Choosing a good laptop for DJing is not just about hardware requirements, brand, or which software to use. One of the most important things to consider on a DJ laptop is being reliable and stable for your live performances.
Nobody wants dropouts, “clicks”, or even a complete computer crash and close in the middle of your gig. This is probably the DJ’s worst nightmare. I remember an interview with DJ Sasha when he had crash two MacBooks in one night. Sh*t happens! But thankfully for him, he had a third one.
How can you avoid this situation, you might ask..?
You’ll have to go through countless websites and do all the research yourself. It will be necessary to read reviews and check many comments or reports about dropouts, crashes, driver’s stability, etc. So we did most of the job for you to create a list of the best laptops for DJing in the market.
In 2020 the choices for a DJ laptop are countless. Most modern computers out there are more than enough. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes it hard to “fail” on your choice as many laptops have characteristics for a specific job. For example, gaming, design, office work, etc. One necessity that can’t go unmentioned is the DJ software.
All our options for the best laptops for DJing are compatible with Serato DJ, Traktor Pro, Virtual DJ, and all major mixing softwares. Check out the best DJ software in the market, or start with a free mixing software.
TOP 8 BEST LAPTOPS FOR DJING – REVIEWS 2020
1. MacBook Pro 13
CPU: Intel Dual-Core Core i5 1.4 GHz 8th Generation | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 256TB SSD | Display: 13.3” Retina Display IPS Gloss.
There are many reasons why you see a lot of DJs using MacBook at their live performances. The main reason is reliability. This model doesn’t have the highest specifications you can get from a MacBook Pro, but as for DJing goes, it will cover you for many years.
If budget isn’t a problem for you and you’re starting your career as a DJ, you can play it safe with any of the Apple MacBooks. Everything from the software, operating system, the motherboard, and the sound card are all built and designed by the same company. This is reliability at its finest. All that together makes everything work flawlessly and with almost no chances of crashing or dropouts during a live event.
The 8th generation i5 quad-core 1.4GHz processor and 8GB RAM is plenty to run the most intensive DAW or DJ software out there. It has only 256GB SSD, but with the latest technology available, it will make sure to read out your mp3s and tracks faster, plus they are more reliable than a regular HD Drives.
Its resolution is far higher than what you will find on many mainstream laptops out there (2560×1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch), which will allow you to fit in more VSTs, Interfaces, Windows, etc. The battery life is excellent as well; you won’t have any issue with that.
A big plus is a backlit keyboard for the countless times you’ll be performing in dark settings. Also, you’ll get plenty of connectivity for all your external devices: A charging, DisplayPort, two Thunderbolt USB-C ports (up to 40 Gbps), and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps). Ideal to connect every type of USB audio interface, Thunderbolt sound card, and DJ microphones.
MacBook Pro is probably the best and most popular laptop for DJing and music production in the market right now.
2. Dell Inspiron 15 5000
CPU: Intel Quad Core i7 1.8GHz | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD Display
Another gem for DJing. Dell offers quite reliable and solid laptops with their Inspiron, XPS and Precision series. It’s a windows laptop you can also count on for DJing in general.
It might not be as powerful as the DELL XPS 15, but it is three times cheaper. The best part is that for a small budget, you get a sufficient laptop for DJing and performing live with a 1.8GHz Quad-core processor and 8GB RAM (upgradeable to 16GB).
If you think you need a bigger RAM, it will be a bit more expensive for you to upgrade it yourself. But there is no need to worry because RAM is one of the easiest things to update on a laptop.
On the plus side, it comes with a Solid-State Driver (SSD) of 128GB. This is a storage device with plenty of capacity for your samples, tracks, and mixes. Along with the advantage of the superb reading speeds this offer, it’s an ideal option for any DJ. Plus 1TB of HDD to store more data, music, and softwares.
Its display size is bigger than the MacBook Pro shown above. So, if you have problems with setups far from an optimal viewing distance might be a better option this 15.6″ Full HD screen.
Dell Inspiron 15 5000 also comes with a backlit keyboard to easily see your keys in your dark home recording studio. As well as plenty of ports for all your external connections (1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and HDMI for displays). This is probably the best laptop for DJing for those on a tight budget. Here you will find the best DJ controller for beginners to connect to your laptop and start mixing from day one.
3. Alienware m15 R3
CPU processor :i7-10750H | RAM Size:16 GB | Hard Disk Size:512 GB | Display:15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
The Alienware laptops are definitely gaming series machines. Nevertheless, they come with all the features and specs you will want on your DJ laptop.
The m15 R3 is built by high-end materials such as magnesium alloy, copper, and steel to give you tan ultimate secure cover. It is still lightweight for easy transportation, and compact to fit in most DJ backpacks.
The 10th Generation Intel Core i7 is one of the most powerful processors you can get on the market. Along with the 16 RAM present the fastest laptop to run every DJ software and app n a blink of an eye.
A bonus of the new Alienware m15 is the Cryo-Tech cooling component, that keeps your laptop cool, and maximizes the overall performance. The ultra-bright and color-balanced screen and keyboard will drop your need for an external laptop light.
4. MacBook Air 13.3
CPU: Intel Dual-Core Core i5 1.6 GHz | RAM: 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 13.3” LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560×1600
Back to Apple products and this “thin” Macbook Air 13.3 is perfect for your live gigs. A combination of reliable laptops and great characteristics – not to forget the design. It’s not the fact that Windows is unstable, or PC laptops are bad but the fact that their parts are made from a variety of different manufacturers, making them less efficient and more likely to not deliver the job.
The Air notebook by Apple, on the other hand, is entirely different from the Pro, it’s far more portable and has probably the most extended battery life as far as ultrabooks and laptops go. It’s the only 2.91b, and with +13 hours of battery life, it will deliver the job for any DJ on the road.
MacBook Air is probably the best laptop for mobile DJs
The latest models have more than enough power to match the 13” MacBook Pro. The 8th generation 1.6GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor is good enough choice for DJing. While 8GB RAM is also sufficient, but keep in mind that it can also be upgraded to 16GB.
An important thing for a DJ is a large and fast hard drive disc. Unfortunately, the MacBook Air cannot deliver the best possible. The 128GB SSD storage (from 2017 – PCIe flash storage) it will probably not fill your needs. The backlit keyboard is not missing from this model. Also, the Air has the fastest bootup times on this list, mainly due to its hard drive technology.
Regardless of the connectivity and ports of this laptop: It has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port, which is pretty cool for a skinny laptop.
Note: This is one of the most affordable Apple laptops in the market. It is also our top choice for the best laptops for music production.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro X
CPU processor : Microsoft SQ1 (co-developed with Qualcomm) | RAM Size:8 GB | Hard Disk Size:128 GB | Display:13″
Even if most professionals and experts will pick the Macbook Pro or Air for DJ use, Surface Pro X is a great alternative.
Microsoft is always considered a big competitor of Apple, and this ultra-thin yet powerful notebook is the answer if you are looking to DJ with a touchscreen. The new 13″ touchscreen display with a sleek matte black finish sits perfectly on the Surface Pro X and it is still 1.7 pounds and just 7.3mm thin.
The 128 GB hard size is not ideal, so an external hard drive might be necessary after a couple of months of downloading. However, you can get one of the upgraded laptops/tablets with 8 GB RAM and 256 hard drive, or 16 GB RAM, and 512 GB for sufficient music storage.
6. Lenovo ThinkPad T460
CPU: Intel Core I5-6300U up to 3.0 GHz | RAM: 16GB 2133MHz DDR3 | Storage: 500GB | Display: 14” LED-backlit Widescreen Display, Full HD Matte Finish.
In the last couple of years, Lenovo has proved that reliability and durability are two of their biggest targets. Out of all of their models, you will see the Thinkpads almost everywhere. Users’ reviews say it is one of the most durable laptops they had. With exquisite and robust design and build, a massive bonus for every DJ who travels a lot.
This model is one of the best DJ laptops at under $500 in the market. It is not a gaming laptop, nor does it have any unnecessary features (no dedicated graphics card). T460 has excellent characteristics on every function as far DJing is concerned. Excellent power up to 3.0GHz core processor along with 16 GB RAM that will handle multiple apps and tasks simultaneously. Along with 500GB hard disc to increase readout times and boost your overall performance.
Its display size is 14″, which is neither too small for those far from eyesight sets ups, nor too big for portability. One more thing to remember is the full HD resolution display will give you space for a plethora of interfaces, tools without the need to switch back and forth between views when you are performing. It also comes with a matte finish to prevent reflections from disturbing you when DJing. Remember to check one of the best stands for your laptop to keep it safe and stable during your set.
Out of this list, it has the highest number of ports: It has 3 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, Ethernet, mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI, and guess what? It also comes with a backlit keyboard. Plus, the keyboard itself is also spill-resistant for any accidents that may happen whenever you are performing. One of the best laptops for Djing coming from a Windows machine; nothing is missing from this one.
ThinkPad T460 is a very cheap laptop for DJing and ideal for beginners that cannot afford any of the above.
7. ASUS ROG GL552VW
CPU: Intel Core i7 3.5Ghz Quad Core | RAM: 16GB 2133MHz DDR4 | Storage: 128 GB + 1TB HDD | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB | Display: 15.6″ Matte IPS HD (1920×1080)
ASUS gaming laptops are quite popular among DJs looking for a non-apple laptop.
The ASUS ROG GL552VW has too much power for DJing: i7 Quad Core 3.5Ghz and 16GB RAM that will cover your needs for many years. As well, being able to run multiple DJ or production softwares at the same time. Best of all, it comes at a great price. This model offers a combination of storage, a 1TB HDD for all your tracks, and mixes and an SSD for your most used samples, mixes, OS, and software. You won’t need an external hard drive for a long time. On the other hand, you will probably find the GPU a bit unnecessary unless you have gaming in mind, which I wouldn’t recommend for a couple of reasons.
With a display screen of 15.6″ is a must-have if you have your set up quite far from your view. Also, the Matte Display is perfect for those instances where bright reflections are unavoidable (working outside or when the sun is playing against you). Plus, you get way too many ports to play around with, probably far more than you’ll ever need: x3 USB 3.0 ports, xl USB 3.1 port, HDMI, SD Card Reader, and with a backlit keyboard too. If you don’t mind the considerable gaming tag on it, this laptop has everything you may need for DJing while remaining affordable at the same time.
8. ACER ASPIRE E 15
CPU processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U (Up to 3.4GHz) | RAM Size: 8 GB DDR4 | Hard Disk Size: 256GB SSD | Display:15.6″ IPS (1920 x 1080)
A last-minute addition is the very affordable ACER Aspire E15. It comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz). As well, an 8GB DDR4 Dual Channel Memory RAM that will guarantee a great performance on your live performances. The 256GB SSD hard drive might not excite anybody, but you can’t ask everything on a tight budget.
The 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card offers promising capabilities to the laptop when it comes to watching videos, but not very useful for DJing or music production. The 15.6-inch LED-lit IPS Display shows explicit and natural content. This full-HD screen makes it absolutely perfect for DJing while using the software of your preference.
If you want a good and affordable laptop for DJing, Acer Aspire E 15 is a great choice.
The Aspire E 15 has an SD card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 along with an HDMI port. All the components of the laptop are power efficient, and they can run without any limitations for 15 hours. One more plus on this DJ laptop is its weight. It is a bit over 5 pounds, which makes it easy to transfer everywhere you go.
Here are five tips for DJing with just a laptop and start mixing before your DJ controller arrives.
How to DJ with a laptop?
Play and mix songs with a laptop is the most popular way to DJ in 2020. To DJ with a laptop, all you will need is a DJ software such as the Serato or Virtual DJ. Import or sync your music library into the software and add a song on each desc. There is an auto-cue function so you won’t need to manually beat-match the tracks. Use the mixer interface to manipulate EQ (lows, mids, high) and add FX filters to achieve a smoother transition between tracks.
Later on, you can invest in a good DJ controller for a more natural way of mixing by using headphones, knobs, faders, jog-wheels, etc.
What to look for before buying a laptop for mixing and DJing
There are a few basic things to check, but for a budget around $1000, you can get a powerful laptop with proper specifications of Processor, RAM, Hard drive, and the rest. Connectivity and battery life are also two things to consider. However, for a decent amount of money, those two characteristics won’t differ a lot from other contestants. So, a roundup on what to consider before choosing your next DJ laptop.
- Processor – Your laptop’s performance depends on it. Suitable processing power is a 2.3GHz dual Intel Core i5, which along with a good RAM size, will allow your laptop to handle heavy applications and multitasking without a problem.
- RAM – You should pick a laptop with 8GB RAM or more.
- Hard drive – Well, here it mostly depends on your needs. An external hard drive will eventually become a necessity, so go for an SSD of 250GB or more.
- Screen Display – The same as the above, it depends on your needs and wants. Djing on a small 13-inch laptop can be quite challenging. The safest option would be, in my opinion, a 15-inch notebook that it’s big enough to check your mixing and small enough to transfer it around easily.
Recommended System Requirements:
Laptop requirements for Serato DJ Pro:
- CPU: i3 2GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 5GB
Laptop requirements for Virtual DJ:
- CPU: i3 2GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 30MB
Laptop requirements for Traktor Pro:
- CPU: i5 2GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 1GB
DJ Laptop design and durability:
Most manufacturers today do not pay much attention to design. Consumers usually look at the specifications, such as CPU and GPU. Therefore there is less attention to the design part. There are, however, exceptions, such as the beautiful MacBook Pro by Apple or the Alienware series. Most famous DJs out there, you will see them use an Apple laptop (sometimes totally covered with stickers).
The main issue, however, is not that your laptop may not look cool on stage, but most laptops end up having a weak cooling system. That may cause your laptop to skip or even completely black-out. A nightmare for every DJ, once again. So, make sure your laptop is appropriately ventilating, and all the openings are dust-free.
We have busted the myth of laptop DJs, so get ready and build the best studio setup for beginners to perform like pros.
What to remember before finding a laptop for DJing?
You can search and find the best laptops for DJing by yourself, but those above re the most reliable, and popular laptops used by DJs all around the globe.
These are the top laptops DJs that haven’t reported issues in forums, social media, or reviews. You can feel safe about having issues when performing live with any of the models below. These also have more than enough hardware requirements for you to comfortably run your favorite DJ software and DAW applications.
- What is the best laptop for DJ softwares such as Serato DJ and Traktor Pro?
Most laptops out there will work ideally with every DJ software. Serato DJ, Traktor Pro, Virtual DJ, and Rekordbox are the most popular, and they will run sufficient if you pick a laptop with the same or similar specs as the above.
- Are gaming laptops good for DJing?
Yes, in most cases, gaming laptops carrying the same specifications that DJs require.
MacBook laptops are an excellent choice for DJs and music producers if you can afford it. They have the reputation of expensive products, but quality, reliability, and design come with a cost. There are, however, some great cheap alternative computers by Dell, HP, Asus, and Lenovo that worth your attention. Plus, you can add some really lovely DJ laptop skins to match your style.
Remember to make sure the laptop you buy is offering a well built and has a solid design. A DJ laptop will take more physical damage than a laptop from a regular consumer, which is just simply standing on a desk as opposed to being always on the move.
Even if you find a laptop with all the specifications listed above for a lower price, look at the design and built because that’s where manufacturers try to cut the cost down.
Another good tip is to aim for business class laptops as opposed to regular consumer laptops; they are built with durability and reliability in mind.
You can leave your comment and let us know what do you believe. Any suggestions for beginner DJs? Drop them below.
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