Laptop Recommendations

I get asked this question a lot. Like, a WHOLE LOT. Every day.

"What laptop do you use on your show?" or "What laptop do you recommend?"

So I'm writing this blog to answer the age old question about Shannon's laptop.

When it comes to Linux distros, my laptop of choice for 3 years has been a small notebook called an Acer TimelineX with an old 3rd gen i3 processor. I have been using this one for my Hak5 segments for several years. It's very small (I believe 11 inches), compact, and takes a bit of a beating. I've loaded several operating systems on it and it still works to this day. I'm currently thinking about updating to a slightly larger laptop with better battery life and a larger screen / keyboard, though. While this laptop works like a charm for simple processing, it IS old and a bit too small.

I'm thinking about upgrading to the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. It's got an updated processor, high resolution, it's 13 inches but still weighs around 3 pounds (pretty good for toting back and forth from work) and it's damn pretty. I'd probably choose the i3 / non-touch / Windows 7 version because honestly, you don't need touch for playing in the terminal. It's also more expensive than a notebook. With that upgrade will be a price point of at least $1049.99... so there's that.

Here's another one to consider if you're wanting high-end and Apple. A Macbook Air. While I prefer the usefulness of a Windows machine that can ultimately dual boot to a Linux system or vice versa (both needed for my career, and I also grew up with Windows so I know it much better), the Mac line actually derived from the same place as Linux. Why do you think you see so many Macbooks at DEFCON? It IS an option for hackers, but personally not my first choice.

My last choice (and recent favorite) has been the new Acer Aspire S7. Disclaimer: Acer has sent me this model for long-term review. It's an expensive machine, and quite beautiful. This one runs Windows 8 and has a top-of-the-line battery, screen resolution, and processor. It's also very lightweight at under 3 pounds. I currently use this ultrabook for my podcasts on screen and I've gotten very used to the Win8 interface and touchscreen.

I have used all of these machines and I love them all. Eventually new lines will come along and take their place but if you are in the market for a laptop these have been my go-to choices. Obviously they are quite pricey (which is why I haven't upgraded!) and there are cheaper options on the market. Consider your own criteria before buying. What brands you trust, what is important to you (in the day and age of cloud computing, 1TB drives aren't needed for my own ultrabooks), and where will you be going with your laptop.

Oh, and I wasn't paid for this blog, just FYI. These are all my opinions.