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Last updated on September 1st, 2020 at 03:41 pm

2020 Best Laptops For GIS And Cartography (GIS Professionals and Students)

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Last updated on October 27th, 2020 at 03:25 pm

Numerous laptops can be found on the market. We have gone through most of them to see which ones are the best laptops for ArcGIS, ArcGIS ProQGIS, and Cartography. These laptops pass the system requirements provided on the ArcGIS website.

These laptops have enough power to process and capture data without any major problems. Aside from that, we also considered the portability, battery life, and display.

Let’s get into the best laptops for GIS and Cartography.


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 13.5" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 256GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6" Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that makes it perfect for creating maps on ArcGIS.

Powerful, lightweight, and great battery life. The Dell XPS 15 surpasses the requirements for GIS. A solid laptop for professionals.

The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is the best budget laptop for GIS and Cartography professionals and students.

Prime
-
Rating
-
Position
First Place
Snapshot
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 13.5" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 256GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that makes it perfect for creating maps on ArcGIS.

Prime
Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6" Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

Powerful, lightweight, and great battery life. The Dell XPS 15 surpasses the requirements for GIS. A solid laptop for professionals.

Prime
Rating
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is the best budget laptop for GIS and Cartography professionals and students.

Prime
-
Rating

Last update on 2020-11-29 at 05:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Processor, GPU & RAM
 
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 13.5' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 256GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q, 16GB
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6' Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650, 16GB
ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15 Laptop, 15.6” UHD 4K NanoEdge Display, Intel Core i7-10510U, GeForce GTX 1650, 16GB, 512GB PCIe SSD, ScreenPad 2.0, Amazon Alexa Compatible, Windows 10, Icicle Silver

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q, 16GB
HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3' FHD High Performance Laptop w/ Accessories | 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 | 8GB RAM | 512GB SSD+32GOptane | Fingerprint Reader | Backlit Keyboard | Windows 10

Intel Core i7, Intel HD Graphics, 8GB + 32GB Intel Optane Memory
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black

Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB
HP 15 (9LK80UA) Laptop, 15.6' HD Touch Display, AMD Ryzen 7 3700U Upto 4.0GHz, 12GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, Vega 10, HDMI, Card Reader, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home

AMD Ryzen 7, AMD Radeon Vega 10, 12GB

Here Are The Best Laptops For GIS and Cartography


Pros

  • Great Performance
  • Great Battery Life
  • Great Display
  • A True Convertible

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Pricey
  • Doesn’t Come With A Surface Pen

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.5″ PixelSense (3000 x 2000) | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is one of the best convertible laptops you can use in the professional environment. The ease of switching between tablet mode and a laptop is very beneficial especially in places where a tablet would be useful.

It has an Intel i7, 16 GB, RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q. The dedicated graphics card helps immensely when you rendering millions of polygons and playing games.

The processor is also a powerful quad-core. Also, the 16 GB RAM surpasses the requirements needed to run GIS successfully allowing you to launch several applications without any lag. The storage is a 512GB SSD for fast data access.

The display is a 15-inch PixelSense (3240 x 2160) touchscreen. The display is bright, has great viewing angles, colour accuracy, and reproduction.

The high resolution and brightness make it have a great screen. When it comes to weight, the keyboard, and display combined are almost 3.2 pounds and even less in tablet mode.

The battery life of the convertible depends on how you going to use it. If you are working in tablet mode you will get an average of 6-8 hours of usage. The laptop mode is around 10-12 hours of normal usage.

This is because there are batteries in both the keyboard and the display of Surface Book 2 combining them will give you something of a double battery hence the long battery life.

The downside of the convertible is the absence of a Thunderbolt 3 port and Surface pen which is disappointing. At that price point, those are a must.

Overall, Microsoft Surface Book 3 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops for GIS, ArcGIS Pro and Cartography in the professional environment. The ease at which you freely detach the keyboard from the display somewhat makes superior to other convertibles when it comes to drawing maps.


Where To Buy

$1,499.66

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Solid build quality
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Runs hot

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best laptops for GIS, ArcGIS and Cartography professionals. Great performance, lightweight, and decent battery life. The Dell XPS 15 is an all-round workstation laptop.

It has a gorgeous Full HD (1920 x 1080) 15.6-inch display. It is bright, has great viewing angles and above colour accuracy. One of the most beautiful displays you will come across.

Furthermore, the Dell XPS 15 has amazing battery life. You are looking at 9-10 hours.

For the performance, the Dell XPS 15 meets the recommended requirements for ArcGIS. Powered by a high-performance Intel Core i7 and 16GB RAM. Plenty of computing power to run demanding applications and multitask. If you also like to game.

The GTX 1650 is a great graphics card. It might not be the fastest, but it can handle the large maps on ArcGIS.

Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is a well-rounded workstation. It has everything you need if you are a professional. Plus, it is a beautiful looking laptop. One of the best GIS and Cartography laptops for professionals.


Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Great display
  • Long battery life
  • Thin & light

Cons

  • Trackpad might take time getting used to

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ 4k UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The ASUS ZenBook has a 15.6 inch 4K almost bezel-less display. The almost bezel-less design gives the ZenBook a great aesthetic appeal. It is an ultrabook that has that classy and premium feel to it.

Performance is also not lacking. It has an Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD. More than enough power for ArcGIS and Cartography.

Apart from performance, it is also very light and slim. This makes it easy to carry to work, class or any destination because the ZenBook weighs approximately 3.7 pounds and it is 0.7 inches thick. Talk about lightweight and ultra-slimness.

The battery life is also very great lasting about 9-10 hours under normal usage. That’s enough juice to last more than half a day.

Overall, the ASUS ZenBook 15 is a great laptop because of its performance and lightweight. It is a rigid and robust ultrabook that will last a very long time and still be able to perform.

This makes it one of the best GIS and Cartography computers.


Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Solid performance
  • Long battery life
  • Beautiful display
  • Plenty of Thunderbolt ports

Cons

  • Tablet mode is uncomfortable

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB + 32GB Intel Optane Memory | Screen: 13.3” Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD

The HP Spectre x360 is a 2-in-1 laptop that provides tremendous value for its price. This convertible has great build quality made from aluminum.

Its aluminum is also the reason why it gives an “illusion” of being heavy whilst weighing 2.78 pounds and a little over an inch thick.

Tablet mode is also uncomfortable to use because of the aluminum body. This is the only downside of the HP Spectre.

On to the performance, it is powered by an Intel Core i7 quad-core, 8GB RAM, and has an Intel HD Graphics. 32GB Optane memory is added to the RAM giving it similar performance to that of a 16GB RAM laptop.

Performance pretty much fits the system requirements for running GIS smoothly.

In addition, it has massive amounts of storage, a 512 GB PCIe SSD, which is very fast in accessing data and the like.

The display is a 13.3 inch Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen. A bright screen with great contrast. The protection also provided by the Corning Gorilla Glass is great.

Basically makes it have a scratch-resistant display. On the port side, there are two Thunderbolt 3 and a USB 3.1. Battery life lasts an average of 9 hours on normal usage. The HP Spectre has a great price-to-performance ratio. Apart from its tablet mode which can be uncomfortable, it is one of the best laptops for GIS and Cartography professionals and students.


Pros

  • Superb Performance
  • Affordable
  • Solid Build Quality

Cons

  • Not The Best Battery Life
  • Dim Display

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED-backlit IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is the best budget GIS and Cartography laptop for students (GIS, Cartography, and geography students included). Available at a budget price, it has the performance and portability every student desires.

An Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1650. The i5 processor has high clock speeds which surpass the GIS system requirements (GIS recommends a minimum of 1.9GHz).

The NVIDIA GTX 1650 is also a great dedicated graphics card that can handle maps.

When it comes to the display, it has a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080). To be honest, the display leaves more to be desired because it isn’t bright and the colours are a bit off. The only redeeming factor is its decent viewing angles because of its IPS display.

The laptop weighs about 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg) and less than an inch thick. Lightweight and thin enough to easily carry around without any problems.

Battery life is below average. Under normal workloads, it is only able to last 4-5 hours. Fortunately, it has fast charging capabilities and so you can quickly get it to 100 percent in a short time.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is the best affordable laptop for GIS and geography students. Highly-recommended.


Pros

  • Affordable
  • Solid performance
  • Lightweight and thin
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • The display is not Full HD
  • Cheap build quality

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 10 | RAM: 12GB | Screen: 15.6” HD (1366 x 768) IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD

The HP 15 Notebook takes the spot of the best cheap laptop for GIS and Cartography. 

Looking at the specs, the AMD Ryzen 7 is a solid processor and the 12GB RAM means you can use this for quite demanding tasks.

The AMD Radeon Vega 10 which is an integrated graphics card is surprisingly good and meets the ArcGIS system requirements.

The 15.6-inch display is not Full HD (1920 x 1080). It’s an HD (1366 x 768) display with average brightness and colour gamut. It won’t be as sharp as the Full HD, but it will get the job done.

The HP 15 Notebook has a beautiful design with a silver smooth finish. It weighs 3.8 lbs (1.7 kg) and 0.7 inches thick. This is a laptop that you can carry around to work, class, etc. However, the plastic build quality feels cheap and has a lot of flex to it. One of the few compromises because of the budget price. 

Battery life is decent though. You are looking at 6-7 hours under normal use.

Overall, HP 15 Notebook is a solid budget laptop. One of the best cheap laptops for GIS and Cartography that will get the job done. Highly recommended.


Can I Use ArcGIS on a Mac?

No, ArcGIS is not macOS compatible, so you won’t be able to install or run ArcGIS on a MacBook or Mac.

What Is The Best Laptop For GIS and Cartography?

The Micrososft Surface Book 3 and Dell XPS 15 are the best ArcGIS laptops. They both have amazing performance, battery life and design. Although they are expensive both laptops are moth than enough to take care of large maps and projects in GIS and Cartography.

For the best cheap GIS laptop, The HP 15 Notebook and Lenovo Ideapad L340 take the spot. Both are ideal for GIS and Cartography students who are on a tight budget. But, need a laptop with powerful hardware.

How To Find The Best Laptop For ArcGIS and Cartography

Here are a few things to know when getting the best laptop for GIS and Cartography.

Processor/CPU

A processor with high clock speeds is highly recommended. ArcGIS recommends processors with at least 2.2 GHz. You can get a lower clocked processor, but make sure it is a multi-core processor and can TurboBoost technology.

For this reason, Intel i5s and i7s are recommended. For AMD, go with the Ryzen 5 and 7.

Does ArcGIS or Cartography Require Graphics Card

Not really. An integrated or dedicated graphics card will work fine. But, a dedicated graphics card will be ideal since they readily fit the recommended graphics requirements for GIS and provide better graphics performance than integrated graphics cards.

How Much RAM Do You Need For ArcGIS and Cartography

You need a minimum of 8GB RAM. 16GB RAM is recommended and 32GB RAM is for very large maps. To sum it all up, the more the RAM the better.

Final Thoughts

If you handle medium to large maps, the Microsoft Surface Book 3 and Dell XPS 15 are the best-recommended laptops.

If you want the best value laptop, the ASUS ZenBook 15 and HP Spectre x360 are the best.

For those on a tight budget and this applies to students, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 and HP 15 Notebook will get the job done.

That’s it for the best laptops for GIS and Cartography.

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