If you aren’t especially tech savvy, knowing what to look for in a decent laptop capable of handling all of that data can be tricky. Not to worry, though, as we’ve prepared a list of five laptops, each equipped with more than enough power.
Want to know exactly what features you should be keeping an eye out for? Our Buyer’s Guide succinctly outlines every characteristic you should be considering, in a way that computer newbies can actually understand and interpret.
Likewise, if you have any questions we haven’t quite covered there, it’s worth checking the FAQ. As we’ve taken the time to gather up and answer the most common inquiries from other customers, it’s likely yours is one of them.
Need A New Laptop Now? Here’s Our Top Pick:
1. Acer Aspire 5 FHD Laptop
With a full HD 15.6 inch LED display in widescreen, encased in beautiful shiny silver, the Acer Aspire 5 is a thing to behold. And at half the price of the leading Macbook laptop, it’s easily our number one choice for this list.
Having been upgraded to DDR4 16GB RAM, it’s more than capable of multitasking and running multiple applications at once is a breeze. Data sets will be analyzed far quicker than average, too, thanks to an AMD Ryzen 3 graphics card.
Proffering both a 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD, the Aspire 5 has the best of both worlds. That’s an absolutely huge storage space, with more than enough room for large files, and will also revitalize the regular performance of the laptop generally.
Running the latest version of Windows 10, with three USB ports (one 3.1 and two 2.0 respectively) and an HDMI port that supports HDCP, it has all of the connections you’ll need for work or study. 6 hours of battery life is ideal for a full day of learning
- Full HD display, 15.6 inches – lightweight at under 4lb
- 16GB RAM, plenty of data for analysing data
- New Windows 10 right out of the box
- 3.50 GHz CPU speed
- Combines SSD and HDD, rather than opting for a more powerful version of the former
- 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Display; AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U (2.60 GHz, up to 3.50 GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 MB Cache, 2 Cores ), 3-cell lithium-ion, up to 6 hours battery life mixed-use
- RAM is upgraded to 16GB DDR4 memory for multitasking Adequate high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once
- Hard Drive is upgraded to 128GB SSD plus 1TB HDD provides massive storage space for huge files, so that you can store important digital data and work your way through it with ease. Enhance the overall performance of the laptop for business, student, daily usage
- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports & 1 HDMI Port with HDCP support,802.11ac Wi-Fi; Backlit Keyboard; Up to 7.5 Hours Battery Life,Windows 10 in S mode. Maximum Power Supply Wattage 65 W + Laser USB External Cable
2. Dell Inspiron 15 3000 HD Laptop
Impressive color, clarity and anti-glare are all achieved effortlessly with the energy efficient LED screen on this beautiful Inspiron 15 300 from Dell. 15.6 inches and weighing just over 4lb, it’s petite yet powerful, and great for data science on the go.
16GB of DDR4 RAM paired with a 512GB PCIe SSD offers high-bandwidth and smooth, speedy program operation. You’ll have plenty of space for all of your data, and downloads will occur at far greater speeds than you’re used to.
AMD Radeon Graphics with shared video memory offers excellent image quality and will ensure all data presentations run smoothly. Plus, the full sized standard keyboard and numeric keypad allow for comfortable, accurate typing all the time.
Running the most secure Windows ever, 10 Home in S mode, you’ll find increased responsiveness and the speediest boot times. There are 2 USB 3.2 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader and an HDMI port, for all your connectivity needs.
- 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for maximized speed and storage
- AMD Athlon Silver 3050U processor, dual core two-way processing
- Attractive, sturdy dark gray casing
- Free 32GB USB card as part of your purchase
- May not be powerful enough for deep learning
- 【Upgraded】Seal is opened for upgrade only, 1-Year warranty on Upgraded RAM/SSD from Snow Bell, and original 1-Year Manufacture warranty on remaining components. 【15.6" HD Narrow Border Display】1366 x 768 resolution boasts impressive color and clarity, Anti-Glare Energy-efficient LED screen.
- 【AMD Athlon Silver 3050U Mobile Processor】Ultra-low-voltage platform. Dual-core, two-way processing provides maximum high-efficiency power to go.
- 【16GB DDR4 RAM】Plenty of high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games as well as multiple programs. 【512GB PCIe SSD】Save files fast and store more data. With plenty amounts of storage and advanced communication power, great for major gaming, multiple servers, backups, and more.
- 【Standard Keyboard】with Numeric keypad, Allows you to enjoy comfortable and accurate typing.【AMD Radeon Graphics】with shared video memory provide solid image quality for Internet use, movies, basic photo editing and casual gaming. Waves MaxxAudio Pro with stereo speakers & 720p at 30 fps HD camera with Single-array microphone.
- 【Windows 10 Home in S mode included】3-Cell, 42 WHr, Integrated battery. 14.33" x 9.80" x 0.78", 4.04 lbs. 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x Headphone/Microphone Combo, 1x SD media card reader, 1x HDMI, 1x RJ45. Wireless-AC + Bluetooth, Accent Black, Bonus 32GB SnowBell USB Card.
3. HP Business i5 7200U Laptop
Offering the same specs as the Inspiron, at a more affordable price, the i5 7200U from HP’s business range also runs with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD card. Though slightly smaller, at 14 inches, it’s still just as impressive in our opinion.
The WLED display is crystal clear, providing a decent image quality via the AMD Radeon graphics card. At only 3.24lb, it’s slightly sleeker than comparable devices, which could just swing it for students with busy schedules.
Two USB Type-A and one USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a classic HDMI ensure you’ll be able to hook up to all of your devices and accessories, no problem. Plus, the 3-cell lithium ion battery has plenty of power to keep you going all day long.
Right out of the box, you’re Windows 10 Home in S mode, though it’s easy to switch to the standard version by following the instructions provided. With the AMD Athlon Silver S050U processor, all of your data should load up nice and smoothly.
- Lightweight, portable laptop that packs a punch
- Running up-to-date software Windows 10 Home (S version – can be changed)
- 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM; plenty for data scientists
- More affordable than other laptops with similar specifications
- Only fourteen inches – could prove too small for some
- AMD Athlon Mobile Processor with Radeon Graphics. AMD Athlon Silver 3050U (2.3 GHz, up to 3.2 GHz). Get more done faster on a reliable laptop that can keep up with your everyday tasks.
- 14-inch diagonal HD, SVA, anti-glare, micro-edge, WLED-backlit, (1366 x 768) Display. Gives you the space and clarity you need to get your work done. Weighs 3.24 lbs. and measures 0.8" thin Ultrathin and ultralight for maximum portability, featuring a smaller screen size.
- RAM is upgraded to 16GB DDR4 SDRAM for multitasking Adequate high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once. 512GB solid state drive (SSD) While offering less storage space than a hard drive, a flash-based SSD has no moving parts, resulting in faster start-up times and data access, no noise, and reduced heat production and power draw on the battery.
- Up to 10 Hours of battery life means you can transition from morning meetings to evening entertainment without plugging in.
- Windows 10 Home in S mode, You may switch to regular windows 10: Press "Start button" bottom left of the screen; Select "Settings" icon above "power" icon;Select Update & Security and Activation, then Go to Store; Select "Get" option under "Switch out of S mode"; Hit Install. (If you also see an "Upgrade your edition of Windows" section, be careful not to click the "Go to the Store" link that appears there.)
4. ASUS VivoBook 15 S513 Laptop
For data scientists looking to wield serious power – provided they have extra money to spend! – look no further than the VivoBook 15 from Asus. Yes, it’s a few hundred dollars more than our other choices, but it’s absolutely worth the price jump.
Packing a Ryzen 7 4700U GPU, as well as a 1TB SSD, this has the processing capabilities of a far more expensive gaming laptop. That, plus 8GB of DDR4 RAM, in more than enough to run data sets, even those on the larger side.
The 15.6 inch, full HD NanoEdge bezel display offers a stunning 85% screen-to-body ratio, making for some truly beautiful visuals. Plus, presenting your data is easier than ever before, given the 178 degree wide viewing angle created.
Ergonomic and backlit, the keyboard makes for efficient work even in the evenings, whilst the inbuilt fingerprint sensor, activated by Windows Hello, allows for even greater protection with encryption you can actually trust.
- Luxurious Full HD 15.6 inch display, NanoEdge beze
- Added security via inbuilt fingerprint sensor; backlit keyboard
- 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD for impeccable speeds
- Multiple USB ports and the standard HDMI connector
- Only has 8GB of RAM, but given the Ryzen 7 GPU, with up to 4.1GHz of processing power, it shouldn’t be too big a deal
- 15.6 inch Full HD NanoEdge bezel display with stunning 85% screen-to-body ratio
- Powerful AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.1 GHz)
- 8GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and Windows 10 Home
- Ergonomic backlit keyboard along with a fingerprint sensor activated via Windows Hello
- Comprehensive connections including USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, HDMI, and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) (*USB Transfer speed may vary. Learn more at ASUS website)
5. Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Business Laptop
We may have saved the most expensive laptop for last, but it also happens to be the most impressive. From Lenovo’s ThinkPad range comes the E15, packed with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD. It’s beautiful to look at, and even more so to play on.
You may be wondering why there are laptops above, also with those specs, for hundreds of dollars less. Well – they don’t also have the 10th generation i5-10210U Quad Core processor, with Intel’s patented Turbo Boost Technology!
Alongside all of that power, there’s a full HD 15.6 inch LED display, with anti glare and Intel’s UHD graphics. Running on Windows 10 Professional 64 bit, you’ll have access to so many more features that are useful for data science.
With a long life, 3-cell lithium ion battery, you’ll be able to work on the go undisturbed. There’s even a FHD low-power display option, offering you an extended boost of juice that could keep you going for days at a time.
- 15.6 inch, Full HD anti glare LED screen with ISP technology
- Intel Core i5-10210U quad core processing, up to 4.2GHz
- 512GB SSD plus 16GB RAM, running Windows 10 Professional
- Impressive battery life and power saving modes
- Pretty pricy, but a worthwhile investment if you’ve got the cash
- 【10th gen Quad-Core i5-10210U】Intel Core i5-10210U (1.6 GHz base frequency, up to 4.2 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 6 MB cache, 4 cores). 3-Cell 45WHr Li-ionLithium ion, up to 11 hours battery life mixed use.
- 【15.6” FHD IPS Anti-glare LED Display】15.6 inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS Anti-glare LED display, Intel UHD Graphics. 1 x HDMI, 2 x USB USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x Headphone/microphone combo jack, 1 x RJ45.
- 【High Speed】Upgraded to 16GB DDR4 memory for multitasking Adequate high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once.
- 【Enormous Space】Upgraded storage to 512GB SSD provides massive storage space for huge files, so that you can store important digital data and work your way through it with ease. Enhance the overall performance of the laptop for business, student, daily usage.
- 【Windows 10 Pro】Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - Has all the features of W10 Home OS, but more! The operating system you need for enterprise and small business alike! Ghost Manta Accessories including HDMI Cable, USB extension cord and Mouse Pad.
For an incredibly tech-based subject such as data science, getting a laptop that looks good and won’t weigh you down are the least of your concerns. Those factors still matter, sure, but there are more important things to consider. Such as…
The majority of programs you’ll be using should be compatible with any operating system, but the most universally accepted option is Windows. The more up to date your software is, the better, with Windows 10 being the most current version.
Coding software and languages you can expect to be utilizing include:
- Rapid Miner
You’re free to use Mac OS X or other systems like Linux if you’d prefer – many data scientists do! – but you’ll have a much easier time on a Microsoft computer when it comes to software downloads. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Important for analyzing large datasets without an endless lag, an appropriate amount of RAM or Random Access Memory for your chosen laptop is crucial. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting quality work time waiting for pages to load and numbers to crunch!
Around 16GB of RAM is recommended at minimum, but if you can afford to spring for higher, then you won’t regret it. It is of course possible to upgrade the existing RAM of some laptops, but if you don’t know how to do so it’s better left to an expert.
Most newer laptops utilize an SSD or Solid State Drive over the more traditional hard drives as it is. However, making sure you have an SSD with enough memory, at least 256GB if not more, is also important when it comes to speedy analysis.
An added advantage of using SSDs over their predecessors is that, because they don’t actually move, your laptop will be far quieter when you’re working. It’ll also be a whole lot less likely to overheat when you’re clocking some serious data.
For any student or employee, carrying a bulky, heavy laptop around is not just annoying, but can be the root of some serious back pain. The likelihood is that you already have enough massive textbooks to lug between home and campus anyway!
Ensuring your display is large enough to visualize all of your information, at least fifteen inches in size, is important. That said, opting for the lightest laptop that doesn’t compromise on sturdiness is always advised, for the sake of convenience.
A laptop that can stay juiced up for a decent portion of the day is a must for most students. This is less important if you’re regularly working from home, but hey, sitting at a desk every day can get really repetitive.
Sure, some lecture halls and teaching spaces have outlets, but then you have to remember your charger and hope there’s a socket free and… you get the picture. Having a really decent battery life is the making of a quality laptop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What GPU does a data scientist need?
This really depends. Your school, college or employer might provide you with access to external servers and much greater computer power. GPU’s are very expensive to purchase, and can run up thousands of dollars in expenses.
For those looking to perform deep learning or other more extensive data investigations, you’re going to want to seek out a “gaming laptop”, as the CPU found in a regular one isn’t able to cope with such huge amounts of information.
Check out this explanation on what GPUs are and whether or not you need them from Towards Data Science for more information.
Are data science and machine learning the same thing?
Yes and no. Data science is an umbrella term for a variety of different disciplines, whilst machine learning is a subsidiary of data science. Encompassing things like analytics and engineering, it’s used as a collective for multiple subjects.
When discussing ‘data’ more generally, the information may not have even originated from technological sources, whilst machine learning always involves the study of computer generated data.
Can you use a Macbook for data science?
In short, yes. Many data scientists use Macbooks as they’re easier to connect to virtual operating systems, but you can get exactly the same hardware capabilities for half the price when you opt for a Windows laptop.