6 Best GIS and ArcGIS Laptops [2021]

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GIS or the Geographic Information System software is one of the most powerful software used to collect geographic data and complex rendering. With a hefty list of polygons rendering and raster crunching, the GIS is software that requires suitable hardware. If you do not prefer a massive workstation, a laptop offering excellent processing power is the right one for you.

Since you have read it till here, I assume that you are interested and are looking for the best laptops for geography students. There are a few things that should be considered before purchasing the laptop. We understand that Macs are so popular, but that does not make them the best option.

If you are choosing Mac, you are going to pay some high premiums for the least gains. In addition to this, there are many open-source GIS applications and FOSS ecosystems that do not support the Macs.

Let us now look into the buying guide to decide on the perfect device for your job.

Best GIS And Arcgis Laptops: Our Top Picks

#1 Microsoft Surface Book Laptop

First among the shortlisted laptops is the Microsoft Surface Book 2. No wonder this can be one of the best, if not the best and appropriate for GIS available on the market right now.

The incredible feature regarding this laptop is that it can be convertible. This means the screen can be detached, and you may use it either as a laptop or a tab.

This is one the best for portability.

Focusing on the specifications, this comes with a mighty 1.9 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U Quad-Core Processor, armed with 16GB of RAM, which is enough to run software like GIS, 1TB SSD storage capacity for fastened file accessing capabilities, and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 Graphics driver is cemented together which enables you to play games reduce a considerable number of polygons without any hitch.

As stated above, the screen of this detachable beast has a 15-inch PS touchscreen display, which offers brilliant color shades, and the viewing angle is second to none.

No doubt, a laptop with these specifications, must come with a commendable battery, and yes, it is true it serves an excellent 12 hours of life while on the tab mode, it can be dragged to 8 hours.

Focusing on the other highlighted features of this beast, there is also a Microsoft Surface Pen and USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C. If you are looking for a laptop, this product can be an absolute delight and worth it.

Pros:

  • Brilliant performance with unique features.
  • Great battery backup.
  • Lightweight. 
  • Sleek and sturdy design.
  • Convertible can be used both as a laptop or tablet.
  • Impressive display quality.

Cons:

  • The price is too high.
  • Thunderbolt 3 is not available.
  • Added expense if you want to buy the Surface Pen.

#2 Dell Inspiron I5577

The Dell Inspiron is made to run for GIS. It has a screen of 15.6 inches FHD, TN panel with lovely viewing angles. The display is very much decent.

This laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, which can function efficiently when handling heavy tasks with GIS software. 

Dell offers this beauty with 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD hybrid storage capacity, and there is ample space for the applications you want to install or any information you want to vouchsafe. During heated gaming sessions, the GTX 1050 comes in handy. 

Using it usually can drag its battery life for a maximum of 6-hours; besides, if you wish to run software like GIS, you can expect a 2-hour long session with complicated tasks and programs. It is an appropriate pick for you if you intend to purchase a laptop only for using it GIS; this may get handy. 

It weighs 5.7 pounds, and the system comes with a preinstalled Windows 10 and has three ports, HDMI, a card reader, Ethernet jack. 

Pros:

  • Excellent built quality.
  • Powerful performance.
  • Awesome graphics.

Cons:

  • The laptop is a bit heavy and less portable.
  • Battery backup is low.
  • The system run is a bit noisy.
  • TN panel doesn’t perform like an IPS Display.

#3 ASUS Vivobook S S410UN-NS74

If you intend to fetch a laptop that works fine with GIS and fulfills all the demands such as performance, portability, and design, do not search further because there is one product that can live up to all your demand, and that is none other than ASUS VivoBook S S410.

This laptop’s most eye-catching feature is that it’s finished with aluminum and modern and cool designs, and sleek body construction.

The laptop body is just 0.7 inches(width), while it weighs just 3.2 pounds. This shall be the most appropriate option if you are looking for a laptop that can work with GIS and you can carry it easily while traveling. 

Nevertheless, there is so much more to this laptop than just the design and build quality. This laptop functions on the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 866OU Quad-Core processor, which allows you to run the GIS applications as smoothly as possible. 

Also, it has a RAM of 8GB DDR4 with a 2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU. In addition to this, you get 256GB of SSD storage capacity for your data, other files, and GIS files you may want to save to the device. The screen is of 14-inch FHD with mind-blowing color reproduction, and view angles, and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It is designed with a backlit keyboard.

The laptop’s crucial connectors 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 a maximum of 8 hours fully charged.

Pros:

  • Battery life is decent.
  • Excellent build quality with a sturdy design.
  • Excellent performance.
  • The display is quite impressive.
  • It is lightweight and easily portable.

Cons:

  • The GPU could have been better.

#4 Apple Macbook Pro

This laptop has an Intel i7 Quad-Core processor giving a high-end performance, 16GB RAM to proficiently allows smooth multi-tasking, and 256GB SSD storage capacity to the performance.

It comes with a 15.4-inch IPS screen Retina display designed by Apple, which delivers crystal clear and sharp images with brilliant color reproduction. Like every other Apple product, this MacBook is built with a sleek and modern design, promising a remarkable build quality.

Another exciting feature of this laptop is the 4GB Radeon Pro dedicated graphics card. This cutting-edge feature makes this laptop a rock-solid and great unit for GIS. The Touch Bar feature is excellent while picking up the pace of work. 

And now about the battery life, you can get easy as much as 10 hours of battery runtime from the laptop. It weighs 4.02 pounds, which is pretty reasonable for all features it is packed with. The MacBook Pro has a wide variety of connectivity options, including four USB Type C ports, a 3.5mm stereo audio jack, WLAN, and Bluetooth 5.0.

Pros:

  • Dazzling Retina display with unbelievable color rendering.
  • Great battery backup.
  • Lightweight. 
  • Sleek and sturdy design.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Features Touch ID and Touch Bar.
  • Powerful GPU.

Cons:

  • The price is relatively high.
  • Unimpressive ports installed.

#5 Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 happens to be an excellent choice for a GIS laptop as it comes with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core processor allowing a turbo-boost up to a frequency of 3.80 GHz. It is powered with 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM) GPU, which guarantees a top-notch performance in multi-tasking, gaming, running heavy programs; this laptop can handle them with ease.

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.

Packed with a 256 GB SSD storage capacity and allows you to expand the storage volume via the HDD slot. The battery life of this laptop is pretty impressive as well. For everyday daily use, it can deliver up to 7 hours of battery runtime. Still, when it comes to high-performance usage programs and gaming, the battery runtime is expected to be a maximum of 3 hours.

Nevertheless, Acer doesn’t always boast on its reputation alone. As for this laptop, an excellent performance is expected that stands up to running GIS software.

Pros:

  • Flawless performance with brilliant graphics rendering. 
  • Super Bright IPS screen display
  • Sturdy and durable built.
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Powerful processor.

Cons:

  • Battery backup is average.
  • Portability is an issue because it is comparatively heavier.

#6 Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop

Next coming to the Acer Aspire E 15. When it comes to battery backup, performance, or display, this laptop fulfills the requirements of students and professionals using GIS.

Although built out of plastic, this laptop still has a very rock-solid construction and is undoubtedly to last long is handled with care. With a 15.6-inch 1080P IPS display, it delivers accurate color rendition with amazing watching angles.

The Aspire E15 is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, assuring an excellent performance, which is very much needed while running programs on GIS software smoothly. If you are inclined to multi-tasking with your laptop, the 8GB DDR3 RAM with a GeForce MX150 GPU plays a vital role. Given the memory of this laptop, it can run many programs of your liking concurrently with ease.

The laptop comes with an average GPU, which allows for light gaming, and has 256GGB SSD of storage capacity, which is expandable with an extra storage slot for you to install an SSD/HDD requirement.

Now, the laptop is expected up to 12 hours of battery runtime at a single charge coming to the battery life. The laptop includes 1 C port USB Type, 1 HDMI port, one card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, WLAN, and 2 USB 3.0 ports. The laptop weighs about 5.3 pounds; as a result, portability happens to be an issue.

Nevertheless, if we keep the weight aside, this laptop is one of the best performing products from Acer, and we remarkably recommend it for GIS users.

Pros:

  • Sturdy built
  • Awesome display with precise color reproduction
  • Packed with features and brilliant performance 
  • Durable battery life.

Cons:

  • Needs handling with care.
  • Comparatively heavy in terms of portability.

What to Look for In GIS And Arcgis Laptops?

CPU Speed

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.

Processor

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 software of a minimum speed of 3GHz or more.

Graphic Requirements

The 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, and so no advancements can be made in the future.

Storage and 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.

Now let us discuss the GIS and ArcGIS laptops.

Verdict

We know how difficult it can be to render and work on massive data lots, and so we have given you all the information you need to make the best choice while buying the right laptop. Never miss out on the specs and check them against your requirements.

Author Profile

Marko is a music and tech enthusiast living in Europe. He's a fan of gadgets, rock n' roll, and all things education.

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