Penetration testing allows programmers and cyber security experts to find vulnerabilities in different websites, mobile phones, and computer networks. This way, the companies can identify the system weakness that cyber attackers or hackers can exploit to gain access to confidential information.
Whether an ethical hacker or a cyber security expert, you need an advanced pentesting laptop to perform complex processing on Kali Linux. Lucky for you, this guide presents the reviews of the best laptop for pentesting.
IBM reports a drastic increase in data breach loss from $3.86 million to $4.24 million, the highest average cost during the past 17 years. That’s why it’s essential to perform pentesting on a reliable laptop to safeguard confidential data, ensure compliance, and mitigate risks.
Reviews of Best Laptops for Pentesting
Pentesting is a demanding job that requires a high-performing laptop to run Kali Linux operating system or software such as VirtualBox, VMWare without any stall or lag. Read along to learn about the features of the best laptop for pentesting on Kali Linux.
HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop PC
If you want to buy a high-performing affordable laptop with exceptional battery life for pentesting on Kali Linux, the HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop PC won’t disappoint you.
This featureful laptop comes with Windows 10 home, AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, 512GB SSD, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, and NVIDIA RTX 3070 graphics card. Lucky for you, the laptop comes with a 15.6-inch 165Hz QHD with an in-plane switching IPS panel.
The I/O ports are concerned; the HP OMEN 15 gaming laptop includes one USB-C charging, three USB-A, one HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort, and an Ethernet port. The list of ports continues as the laptop also features a headphone jack, MicroSD slot, and power port.
Hence you can use the Gigabit LAN port for a wired connection or Wi-fi 6 for an ultra-fast wireless Internet connection.
The HP OMEN 15 gaming laptop features a blue and purple shifting logo on the matte black lid, elevating the overall design. On the downside, the fingerprints are visible on the flat chassis, which you can always clean using a microfiber cloth.
You can use the Omen Gaming Hub software to optimize laptop performance. Additionally, you can use the Omen Light Studio to adjust or switch off the keyboard RGB lighting.
The HP OMEN 15 gaming laptop has a 26-key rollover keyboard without any Numpad. The good news is that the keys offer a crisp response to make your typing experience pleasant and productive.
Thin bezels surround the 15.6 inches display, while the 720p camera is present on a slightly thick top bezel.
- Features AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX eight-core
- It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card
- Offers four-zone RGB backlit keyboard
- Features a narrow bezel design
- Includes 512GB SSD and 16 GB DDR4 RAM
- 99 percent sRGB coverage makes the display dim in a bright workplace
Alienware m15 R4 Gaming Laptop
With hyper-efficient voltage regulation, high voltage driving fans, and advanced display technology, the Alienware m15 R4 Gaming Laptop is an affordable yet high-performing laptop for pentesting on Kali Linux. In addition, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card and enhanced Ray tracing cores facilitate intense penetration testing of servers and computer networks.
As the name suggests, the Alienware m15 R4 features a chassis design inspired by sci-fi Star War movies. The honeycomb grille above the keyboard, four-zone or per-key RGB lighting, and number 15 on the lid’s back make the laptop resemble an alien spacecraft.
It’s a sturdy laptop made of magnesium alloy shell and coat paint to enhance the overall aesthetics.
The Alienware m15 R4 gaming laptop features a dual intake and dual-exhaust airflow design. Moreover, the Kevlar-like liquid-crystal polymer fan blades are resistant to fire and keep the pentesting laptop cool while you work on multiple tools and VMs.
The three-phase fan control offers less friction while efficiently circulating the air to cool the CPU and GPU. Lastly, the four 3.5mm diameter copper-composite heat pipes discharge the hot air to ensure high performance.
One of the biggest advantages of selecting the Alienware m15 R5 gaming laptop is the ultra-responsive backlit keyboard that offers 1.7mm travel time, which is great. Moreover, the four-zone RGB N-key rollover allows you to type your codes in dim lights.
Another great news is the availability of all the essential ports. For instance, the right side of the laptop includes two USB Type-A ports. Similarly, you’ll find a USB Type-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port on the right side.
Not only that, but the rear side of the laptop offers HDMI 2.1 port, a Mini DisplayPort, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and a graphics amplifier port.
- It comes with 15.6 inches FHD display
- 144Hz refresh rate and 7ms response time
- Includes an Intel Core i7 10870H processor
- Features Windows 10 home
- Dual intake and dual exhaust airflow design
- Not-so-long battery life
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop
Made of aluminum alloy, the ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop is a compact and lightweight laptop for penetration testing. With a 13.3-inch OLED screen, the laptop offers a Full HD display with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Moreover, the NanoEdge bezels on the four sides ensure a wide view allowing you to open multiple side-by-side applications on Windows 10 Pro.
Other specifications include 16 GB RAM, Intel Core i7 processor, and advanced Intel Iris Xe graphics.
One of the most significant advantages of buying the ASUS ZenBook 13 laptop is the raised palm rest and ultra-wide touchpad. Hence, you can prevent wrist pain while typing on the full-sized keyboard. In addition, it’s because of the ASUS innovative ErgoLift hinge that elevates the keyboard by three degrees to ensure comfortable typing.
Another good news is that the laptop offers all kinds of I/O ports, so you don’t have to buy an additional USB dock. For example, you can find a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and a microSD card slot on the right side. In contrast, the left side includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an HDMI 2.0 port.
The ASUS NumberPad 2.0 technology allows you to convert the touchpad into a calculator by tapping on the icon present on the top right side of the touchpad. Furthermore, the keyboard comes with LED backlighting allowing you to code in dime lights.
- It comes with a 13.3-inch Full HD OLED
- Features Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor
- Budget laptop
- Built-in IR camera for facial recognition
- Exceptionally long battery life
- It doesn’t include a headphone jack
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a one-of-a-kind multi-purpose laptop that you can also use as a tab. It features a 13-inch touchscreen and a detachable compact keyboard.
Other specifications include 16 GB RAM, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and 256GB DDR4 SDRAM. In addition, both front-facing and rear cameras offer clear images and videos.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 features a lightweight, easy-to-carry design with thin bezels, a sturdy casing, and a removable SSD. Moreover, the laptop comes with an anodized aluminum casing to offer a sturdy appearance.
You can find the Microsoft logo on the kickstand, which you can lift using the two indentations available on both sides of the laptop.
You can use the laptop as a tablet using a Surface Slim Pen. Alternatively, you can connect the Surface Pro signature keyboard to write codes. However, it would help if you bought the pen and keyboard separately.
The thin bezels ensure an 11 percent large display compared to the previous Surface Pro 7 model.
Since the laptop offers a sleek design, it includes only two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports and a Surface Connect port on the right side. Furthermore, the volume buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack are present on the left side.
One of the most distinctive features of the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen display offering a refresh rate of 120Hz and 2880 x 1920 pixels resolution.
- Multi-purpose laptop with a 13-inch touchscreen
- Built on the Intel Evo platform to keep the laptop thin and lightweight
- Sleek and compact keyboard
- Ultra-thin bezels
- 16 GB RAM and 256GB DDR4 SDRAM
- It would also help if you bought the signature keyboard and Surface Slim Pen.
- Lesser number of ports
MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop
If you want to buy a featureful laptop that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop is one of the best laptops for pentesting.
This advanced laptop comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, and 512GB SSD to improve your pentesting experience on Kali Linux. Compared to i7-9750H, the eight-core 10th Generation Intel core i7-10875H boosts performance up to 50 percent, which is excellent.
Another plus point of selecting the MSI GS75 gaming laptop is the availability of multiple I/O ports. The laptop comes with an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, a 3.5mm mic jack, USB-A 3.0 port, and a mini SD card slot. The list continues with a USB 3.0 Type-C port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port.
The good news is that the laptop comes with a complete keyboard that includes a num pad, full-sized arrow keys, and macros keys. In addition, the spacing between the keys prevents mistyping compared to compact keyboards, while the optimal key travel ensures a satisfying typing experience.
On the downside, the location of the spacious touchpad offers some hindrance while typing. Due to the extra-wide dimensions of the touchpad, you can accidentally click or move the cursor as you type the code.
You can customize the RGB backlighting for individual keys to complement the interior of your gaming or pen testing room.
The MSI GS75 Stealth gaming laptop comes with an ultra-wide 17.3-inch Full HD IPS panel display, offering a refresh rate of 240Hz.
This MSI laptop has a pre-installed Killer Control Center to customize and prioritize network performance. Other pre-installed programs include SteelSeries Engine 3 and MSI Dragon Center. For example, you can use the system monitoring interface of Dragon Center to check system stats.
- 17.3-inch large screen with a higher refresh rate of 240Hz
- It comes with a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
- Offers Windows 10 Pro
- Exceptional CPU and GPU cooling technology
- Compact chassis
- It comes with only 512GB SSD
- No space to place wrists
ASUS VivoBook S15
One of the most distinctive features of the ASUS VivoBook S15 is the presence of an interactive secondary 5.65 inches touchscreen to boost your productivity at work. In addition, you can access different ASUS utility apps, such as Handwriting, Slide Xpert, Quick Key, and Number Key on ScreenPad 2.0.
Other specifications include a 15.6-inch FHD screen, 8 GB RAM, and a high-performing Intel Core i7-8565H CPU. In addition, the four-way NanoEdge bezel display offers an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio to prevent you from distracting by the thick edges.
The ErgoLift hinge elevates the bottom side of the ASUS VivoBook S15 by three degrees once you open the screen lid. Hence the laptop offers you an optimal life to enhance your typing experience. Not only that, but the elevation also facilitates ventilation to keep the CPU and GPU cool while you perform extensive penetration testing.
You must be wondering about the innovative ScreenPad 2.0 addition. It’s essentially a touchpad with a glass-covered Full HD display. Hence you can use the functionalities such as an app navigator to open the apps, a Quick key launcher to customize key sequences, and more.
The memory size of 8GB is sufficient for multi-tasking and pen testing; however, you can always upgrade as required.
The ASUS VivoBook S15 offers you a variety of interface and networking options, including one USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, and a MicroSD card reader, and an audio combo jack.
- Thin and lightweight design
- It comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display
- Features Intel Core i7-8565H CPU and 8 GB RAM
- Sturdy metallic chassis
- Includes a ScreenPad 2.0 and secondary 5.65 inches touchscreen
- Average battery life
- Beginners don’t feel comfortable with the ScreenPad
Newest Dell XPS 15 9500 Elite Laptop
The Newest Dell XPS 15 9500 Elite Laptop is one of the best laptops for pentesting, offering 16 GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Core i7-10750H processor, and 1TB SSD. Not only that, but the laptop also features a 15.6-inch Full HD offering resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels.
This sturdy and lightweight laptop features a lid and a chassis made of aluminum. Alternatively, the keyboard deck features soft-touch carbon fiber.
The ultra-thin bezel design offers an edge-to-edge view on the InfinityEdge display offering a 16:10 aspect ratio. Additionally, the anti-glare 500-nit display has an anti-reflective coating to minimize eye strain.
Similar to the previously reviewed laptop, the Dell XPS 15 offers an ultra-wide touchpad to facilitate scrolling. Moreover, the keyboard comes with white backlighting and offers optimal key travel to improve your typing experience.
You don’t have to invest in buying a separate USB dock as the laptop includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort, one USB-C 3.1, one full-size SD card reader, and an HDMI 2.0 adapter. In addition to that, you can also find a headphone and audio jack on the HD webcam and fingerprint reader. Lastly, the Killer Wifi 6 offers you ultra-fast Internet connectivity.
- It comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor and 16 GB RAM
- 15.6-inch Full HD 500-nit display
- Good-quality speakers and keyboard
- Compact and portable design
- Below average webcam
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
If you want to buy a lightweight and portable laptop, the Apple MacBook Air Laptop is one of the best laptops for pentesting. It’s a state-of-the-art laptop whose eight-core CPU offers 3.5 times better performance while the GPU is five times faster than the previous versions. Not only that, but the Neural Engine offers nine times speedier machine learning allowing you to do extensive data processing.
One of the most distinctive features that allow the Apple MacBook Air laptop to outshine the rest is the Apple M1 system on a chip (SoC). The revolutionary M1 chip essentially integrates GPU, CPU, I/O, and Neural Engine on a small chip to ensure exceptional performance.
Other laptop specifications include a 13-inch retina display, 8GB RAM, backlit keyboard, and 256GB SSD. Not only that, but the MacBook Air laptop consists of a FaceTime HD camera and Touch ID. The 13.3 inches screen offers a resolution of 2500 x 1600 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10.
Another benefit of using the MacBook Air laptop is its extended battery life of 18 hours, the highest among the previously discussed penetration testing and gaming laptops.
The extra-wide Force Touch trackpad offers haptic feedback to ensure uniform clicks throughout the trackpad. Similarly, the magic keyboard elevates your typing experience by featuring key travel of 1mm to provide crisp feedback.
The True Tone technology automatically adjusts the display colors according to the ambient color to prevent eye strain and maximize your viewing experience.
- Offers up to 18 hours of battery life
- Apple M1 chip and eight-core CPU offers 3.5 times better performance.
- 13.3-inch Retina display
- Fanless design ensures silent operations
- Made of 100 percent recycled aluminum
- Lesser number of I/O ports
- Webcam is only 720p
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop is a perfect choice for you at an affordable price featuring a Core i7-11800H processor with eight cores.
Moreover, the processor has a base clock of 2.3GHz while the maximum boost clock rate is 4.5GHz to ensure outstanding processing power. In addition, the 15.6-inch Full HD features a refresh rate of 144Hz to maximize your viewing experience.
Not only that, but the Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop includes NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 24GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, and 1TB hard drive, allowing you to perform extensive pen testing of computer networks and servers.
The keyboard features a dedicated key to launch Acer’s PredatorSense software to monitor system preferences. For example, you can customize fan control power plans and adjust audio profiles.
It’s entirely up to you to customize the Acer Predator Helios 300 keyboard’s four-zone RGB backlighting. The touchpad is ultra-responsive and offers smooth navigation.
The latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU comes with a dedicated 6GB GDDR6 VRAM to support NVIDIA G-Sync and DirectX 12 to enhance laptop performance.
You can use Ethernet E2600 for wired connectivity or Wifi 6 for super-fast wireless Internet connection.
As far as the cooling system of the Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop is concerned, the 5th Generation AeroBlade fan comes with 89 blades to dissipate heat.
- Features latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU
- It comes with an eight-core i7 processor
- 15.6 inches Full HD IPS display with 16:9 aspect ratio and 144Hz refresh rate
- Exceptional specifications and storage space at a reasonable price
- Visible backlight bleed on display
- Not-so-great battery life
Buying the Best Laptop for Pentesting on Kali Linux?
You can’t compromise on the specifications of the laptop for pentesting. Therefore, the primary purpose of the following guide is to identify the must-have features in the best laptop for pentesting.
A rule of thumb is that the best laptops for pentesting should have enough processing power to run different tools smoothly while penetration testing a server or a network. That’s why you should always select a laptop for pentesting with an Intel Core i5 processor or i7 processor, at least.
The RAM selection depends on the tools you’ll use as an ethical hacker. For instance, if you are a professional, you’ll be running multiple virtual machines. That’s why you need to opt for 32GB RAM for better performance.
On the other hand, 8GB RAM is just enough for pentesting web applications or web pages.
To be on the safer side, you can buy a laptop with upgradeable RAM to increase capacity in the future.
Many ethical hackers prefer larger screens of 17 inches, while others prefer small and portable screens of 13 inches. Generally speaking, one can buy a laptop with a screen size ranging from 13 to 17 inches to work on multiple windows and tools simultaneously.
It would help if you never compromised on the screen resolution for the sake of your eyes. That’s why you must ensure that the screen offers the highest resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Many advanced laptops come with integrated eye-care technologies to minimize eye strain. But, again, it’s because you’ll spend continuous hours on your laptop doing pen-testing.
Like RAM, the hard drive storage space directly depends on the types of tools you’ll use for penetration testing.
If you are a beginner or a student, you can opt for a 512GB SSD and not HDD. It’s because SSD storage is undoubtedly more reliable and faster for pen-testing.
Kali Linux OS is the most commonly used operating system for pen-testing. But, yes, it isn’t user-friendly when performing different tasks on a laptop other than pen-testing.
However, it’s better to buy a laptop with a macOS or Windows operating system and install a Virtual machine to run Kali Linux.
Whichever laptop you select from the above guide, you won’t possibly go wrong in your decision.
The bottom line of the above guide is to highlight the specifications of the best laptop for pentesting, including high-end, affordable, and portable laptops. Furthermore, you can always buy a featureful laptop with a prolonged battery life without costing a fortune.
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