3 Best Cheap Linux Laptops to Buy in 2018
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Linux often gets associated with being cheap. It’s a bit unfair, but it’s true that you can save some big bucks if you buy a computer with a free operating system. So how inexpensive can you go? Check out these best cheap Linux laptops to save money.

Yes, you can install Linux on just about any computer out there, so the need for a dedicated machine is difficult to understand. It’s all about drivers though, as there is plenty of hardware that doesn’t play nicely with Linux drivers, and so you have a dysfunctional component. A dedicated Linux machine will never make you face that problem. However, it’s up to you to decide whether you need a Linux laptop or desktop What Type of Linux Desktop or Laptop Should You Buy? What Type of Linux Desktop or Laptop Should You Buy? What kind of Linux desktop or laptop should you buy? Many powerful machines exist that come designed specifically with Linux in mind. We've covered all bases, ranging in price from $650 to $2,700! Read More .

If you want a bigger screen, you should look at our roundup of the best cheap desktop Linux computers 5 Cheap Linux Computers You Can Buy Today 5 Cheap Linux Computers You Can Buy Today Let's take a look at five computers that you can order today for under $500 that come preinstalled with a popular, well-supported Linux distro. Read More . But if the portability of a laptop is more important, then read on.

1. Pinebook 64

  • Operating System: Ubuntu 16.05 MATE
  • Screen: 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS screen
  • CPU: 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A53 processor
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB internal storage (with microSD slot up to 256GB)
  • Connectivity: 802.11bgn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 10,000mAh lithium-polymer battery

Can a $99 laptop actually be any good? Turns out, the Pinebook 64 is. Recently, we took a long, hard look at this device and we came out impressed.

This is a laptop that concentrates on portability more than performance. In fact, it’s not that great to use for multitasking or other heavy tasks. But the Pinebook 64 gets the job done for web browsing, basic multimedia playback, and word processing. There’s not much more you can expect at this price, of course.

The Pinebook 64 also supports other Linux-based operating systems, as well as Android-based operating systems. So if you don’t like Ubuntu MATE, you have other options.

To know more about the Pinebook 64, read our detailed Pinebook 64 review Pinebook 64 Review: $100 Laptop That Isn't Terrible Pinebook 64 Review: $100 Laptop That Isn't Terrible It's a $100 laptop that runs Linux – it obviously isn't going to replace your MacBook. But it's not actually as bad as we thought it might be. Read More .

2. Alpha Litebook

  • Operating System: Elementary OS
  • Screen: 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) screen
  • CPU: 2.1GHz Intel Celeron N3150 processor
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 120GB SSD or 500GB HDD
  • Connectivity: 802.11bgn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 4-cell lithium-ion battery

The Alpha Litebook is one of the newest Linux-ready laptops on the market and has got a few mixed reviews so far. But the basics hold up: it’s cheap at $249, gets the job done, and delivers what it promises.

The Litebook ships with Linux Elementary OS Want to Install Elementary OS? 7 Reasons Why You Should! Want to Install Elementary OS? 7 Reasons Why You Should! Elementary OS has developed into a compelling computing experience in 2017. Wondering if it's time to make the switch from your current Linux operating system? Here's why the answer is Yes. Read More , one of the most beautiful distributions available. It’s all about making Linux look pretty and easy to use for anyone. Elementary OS also includes several of its own apps, while Alpha has added a few of its favorites like the OnlyOffice suite, AppArmor, and so on.

You can choose between a 120GB SSD or 500GB HDD, but we strongly suggest you go with the SSD. It increases the battery life of the Litebook by a couple of hours at least, but you might still need some tips to lengthen that battery life 7 Simple Tips to Improve Your Linux Laptop's Battery Life 7 Simple Tips to Improve Your Linux Laptop's Battery Life How can you squeeze more time from your battery and enjoy a truly portable Linux computing experience? Read More . Plus, the SSD makes the laptop lighter and safer to carry around.

3. System76 Lemur

  • Operating System: Pop!_OS 17.10 or Ubuntu 16.04
  • Screen: 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS screen
  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-7100U processor
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 120GB SSD
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 4-cell lithium-ion battery

For some time now, System76 has been one of the best places to buy Linux laptops 7 Places You Can Buy a Dedicated Linux PC or Laptop Online 7 Places You Can Buy a Dedicated Linux PC or Laptop Online Installing Linux on your desktop or laptop is easy. But can you just buy a Linux machine, straight off the shelf? Here are seven manufacturers doing just that. Read More and computers. It has a wide range of notebooks, the cheapest of which is the portability-focused Lemur 14.

Unlike many of the other Linux laptops, this comes with a powerful Intel Core processor (up to a Core i7, too). Similarly, the memory and storage can be purchased in different amounts. The laptop is also decked out with all sorts of connectivity ports, including HDMI, DVI, USB Type-C, and regular USB. And yes, that screen is matte, yay!

System76 has designed its own fork of Linux, called Linux Pop Pop!_OS: Should a Linux Hardware Company Make Its Own Operating System? Pop!_OS: Should a Linux Hardware Company Make Its Own Operating System? Linux hardware company System76 has launched its own Linux operating system. This distro, known as Pop!_OS, will be preinstalled on all new System76 computers. But is it any good? Read More . You can either choose that to come pre-installed on your computer or go with simple Ubuntu.

While it’s not exactly cheap, System76 offers a great monthly payment scheme. Pay $70 per month to take home the Lemur right away, or pay the full amount up front for a $100 discount. Not bad, eh?

Things to Keep in Mind

No matter which of these three laptops you pick, make sure you use the right Linux distribution for you The Best Linux Operating Systems The Best Linux Operating Systems There are Linux distros available for every purpose, which makes choosing one difficult. Here's a list of the very best Linux operating systems to help. Read More . Without that, you will end up hating Linux on a laptop, and it’s an unfair judgment.

Here are a few other tips to remember:

  • Another popular manufacturer, Slimbook, was omitted from this list because their low-end laptops are inferior to what the System76 offers.
  • Similarly, the super-popular Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition didn’t make the cut here in terms of price. But if you’re okay with spending $850 in one go, it’s the best Linux laptop around today.
  • As always, consider buying a Windows laptop and installing Linux How to Choose the Best Laptop to Install Linux How to Choose the Best Laptop to Install Linux It's never been harder to install Linux on a laptop. No longer a matter of downloading, burning, and hoping for a compatible WiFi card, these laptops, new and old, are your best option. Read More . There are plenty of options, and going with Ubuntu-certified hardware reduces the risk of a driver or part not working with Linux.

Are there any awesome Linux laptops that we missed in our roundup here? Which cheap Linux laptop would you recommend to others?

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  1. Mike
    January 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    My best advice: Windows 10 with 4+G ram and i-something processor. Dual boot Linux. Be fast, fun and productive - no matter what happens. Some days only Cinnamon will make me happy, other days, i want desktop versions of things like Keep and OneNote etc. Plus, one side repairs the other when the chips are down.

  2. dragonmouth
    January 19, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Laptops with Linux pre-loaded, being niche products, command a premium price. If you go low price then you compromise on the performance. I find it cheaper to buy a Windows laptop and replace Windows with a distro of MY choice. I pay less for more performance.

  3. Priswell
    January 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I've migrated entirely to Linux and have bought my last several computers from System76. I've been quite happy. I wouldn't say that they are "cheap", but you get at least your money's worth from them, and Linux is already installed.

    • Mark
      January 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I don't see how you get your moneys worth though. I mean you could literally buy the parts yourself and build it cheaper. I liked the idea of it until just now after specc'ing out a few different options and the prices just don't add up.

      I mean if it works for you, great! But I can't personally justify those prices just because it has Linux? The base laptop is crazy expensive compared to something similar with Win 10.

      I don't know. Seems more cliche' and name dropping to me.