It comes in a variety of colors including the Dreamy White, Indie Black, Resolute Red, and the Gaia Green.
  • There is a fingerprint sensor in the trackpad
  • It is budget-friendly
  • User-friendly keyboard
Cons
  • The graphics are average

5) MSI GV62 8RD-034

MSI GV62 8RD-034

Another gaming laptop that has shown great progress when it comes to working on penetration testing is the MSI GV62. Built to give the best user experience to gamers, this one is a good laptop for pentesting and is bound to make the task easier for you.

Staring with the display, it has 15.6 inches screen which is full HD eDP IPS-Level. It is light and won’t feel bulky while traveling because of the lightweight of the laptop. The maximum display resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels and has an LCD screen with mesmerizing colors. The storage department is set with around 8GB of computer memory and 1TB of hard disk size and 128GB SSD.

The MSI GV62 has Intel Core i7-8750H of 2.2-4.1 GHz. It has a graphic card NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050Ti 4G GDDR5. This cutting edge aspect of NVIDIA is bound to bring the gaming experience and pentesting up a notch. Since it, a gaming laptop, the element of heating is kept in mind, and an exclusive Cooler Boost technology with 6 heat pipes.

There are DDR4 technology and an efficient keyboard with tactile multi-key inputs and Steelseries red backlit keys. It has windows 10 (64-bit) which will provide a top-notch experience in whatever you choose to use it from.

Pros
  • 20% better performance as compared to previous generations
  • Thermal hearting solutions for heating of CPU and GPU
  • Enhanced audio system
  • Tactile and backlit keyboard
Cons
  • It has 3 USB ports which might not be enough for some users

6) HP 17 Premium

HP 17 Premium

HP 17 Premium is the perfect option for all those people who are looking for a laptop that can get the task of penetration testing done in an affordable price range. With smooth playback features and efficient operating, this a great laptop and should be opted for if you are on a limited budget.

The display of the laptop is about 17.3 inches and has an SVA BrightView WLED-backlit with diagonal HD. The maximum pixel resolution of the laptop is around 1600 x 900 which can give you a pretty good viewing experience. The screen portrays pretty vivid colors with the aid of the BrightView feature and shows details in high resolution. Also, it has a huge display that weighs only 5.4 lbs. and is easy to carry.

It has an Intel Core i5 processor-7200U with 2.50 GHz base frequency up to 3.1 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost technology and has 7th generation in it. The DDR4 RAM makes it easy for the users to avoid any sort of long loading and buffering and give smooth and efficient operation.

HP Premium has a storage capacity of 1TB hard drive and 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM with an Intel integrated UHD Graphics 620. With this storage capacity, you can easily save a larger amount of data files on your laptop without stressing about the performance lagging or slowing down.

It comes with the Windows 10 (64-bit) installed and can be connected to external sources such as your TV, etc. with the help of HDMI. It has two USB ports of 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 2.0 Type-A, DVD slot, 1 multi-format SD card reader, and the jack for combined headphones and microphone.

Pros
  • Wide display for an enhanced viewing experience
  • Option for HDMI connection
  • Ample space for
  • 3 cell lithium-ion battery
Cons
  • Not enough USB ports

7) Acer Aspire E15

Acer Aspire E15

The Acer Aspire E15 is the newest model set out in the Aspire series. It has a display of 15.6 inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The screen is wide enough for gaming purposes and works well when it comes to penetration testing as well. It has a backlight LED display which means you will be using less power and can have more vivid and bright colors. IT also has Intel UHD Graphics 620 so you can have a mesmerizing experience.

The storage situation of the laptop is pretty good too with 6GB of the system memory which works amazingly if you plan on multitasking with this laptop.  IT also has 1TB of hard drive which can be used if you have a large amount of data to save. These storage options can help you efficiently working on various tasks such as gaming, editing applications, and other data handling related tasks.

With an 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor, it provides an easy and powerful experience for any task on hand. The laptop also comes with an Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 which further enhances the performance of the laptop in terms of viewing, streaming, and functioning.

Lastly, there are various other features involved as well such as an optical drive DVD, USB ports, wireless connectivity, HD webcam of 1280 x 720 resolution, and the Windows 10 operating system installed.

Pros
  • Turbo boost technology for performance enhancement
  • Fast wireless connection
  • It has a long battery life of 13.5 hours
Cons
  • It might seem a little bulky to some users

8) Alienware 17 R5

Alienware 17 R5

The Alienware 17 R5 is a gaming laptop and is perfectly suited to perform penetrating testing tasks as well. It comes with a huge 17.3 inches big screen and the dimensions for the screen around 16.70 x 13.10 x 1.18 inches. It has a VR-ready NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card. This graphic card is a GeForce GTX 1070 8GB dedicated graphics. The display is bright and shows vivid colors because of QHD and has additional zones added to it which the figure to a total of 13.

The design of the laptop has become even slimmer than previous versions put out by Alienware and has improved the cooling system to avoid heating. There is one USB 3.0 port on both the sides of the laptop and a USB Type C port as well. There is also an HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, Mini Displayport, Thunderbolt 3, a proprietary port for Alienware graphics amplifier and E

Moving on to the system and the processor, you will get 8th Generation Intel with Core i7-8750H processor which is perfect for high bandwidth activity.

It has a Windows 10 operating system and a processor count of four. With 16B GB computer size and 1TB hard disk size, you can ensure zero lagging from lack of space. Furthermore, it has Bluetooth connectivity and a flash memory size of 256GB.

The battery isn’t going to be an issue either since it just requires 1 lithium polymer battery and has a great sound system with pleasing sound quality. It starts from a price range of around $1,3999 and can go as high as $4,000 depending on the specs you opt for.

Pros
  • Batter life lasts longer than competitors
  • Customizable zones and keyboard lighting
  • Ample amount of storage
Cons
  • It is heavy

9) Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is considered as one of the best laptops for penetration testing. It has a 13.5 inches touchscreen with the feature of pen input available for users as well. You can also get it in 15 inches screen size. This laptop comes in several colors varied by the screen size. Wirth 13.5 inches you will be getting platinum, cobalt blue, matte black, sandstone and with 15 inches screen, you can have the platinum and matte black.

The 13.5 inches one has 10 Generation Core i5 and i7 and is a lot faster than the previous Microsoft Surface Laptop. Moving on to space, it comes with various memory levels for you to choose from such as 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. The storage capacity limits of the laptop are 1TB SSD, 512GB SSD, 256GB SSD, and 128GB SSD. It has the usual Windows 10 operating system for convenience and efficiency.

13.5 inches has Intel Iris Plus Graphics while 15 inches has AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition, AMD Radeon Vega 9 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition.

The laptop is light and thin at just 2.9 pounds so it shouldn’t be hard to carry. After testing sessions, the battery life was said to last around 11.5 hours usage and has multiple ports as well.

Pros
  • It is very light and easy to transport from one place to another
  • There are lots of colors to choose from
  • Enhanced studio mic
Cons
  • The battery life is average

10) Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an enhanced gaming laptop and comes with a 15.6 inches display screen which is full HD with resolutions of 1920 x 1080. IT has an IPS display and backlit LED which is perfect for long-lasting life. The refresh rate is 144Hz and the brightness limit is 300nit.

This laptop had 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core processor and Windows 10 operating system of 64 bit, the processor is up to 5.0 GHz. Coming to the storage details, it had 16GB DDR4 2933MHz Dual Channel Memory, 512GB NVMe SSD, and one further available hard drive bay. For SSD, there are two M.2 slots, one of which can be easily opened and handled for updates.

It has an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM. The processor count is till 6 and it weighs around 5.07 lbs. Additionally, there is ultra-audio with bass, speaker protection, loudness, and 6 custom content modes by a smart amplifier. With 1 webcam of 1280 x 720, the camera is pretty good.

You will be getting one USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 Port, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, 3.5mm audio jack, Mini Display port 1.4. The battery life is not much but can last around 6 hours with the lithium-ion battery and comes with a sleeve for protection.

Pros
  • It has the newest RTX architecture for realistic lighting
  • Professional-looking design
  • Predator sense UI is efficient, quick and easy to navigate
Cons
  • The webcam will not work with Windows Hello
  • The battery life is average

Buying Guide Of Best Laptops for Kali Linux and Pentesting

Looking for the right product can get complicated at times if you do not have some factors and criteria in mind.  To help our readers avoid this hassle and have a smooth shopping experience, we have curated this buying guide which might help land you on a particular product.

Budget

First and foremost, the most essential thing that you have to keep in mind is your budget. It is true that you can get your hands on the best laptop at a high price but doesn’t worry if you are on a limited budget. In the list above, you will find several laptops that have been a gem when it comes to balancing the features, specifications, and price. This way, you can grab a product that will not break your bank while also giving you all the features that you need.

RAM

Next up, one important element to keep in mind while looking for pentesting laptops is the RAM. Since this task might require you to download a ton of data and applications, etc. you need to make sure that you are well-equipped in that department. With the help of an adequate amount of RAM, you can ensure that your tasks will be carried out efficiently without any obstacles. If you are getting a laptop with less RAM, then make sure that it has extendable RAM space.

Processor

Anyone who knows their way around computers and laptops knows that this is an essential component. Simply speaking, it is supposed to depict how efficient your laptop will be at the task on hand. Having slow and poor processors will only result in lagging and slow working of your laptop. Most often, it is suggested that users go for i5 and above when they are looking for laptops for pentesting purposes. The higher your processor will be, the faster the functioning speed you will experience.

Battery Life

Next is the battery life of your laptop. We know that penetration testing can go on for hours and hours at a time when we are trying to spot the pain points and the vulnerable aspects of the software or the application. Since you will be testing the software, etc. you will need to have a good battery life to go through it thoroughly. It is extremely frustrating when the computer shuts down while we are working, so to avoid that issue, aim for a laptop with good battery life so that you don’t waste any time on charging issues.

Storage

Storage is an essential element for everyone. Try to gauge your need for storage beforehand and then opt for a laptop. It is important to have an idea of how much storage space you require. Keep in mind that you should include both your data and your professional data while calculating your required storage space. For penetration, testing chooses SSD over HDD. This will give you some wriggle space and help you avoid those annoying storage full notifications. If you cannot afford one with a lot of storage capacity then you can simply look for ones with additional external storage.

Graphics Card

Graphic cards are of utmost importance if you want to have clearer images on the screen. For penetration testing, you should have a graphic card of 2GB at the very least. If you plan on using the laptop for extensive hacking purposes, then a graphic card of 4GB is a must for you.  

Weight

Laptops should always be light enough for you easily move from one place to another. The entire point of owning a laptop instead of a PC is the ability to be able to move with it. That privilege might not be as fruitful to you if you own a bulky laptop. If you think you are okay with lugging heavy objects on your shoulder or carrying them around, then go for the heavier ones but it is suggested to choose ones that are sleek and light.

Display

The display isn’t a set requirement for penetration testing but it sure will make your job a lot easier if you have a bigger screen to work on. Anything from 15 inches and above is pretty good if you are looking for bigger screens. As mentioned before, this is a factor which is based completely on personal preferences so go for what you like the most. If you plan on using the laptop for viewing, streaming, and gaming purposes as well, then having a bigger display will work better for you.

FAQs of Best Laptops for Kali Linux and Pentesting


What are some of the best laptops for pentesting?

The best laptops for pentesting are:
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17
Dell Inspiron
HP 17 Premium

Which major aspects should be kept in mind while shopping for pentesting laptops?

Budget
Processor
Battery life
RAM
Storage

How much RAM is required for the Kali Linux installation?

You should have a minimum of 8GB RAM for the installation of Kali Linux and a hard disk space of at least 10GB.

What are some of the most reliable brands for laptops?

Dell, Acer, HP, Microsoft, Apple, and ASUS are some of the most reliable brands for penetrating testing purposes.

Is pentesting illegal?

No, penetration testing and Kali Linux are not illegal at all. Kali Linux is used by security researchers and other people in the web field for testing and trial purposes.

Conclusion

Penetrating testing is a difficult task so you must have the best tools required to make the process smoother and easier. This is why we have created this list of the best laptops for Kali Linux and pentesting. Go through the products mentioned and then check out the buying guide given as well. Find out which products suit you the best and goes per your budget while also fulfilling the major needs such as a good RAM, fast processor, ample storage space, and long battery life. Don’t forget to comment down below and let us know which product worked out the best for you. 

Key Reference

  1. Kali Linux – Wikipedia Link
  2. Kali Linux System Requirements – Laptop and Desktop Link
  3. Minimum Installation Requirements – Kali Training Link

Watch this video “Best Laptops for Kali-Linux/Pen Testing ” ( 9mins 16 seconds )

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