Advice on new laptop

I'm currently running a 2014 MacBook Air, but have decided to go Linux Mint in my next purchase.
What i would like some advice on is this.
Do I purchase a dedicated Linux laptop as in this: or do I buy a late model used Windows machine?
I don't do heavy video or graphics editing....

Hi and welcome to the Ubuntu MATE Community.
Since you're on the Ubuntu MATE forum, I would advise you to give Ubuntu MATE a try for your next machine.
As you're not doing heavy duty stuff with your computer, I would go for a refurbished business laptop if I were you.

Lenovo Thinkpads, Dell Latitude and HP Elitebooks are cheap/quality/maintainable tanks that do wonders with Linux.

Recommended models:
14" laptops: Lenovo Thinkpad T series (T450 or newer), Dell Latitude (7450 or newer) and HP Elitebook (840 G2 or newer)
12" laptops: Lenovo Thinkpad X series (X250 or newer), Dell Latitude (7250 or newer) HP Elitebook (820G2 or newer)

Check online reviews (on notebookcheck for example) to decide on a model.

Recommended specs:
Processor: I5 5300U or newer
Ram: 8GB or + (costs nothing nowadays)
Storage: SSD (quantity depends on your needs)
Screen: for 14", 1080p (1920x1080) IPS (for vivid colors and good viewing angles). 1080P on 12" laptops can be hard to deal with without bionic eyes.

This should cost you between 200 and 400$.

When buying a refurbished laptop, look for the grade. Go for A or better (some sellers use A++ grades etc...) to spare you some headaches with dead pixels, password-locked bios, worn palmrest/covers etc...

Boutique Linux laptops, while being nice, are generally overpriced in my opinion and as long as you don't need the latest specs, I would not consider them a good investment. Especially since I assume they won't be as maintainable as a business laptop. In a way it is cool because you're investing for the cause, they have the merit to exist but then again, not the best value for the customer.


Hello Sapper531

So many things may be taken into consideration. I would give you no advice based on the information you have provided - because you could give more information and from that receive much better advice. :slightly_smiling_face:

Some questions you may wish to answer:

  • Notebook or desktop?
  • Intended use today?
  • Intended use in 5 years?
  • Budget available?
  • Importance of wireless connectivity?
  • Desire or not to "recycle" a used computer in favor of the planet?
  • etc.

Just a thought, why don't you ask this question on the Linux Mint forums?


Hello Sapper531,

You've been given some really great advice here already.

My first dive into the GNU/Linux world was with Linux Mint. I had a Windows laptop at the time and set it up as a dual boot. Linux Mint didn't prove to be the best choice for me and, after trying out several distros, I found Ubuntu MATE to be the best for my requirements.

It does depend on what you want. I think if you can answer the questions as mentioned by alpinejohn then we might be able to give you some better pointers.

Good luck on your gnu/linux journey. :grinning:


Hi, just had a senior moment - I AM using Ubuntu Mate!
My concern about buying a used Office machine is longevity of hardware. as I'm on a pension, I don't want to be paying out for new hardware every couple of years....

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Use today - email, web browsing, relatively straight forward spreadsheets and documents (LibreOffice) - no macros.Occasional video chats. (Zoom etc)
Same use in 5 years time.
I had a senior moment - I AM using Ubuntu Mate!
I'm no stranger to GNU/Linux, having dipped my toes in 1996...

I have two MacBook Air 11.6" laptops I bought specifically for the purpose of "tinkering." They are 2015 models that I paid (essentially) pocket change for. One I have as a dual-boot (macOS + Linux), which works flawlessly. There is a free program called reFind, which enables the dual boot capability. It's just as easy to boot from a USB stick and install Linux on a Mac natively.

While you have some good advice being offered, being a bit more specific would help. I think you want a laptop from your description of what you have now. Size and price would help.

I have had very good luck with HP refurbished laptops. Though I don't care for the HP software installed on Windows machines, but they have run Linux extremely well. (both laptops and desktops I have had).

If you are willing to spend more on a new machine, I would recommend System76. Their Coreboot eliminates efi problems. It has great battery life (internal battery), and is made for Ubuntu, though their Pop or standard Ubuntu. I have the 15" Darter Pro laptop and was very happy with their support when I wiped their system and installed Ubuntu Mate. It is quite a bit more expensive though.

I bought my current laptop from Entroware with Ubuntu MATE preinstalled. I've had it for a few years now with no dramas.

I've previously used HP machines and never had problems with them, either. A lot of choices for running Ubuntu MATE, to be honest.

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Did buy an HP Spectre a bit more then 3 yrs ago. Did install UM 17.10. From USB key and fresh install, hands off, i.e. erasing everything that was on that machine. UM installer did all the job by itself. Pure UM machine now on 20.10.
All the upgrades went quite well. No headache really. Hope hardware will keep on for a while; even though it is in use almost 15-17 hours a day.
So far, so good.


p.s. all same questions always pop-up when comes time to buy a new car for your driver.