Buyer's Guide

5 Best Laptops for GIS: Buyer’s Guide (2020)

If you are in the field of GIS, you might require a good laptop to capture and process your data. Performing these tasks in an ordinary laptop will surely cause you some kind of troubles. That’s why you should pick a laptop with powerful specs to work without facing issues. If you have landed over here to find the Best laptops for GIS software like ArcGIS, QGIS, then this post will surely help you.

I have chosen these 5 laptops for GIS which matches the system requirements for software like ArcGIS. MAPublisher and more. You can pick any of these laptops without giving too much thought about the compatibility as all the laptops on this list are perfectly suitable to run almost any GIS software.

Top 5 Laptops for GIS in 2020

No.NameStorageGPU 
1Acer Aspire E15
256GB SSDGeForce MX150 Check Price
2MSI GL62M (Editor's Choice)128GB SSD+ 1TB HDDGTX 1050 Ti 4GB Check Price
3Dell Inspiron128GB SSD+ 1TB HDDGTX 1050 Check Price
4ASUS VivoBook S256GB SSDGeForce MX150 Check Price
5Acer Predator Helios 300
256GB SSDGTX 1060
Check Price

 1. Acer Aspire E 15

Acer Aspire E 15- Affordable laptop for GIS

The first laptop on this list is from Acer which is one of the reputed brands in the world. I have placed Acer Aspire E 15 as it has almost everything to offer at an affordable price of just $700 and it does justify its price for sure. (Check current price)

Recommended: 8 Affordable laptops for $700

The 15.6 inch 1080P IPS display has very good color reproduction and has decent viewing angles. The body of the laptop is mostly made out of plastic yet it is rigid and sturdy. Considering its price, the build quality is excellent I would say.

You’ll get 256GB SSD storage on this laptop. I know that 256GB isn’t enough these days and that’s why Acer has offered an open slot to add additional SSD/ HDD. I would recommend you for a 256GB SSD which will cost you less than $100.

Multitasking on this machine is very smooth as it comes with 8GB DDR3 RAM. Just like storage, you can increase the RAM using secondary slot offered on this laptop. You can upgrade the memory up to 32GB by using two DIMM.

Acer has updated Aspire E15 with the new 8th Gen Intel’s Core i7 processor i.e Core i7-8550U. You can expect at least 10-20% improvement in performance with this new processor. There is nothing much to complain about this processor.

You can run ArcGIS smoothly with the help of a discrete graphics card offered on this machine i.e GeForce MX150. You can easily play low to moderate demanding games or programs with this GPU.

To give you an idea, Here’s how games will be played on this laptop.

Acer Aspire E15 Gaming performance

You can see the gaming performance of other games on this Video by TechDeals

The ports selection on this laptop isn’t bad at all. Here the list of ports you’ll be getting on Acer Aspire E15.

Acer Aspire E15 Ports

Apart from the above list, you’ll get an optical drive which is quite rare to see in a laptop these days.

The laptop weighs 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg) which is neither lightweight nor a heavy machine. You can occasionally carry the laptop with you or you can get a laptop bag for longer travels. If you are not going to travel with laptop at all, then you can get this laptop without any hesitation.

At last, the battery life.

Acer claims to offer 15 hours of battery life but I think that’s over-optimistic in real-world usage. According to Mr. Turner, you can expect up to 12 hours of battery life with a single charge which is pretty very impressive.

Overall, this is one of the best laptops for GIS you can get at an affordable price in my opinion.

Pros
  • Great value for money.
  • Good performance.
  • Outstanding battery life.
Cons
  • Basic design.
Specs Recap:
  • Screen Size: 15.6 Inches.
  • Storage: 256GB SSD.
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 RAM.
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U.
  • Graphics card: GeForce MX150.
  • Operating System: Windows 10.
  • Weight: 5.3 lbs.

Check Price on Amazon

 2. MSI GL62M

MSI GL62M 7REX

The second laptop on this list is from MSI i.e MSI GL62M. This laptop costs little over $900 which may seem quite expensive compared to the above Aspire E15 yet it is quite powerful than that. Let’s talk about that some detail.

The MSI GL62M comes with 15.6 inch TN panel which may not as impressive as IPS display yet it has good color accuracy and viewing angles. The display comes with the anti-glare screen which might be useful while using the laptop outdoors. The build of the laptop is decent but it should have been better for its price.

You’ll get dual storage options on this laptop i.e 128GB M.2 SATA SSD and 1TB 5400RPM hard drive. I would advise you to install important programs on SSD and store rest of the files on the hard drive for good performance. The 8GB DDR4 memory helps the system to perform almost every task with ease but If you aren’t happy with it, you can upgrade it up to 32GB which will surely boost the performance.

The processor which comes with this machine is Intel Core i7-7700HQ, is slightly underpowered compared to Aspire E15’s 8th Gen processor but it does a fine job while performing and managing tasks. One of the key things to mention about this laptop is, its cooling system. Even when you push the CPU to some extreme level, it remains quite cool. You won’t see this thing in every other laptop on the market.

When it comes to gaming, you are getting GTX 1050Ti 4GB discrete Graphics Card. You can expect solid performance with this GPU, be it gaming or any graphics related tasks. You can watch this video by WhatoPlay to know about the gaming performance of this machine.

You’ll be getting a handful of ports on this laptop. On the right side, there is 1 USB 2.0 and an SD card reader. On the left side, there is an Ethernet, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, mini display port and USB type-C.

The laptop weighs only 5.3 pounds (2.4 kg) which isn’t heavy at all considering it is a gaming machine.

While using this laptop for personal or entertainment purpose, you can expect around 4-5 hours of battery life. While performing any heavy demanding programs, you expect up to 1-1.5 hours of battery life.

Hint: If you don’t like this laptop, then I would recommend you for Lenovo Legion Y520 which has similar specs and pricing.

Check out this video to learn more:

Pros
  • Strong performance.
  • Decent display.
  • Lightweight.
Cons
  • Build should have been better.
Specs Recap:
  • Screen Size: 15.6 Inches.
  • Storage: 128GB SSD+ 1TB HDD.
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM.
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ.
  • Graphics card: GTX 1050Ti 4GB.
  • Operating System: Windows 10.
  • Weight: 5.3 lbs.

Check Price on Amazon

 3. Dell Inspiron i5577

Dell Inspiron i5577

I have talked about the other variant of Dell Inspiron i5577 couple of times before but this is a different variant which costs around $100 less than that and perfectly suitable to run GIS software.

This Dell Inspiron i5577 also comes with 15.6-inch full HD TN panel. The color contrast of the display is quite poor but the viewing angles are decent though. It would have been better If Dell decided to offer IPS display rather than TN.

The 128GB is good enough to install important programs and 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive is decent enough to store personal data. Obviously, the hard disk drive is quite slow compared to SSD but having a secondary drive is always useful.

The processor you are getting on this laptop is same as the above MSI laptop i.e Intel Core i7-7700HQ. Though the performance is reasonably good on this machine fans get loud while performing any heavy tasks. You should keep this in mind if you are picky about the fan noise on a laptop.

Dell has offered GTX 1050 GPU on this machine. For an $800 laptop, this is a pretty good deal I would say.

Note: Some customers have recommended updating all the drivers as soon as you receive the laptop so that you can use it without lags. I would advise you to do the same for better and smooth performance.

The Inspiron i5577 weighs 5.7 lbs (2.6 kg) which is slightly heavy in my opinion. It’ll be hard for anyone to carry this laptop to school/ college without any bags. If you are using the laptop from home/ office, then you won’t have to worry about the portability.

The ports you’ll be getting on this machine are 3 USB 3 (One of them is Thunderbolt), an SD card reader, HDMI, and Ethernet jack.

Lastly, the battery life.

When you are using the laptop to some lightweight tasks, then you can expect around 5-6 hours of battery life and when you are doing some heavy tasks such as running ArcGIS, then you can expect a maximum of 2 hours of battery life.

Undoubtedly, this is a good laptop for GIS with strong specifications.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
  • Excellent performance.
Cons
  • IPS display should have been better.
  • Slightly heavy.
Specs Recap:
  • Screen Size: 15.6 Inches.
  • Storage: 128GB SSD+ 1TB HDD.
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM.
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ.
  • Graphics card: GTX 1050.
  • Operating System: Windows 10.
  • Weight: 5.7 lbs.

Check Price on Amazon

 4. ASUS VivoBook S

ASUS VivoBook S

If you are looking for a powerful yet stylish and good looking laptop for this profession, then the Asus VivoBook S from Asus is one of the best options you have right now.

The VivoBook S comes with 14-inch full HD display and has fewer bezels at sides. The display is sharp and attractive and I have to say it is one of the best in the market in this budget.

A 256GB M.2 SSD is decent enough to run some of your important software and store some personal data. If you are getting this laptop only for the professional purpose, then I think you won’t have any issue with the storage of this laptop.

The Acer Aspire E15 and VivoBook S have almost exactly the same specifications but the major difference between these 2 laptops is the Portability. VivoBook weighs 3.2 lbs (1.45 kg) whereas Aspire E15 weighs 2.4 lbs (2.4 kg). As you can see there is a difference of 1kg between these two laptops. If you can spend a $100 for the portability, then Asus VivoBook S could be your perfect choice in my opinion.

Asus has offered GeForce MX 150 on this laptop. As I have mentioned earlier about Nvidia’s GeForce MX 150 that it can play some of the low to moderate demanding games or programs, don’t expect this GPU to perform any heavy demanding games without any issues. If you want to perform some extreme tasks, then the next laptop on this list could be your right choice.

The ports offered by Asus on this machine are 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI and SD card reader. The laptop has a backlit keyboard which is really a nice feature to have if you use the laptop at nights.

Finally, the battery life.

The average battery life while doing tasks such as browsing or watching movies etc is around 5-6 hours. When you use it for professional purpose, expect around 1-2 hours of battery life.

Overall, one of the best laptops for GIS software like ArcGIS under 1000 dollars.

Check this video to learn more:

Pros
  • Great display.
  • Decent performance.
  • Perfectly portable.
Cons
  • Asus shold have delivered a better GPU.
Specs Recap:
  • Screen Size: 14 Inches.
  • Storage: 256GB SSD,
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM.
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U.
  • Graphics card: GeForce MX 150.
  • Operating System: Windows 10 home.
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs.

Check Price on Amazon

 5. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is the most powerful laptop on this entire list but it’ll cost you around $1050 which might a concerning thing If you are a student in this field. If you a budget a little over 1000 dollars, then I’ll highly recommend you to for this one. It is definitely worth your money.

The Predator Helios 300 comes with 15.6 inch IPS display which has reasonably good color accuracy and viewing angles but it isn’t the best display on the market I would say.

One of the best things about this laptop is its Build quality. The top panel is made of metal and the rest of the body is made of plastic. Overall, the build of this laptop is one of the best in the business I would say. The laptop weighs around 6 pounds (2.7 kg) and it is the heaviest laptop on this list.

When it comes to storage, you’ll get 256GB M.2 SATA SSD+ 2.5 inch empty slot to add hard drive which you can get it for free by requesting to Acer here. The SSD performs fast whose read and write speeds are 520MB and 450MB respectively.

Acer has offered 16GB DDR4 RAM which manages the system superbly and it can be upgraded up to 32GB. You’ll be getting Intel’s 7th Gen Core i7 processor i.e Intel Core i7-7700HQ which does a fine job while performing any kinds of task.

The graphics card you’ll find on this machine is GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM. This powerful GPU can perform almost any game or any heavy programs without any fuss. Take a look at the gaming performance of Helios 300 below,

Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming

If you are a power user, then this laptop might the best laptop for you at this budget.

Acer has offered some useful ports on this machine which isn’t too bad I would say.

Acer Predator Helios 300 ports

The battery life on Helios 300 isn’t too impressive though. You can get around 4 hours of battery life while doing basic tasks and 2 hours while running any GIS software or playing games.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Top-notch performance.
  • GTX 1060 at this price.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
Specs Recap:
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches.
  • Storage: 256GB SSD,
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM.
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ.
  • Graphics card: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB.
  • Operating System: Windows 10 home.
  • Weight: 6 lbs.

Check Price on Amazon

Conclusion:

As you can see there are multiple options for good laptops for GIS in the market right now, you just need to choose the right one based on your budget. The laptop I have suggested in this post are highly rated and appreciated by customers, hence you can buy any of them without too many thoughts. So, which is the best laptop for GIS software such as ArcGIS in this list?  Share your thoughts below.

2 Comments

  1. Tiziana A Gelmi-Candusso January 26, 2019
    • Mohammed Farman January 28, 2019

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