GIS and ArcGIS applications contain thousands of polygons to be rendered and require high computing power to raster images correctly and fast. We present the 6 best GIS and ArcGIS laptops for you to consider. Because if you do not have access to a workstation, which can be expensive and with a large form factor, or afford the expense, there are other choices. For example, a laptop offering excellent processing power and a very good graphics card could be a much better choice for you.
If you are reading this, no doubt you are interested and are looking for the best laptops for geography student coursework. There are a few things that should be considered before purchasing the laptop. Apple products are indeed popular, although that does not make them the best option.
GIS or the Geographic Information System software is one of the most powerful software used to collect geographic data and complex rendering
Let us now look into the buying guide to decide on the perfect device for your work.
6 Best GIS and ArcGIS Laptops – Our Picks
First among the shortlisted laptops is the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 is a powerhouse designed specifically for professionals engaged in GIS and ArcGIS work.
Its robust processing capabilities, thanks to Intel’s powerful processors, allow seamless handling of large datasets and complex spatial analyses.
Boasting the 12th gen Intel i7-11850H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, a 16″ display (2560 x 1600) and most impressive Nvidia RTX 3070 Graphics card for power through GIOS and ArcGIS operations with ease.
- Brilliant performance with unique features.
- Great battery backup.
- Sleek and sturdy design.
- Impressive graphics card and performance.
- The price is high.
- Small-ish hard drive
The HP Spectre x360-16 is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that seamlessly transforms from a laptop to a tablet, providing flexibility to GIS professionals in the field. With a 12th gen Intel Core i7 -12700H 14-core CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, this laptop handles GIS and ArcGIS tasks with ease. Its vivid 16-inch 4K OLED display enhances the viewing experience, making it a top choice for professionals requiring both performance and adaptability.
The 360-degree hinge allows laptop mode for everyday computing, tent mode for sharing things, stand mode for streaming or binge-watching, or tablet mode for more intuitive interaction. Also boasts a 5MP “True Vision” IR webcam with IR Face Recognition, color balance and brightness slider controls, and even an auto-focus camera.
- Excellent built quality.
- Powerful performance.
- 2-in-1 Design for Flexibility
- Large SSD Hard Drive
- Battery backup is low.
- The system run is a bit noisy.
- Graphics card is a little slow
The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is an elegant laptop that appeals to GIS professionals with its versatility and functionality. Powered by Intel Core processors and NVIDIA Quadro graphics, it effectively tackles GIS and ArcGIS demands.
This can be one of the best, if not the best, and appropriate for GIS available on the market right now.
Focusing on the specifications, this comes with a mighty 1.3 GHz 10th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB of RAM, which is enough to run software like GIS, only 256 GB SSD storage capacity for fast file access, and an NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU. Plus the Surface 3 now boasts of 15.5 hours of battery time. Running Windows 10 with a free upgrade to Win 11.
- Battery life is excellent.
- Excellent build quality with a sturdy design.
- Excellent performance with 10th gen Intel i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU.
- The display is quite impressive.
- It is lightweight and easily portable.
- Small hard drive
Apple’s MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Max chip is a game-changer in the world of GIS and ArcGIS laptops. The M1 Max’s impressive processing power and integrated graphics deliver seamless performance during resource-intensive GIS tasks.
The laptop’s stunning 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display and macOS capabilities complement the overall user experience, making it an ideal choice for the geospatial field, especially Mac aficionados.
Another exciting feature of this laptop is the 32-core GPU with up to 4x faster performance for graphics than the previous model and ideal for graphics-intensive apps that are the norm in GIS and ArcGIS.
- Dazzling Retina display with unbelievable color rendering.
- Great battery life at 21 hours
- Sleek and sturdy design.
- Excellent build quality.
- Powerful GPU.
- The price is relatively high.
- Low memory config
The Dell XPS 15 (9510) is a versatile laptop that combines elegance with performance. Equipped with Intel’s latest processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics, this laptop effortlessly handles GIS and ArcGIS software. Its stunning 15.6-inch 4K UHD display provides impeccable clarity, aiding in data visualization and map interpretation, making it a reliable companion for GIS enthusiasts on the go.
The 15.6-inch IPS screen display delivers a full HD resolution. This is a slightly bulky laptop weighing approximately 6 pounds, making it a bit inconvenient when it comes to portability.
- Flawless performance with brilliant graphics rendering.
- Super Bright IPS screen display
- Backlit keyboard
- Powerful 11th gen Intel 8-core processor.
- Battery backup is average.
- Runs Windows 10 Pro (may be a “Pro” for some though)
For GIS professionals seeking a blend of power and portability, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 emerges as a strong contender. Powered by AMD Ryzen processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, this laptop excels at GIS tasks while maintaining a compact and lightweight design.
The 14-inch display, featuring a high refresh rate, ensures smooth rendering of maps and facilitates swift data analysis on the go.
- Sturdy built
- Awesome display with precise color reproduction
- Great graphics option with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
- Durable battery life.
- Needs handling with care.
- Possibly light on the RAM
Best GIS and ArcGIS Laptops – What to Look For
The CPU is the central processing unit that performed all the actions. That also means that a multiple-core CPU will work much faster than a single-core CPU. To have an ArcGIS laptop, it is essential to have a quad-core processor with hyper-threading support.
To start with the basics, we need to know the processor requirements required to run ArcGIS without a hassle. The processor inside a laptop generates pulses that are used to have all the device operations synchronized. The processor necessary for ArcGIS should be the software of a minimum speed of 3GHz or more.
ArcGIS is a visual software that is dependent on high-resolution imagery and a 3D picture. Graphics should be an essential aspect to be taken into consideration while choosing your device. Moreover, the graphic chip is directly cemented into each device, so no advancements can be made in the future.
Storage and Memory (RAM) Requirements
Storage is another parameter that should be considered while buying a laptop because your laptop must have RAM of at least 4GB and 32 GB of storage capacity.
While ArcGIS does not require a great deal of storage, investing in a laptop with SSD is a better way of ensuring that your device stores more data in the future. This is because the SSD primarily acts as a storage drive that is faster, consistent, and more efficient than the traditional HDD technology.
Required Resolution for ArcGIS
Suppose you are to invest significantly in using ArcGIS and other GIS mapping technologies. In that case, you will get to see that the visual power of the produced images is supreme to the proficiency of the program.
The primary requirements are 1280 x 800 pixels of resolution. However, the better way to conclude this is to pick a laptop with full HD resolution. The better the resolution, the greater the experience, which relies entirely on the budget you have.
6 Best GIS and ArcGIS Laptops FAQs
Let’s address some common questions that often arise when searching for the best laptops for GIS and ArcGIS tasks:
Q: What makes a laptop suitable for GIS and ArcGIS work? A: Laptops with powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, ample RAM, and high-resolution displays are essential for GIS and ArcGIS tasks, ensuring smooth performance and efficient data visualization.
Q: Which operating system is better for GIS work, Windows or macOS? A: Both Windows and macOS are suitable for GIS tasks, but the choice depends on personal preference and software compatibility. Windows laptops often offer more options and flexibility, while macOS devices provide a seamless user experience for Mac enthusiasts.
Q: How much RAM is sufficient for GIS and ArcGIS tasks? A: For optimal performance, a minimum of 16GB RAM is recommended for GIS and ArcGIS work. However, professionals dealing with large datasets or complex analyses may benefit from 32GB or more.
Q: Is a dedicated graphics card necessary for GIS work? A: Yes, a dedicated graphics card is crucial for handling the visualization and rendering demands of GIS software, especially when dealing with 3D mapping and spatial analysis.
Q: Can I use a gaming laptop for GIS and ArcGIS tasks? A: Gaming laptops with powerful graphics cards can be a viable option for GIS work, as they often share similarities in hardware requirements. However, it’s essential to ensure software compatibility and prioritize reliability over aesthetics.
Q: What is the ideal screen size for a GIS laptop? A: The ideal screen size depends on personal preference and portability requirements. Larger screens (15 inches and above) are advantageous for data visualization, while smaller screens (13-14 inches) offer enhanced portability for fieldwork.
Best GIS and ArcGIS Laptops Summary
Wrapping up, the right laptop can significantly impact the efficiency and productivity of GIS and ArcGIS professionals. The 6 best GIS and ArcGIS laptops mentioned in this article offer exceptional performance, power, and portability, making them ideal companions for geospatial enthusiasts and experts. Whether you prioritize raw processing power, sleek design, or versatility, there’s a laptop on this list to meet your unique requirements.
As technology continues to evolve, laptops for GIS and ArcGIS tasks are likely to become even more advanced, empowering professionals to push the boundaries of spatial analysis and map visualization. Embrace the power of these cutting-edge laptops, and unlock your full potential in the dynamic world of geospatial sciences.