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Top 5 Best Laptops for GIS 2020: Specs, Review and Buying Guide

by Sean Hamilton

The people from the Geographic Information System field need a high-performance machine. It should be compatible with GIS apps such as ArcGIS, Maptitude, QGIS, and others. A GIS laptop should also fulfil the working requirements of the relevant field. There are some simple tips to follow while buying a laptop for GIS. I will not plunge into deep waters of technical details. I’m going to explain all the main factors in easy words.

Related: Best Laptops for Graphic Design

Best Laptops for GIS

1. Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop, 15.6” Full HD

Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U is enough for smooth multitasking, loading, and streaming. It supports ArcGIS applications.

Display: 15.6” FHD LED-lit IPS 1920 x 1080 display ensures clearer and life-like visuals.

RAM: 8GB Dual Channel Memory is good for lag-free multitasking and gaming.

Storage: 256GB SSD ensures faster saving of data.

Battery: Battery stays up to 15 hours.

Ports: It has 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB Type C port, 1 USB 2.0 port, and 1 HDMI port.

Wireless Technology: The latest 802.11ac Wireless technology ensures faster WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Acer Aspire E 15 VS Aspire 5

Both machines have the same Intel Core i7 processor, Graphics Card and FHD display. Even the screen resolution and size are also the same. But Aspire 5 is a slimmer and sleeker machine than Aspire E 15. The RAM in E 15 is upgraded (6GB).

Aspire 5 has super-fast 128GB SSD whereas; E 15 has 1TB massive storage capacity. In the same way, Aspire E 15 has more connectivity options like HDMI, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 than Aspire 5. Aspire E 15 is a budget-friendly machine, but Aspire 5 is better in performance and design. Both machines have almost identical front cameras, keyboard response, and security tools. But E 15 is a bit good in battery life.

Pros: Aspire E 15 is good for intense multitasking and gaming. It has a long-lasting battery, powerful graphics card and RAM.
Cons: In an outdoor environment, it doesn’t deliver the required brightness. The backlight of the keyboard is not customizable. After every 30 seconds of idle status, it is of that disturbs the users.

2. Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6” FHD IPS Touch-Screen Laptop

Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250 Quad-core processor maximizes power efficiency and fast multitasking.

Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD are great for gaming. It ensures faster storage of GIS data and lag-free work experience.

RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM brings fast shutdown/startup and loading.

Display: 15.6” FHD IPS touchscreen 1920 x 1080 offers impressive clarity and colours.

Wide-View Angle: Wide-View Angles facilitate you to view the same quality content from an extreme edge.

Backlit: Backlit keyboard allows you to work in dim light/darkness.

Fingerprint Scanner: Fingerprint Reader scanner allows you to lock/unlock machine within a few seconds.

Battery: 3-cell lithium-ion battery runs on 8 hours.

Ports: HDMI compatibility ensures to set up two machines for a panoramic view for editing.

Lenovo Yoga 730 VS 720

Both laptops have full HD display in the same size. Both have the same storage capacity. But Lenovo Yoga 730 has upgraded 8th Gen i5 processor whereas Yoga 720 has Intel Core i5 7th, Gen.

The RAM is the same 8GB DDR4 in both of them. Lenovo Yoga 720 has JBL speakers to deliver louder sound in an outdoor environment. Both have the same weight, memory, and wireless technology. Lenovo Yoga 730 is better in performance, multitasking and intense gaming. But Yoga 720 has a higher battery life (10 hours) than Yoga 730 (8 hours). In short, Yoga 730 is an affordable option for users as compared to Yoga 720.

Pros: The machine contains a big room for all GIS applications. It is a compact-sized slim laptop. It’s a lightweight product to carry anywhere. An incredibly fast processor makes multitasking easier.
Cons: It doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive.

3. Dell G5587-7866BLK-PUS G5 15 5587 Gaming Laptop

Processor: 8th Gen Intel i7 processor is enough for intense GIS apps and multitasking.

Storage: 128GB SSD is enough for faster storage of content. It is 4 times quicker than an average SATA. 1TB HDD is a wide room to store bulk data.

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti ensures fast loading and lag-free working experience.

RAM: 16GB RAM handles multitasking and fast shutdown/start.

Sound: MaxxAudio technology brings stunning and louder sound.

Ports: It has USB 3.1 SuperSpeed, MicroMedia Card, Noble Lock Security Slot, Ethernet RJ45, and Thunderbolt 3.

Weight: It weighs 6.28 lbs.

Wireless Connectivity: 802.11a wireless technology offers speedier WiFi connectivity.

Dell G5 15 5587 VS Lenovo Legion Y530

In comparison, both laptops have identical display size and resolution. Even the storage capacity and processors are the same. But Legion Y530 has Anti-glare display. Similarly, Dell G5 15 5587 is better in sound quality due to Waves MaxxAudio Pro and Stereo speakers.

Moreover, it has an upgraded graphics processor to handle intense gaming. The memory in Dell G5 15 5587 is expandable up to 32GB. Dell G5 15 has a backlit keyboard. Both machines have similar wireless technology for faster WiFi and Bluetooth. But Bluetooth version is upgraded in Dell G5 15. The price of both laptops is similar in the market.

Pros: Dell G5 15 5587 has a powerful processor, RAM, SSD, and display. It has a realistic sound in even an outdoor environment. The backlit keyboard, expandable memory and latest wireless technology make it distinguished.
Cons: It doesn’t have an optical drive, Lockport or fingerprint scanner. Moreover, this budget-friendly laptop hasn’t a touchscreen.

4. MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US 15.6” Full HD Gaming Laptop

Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core 7700HQ delivers smooth performance in GIS applications.

Cooler Boost Technology: Cooler Boost technology with 6-7 heat-pipes enhances the performance of the system by reducing heat.

RAM: 8GB DRAM is sufficient for lag-free gaming and working.

Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB provide fast saving and massive storage.

Keyboard: Backlit keyboard technology ensures using the machine in low light.

Display: NTSC 15.6″ Anti-glare display delivers a smooth and bright view even in an outdoor environment.

Ports: It has USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, USB Type-C and mini-display port.

Weight: The laptop weighs 5.3 pounds.

MSI GL62M 7REX VS Acer Predator Helios 300

Both laptops have the same display size and resolution. But Predator Helios 300 has super-fast 256GB SSD while MSI GL62M has 1TB massive storage. Both machines have 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. But Predator Helios has upgraded 16GB DDR4 RAM.

MSI GL62M has better quality sound due to four built-in speakers. But Predator Helios has upgraded graphics processor and better graphics memory. MSI GL62M has a better speed of RAM (2400 Mhz) than Predator’s 2133 Mhz. Similarly, Predator has a backlit keyboard.

Pros: MSI GL62M has a powerful processor, RAM, graphics card and display. It has the latest wireless technology for faster WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. This slimmer and lightweight machine is easy to carry.
Cons: The battery life is not up to the mark. Moreover, it has no optical drive and a backlit keyboard. There is no fingerprint scanner in it.

5. Dell i5577-5335BLK-PUS Inspiron 15” Ful HD Laptop

Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300HQ ensures smooth and power-efficient loading and multitasking.

RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM is expandable up to 32GB. It delivers lag-free loading and streaming.

Display: 15.6” Full HD Anti-glare display in 1920 x 1080 resolutions delivers brighter and realistic content.

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 brings a super-fast and smooth gaming experience.

Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive brings massive storage for plenty of data with stability.

Weight: It weighs 5.66 lbs and a bit weighty to carry.

Battery: The battery life spans around 7 hours.

Dell Inspiron i5577 VS Dell Inspiron 17 7567

Dell Inspiron i5577 and 7567 have the same display size and resolution. Both have the same processor and RAM. But the RAM speed is better in i5577 (2400 Mhz) as compared to Inspiron 7567’s 2133 Mhz. However, 7567 has the latest graphics card. Dell Inspiron i5577 has loud sound due to Stereo speakers. Moreover, it has expandable memory up to 32GB.

Inspiron i5577 has a brighter display. Inspiron 7567 has a spill-resistant keyboard with better responsiveness. Both laptops have the latest wireless connectivity but, the Bluetooth is upgraded in Inspiron 7567. In short, Dell Inspiron i5577 is a bit pricey and 7567 is a budget-friendly laptop for users.

Pros: Dell Inspiron i5577 has the latest processor for multitasking and intense gaming. It has good RAM and graphics card. It has full HD Anti-glare non-touch display. The Stereo speakers deliver louder sound.

Cons: It lacks an optical drive and fingerprint scanner. There is only one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port that disappoints the users.

Buying Guide

Before you visit the market, consider some important tips given below. It will make the laptop selection easier. Consider some technical requirements as well as general tips. Let’s discuss both of them one by one.

Required Technical Specifications

First, check the technical specifications of the machine. A GIS laptop should have the following specifications.

  • CPU: Minimum 2.2 GHz (Recommended is Hyper-threading or Multi-core)
  • Memory: Required minimum memory is 1TB.
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768.
  • Minimum storage required is 4GB, but recommended is 6GB.
  • The minimum requirement for RAM is 64MB. It should support ATI, NVIDIA and Intel Chipsets.

All GIS applications require a fast processor. You need at least 3GHz processor for ArcGIS laptop.

CPU Core is very important for faster action. If a CPU has more cores, it performs multi-calculations easily. A single-core processor can’t show good performance in GIS laptop. For this purpose, select a quad-core hyperthreading processor to handle 3D rendering.

Common Factors

Besides the technical requirements, consider some common factors while purchasing a laptop for GIS. I have listed them below.


Set an affordability range before stepping int the market. It is insane to spend too much money on a machine. It should not drain your savings. So, prefer an affordable laptop.


Check its compatibility with ArcGIS, QGIS, Maptitude, MAPublisher, and other apps. Don’t go in-depth. Just check whether it can run GIS applications or not?

Dimensions and Weight

Check the weight and dimensions of the machine before buying it. Select an easy-to-port laptop. Don’t choose a wide and bulky machine.

Autonomy of Battery

Check autonomy of the battery. i.e. it means how long you can use your laptop without connecting with power.

In short, if you are buying a laptop for GIS, check the specifications keenly. Don’t compromise on memory, processor, and RAM. Check its compatibility with ArcGIS, QGIS, MAPublisher, and MapInfo Professional. Don’t select a cheap laptop that is compatible with a few GIS apps.


How much RAM is required for GIS?

GIS is an intense application that requires at least 8GB RAM but an ideal RAM should be around 16GB.

Which processor is ideal for GIS work?

Usually, Intel Core i5 8th generation laptop is good to handle intensive GIS applications. But, Intel Core i7 8th Generation is ideal for smooth multitasking and power efficiency.

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