If you belong to the GIS industry and you’re always busy working in this field then, you’d understand the importance of having a good dependable laptop that offers great performance and power with precision.
Laptops are crucial in type of work situation and if you’re using the GIS software then you wouldn’t be able to afford a laptop that lags or stops during a critical work session. For this reason, we have compiled a list of best laptops for GIS. We will also compare their features with each other in order to make it easy for you to select one of them.
These laptops have the ability to produce great results when it comes to GIS data and they will also meet the minimum system requirements for ArcGIS, Maptitude, QGIS and any other GIS software that you’re using currently.
What is GIS?
First of all, it is extremely important to understand the meaning of GIS. It stands for Geographical Information Systems. It is basically a field of technology where you can combine the geographical features with tabular data to better analyze, visualize and map the information. It works as a bridge between a map and a database if we simply put it.
It won’t be wrong to say that all the business activities around the global industries are taken out by this method and GIS software is largely used in corporate offices for different modes of work.
From hospitals to Police stations, every single organization works on this software and they’re actually very very useful in their outputs. It goes without saying that GIS is everywhere and GIS experts are requested. You will however first need a laptop with the right specifications if you want to work with professional GIS apps.
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Top 5 Best Laptops for GIS
Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition
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You must have heard about the Macbook and its Pro editions as well. However, when it comes to GIS software and applications, we would recommend you to go for this amazing Huawei Matebook X Pro. It comes with almost similar build quality as the Macbook but the price is pretty much less compared to the Macbook.
If we talk about its core features then the 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor along with 16GB RAM is going to blow you away. These features are more than enough to work on any GIS software. It also comes with an additional luxury of NVIDIA GeForce MX150 and that is going to help you with your creative work, graphic designing and gaming as well.
You’d also enjoy a stunning viewing experience with its 13.9-inch 3k touchscreen display as it will give you awesome viewing angles along with ultra-thin bezels. These bezels are designed in such a way that you will enjoy your large screen display with utmost pleasure and precision.
All of the above-mentioned features are the core functions that are almost available in any laptop of this price range. We will point out some extra cool features that are not common in other machines.
This Huawei Matebook has a one-touch power button through which, you can log-in to your laptop in just a matter of seconds. You don’t need to spend extra time in meaningless openings and formalities. It just takes you straight to the working area and you can maximize your productivity in this manner.
As far as its battery life is concerned then you don’t have to worry about it at all. Because the Matebook X Pro comes with a whopping 57.4 Wh battery that is going to work for you for almost 15 hours if you’re doing the normal routine work and web browsing. When it comes to GIS work, this device should cover a full day for you.
There is a pop-up camera available in this laptop and you can use it for your online office meetings and video conferences. It only comes out when you need it and disappears automatically when it not in use. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
The only drawback is perhaps the average quality touchpad and it is no way near the quality of the latest machines. Overall, a touchpad is not as good but the other features are simply unavoidable.
- It has a powerful processor
- 16GB RAM is great
- It has a separate CPU
- The display is overwhelming and battery life is fantastic
- The touchpad is not really great
- It can heat up pretty quickly
Asus ZenBook 14
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The second laptop on our list is this Asus Zenbook 14-inch beauty. It is widely regarded as one of the most portable laptops for GIS. It weighs around 2.8lbs and comes with an ultra-compact and lightweight design. It is perfectly suitable for all kinds of GIS work.
Just like the Huawei Matebook, it also has a nice cool feature that is known as innovative ‘ScreenPad’. This 5.65-inch interactive touchscreen serves as the secondary display instead of the trackpad. It means you don’t have to use your touchpad in order to scroll your cursor around the whole page.
You’d be amazed to see the number of things you can with this function. You can simply start handwriting on it. You can also draw and switch between applications with this feature. It can also work as a numeric keypad and the extra touchscreen space is going to play a vital role in achieving effective results for you as far as the GIS software is concerned.
There is a lot of screen space to work with despite its high portability. The bezels are very thin in this device and the NanoEdge design is going to get the most out of your screen space. As discussed earlier, it comes with a compact design and a 92% screen-to-body ratio.
As far as its key features are concerned, the power-packed Intel Core i7 processor along with 16GB RAM has the ability to cover every kind of computing task with ease. It also comes with a dedicated GeForce MX250 graphics card and you are certainly going to need it if you’re planning to work on GIS software all the time.
A rough estimate of our review team suggests that it is going to give you around 8-9 hours of battery life on the continuous usage of web and other computing tasks. This laptop is available at an extremely good rate of $1250 and we feel that it is the right time to pick it up.
- Internal specifications are great
- It has an innovative ‘ScreenPad’ technology
- It comes with a great screen-to-body ratio
- The design is sleek, lightweight and compact
- Battery life is average
- The speakers and sound performance is ordinary
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
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When it comes to budget laptops for GIS work, we feel that this amazingly good performer that goes by the name of Microsoft Surface Pro 6 might come across as a very suitable option for all the customers that are looking to save some cash.
It is one of the best cheap laptops available on the market right and you can get this for as low as $800. If we talk about its internal specifications and compare them to the Huawei Matebook and Asus Zenbook, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 lags behind in most of the functions.
However, this laptop is still good enough to carry out all the required GIS work with ease and brilliance. People mostly prefer an i7 processor but the Intel Core i5 processor with 8th generation can also work pretty powerfully.
The RAM is 8GB and it is good enough to carry out all the routine tasks on various GIS software. In this price range, 8GB RAM is very much reasonable. It also comes with a built-in UHD graphics card and it should be sufficient enough to carry out 3D GIS work.
As a matter of fact, you won’t regret the absence of a separate GPU in this regard. It has an SSD of 128 GB and if that doesn’t satisfy you, you can always opt for a separate SSD external hard drive to take out some of your data from your computer.
It is a genuine 2-in-1 laptop and it acts as a bridge between a laptop and a tablet. The versatility is appreciable and you can always expect it from Microsoft products. It is an extremely portable device because it comes with a kickstand and when you open it and attach the type cover, you can start using it as a laptop.
Remove the cover to use it as a tablet and when you take the kickstand to 15 degrees low then you will be enjoying the display in a studio mode. It is an extremely recommended device for all the GIS professionals and beginners as well.
If anyone is looking to get a decent GIS laptop with a limited and affordable budget, this Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is an open and the most viable option for them.
- Great in both laptop and tablet mode
- Very versatile device
- Provides value for money
- The battery life is pretty outstanding
- GPU and CPU are not as good as we expected
- The display screen is not huge
- 8GB RAM can be less for some high-end professionals
New Apple MacBook Pro
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All the machines that we have mentioned so far are powered by Windows OS. However, if you’re a Mac OS user and you’re looking to upgrade your laptop for better GIS work, then try considering this MacBook Pro instead.
You’d get extremely powerful performance with its ultra-rapid SSD that is going to be very helpful in your daily GIS tasks. For precise accuracy and fast data transfer, you’d also receive the ultra-versatile Thunderbolt 3 ports.
These ports can also be used for charging. It also has a touch ID for rapid logins and there is a specific ‘Touch Bar’ to maximize the potential of the device and boost productivity.
The Touch Bar has replaced the traditional function keys that were found on the top of your keyboard and were highly meaningless to be honest. This Touch Bar has become more successful and handy now.
This Touch Bar has surely enhanced the beauty of this product because it will automatically adapt and changes itself in order to give you touch control towards all other tools like volume control, brightness control and predictive text.
You can also forward and rewind your favorite shows on the Internet and switch between browser tabs. The butterfly keyboard is also a pretty pleasant addition to this already pleasant device. It feels great under your fingers when you type and all of the above-mentioned features gather to present a very good and recommended option for GIS professionals.
As far as its main features are concerned, you’d have to settle yourself on either 1.4GHz processor or a faster 2.4GHz quad-core i5 processor. The 2.4GHz quad-core i5 processor is recommended because you can only use the main GIS software (ArcGIS) on a speed of 2.2GHz or more. A processor of this speed in a MacBook is obviously nothing less than other processors on Windows-powered devices.
The retina display is going to add a lot of value to your viewing experience and the 10 hours of battery life is also sufficient enough. Overall, a pretty good option for all GIS professionals.
- Awesome Retina display
- Mac OS
- Butterfly keyboard is really nice
- The Touch Bar technology adds a lot of value
- The RAM is pretty limited
- The Processor is also pretty average
Asus Vivobook S14
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The last device on our list of Top 5 Best laptops for GIS students is the Asus Vivobook S14 S432. It is a great laptop that provides a lot of value to GIS students with its amazing features and incredible performance.
If compared to the ZenBook, the Vivobook comes at a relatively low price but it features all the important functions of the ZenBook including the much anticipated ScreenPad 2.0 technology. You can simply turn your mouse pad into a touchscreen by pressing the F6 key on your keyboard.
If we talk about its other worth mentioning features then this Vivobook 14 comes with the facial login that is powered by the IR camera. It will keep your login details safe and secure and also makes logging in pretty easy and fast.
There is a backlit keyboard also available in this model with its ErgoLift hinge. These hinges tilt the keyboard in such a way that typing becomes very easy and ergonomically precise.
You’re in for power-packed performance because of its Intel Core i7 processor and the 14-inch screen with thin bezels will also give you extreme viewing pleasure. The main and big differences between this device and the Zenbook are the differences between RAM and GPU.
The Zenbook comes with 16GB RAM whereas you will have to settle down with 8GB RAM in this device. Also, the built-in graphics card is this UHD 620 card that is sufficient enough to carry out our daily GIS tasks at a much more affordable price.
If you don’t carry out heavy stuff during your work sessions, this device is more than capable of giving you 9-10 hours of battery life. If you liked the ZenBook then you would like this device as well because it comes at a much lower price.
- The facial login is pretty secure and fast
- It comes with ScreenPad technology
- Provides great value for money
- The processor is good as well
- The GPU is built-in
- The RAM is also pretty limited