So I see a lot of people writing and vlogging about the best laptop for Linux. This makes sense because there have been lots of issues in the past with unsupported hardware and things not working. I would like to inform you about the laptop that I use on a daily basis, both professionally and personally and it runs Linux only. I'm not going to claim it is the best laptop for Linux, but it works very well.
Meet the HP ZBook 15
A good friend of mine, works in the IT department of a fairly large corporation and I asked him if he had any 13" laptops lying around that they would be willing to sell. The specs. I asked for 13" (1080p preferably), i3 or up Intel CPU, 8GB RAM, any disk/SSD. After a couple of days he came by my house and gave me (for free) a HP ZBook 15 with an 2.4GHz i7-4700MQ (4c/8t) CPU with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600, 12GB RAM and a 250GB Samsung SSD, the 15 stands for 15" and it is a 1080p panel. Needless to say I was very happy and thankful, I did give him my Apple AirPort Extreme to return the favor a little.
Does it run Linux
Currently it runs Ubuntu (Gnome) Linux 18.04.1 and it runs it very well, I've tested and worked with other distribution too and they all run great. All hardware, except the fingerprint scanner works out of the box. The extra media and other function keys all work too. WiFi, trackpad and webcam without any issues.
The ZBook comes with hybrid graphics, the low power integrated Intel HD graphics and the more powerful discrete NVIDIA Quadro K610M graphics, with 1GB dedicated DDR5 memory. Switching between the two is easy when the proprietary NVIDIA drivers are installed, by using
$ sudo prime-select nvidia|intel
Even though the system was first brought to market in 2013, HP is still releasing BIOS updates regularly, the latest at the moment of writing was released 8/8/2018. This is probably a result of these systems being actively sold to larger organizations and potentially governments.
- Great build quality
- Great performance
- All the needed Ports and Connectors
- It now has 28GB memory and can carry 32GB
- Disk/SSD can easily be replaced
- mSATA slot
- Great battery still
- 1080p screen
- Great full-size keyboard
- Really heavy
- Huge power brick
- Limited viewing angle
Would I recommend this laptop to others, especially running Linux? Absolutely, it works really well, everything supported out of the box and really powerful. You can probably pick it up used not to expensive.