10 Best Laptops For Cyber Security [For Professionals & Students]

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As a cybersecurity professional, you might need a laptop that can work with most programming languages and can do heavy data crunching in tasks like password cracking with ease. Besides, you’ll need to make sure that the machine you’re getting is capable of dual boot Linux (Ubuntu) installations, running virtual machines, monitoring network traffic, etc. But, how?

Despite having knowledge about hardware & PC components, choosing the right laptop could be a difficult task, that’s why after researching for 173 hours, here’s are the 10 best options to consider in 2021.

The basic requirements for cybersecurity are a powerful CPU like the Intel-based i7/i9 or ZEN 3 AMD Ryzen 9. You will need at least 16GB of RAM for multitasking. Also, a speedy NVMe SSD and potent mid-range GPU are should be on top of the list of priorities.

Before making this list, we interviewed 31 cyber security professionals and based on their opinion you don’t need an expensive laptop, however, you shouldn’t settle with the cheap $300 or sub-$400 laptops either. After that, we spent 173 hours researching 51 laptops from reputed brands that come with enough juice and modern Intel/AMD CPUs to help you with demanding cyber security tasks.

What else to consider when picking a cybersecurity laptop?

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Higher-end components like a six-core i7 processor can efficiently run virtual machines. NVIDIA RTX-series graphics card will help your cause in encrypted password recovery with GPU acceleration for computational-intensive calculation using hundreds of GPU cores to speed up the process.

Other things to consider in a laptop for cybersecurity are its built quality, keyboard, and battery life. Chances are, you will carry the device with you, and quality materials in the chassis can prolong the life cycle. 

  • The keyboard is your playground in network administration and white hacker tools like Wireshark. You will want a reliable and comfortable keyboard.
  • Experts recommend a 15.6-inch display, and preferably IPS. This size is a sweet spot for complex application interfaces and portability of the device. And most people we spoke with use one or two external monitors as well.
  • Battery life is important but not crucial. You can do most of your work from home or any location (remotely), and if you go on intervention on-premise, more battery juice can come in handy.
 Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System Requirements
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i5/ AMD Ryzen 4500U9th Gen Intel Core i5 or better
RAM8GB16GB
Storage256GB SSD512GB SSD
Display15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
GPUIntel/AMD Integrated Graphics4GB NVIDIA Dedicated Graphics
BatteryUp to 5 hoursUp to 10 hours

10 Best Laptops for Cyber Security in 2021

Our list has been divided into 3 parts, the first 4 laptops are high-end machines that can not only perform cyber-security related work, but can also help you play resource intensive games, machine learning, 3D modeling, CAD, photo editing, etc. The devices between 5-8 are budget devices that are suitable for working professionals and the last 2 options are the cheapest but powerful laptops highly-suitable for students.

With flagship specifications, you will get a future-proof device. We’ll start with higher-end models, offer mid-range suggestions, and budget alternatives at the end.

This device, basically checks almost all boxes, starting with magnesium alloy chassis, top of the class keyboard, and high-end specifications providing desktop-grade performance.

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060  
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

Alienware from Dell is quite popular among gamers and is associated with gaming. If you’re looking for high-performance, gaming laptops are usually the best choice. With the Alienware M15 R3 you’ll not only be able to do your cyber-security related work, but can also do other activities such as edit videos, use any Adobe CC applications, play-around with large datasets, etc.

CPU & Graphics card

You can run virtual machines with ease on this high-end device. The powerful six-core 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H CPU with a 5GHz turbo boost will not be the system’s bottleneck.

RTX 2060 is a mid-range graphics card with 240 tensor cores you can use for parallel processing of large data sets in TensorFlow and Pytorch libraries if you’re also into machine learning. The combination of 6GB VRAM with CPU can also aid with network analysis tasks for sensitive information.

For gamers: The RTX 2060 can run AAA game titles like Cyberpunk 2077, World of Warcraft, PUBG, Fortnite, League of Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone in FHD resolution on maximum settings and comfortable FPS. We were able to achieve scores around 90-100 FPS on highest settings.

RAM and Storage

Alienware has 16GB of RAM to help the powerful CPU. These components will make the system responsive and fast, starting from a quick booting process to an immediate application startup. With 512GB PCIe SSD, you will have enough space for your projects, spreadsheets, documents, and other files. This RAM-SSD combo benefits both the heavy workload and overall user experience.

The device comes with Windows 10 Home, which is second best to the Pro version but adequate for VM, network monitoring, and data crunching.

Display

The display is the strong point of Alienware. The FHD IPS screen has a 144Hz refresh rate you can game on comfortably with a 2060 GPU. More importantly, excellent contrast and 300-nit brightness will allow you to have impeccable picture even in bright sunny conditions. You could take coffee and navigate through the security application dashboard in the park.

Design, Keyboard and Touchpad

M15 R3 has a design that reeks of gaming because of the recognizable logo and rear exhaust vents. Dell improved the cooling system with more copper, vapor chamber technology, and double exhaust design, which translates to a cool machine even after a long data crunching session.

The keyboard has separated direction keys. It is comfortable for long typing sessions and has 1.7mm travel, with 4-zone RGB and anti-ghosting technology. Typing lines in the command prompt, Wireshark, or Linux distros like Tens or Kodachi will be seamless. The touchpad could be bigger, but it has precision-point glass technology, which provides accurate gestures and responsiveness.

Ports and Weight

The chassis is thinner than some other gaming rigs, and it has an acceptable weight of 5.5 pounds. You will probably be content with the ports. The thunderbolt 3 port in your laptop will give you speeds up to 40 Gbps or 10 Gbps through a USB cable. You can connect your laptop to two 4K displays to better overview network traffic and dashboards.

The battery is underwhelming, lasting only 3-6 hours on medium to heavy usage. If battery life is not one of your concerns, then you will love M15 R3’s raw performance in handling VMs, network scanning, or data encryption. You will also get a premium laptop display and built quality, so you can carry the device around without worrying about its sturdiness.

Pros
  • 144Hz FHD display
  • High CPU and GPU performance
  • Good cooling system
  • Thunderbolt 3 support
  • Magnesium alloy chassis
Cons
  • Only 3 hours of battery life
  • Smaller trackpad
  • CPU: 2.6 GHz 6 Core Intel i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD Touch (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 
  • Battery: Up to 15 hours

The HP Spectre x360 is a convertible high-end ultrabook from HP. It has a thin and sturdy body. You can use it as a tablet, and take notes, or put it in a tent position for presentations. HP even managed to put in a decent dedicated graphics card.

CPU and Graphics Card

Six-core Intel Core i7-9750H CPU is a performer. Although it is an older 9th generation of Core processors, running John the Ripper or Wireshark to check for vulnerabilities will go smoothly. The GTX 1650 is a mid-range GPU that allows you to play games like Overwatch, Minecraft, Sims 4, and more with decent frame rates.

RAM and Storage

With 16GB of RAM and a fast CPU, you can run virtual machines smoothly. Fast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD enables short booting time, contributes to high-end performance, and makes the system quick and responsive. The system runs Windows 10 Pro, a version with the most security features.

Display

HP Spectre x360 is a 2-in-1 device with a huge 15.6-inch IPS touchscreen. It has a 4K resolution, and your network listings will look readable. The sharp resolution and image quality make it an excellent multimedia device.

Build, Keyboard and Trackpad

Classic Spectre design with an aluminum body, black color with copper accents, and quality hinges result in a reliable, sturdy device. You can flip the screen as much as you want, and with only 4.81 pounds, you can easily carry it around.

The Chiclet keyboard has shallow travel and a sturdy backplate. You won’t have to worry about longevity, and if you get stuck in a dark server room, a backlit keyboard will be helpful. Besides a dependable keyboard, Spectre packs a large precise touchpad with gesture support.

Port Management & Webcam

The convertible ultrabook has all the latest ports. It has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports for fast data transfer upto 40 Gbps. There is also legacy connectivity with USB 2.1. HDMI v2.0 and Thunderbolt enable connection with additional displays.

You will probably use a webcam and microphone for conferences and video calls on apps like Skype or Zoom. HP implemented security features like a webcam kill switch and mute microphone button.

Battery

Even with all the performance, Spectre offers up to 15 hours of autonomy on its 6-cell 84 Wh battery. You can work outdoors without thinking about the charger.

You get a capable machine with a fast CPU, enough RAM for advanced tasks, and a speedy SSD. If you don’t mind the hefty price tag, you also get capable graphics cards that can help with TensorFlow and other machine learning applications. Gaming enthusiasts would be happy to know that Call of Duty: Warzone or Assassins Creed: Odyssey will play smoothly. Display and battery life are also strong points.

Pros
  • Unibody aluminum chassis
  • Long-Lasting Battery life
  • High-end six-core CPU
  • 4K IPS Display
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
Cons
  • Only one USB Type-A port
  • Can overheat during heavy workloads
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 16-inch FHD Retina IPS (3072 x 1920)
  • GPU: 4GB AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

While waiting for the Apple ARM version of the MacBook Pro, the 16-inch Intel version is the current king of performance in the Apple MacBooks.

CPU & GPU

The starting CPU for this series is 9th gen Core i7-9750H. With the 6-core processor, you can run Mac Virtual Machine but also Windows VMs without a glitch.

Creative professionals target AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with its video editing, music production, and 3D modeling focus. With 8GB of GDDR6 memory, it has the power and bandwidth for data crunching, however, lacks support for machine learning apps that favor Nvidia Cuda cores. The GPU can run Battle Royale, MOBA, and some AAA games with more than 30FPS on the Retina resolution.

RAM and Storage

MacBook has the fastest SSD on the market which is why you get the fast booting and snappy app performance. With 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM, running VMs, or data analysis in Wireshark will be smooth.

Operating System

macOS is great for productive apps like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator and all the other apps in Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s also highly suitable for coding, and running cybersecurity tasks like blocking intruders, protecting networks from malware or other threats. However, it lacks open access to fishy apps and the diversity of the Windows ecosystem.

Display

This Pro version has thin bezels around 500 nits bright 16-inch Retina display. You will have a crisp picture for ideal network monitoring and binge-watching Queen’s Gambit after work.

Keyboard and Touchpad

A long typing session will be comfortable on a significantly upgraded keyboard for this series. You’ll get a traditional scissor mechanism, better travel, and different shape of keys. The touchpad is almost twice as big compared to the previous generation. It has a glass surface and high precision.

Design, Port Management, and Battery

MacBook Pro still has a unibody aluminum design, and cybersecurity experts that travel a lot will appreciate the sturdiness and portability with only 4.3 pounds for a 16-inch hardware-packed laptop.

You can easily connect up to four external monitors with the Thunderbolt 3 ports. They offer high bandwidth and can transfer big files fast. Despite a powerful CPU and big spender in GPU, the laptop has an incredible battery life of up to 11 hours. You can solve security issues for long hours without worrying about autonomy.

While macOS devices are not the first choice for cybersecurity, this machine with six-core i7 and ultrafast SSD has all the power for running VMs, data crunching, and other demanding tasks. You will love the bright screen, 6 speakers sound system (best for listening to music), improved keyboard, and battery life.

Pros
  • Magic keyboard quality
  • 11 hours of battery life
  • Performance from six-core CPU/RAM combo
  • Thin bezels 16-inch Retina display
  • Four high-bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 ports
Cons
  • No full-size USB port
  • Sub 4K screen resolution
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 4 hours

For cybersecurity experts that want comparable performance but don’t want to overspend, Asus Vivobook K571 might be the laptop of choice.

CPU and GPU

Whether you need to do vulnerability tests or set up VM, a potent Core i7-9750H with its high turbo clock and six-core will provide excellent performance. Mid-range GPU GeForce GTX 1650 doesn’t come with Tensor Cores, but 896 CUDA cores enable parallel computing through numerous applications. GTX 1650 can run games like CS: GO, Fortnite, and similar titles in 120 FPS on FHD resolution, a delight for game lovers.

RAM, Storage & OS

Running a safe testing environment in multiple virtual machines won’t be a problem with 16GB of RAM. Vivobook K571 has a lot of internal storage. Fast 256GB SSD will help with booting times, and you could store big analytic files and reports on a spacious 1TB HDD.

The device comes with preinstalled Windows 10 Home, a classic choice for mainstream laptops and more than good enough for running network diagnostics or penetration tests.

Display Quality

The IPS Display ensures rich colors. And the high refresh rate of 120Hz provides a crisp picture so that you won’t miss any details on the FHD screen when running diagnostics. You can opt for broader color coverage, but you will be limited to 60Hz in that case.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The backlit keyboard will help if you have to fix a security breach at night time. The chiclet keyboard has shallow travel, and it has a decent feel. The touchpad is large with integrated mouse buttons and gesture support if you need fast drag and drop actions or others, among numerous supported.

Design, Weight, and Ports

Vivobook K571 has a plastic casing and a mainstream laptop design. It is sturdy enough and portable at 4.56 pounds. What it lacks in premium materials, it compensates in port availability with 4 USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1, HDMI for external monitor connection, and a fingerprint reader for additional security.

Battery Life

The Battery life with 42 Wh capacity and this much computing power will go up to 4 hours, which means you’ll have to take a power adapter if you go onsite to deal with security issues.

Data analysis, setting up VMs, and other performance thirsty uses will go smoothly on Asus Vivobook K751 with its high-end CPU abilities. Affordable price without some bells and whistles like the use of premium materials is great for budget-conscious users.

Pros
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • High performance for a mid-range laptop
  • Plenty of port options
  • SSD and HDD storage option
  • Inexpensive for its specifications
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • No USB Type-C port
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA Quadro P520
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours

Thinkpad is Lenovo’s business series laptops, and Lenovo ThinkPad P53s are among the cheaper models. It has an Nvidia Quadro mobile workstation GPU with certified drivers for professional applications like visualization, Animation, AutoCAD, and rendering in Cinema 4D. The laptop also comes with ThinkPad’s usual great keyboard and built quality.

CPU, GPU, & RAM

The Eight gen Core i7-8565U is an energy-efficient CPU for ultrabooks. The processor is not among the most powerful, but it is still Core i7 with four cores. Its 4.6GHz turbo frequency translates into enough performance for grey box hacking or network diagnostics. Besides, Running hardware-demanding tasks like virtual machines will be comfortable with its 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

GPU

The Quadro P520 isn’t as fast as the RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 graphic cards, but the performance is quite comparable to GTX 1060 and baseline GTX 1660 Ti laptops. The GPU is ideal for creative professionals like photo editors and graphic designers, but you could use CUDA cores for parallel computing and data analysis.

Storage & OS

With 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD, you will have enough space for network diagnostic software like Ping, Netstat, and Wireshark. The speedy disk will help with the system booting time and overall responsiveness of the system and applications.

ThinkPad P53s comes with Windows 10 Pro and its set of security features like Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard and Bitlocker, and more robust VPN options.

Display and Peripherals

The FHD 15.6-inch IPS panel has excellent viewing angles, but it could have better brightness for a workstation device. The machine follows the classic design of Lenovo’s business models. You will get a sturdy laptop for heavy everyday usage. With only 3.9 pounds, you can carry ThinkPad on interventions at the client office seamlessly, if that is the nature of your cybersecurity job.

If you regularly write multiple commands in Linux distros or try to hack a system in vulnerability tests, the ThinkPad keyboard with legacy trackpad and touchpad is ideal for heavy usage. Spacious and with perfect travel is among the best laptop input devices.

Ports

You will get a Thunderbolt port for fast data transfer along with Type C USB and HDMI, an excellent option for connecting external monitors. Additional two USB 3.1 will suffice for all devices you plan to connect. You can work long hours on solving security breaches without a power cord. The P53s has a battery life of almost 9 hours.

With Lenovo ThinkPad, you will get a reliable, portable, and sturdy laptop. You won’t have to doubt its endurance and autonomy, which is excellent in stressful security breach situations. The i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM will give you enough juice to run company system stress or vulnerability tests, network diagnostics, or set up virtual machines.

Pros
  • Robust built 
  • Keyboard and touchpad quality
  • Long battery life
  • Overall port availability and Thunderbolt 3
  • Core i7 performance and professional-grade GPU
Cons
  • The display could be brighter
  • Supports only microSD cards
  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a rare powerful ultrabook model. Potent 10th gen Core i7 and GeForce GTX 1650 Ti have excellent gaming performance. Great for gaming usually translates into great for other demanding tasks like running cybersecurity tools like Bitdefender, Malwarebytes, etc.

CPU and GPU

The 10 nm lithography in 10th gen Intel CPUs brought more power efficiency and a slight downgrade in performance than 14 nm models. Core i7-1065G7, however, has more than enough raw power for running Kali Linux and VMs effectively.

Playing games like Cyberpunk 2077 or COD: Warzone also won’t be a problem.GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q will get you decent FPS in AAA games on 1080p resolution.

RAM and Storage

The Dual-channel, fast 16GB memory will help the CPU with cyber threat simulation scenarios. Along with 512GB speedy SSD, memory modules will ensure short booting time, enough storage space for large files, and faster software startup.

Display

Thin bezels make the 13.3-inch IPS screen pop out. Full HD resolution and 120Hz provide smooth visuals essential for countless listings in cybersecurity diagnostics.

Keyboard and Touchpad

As expected in a smaller form factor, the keyboard is not full-size. Other than the lack of numeric keypad, keys have enough spacing. RGB backlight will help in a dark working environment. Shallow travel doesn’t ruin a good typing feel, but you’ll have to get used to it if you usually use desktop keyboards.

The glass surface of the touchpad provides a smooth and responsive feel. It is large, precise and runs multi-touch gestures without a glitch.

Design, Ports and Battery

Unibody aluminum frame and matte black color create a recognizable design. Besides durability, small form factor and the weight of just 3.24 pounds contribute to portability. If you get stuck outside of the office without a power cord, you’ll probably finish the job with up to 10 hours of battery life.

In terms of connectivity, Thunderbolt 3 can connect an external monitor or provide up to 40Gbps of data transfer, so you can move big files fast in case of a cybersecurity emergency when every second counts. Razer Blade Stealth 13 also packs USB Type C and USB 3.0 Type-A.

Stylish design and high-quality built is an asset for a work laptop. The touchpad is a top performer, and so is the CPU, along with other components. Smaller dimensions and the high price might not be for everyone. If that is not the issue, you will get an extremely dependable cybersecurity tool that can run VMs, Wireshark, and vulnerability tests without a glitch.

Pros
  • 120Hz IPS display
  • High-quality built and premium design
  • System performance with Core i7 CPU and 16GB of fast RAM
  • GTX 1650 Ti gaming and professional performance with CUDA cores
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • GPU can’t get 120 FPS in high-end games
  • No HDMI out
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD 
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD Touch (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

Premium design and 2-in-1 convertible features are the leading playing card for Yoga laptops. The Yoga 730 model adds a 4K UHD IPS display to that equation, but let’s see how hardware components stack up for cybersecurity experts.

CPU & GPU

Although i7-8550U belongs to the 8th generation Core CPUs, you will get excellent single-core and multi-thread performance when running VMware or probing with network threat detection software.

Mid-range NVIDIA GTX 1050 has just 2GB GDDR6 RAM, and while gaming, you’ll have to adjust detail levels in modern games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. You can utilize 640 CUDA cores for dedicated parallel computing applications.

RAM and SSD

Snappy system performance and heavy cybersecurity workloads will benefit from 16GB memory and 512GB solid-state drive. Yoga 730 comes with Windows 10, the best OS for online security experts. It supports the most applications since 88% of all computers in the world are running Windows, the choice of OS is obvious.

Display

Your SolarWinds dashboard will look crisp and clear on the laptop’s IPS UHD touchscreen display. It is not too reflective and has excellent color accuracy. The brightness measures 300 nits, which is good, but not the best in the class.

Keyboard and Touchpad

A keyboard without a Numpad is not the best for productivity. Shallow travel doesn’t bother the typing experience. The quality is not on the ThinkPad level, but you won’t be disappointed with the Yoga 730 keyboard. The touchpad is large and precise, and you can alternate between it and the touchscreen to navigate through network diagnostics.

Design and Ports

The signature quality hinges allow for various usage modes. You can flip it in a tent mode and give a presentation to the client, or take notes on a meeting in a tablet mode. The aluminum case is tough, and with 4.17 pounds, the laptop is both sturdy and portable.

The laptop has an excellent port selection. You can transfer huge chunks of data through a fast Thunderbolt 3 Type C port or connect it with newer external monitors. Two USB 3.0 Type-A ports secure the legacy connections, and you will get HDMI output.

Battery Life

Battery life is insane with almost 11 hours, and you can prolong it if you reduce brightness. You can be mobile and work the entire day without having to charge it.

Lenovo Yoga 730 is a stylish convertible device with significant autonomy. Core i7 CPU will run all cybersecurity software with ease. You can get some professional use from GTX 1050 and a decent FPS count for game lovers, especially if you like eSports or Battle Royale titles. Network diagnostics, VMs, and other cybersecurity applications will run smoothly with the help of 16GB of memory and a speedy SSD.

Pros
  • CPU performance in cybersecurity apps
  • 4K IPS display 
  • Metal case
  • Trackpad performance
Cons
  • Keyboard lags behind other components
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD 
  • Display: 13.5-inch FHD IPS Touch (3000 x 2000)
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours

Microsoft took a shot at MacBook Pro with Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it did deliver high-end specs and build quality. The only downside is the price that goes beyond the Apple flagship model.

CPU and GPU

Three generations-old Intel Core i7 8550U still delivers high-end performance. And a maximum turbo boost of 4GHz will push your system in heavy workload scenarios like running virtual machines. GPU can help the performance of professional software with CUDA cores. Fortnite and CS: GO will run smoothly if you like gaming, but you will have to adjust the resolution for most games to Full HD.

RAM and Storage

Multitasking between Wireshark and the company’s security dashboard will be quick, and so will the boot time, thanks to 16GB of memory and speedy 512GB SSD. You can also store most of your working files and reports on the spacious internal storage.

TPM Security

Surface Book 2 has Windows 10 Pro OS that comes with enhanced security features. The laptop also has HW TPM 2.0 chip for enterprise security and a camera for biometric recognition for Windows Hello face sign-in.

Display

The display comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 3000 x 2000 resolution. It’s a 13.5-inch touchscreen with excellent performance. It is suitable for Surface Pen that is sold separately. Besides creative professionals, cybersecurity experts will appreciate crisp images for their huge listings.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Our tests showed excellent keyboard performance, with enough travel and feedback. The backlit keyboard will be helpful in night white hack attempts. The touchpad is spacious without visible buttons, and you can use it with the touchscreen setup.

Design and Weight

The laptop has a brushed aluminum body and weighs only 3.62 lbs, making it both stylish and a tough, reliable companion. You will get 3 USB ports, one of which is Type C, but not Thunderbolt. The two surface ports connect with the power adapter and docking.

Battery

Sturdy build quality and more than 17 hours of battery life will make Surface Book 2 an excellent option for cybersecurity experts who travel a lot.

You can present your vulnerability test findings with Surface Book 2 in a tent mode, or you can take notes if you detach the screen and use it as a tablet. A powerful CPU, enough RAM, and GPU will provide excellent performance running cybersecurity software and tasks in all modes.

Pros
  • Extraordinary battery life
  • High-res quality display
  • Convertible tablet/laptop design
  • Premium built quality
  • Keyboard and touchpad
Cons
  • Surface Pen not included
  • Price should be lower
  • CPU: 2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD 
  • Display: 14-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated AMD Radeon
  • Battery: Up to 11.5 hours

Acer started the trend of cheap ultrabooks. The winning formula included thin laptops, premium materials with slightly less powerful components. The Acer Swift 3 utilized new AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs that provide high-end performance for less money.

CPU and GPU

Data crunching or cracking codes are significant tasks for Ryzen 7 4700U. The CPU has eight cores, and it thrives in multi-threaded applications. Integrated GPU doesn’t make a big difference in cybersecurity software, but it can run Dota 2, CS: GO, and Fortnite at a decent 30+ FPS.

RAM and SSD

You will not need external drives or massive Cloud backup. NVMe SSD with 512GB has enough storage space if you don’t go overboard with installing games. However, 8GB of RAM is the minimum for modern laptops and could be the bottleneck in running VMs or other heavy workload applications.

Operating System

Swift 3 is a consumer laptop, and it comes with Windows 10, which lacks some profile and options for security but still offers the best OS for varied cybersecurity software.

DIsplay

You will get a classic 16:9 aspect ratio and FHD resolution on the IPS display. It doesn’t offer high brightness levels, but it has good picture quality, and you can work with Wireshark on a 14-inch screen.

Keyboard and Touchpad

A smaller form factor means the keyboard is without a Numpad, and it lacks palm rest due to a large-quality touchpad. Soft clicks and shallow travel on a backlit keyboard will serve you well while trying to white hack the system with John the Ripper.

Design, Ports and Battery

Swift 3 has ultrabook aesthetics with a unibody metal case. It is easily portable with only 2.6 lbs and only 0.63 inches thin. You also get 3 USB ports (one Type C) and HDMI to connect external displays. The device includes a battery life of more than 11 hours.

Acer Swift 3 is extremely affordable for the performance it offers. If you don’t mind 8GB of memory, you can get a sturdy and lightweight ultrabook with excellent battery life. Performing CPU dependent tasks will be easy with highly capable Ryzen 7.

Pros
  • Ryzen 7 4700U performance
  • Affordable price
  • Lightweight with the excellent built quality
  • Good battery life
  • Integrated Alexa and fingerprint reader
Cons
  • The display could be brighter
  • You could need more than 8GB of memory
  • CPU: 1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD 
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (19920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours

HP 15 is a buffed-up version of the company’s mainstream laptop. The configuration relies on Core i5 CPU, and other components are in-line with the budget price range.

CPU and GPU

You shouldn’t dismiss 10th Gen Core-i5. It has four cores and eight threads, and a max turbo frequency of 3.6GHz, which is comparable with older i7 CPUs. The processor is more than capable of high-end tasks, and vulnerability tests with Kali Linux white hack apps will run smoothly.

Integrated Intel GPU can use Thread Detection Technology to scan memory for malware. You can also enjoy all available multimedia formats in your free time.

RAM and Storage

HP 15-dy1036nr has a basic configuration with 8GB of memory and 256GB of internal storage. Running multiple VMs or other heavier workloads might want more memory to run smoothly. You will also have to rely on external or cloud storage for your data. As a mainstream offering, the laptop has Windows 10 Home edition.

Display

HP didn’t include an IPS screen for this price range. A decent quality 15.6-inch FHD display with anti-glare coating will be great for Zoom meetings and managing your security application dashboard. HD webcam and dual-array microphones will make video conferencing more enjoyable.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Chiclet style keyboard has a full layout with Numpad. Shallow travel keys have decent performance for your coding or cracking passwords comfort, and the large touchpad is dependable and responsive.

Design

The laptop has a minimalistic design without unnecessary details. The plastic case is firm- enough for everyday use, and only 3.75 pounds makes HP 15 portable for traveling. You will also get three USB 3 ports, with one Type C and HDMI 1.4 out, so you won’t have trouble with connectivity.

Battery

HP Fast Charge is an excellent feature that can charge the battery up to 50% in 45 minutes. The device has a good battery life of more than 10 hours, which is more than you’ll probably need on a typical day. 

HP 15 is perfect for cybersecurity students, who can get an affordable device with a robust CPU, long battery life, and excellent connectivity.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Battery life and fast charge feature
  • Great connectivity options
  • Fast charging support
  • Dual-array microphones for video meetings
Cons
  • Only 8GB of memory
  • The display could be better

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended CPU for cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a broad term, and some tasks require high-end hardware for heavy workload or multitasking. Vulnerability tests, running trails in Virtual Machine environments are demanding tasks. Choose Intel Core i7 with virtualization features, or opt for the new AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with eight cores.

How much RAM do you need in a cybersecurity laptop?

The best option is 16GB of RAM to allocate VMs or other demanding applications like penetration testing to find weaknesses in the system.

What are the minimum specs for mobile penetration testing?

You will need Core i7, 500GB SSD, and 8GB RAM. The ideal components would include 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD. For setting up the testing Lab, you will probably use a couple of VMs, and different operating systems like Kali Linux and Windows 10.

Which components do you need for malware analysis?

You can start with Core i5, 50HDD, and 8GB RAM, but it would be better to choose Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 or 9, and 16GB of memory. You will need to set up different environments from Windows to Ubuntu and Windows Server and run apps like Wireshark, PeStudio, Resource Hacker, ProcessExplorer, and others to hunt down serious threats.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for the best overall laptop for cybersecurity experts, opt for maximum performance to support heavy workloads in multiple VMs, penetration tests, and data crunching.

  • Alienware M15 R3 or HP Spectre x360 is a Windows option for users without budget limitations. MacBook Pro 16 is the best option on the Apple side.
  • Core i7 CPU with 16GB of memory and 512GB SSD are common denominators for devices that mix high–end components and slightly more affordable prices like Asus Vivobook K571.
  • If you want a more presentable device, choose high-end ultrabooks. You will love the performance and style of the Razer Blade Stealth 13.

Budget-friendly options aimed more towards students include flagship killer Acer Swift 3 and mainstream budget laptops like HP 15-DY1036NR.

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Written By
Ray Kinton

A veteran techie from the days of the ZX Spectrum 48K. Ray enjoys technology, entrepreneurship, travel, writing and photography, and always looking for ways to improve his skills. He has built many computers and enjoys tinkering with technology. Follow Ray on Twitter

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