If you’re an automotive technician who runs diagnostics regularly, you need a laptop that can handle the workload and gives you excellent results.
Going with a random laptop can do more harm than good. Finding the best laptop for automotive diagnostics is more challenging than you first thought.
With more than a few hundred laptop models on the market, you have to choose the best laptop for your needs within your budget and to suit your style.
Without further ado, Let’s dive.
Best Laptops For Automotive Diagnostics
Here are our best laptops:
- ASUS ZenBook 13 – Editor’s Choice
- Dell XPS 13 – Runner Up
- Acer Aspire 5 – Budget Choice
- HP Spectre x360 – Convertible Pick
1. ASUS ZenBook 13 – Editor’s Choice
The ASUS ZenBook 13 is our second choice regarding automotive diagnostics and technicians.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 is more affordable than the Dell XPS 13 and has a similar performance which can be a deciding factor for many.
In terms of size, the ASUS ZenBook 13 is very similar to the Dell XPS 13. It comes with a 13.3″ screen, and thanks to the reduced bezel design, it also takes a smaller footprint.
The laptop scores in the portability area with a weight of 2.60 lbs. This is one of the lightest laptops that doesn’t compromise on durability. The laptop is sturdy and can take a few physical hits without breaking down.
The battery life of the ASUS ZenBook 13 model is pretty impressive. With light use, the laptop can last for about 12 hours. This laptop will last a long time if you do a lot of streaming, social media, and more simple stuff.
Expect this number to come down for anything intense, but you will still be very comfortable using this laptop without plugging it in.
Let’s talk about the display. We have a 13.3″ display with a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution. The picture quality on this display is quite good, and you should not be able to spot individual pixels from an average sitting distance.
ASUS calls this display a NanoEdge display, citing the super-thin bezels. The bezels here are much thinner than the ones we saw in the Dell model giving this laptop a screen-to-body ratio of 95%. This one takes the cake when it comes to an uninterrupted viewing experience.
The lack of a touchscreen might disappoint some, but for us, it is not a dealbreaker in any way.
The keyboard and the ergonomics here need special mention. The keys on the keyboard are well-spaced and come with good travel. If you type a lot of reports, you’ll enjoy working on this keyboard.
Where this laptop keyboard takes it up a notch is with the ErgoLift hinge. The keyboard comes with a slightly lifted position which makes typing more comfortable. This might look like a small improvement, but over time you’ll start looking for this on other laptops.
The trackpad on this ASUS ZenBook 13 is also unique. It comes with support for Windows Gestures and does well when it comes to day-to-day use. The surprise here is that the touchpad also doubles up as a number pad. This allows you to work with numbers much faster and is more intuitive than working with the numbers row at the top.
How good is the ASUS ZenBook’s processing power?
The laptop comes with an i7 processor from Intel. This is only an 8th gen processor, but it will only be tiny when you compare the performance difference with a 10th gen chip.
This i7 chip comes with a base clock speed of 1.8GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.8GHz. It also comes with a smart cache memory of 8MB, which will also come in handy. In terms of performance, you are getting good value from this processor.
For memory, we have 16GB RAM that is of the DDR4 type. This memory allows you to run automotive diagnostics tools without any issues. You can also run multiple applications on the side without impacting the laptop’s performance.
In terms of storage, the ASUS ZenBook 13 gives you much more than the Dell XPS 13. We get a 512GB solid-state drive. This is more space and allows you to store more data on your laptop. Getting a bigger SSD also means you are getting a faster reading and writing speeds which is always handy.
Overall, the ASUS ZenBook 13 is an excellent ultrabook with a price that justifies it. It has the power and legs and looks like an all-round laptop. This could be your answer if you’re looking for a Dell XPS performance with a cheaper price tag.
- Excellent performance
- Amazing battery life
- No touchscreen
2. Dell XPS 13 – Runner Up
The Dell XPS 13 is our Editor’s Choice for the best laptop for automotive diagnostics.
This XPS model is probably the most reliable laptop from Dell and has repeatedly proven its worth for various use cases.
The Dell XPS 13 comes with an excellent design. The chassis is durable and gives you a good feeling when you lift the laptop. You know that this is a premium laptop.
The Dell XPS 13 is easily one of the most portable laptops. With a 13.3″ inch, this laptop has a small footprint. Thanks to the shrunk bezels, the laptop takes an even smaller footprint, reducing the weight more. Around 3 lbs, you can move around with it without any problem.
With the reduced bezels, this Dell XPS 13 model achieves a screen-to-body ratio of 80.7%, which is very good. The bezels are thin and give you a superior and modern viewing experience.
The display we have here comes with full HD resolution. This is not much in the days of QHD and UHD displays, but it does well for this size, and those who don’t care about specifics won’t have anything to complain about.
The screen has a maximum brightness of 400 nits, which is very useful for diagnostics with cars. You will be in brightly lit places most of the time, and this brightness will give you a better picture. The display is also anti-reflective, meaning you won’t see any reflections on the display, even in well-lit areas.
In addition to all these features, the display also doubles as a touchscreen. The touchscreen has excellent responsiveness, and you will enjoy working with it. Though it might not be helpful for diagnostics, it is nice to have it leisurely.
The keyboard on the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best ones around. This is a chiclet keyboard, and the typing experience is good. There is enough key travel, and your speed does not take a hit like other laptops. It is backlit, which means this laptop is also a good companion in dark places.
The trackpad is decent and comes with full support for Windows gestures. The surface is smooth, and you will have a good trackpad experience if you can be better.
The Dell XPS 13 comes with more than adequate power for automotive diagnostics. We have an Intel Core i7 processor from the 10th generation of Intel processors. This Hexa-core processor comes with a base clock speed of 1.1GHz and a maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most powerful processors out there. With a CPUMark score above 10000, you know that this processor is a beast. This i7 chip is a bit overkill for automotive diagnostics.
For your everyday needs, you will breeze through your day with this Intel chip in place. The processor gets excellent help from the memory department to give you a seamless user experience.
We have 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM in the memory department, which makes multitasking an absolute joy in this Dell XPS 13 model.
For storage, we have a 256GB solid-state drive. The SSD we have here is one of the fastest SSDs out there. You get excellent reading and writing speeds which puts traditional HDDs into a hall of shame. You can easily move even gigabytes of data around in a few seconds.
You don’t get a dedicated graphics card in the Dell XPS 13. We have the Intel UHD graphics card, which is good enough for automotive diagnostics. You will also be able to play some good games on this machine without any issues.
The battery life on the Dell XPS 13 is another major selling point. The laptop will last an entire day without any problem with light use. Even with some load, you should be able to get around 6 to 7 hours of battery life which is impressive.
Overall, the Dell XPS 13 is an excellent laptop that brings all sorts of good things to the table, making it the best laptop for automotive diagnostics.
- Solid Performance
- Epic battery life
- Good build
3. Acer Aspire 5 – Budget laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 is our go-to laptop for finding a budget laptop for any particular need. The Acer Aspire 5 is versatile for a budget laptop and gives you a lot of space to play with.
It comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and eight gigs of RAM in the memory department, making it a good laptop in terms of processing power.
The processor can handle automotive diagnostic tools and other applications without breaking a sweat. You can also run some high-end apps on this laptop seamlessly, as this Intel processor is more powerful than it looks.
The Acer Aspire 5 may not be as portable as other models we’ve seen on this list. It comes with a 15.6″ display and has full HD resolution. We have an IPS panel that presents excellent picture quality and gives us excellent viewing angles.
The keyboard on this Acer Aspire 5 model is an excellent one. For a budget device, one might expect a plasticky keyboard that makes a ton of noise when you type on it. But the Acer Aspire 5 surprises us in every way possible.
The keyboard on this laptop is pleasant to type on, and it also gives you decent key travel. It comes with a backlit keyboard to work even in dark environments. The trackpad here is good too. It gives you a smooth surface, and its support for Windows gestures makes for an excellent overall user experience.
The Acer Aspire five scores well when it comes to battery life. You should easily get around 9.5 hours of battery life with light usage. Even if you are doing something heavy, expect the laptop to keep going for about 5 to 6 hours which is amazing for a budget laptop.
For storage, we have a 512GB solid-state drive. This SSD might be slower than other SSDs in Apple and Dell laptops, but it greatly improves when considering HDDs.
The Acer Aspire 5 does not have a dedicated graphics card. We have an integrated Intel HD graphics card which is pretty good for what most diagnostic tools required. You may also be able to play some games on this laptop if you’re willing to reduce the settings a bit.
Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent budget laptop that does a good job when it comes to handling automotive diagnostics. If you’re an automotive technician who doesn’t want to spend much money on laptops, this one here is a solid choice.
- Budget pick
- Decent performance
- Good battery life
- None at this price point
4. HP Spectre x360 – Best 2-In-1 Convertible Laptop
A lot of people prefer 2-in-1 laptops because of the flexibility it provides. If you are one of those, then the HP Spectre 360 laptop is the best choice.
The HP Spectre 360 is one of HP’s best laptops recently, and it nails the 2-in-1 space with its design and execution. It is well-built and has excellent durability, especially in the hinge areas. Being a convertible laptop, the hinges do a lot of work and what we have here is excellent.
With a weight of 2.87 lbs, the HP Spectre 360 is one of the lightest convertible laptops. You can easily slide this into your bag and take it along with you wherever you go.
The HP Spectre 360 also comes with excellent battery life. The laptop should be fine for about 6 to 8 hours with regular use. This is fine for most users out there who prefer convertible laptops.
We have a 13.3″ display that comes with full HD resolution and does well regarding picture quality. The display is good enough for regular use and media consumption as well. The IPS panel plays a significant role in the final output. The IPS panel gives you vibrant colors and sharp viewing angles.
Being a convertible laptop, the display doubles up as a touchscreen. The tablet and tent modes work well, thanks to the touchscreen’s responsiveness. This adds another dimension to regular laptops and breathes some freshness into the device.
The HP Spectre 360 does not lack when it comes to processing power. We have an Intel Core i7 processor that belongs to the 10th generation of Intel chips. This quad-core processor comes with a base speed of 1.30GHz and a maximum speed of 3.90GHz. The processor also has an intelligent cache memory of 8MB, which is pretty handy.
The memory department in the HP Spectre 360 comes with 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM. This memory should be more than enough for most users and will allow you to run several applications without any performance issues.
For storage, we have 512 gigs of solid-state drive storage. Having an SSD for storage is great for speed and performance. The SSD loads the operating system in a few seconds, which is valid for most applications.
The HP Spectre 360 comes only with an integrated graphics card. The lack of a graphics card will not affect the laptop’s performance when running diagnostic tools. With the Intel UHD graphics card, you should be fine and also be able to play some games.
Overall, the HP Spectre 360 is a solid 2-in-1 convertible laptop that comes with an affordable price tag. It does everything well and is perfect for running automotive diagnostics tools and services. This is it if you’re looking for an affordable, powerful 2-in-1 laptop.
- Excellent convertible laptop
- Good performance
- Neat battery life
- No discrete GPU
What To Look For In The Best Laptops For Automotive Technicians?
If none of the above models don’t pique your interest, then feel free to find a laptop that’s more suited to you.
Before selecting any model, be sure to know what to look for in a laptop that is perfect for running automotive diagnostic tools.
Below are some criteria you should consider when finding a good laptop for running automotive diagnostics.
Any professional laptop needs processing power to get things done.
When running car tuning and automotive diagnostics tools, your laptops need good power to make your day effective and efficient.
For a processor, we recommend going with a quad-core processor from Intel or AMD. A quad-core processor will give you the right power to run your necessary tools.
We would not recommend using dual-core processors as they can be short of power in specific scenarios. To add more to that point, we are unsure if they can handle the same workload a few years from now.
We also don’t recommend going with Hexa-core processors as they are overkill in automotive diagnostics tools. These processors might even affect your battery life as they need more power for regular operations.
Simply put, go for a quad-core Intel processor that comes with a decent base clock frequency. The processor should be able to deploy Turbo Boost functionality and should overclock whenever necessary. If you want to save a few bucks, you can also go with an equivalent AMD processor.
What about the memory requirements?
If you’re a light user and won’t work on anything complicated, then you should be fine with 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM.
If you’re going to run some heavy applications and do more when running diagnostics and other tools, then we recommend going with 16 gigs of RAM.
Having a good display is important for any laptop. If you’re going to be working on automobiles, then a good display will make your life ten times easier.
If you value your portability, then you should go with a 13.3″ screen, as most laptops with that screen size will not weigh more than 3 lbs. It will be easier to carry around, and you can work on them freely even when you’re in a cramped space.
We recommend going for a minimum of 1920 x 1080 pixels in terms of resolution. This is called full HD resolution and should be fine for most people.
If you can, go for a QHD display, as it will give you more quality on-screen, and you’ll notice more details than ever before.
Make sure that you’re getting an IPS panel beneath the display. An IPS panel will make the picture look much better and will present you with excellent viewing angles.
Also, getting an anti-reflective is something we recommend for all professionals. This will help you avoid those annoying reflections on your screens even when working in a bright room.
How much storage you need is dependent on your needs and preferences.
You can easily manage with just a 128GB SSD if you’re not going to do anything other than automotive diagnostics on your laptop.
If you want more space to play with, then a 256GB SSD will be fine.
However, we do have one recommendation when it comes to storage. Avoid hard disk drives like the plague. They are cheap and might give you more storage for a fraction of the price. But they are also very slow and will slow down everything on your laptop.
Always go for a solid-state drive regardless of the storage size you are going for.
Battery life is another aspect you should look for in a laptop for running automotive diagnostic tools.
It would be best if you had a laptop that could give you decent battery life. Ideally, the laptop should stay alive for the entire day. But there are only a handful of laptops capable of that feat.
If you can’t afford those laptops, we recommend going for those that can last for at least 6 hours, giving you enough time to get things done.
The laptop should come with the latest connectivity options. It should have at least a USB Type C port, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, an SD card reader, and a display port.
The laptop should be able to connect wirelessly to the internet via WiFi. Make sure that the WiFi version is 802.11ac to get excellent speeds. The laptop should also have Bluetooth built-in to enable wireless connectivity with external devices.
That brings us to the end of this post.
We hope we have helped you find the best laptop for automotive technicians.
If you’re still unable to figure out the right laptop for you, please get in touch with us, and we’ll help you personally.