Are you looking for the best laptops for ArcGIS?
If you answered yes, then you’re in the right place.
GIS can be tricky if you don’t have the right hardware. If you’re working with ArcGIS, you need a good laptop to get the most out of your time and effort.
GIS tasks require heavy processing power; not all laptops can do them without breaking down once or twice during the process. You need a good laptop with excellent hardware that runs ArcGIS without the sweat.
We’ve researched for hours to find the best laptop for running ArcGIS. Since we couldn’t zero in on one particular machine, we’ve created great laptops for their category.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Best Laptops For ArcGIS And Other GIS Software
Here are our top picks
- Dell XPS 15 – Editor’s Choice
- Apple MacBook Pro 16″ – Mac Pick
- Microsoft Surface 2 – Runner Up
- Acer Aspire 5 – Budget Pick
- Lenovo Yoga 740 – Best 2-In-1 Pick
- MSI GV62 8RD-276 – Best For Gamer
1. Dell XPS 15 – Editor’s Choice
Based on a ton of research, the best laptop for ArcGIS is the Dell XPS 15″ laptop. This Dell laptop has all the hardware you need for a seamless ArcGIS performance.
The first thing that will get your attention is the design of this laptop. The device comes in a rich shade of silver and is made of premium materials.
The chamfered edges are a nice touch to the laptop, making it feel more premium. Being a 15.6″ laptop, this is not a laptop you want to carry around with you. The laptop weighs just around 3.97 pounds which is not bad for a laptop in this size category.
The main reason for this lightweight is because of the thin bezels surrounding the screen. Thanks to this design refinement, Dell has reduced the footprint of a 15.6″ laptop to that of a 14″ laptop.
The keyboard on this laptop needs a mention. It is easy to type on and comes with good feedback. The tactile response makes this one of the best keyboards to type on.
The keys are backlit, meaning you can use this in a dark environment. The trackpad is decent and comes with an accurate response pickup.
The display is one of the best features of this laptop. We have a 15.6″ display that comes with a full HD resolution. It is also an anti-glare display that allows you to work in bright environments without facing your reflection.
Being an IPS panel, the Dell XPS does well regarding color reproduction. You can enjoy the same colors from pretty much any angle, and that’s a nice thing to have.
Let’s talk about the processing power of this laptop.
An Intel Core i7 processor from Intel’s 9th gen of chips powers this model. This Hexa-core processor comes with a base clock speed of 2.6GHz. With Turbo Boost, the processor can clock to a maximum of 4.5GHz.
This is one beast of a processor and does very well in everyday applications. The processor also handles ArcGIS like a boss. You can throw the most complicated of tasks, and this CPU will handle them without any issues.
The memory in this laptop is made of 16 gigs of DDR4 type RAM, and it supports the processor in the best way possible. This is the amount of memory you want if you want to work with ArcGIS. Though 8 gigs of RAM might be okay in some cases, having 16GB will be okay.
The graphics card in the Dell XPS laptop is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and it comes with 4 gigs of dedicated memory. This is an excellent graphics card, and it is perfect for some serious gaming.
ArcGIS requires a good amount of graphics processing, which is met with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. It can handle any amount of graphics-intensive tasks without slowing down the laptop’s overall performance.
The solid-state drive in this Dell XPS model is 256GB, and it is one of the fastest SSDs you’ll find on the market. Having an SSD is crucial for a machine that works on GIS, as you have to deal with large files regularly.
The Dell XPS comes with a variety of connectivity options for users. There are a couple of USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 type C port, an SD card slot, and an HDMI port. The laptop also comes with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1.
Overall, the Dell XPS is a solid laptop and is easily the best for ArcGIS as it ticks all the checkboxes when doing GIS tasks.
- Slim for a 15″ device
- Nice display
- Excellent performance
- A bit expensive
2. Apple MacBook Pro 16″ – Mac Pick
Apple’s latest 16″ MacBook Pro is our next pick for the best notebook for running ArcGIS.
With excellent hardware and software, the MacBook Pro delivers a seamless performance making it the best mac for ArcGIS.
With a minor design refresh, the MacBook Pro came out in 2019 with a lot of hope for Apple fans. Apple rectified the keyboard issue and made the bezels thinner making this 16″ laptop fit into a much smaller footprint.
The keyboard is easier to type on and comes with more travel. The backlighting is excellent; you don’t see it bleeding like on other laptops. The lack of a dedicated number pad might bother a few, but it wasn’t a problem for us.
The touch bar might need some getting used to, but it does work well with ArcGIS. The trackpad is the best you’re going to find on a laptop. The palm rejection is excellent, and all your hits are captured accurately without missing a beat.
The display on the MacBook Pro is one of the best out there. This here is a 16″ display that comes with a Retina resolution. The display comes with excellent colors and is one of the most color-accurate displays.
The image quality is excellent as you get deep blacks and bright whites, and excellent greyscale features. If you like reading on the web, you’ll appreciate the sharp text on the screen.
With excellent viewing angles, this display is perfect for sharing a presentation with your colleagues. You will also enjoy watching your favorite Netflix shows on this screen.
We can’t miss the speaker on this machine. Its volume can go high, and you won’t hear a lot of distortion even at the highest volume. This alone makes this laptop a media consumption beast.
How Good Is The MacBook Pro When It Comes To Handling ArcGIS?
The MacBook Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor from the 9th generation of Intel chips. This processor comes with 6 physical cores and is the most powerful.
With a maximum clocking frequency of 4.5GHz, this processor can handle serious workloads without any issues. The laptop can easily handle any aspect of ArcGIS, thanks to the sheer processing power inside.
With 16 gigs of RAM in the memory department, you can expect this laptop to run more than a few applications simultaneously without any hiccups. This DDR4-type RAM comes with excellent clock speed and can handle more work simultaneously without any issues.
One of the main reasons for the MacBook Pro’s performance is its storage. We have a 512GB SSD that comes with excellent read and write speeds.
If you’re working with ArcGIS, you may have to move massive files after finishing the process. With this SSD in place, moving them around will be a painless experience.
Another important aspect you need in a GIS laptop is the graphics card. We have an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU of GDDR6 type. This GPU comes with a dedicated video memory of 6GB which is more than enough for most ArcGIS tasks.
Macs could be better for playing games. So if you’re a gamer, even with this powerful GPU, you will have some issues inherent with Macs.
People working on GIS projects are usually not concerned about the battery life of their laptops. With the MacBook Pro, you get around 10 hours of battery life which is nice.
To sum it up, the Apple MacBook Pro is a solid laptop with all the hardware you need to make your ArcGIS experience flawless. Undoubtedly, the 16″ MacBook Pro is the best mac for ArcGIS.
- Powerful performance
- Superb display
- Impressive graphics
- A tad expensive
3. Surface Laptop 2 – Runner Up
The Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s answer to the laptop segment. Even as a full-fledged laptop, it comes with a touchscreen that sticks to Microsoft’s design language.
This laptop here is a well-designed one. It is a 13.5″ laptop with a solid build quality that’s worth the premium. The screen is well built with premium materials, while the keyboard is softer but durable.
The display is one of the best features of this laptop. We have a 13.5″ that comes with PixelSense resolution and does very well regarding colors. It has an excellent contrast ratio, and you can see that in the colors you see on the screen.
The speakers on this laptop are also impressive. They can get very loud without being distortive. Both the video and audio capabilities of this laptop make this an excellent machine for media consumption.
The laptop is powered by a powerful Intel Core i5 processor from the 10th generation of Intel chips. This is a quad-core processor and comes with enough power to handle all your GIS needs. This processor will be like a hot knife through butter when taking care of your everyday activities.
Regarding memory, we recommend 16 gigs of RAM for optimum performance for the GIS tasks. But you should also be okay with 8GB if taking this machine to 16GB will cost you a lot more.
The machine supports a maximum of 32 gigs of DDR4 memory, which is a lot.
For storage, we have 256 gigs of high-speed storage. The SSD here is fast and has excellent reading and writing speeds. It boots up the OS in a few seconds.
When handling huge applications, the SSD opens and closes them super quickly. Since you will be working with ArcGIS, you will have to deal with bug files, and this SSD will surely come in handy.
How Good Is The Graphics Performance Of The Surface Laptop?
It comes with an AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics card. This is a good GPU and does well regarding graphics performance. It can handle your GIS tasks without any issues whatsoever.
If you like to game, this GPU will also come in handy there. You can play the most recent games without any issues. If you like to play MMORPGs, this laptop is a beast.
The laptop has a battery life of 10.5 hours which is pretty good. Since you’ll be doing some heavy lifting, expect this number to go down. Most ArcGIS users don’t rely on battery life, so this will not affect your performance.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is a good choice for ArcGIS. The hardware and software merge to give you the best Windows experience.
- Great build quality
- Good performance
- Excellent graphics
- display has slow response rate
4. Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – Budget Pick
If you’re looking for an affordable laptop to run ArcGIS, this Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop is probably the best bet.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop has all the features you need for a proper GIS experience without the hefty price tag.
This is a 15.6″ laptop that comes with a full HD resolution. Even though this is a budget laptop, Acer has included an IPS panel which surprised us.
The picture quality is very good for the price, and the contrast ratio is not that bad, even compared with flagship laptops. The text on the screen is sharp, and with full HD resolution, you should get a sharp view of what you’re looking at.
The laptop is also good for media consumption. The speakers are not that impressive, but if you can get a good set of speakers or decent headphones, you’re all set.
The keyboard is pretty good to type on. There is no backlighting due to the budget pricing, but that’s to be expected. The trackpad is decent and does what it is supposed to, but nothing outstanding.
An 8th gen Intel core i5 processor powers the laptop. This dual-core processor has a maximum clock speed of 3.9GHz, which is more powerful than you’ll ever need.
The laptop does well when it comes to everyday tasks. Even with ArcGIS, you will see that the laptop does well. It does not lag when it comes to handling heavy applications, which matters a lot when doing GIS-related work.
There are 8 gigs of RAM in the memory department, which should be okay regarding GIS. We’ve mentioned that 16GB is the optimum memory for a laptop to run ArcGIS. But for a budget laptop, this is the best you can go for.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop also lacks a dedicated graphics card. But thanks to Intel’s improved integrated graphics solution, running ArcGIS is not that big of a challenge. There will be scenarios where the laptop will struggle a bit, but you’d be okay for the most part.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop comes with a 256GB SSD, which is much faster than even the best hard drives. They may not be as fast as the ones you find in MacBook and Surface laptops, but they get the job done faster.
One of the advantages of the Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop is that there is a fingerprint sensor for added security. With the touch of a finger, you can log in to your Windows profile and use it for other applications.
If you have a tight budget, the Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop is great for ArcGIS. It brings excellent processing power, a solid display, and decent graphics performance, so we can even call it the best budget laptop for ArcGIS and other GIS software.
- Excellent processing power
- Epic battery life
- No discrete graphics
5. Yoga 740 – Best 2-In-1 Laptop For ArcGIS
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 laptop for ArcGIS, then the Lenovo Yoga 740 should be on your shortlist.
The Lenovo Yoga 740 is a mid-range laptop with impressive specs. It gives you the freedom of a 2-in-1 without burning a hole in your pocket.
The design of the laptop is what makes it one of the best. The build quality of excellent, and you don’t feel like handling a cheap laptop made of plastic. The hinges are smooth, allowing a seamless transition from one mode to another.
The display here is a 15.6″ full HD display that comes with an IPS panel. There are a lot of things to like about this display. You have a full HD display, meaning you’ll see things clearly without any blur.
Yes, there are laptops with much more resolution, but at this price, it will be tough to beat this. The fact that you’re getting an IPS display means you get good viewing angles.
In tablet mode, the device is very responsive. The display supports multi-point touch and accurately captures all your touches without any misses. If you’re on the run, then this tablet mode, despite being big, will surely come in handy.
The real hero in this convertible laptop is the processing power.
We have an Intel Core i5 processor that comes with 4 cores. This is a low-voltage processor, but it delivers enough power to run GIS applications without any issues. The processor also plows through all your everyday activities without any problems.
Eight gigs of RAM help you use multiple apps simultaneously, a.k.a. multitasking. Thanks to Intel’s support for multithreading, you can run multithreaded applications without any problem. You can also increase memory later, which is a nice feature.
The Lenovo Yoga 740 comes with a 256GB PCIe SSD, which is quite fast. The SSD boots the system up in just a few seconds. You can also move big files quickly between your drives.
No Discrete GPU
The lack of a discrete graphics card is disappointing, but this is what you can expect in this price range. The integrated graphics do well when handling GIS-related simulations and other graphically intensive tasks.
The battery life of the Lenovo Yoga 740 is pretty decent. The laptop can last about 8 hours with regular use, which is good. If you’re going to go the full monty on this laptop, then expect a faster battery drain.
The Lenovo Yoga 740 is a solid 2-in-1 laptop. If you want the best 2-in-1 in the business, then the Surface Pro 7 is a good choice. But if you want to save a ton of $$$, then the Lenovo Yoga 730 is the best 2-in-1 laptop for ArcGIS and other GIS software.
- Smooth design
- Neat performance
- Impressive battery life
- No discrete graphics
6. MSI GV62 8RD-276 – Honorable Mention
If you’re a gamer who needs a laptop for ArcGIS or other GIS applications, then don’t look further than the MSI GV62 8RD-276 laptop.
This MSI GV62 8RD-276 model is a mid-range gaming laptop with a good price point and delivers well in gaming and GIS tasks.
From the first look, you can tell this is a gaming laptop. The design is neat, and something MSI takes very seriously to stand out from the crowd. The MSI laptop is a gaming laptop with an excellent cooling system that assures long gaming sessions without compromise.
The keyboard is one of the best things we love about this laptop. The keys come with enough travel and give you excellent feedback. The red backlighting might not click with everyone, but it does add some character to the device.
The trackpad is decent and does what it is supposed to. If you’re serious about gaming, you should get a dedicated gaming mouse for your gaming needs.
The MSI GV62 8RD-276 comes with a 15.6″ display that has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This is an IPS panel and comes with really good viewing angles. If you like movies on your laptop screen, you’ll also like this experience.
The display’s contrast ratio is impressive and leads to deep blacks and bright whites. You will enjoy the bright and dynamic colors during gaming and GIS tasks.
The processing power of the MSI GV62 8RD-276 laptop is also more than needed. We have an Intel Core i7 processor that has 6 cores and comes with a maximum clocking frequency of 3.4GHz, which is nice.
The processor can handle all the applications without any problem. Regarding GIS tasks, the laptop does well without breaking a sweat. With 16 gigs of RAM, the memory department comes in handy and works well with the processor to give you a seamless ArcGIS experience. The laptop supports a maximum of 32GB which should be more than enough even in the future.
When it comes to storage, we think that MSI has nailed it. The laptop has 128 gigs of SSD storage and 1TB of hard drive storage. This way, you get the performance and storage space for all the files you make.
The graphics card in the MSI GV62 8RD-276 laptop is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU that comes with 4 gigs of dedicated video memory. This GPU is excellent for gaming, and you can play most games without any issues.
The GPU also makes your GIS tasks a lot simpler. It takes the load from the processor and makes the process smoother and more efficient.
Overall, if you’re looking for a gaming laptop that won’t cost you a lot and is also one of the best for ArcGIS, then the MSI GV62 8RD-276 laptop is a good fit.
- Excellent gaming performance
- Solid design
- Impressive processing power
- Not very portable
What Features To Look For In The Best Laptops For ArcGIS?
Having the best processing power in your hands is crucial for a laptop running ArcGIS.
You will do a lot of processor-intensive tasks for which you need a good amount of processing power in your kitty.
As a starting point, you need at least a dual-core processor from the 8th generation of Intel chips. These dual-core processors should be able to clock to a maximum of more than 3.0GHz.
If you want things to be ideal, you need a quad-core or a Hexa-core processor from the 8th generation of Intel chips or later. The clock speed is not an issue here, as you will have more power due to the availability of more cores.
Regarding the RAM in your laptop, you need a minimum of 8 gigs of DDR4-type RAM. Anything below this is a big no-no.
Ideally, you want to have 16 gigs of RAM on your laptop. This will give you the right amount of power to run intensive GIS applications without any hiccups.
We don’t recommend 32 gigs at this stage, because it is overkill.
Graphics (Best Is Better For ArcGIS Pro)
A dedicated graphics card is necessary for running ArcGIS and other GIS to get the best performance out of them.
Yes, most laptops will do fine even without the latest and the greatest discrete GPUs. The problem with integrated GPUs is that there will be a bottleneck, and you’ll know it only when you see it. By that time, it will be too late to see it.
But if you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll be fine with a laptop with only an integrated GPU. It will not be the best experience, but it will still get the job done.
Battery life is not a big deal unless you take the laptop with you where you don’t have charging points.
If that’s the case, then you need a laptop that will at least hold well for 6 hours. This way, you can find a charging point before you completely run out of juice and will be able to continue working on your project.
We recommend getting a laptop that gives you the best all-day battery life. You can work freely without worrying about your laptop giving up on your any minute.
Storage is one of the essential things on a laptop.
You need to consider two things when deciding on the storage of a computer; Space and Speed.
Your storage needs to give you the space for storing all your data, and it also has to be fast enough to handle your everyday workload.
Aren’t SSDs Expensive?
In an ideal condition, we’d recommend going with SSDs as they are super fast when compared to hard drives. But they are expensive and they can increase your laptop’s cost quickly.
If possible, you should go with hybrid hard drives that come with both an SSD and a hard drive. It will give you the speed you want and also the storage your files need.
Display For Best Experience
While the display is not essential, you will spend a lot of time in front of it.
Don’t settle for anything less than full HD, as the image quality could disappoint you in the future.
You can also go for QHD displays, which will give you more details on what you’re working on.
Wrap Up For The Best Laptop For ArcGIS Pro & Other GIS Apps
That’s curtains for this post.
We hope we helped make your decision simpler.
Our recommendations are well researched and you can’t go wrong with them.
If you have better (or even best) options, let us know in the comment section below. We’d love to see that.