Back in the middle ages, a DJ would put a 45 or sometimes an album track on his turntable. And as moved on, they got very fancy and would even have two turntables! Not at all high-tech, but it seemed ok to us, we knew nothing better at the time. Nowadays, it’s all just a little bit different. Everything is controlled by a computer. Even playlists can be pre-loaded.
But what does a DJ need inside his computer?
It will vary, of course, some will have preferences that will affect what’s ‘under the hood.’ Generally speaking, though, you need as a minimum 2GB RAM and an Intel processor. You will also need a hard drive with possibly up to 2 GB of free space. If you are running a 32bit machine, the basic requirement is 2GB; if it’s 64 bit, then you’ll need 4GB.
Most of these requirements are easily filled by most laptops these days. But, the important thing is the hard drive is big enough and fast enough.
So, what are the best DJ laptops?
Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 10 Best DJ Laptops To Buy Of 2021 Reviews
- Best DJ Laptops Buyers Guide
- So, What Are The Best DJ Laptops?
Top 10 Best DJ Laptops To Buy Of 2021 Reviews
1 Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air
Are we surprised to see an Apple machine on the list of the best DJ laptops? Of course not. This is a very portable machine weighing under 3 pounds that is easy to carry around with you. For a DJ, an important issue. As with most things Apple, the designs slimline with an almost arrogant elegance about them.
Apple computers always look good, but they are always powerful and very functional. This Macbook Air has a 1.8 GHz Intel dual-core processor. The turbo boost built-in will give you 2.9Hz of muscle. With a RAM of 8GB, it is suited to the demands of the average DJ. It has a Solid State Drive (SSD) with 128GB and 512GB of storage space.
Some DJs like to use their computers for some visual presentations, and if that is the case, this carries Intel High definition graphics. Twelve hours of battery life gives you a decent length of time. It is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible.
It has some nice extra touches built-in. A multi-touch trackpad and useful help in dark environments is the backlit keyboard. Two Thunderbolts are built-in. These deliver a huge bandwidth that allows you to move data four times faster than if you use USB3. It has two USB ports and a headphone socket.
Plenty of ports to work with, a good processor with a turbo boost, an SSD drive, and plenty of storage space. This is a laptop that will cover most requirements. DJ’s will appreciate its build quality and power. They will also feel secure with the Apple brand.
They are not cheap, of course. Apple doesn’t do cheap. But they are very good, and Apple does do very good, very well. Certainly must be considered as one of the Best DJ Laptops, but could it be the best? Read on to find out…
- Lightweight with a sleek, elegant design.
- Plenty of power with SSD drive.
- The price might put some people off.
2 Oemgenuine Lenovo ThinkPad A485
The Lenovo ThinkPad A485 is a laptop running 64-bit professional Windows 10. It is quite a powerful machine with an AMD Ryzen quad-core processor. It has an advantage over some of its competitors, with 16GB of RAM. Built-in is the 250GB Solid State Drive (SSD).
AMD Radeon graphics are used on the 14-inch anti-glare screen. It uses Touchpad and Trackpad.
USB 3.1 and HDMI, but it does not include the more powerful Thunderbolt connections. These are, of course, an Apple and Intel connection. USB then is the port of choice for Windows operating systems, which can have an effect on data transfer times. There is no CD drive.
It does include some interesting extra features. Biometric security is included and a diagnostic tool to help with any basic troubleshooting problems.
The keyboard is not backlit, which may be a problem in low lighting. This can, of course, be overcome quite easily with a bit of light. But for a DJ’s working environment, it just means an extra piece of kit you need. An extra light positioned over your keyboard is not always the most convenient thing.
This is what is known as an after-market computer, and so it is not assembled in its final format by Lenovo. Some prefer this system because it does mean that extras can be added that the originals might not include. Others, of course, prefer the box to be sealed before use.
It is a powerful machine with some good features, but it also lacks a few things that a DJ might consider important. Set at a decent price point, which will make it attractive to some.
- Quite powerful.
- Cost-effective price.
- A few features not included that may have been useful.
3 Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop
Everyone is aware of Acer as a computer manufacturer. This is quite surprising really as they entered the game quite late when compared with most of their competitors. Established in 1976 in Taiwan, they have expanded to become a major player in the laptop market. They are recognized as producing quality machines at cost-effective prices.
The Aspire E15 is a nicely designed laptop that is sleek and stylish. It has an Intel Core i5 processor that has a processing speed of 1.6GHz. With the turbo boost that can increase it to 3.4 GHz. It has 8GB of RAM. The screen is the slightly larger 16.6 display size.
It runs on the Windows 10 operating system and has a hard disk size of 256GB. It has Bluetooth 4.1 capability and has plenty of ports with USB 3.1, and 2 USB 3.0 plus a USB 2.0. Battery life is up to 15 hours.
It has a backlit keyboard, which for DJ use is a very useful addition and two slots for storage. One of these could be for an SSD. The screen is IPS design meaning the colors are prominent.
This is a decent machine that has some basic but effective features, It is quite powerful, and Acer has a good track record for reliability. The build quality is where the corners have been cut. We suppose that is a better alternative to cutting corners under the bonnet. The plastic is quite cheap and not the strongest. It will take a little bit of care.
Considering all these points, this is a good machine. It has enough tech onboard to satisfy a DJ’s need, and it is at a great price. The build would be the only thing we would be concerned about, especially if it were being taken to various venues.
- Quite powerful and cost-effective.
- Backlit keyboard.
- Build quality is a little cheap.
4 Dell XPS 13 9360
Many of the computers and laptops that are made in Asia are very competitively priced. That is a good thing. The not so good thing with some is that they need to keep costs down. The quality of the build is sometimes, therefore, a bit suspect.
This doesn’t apply to Dell computers. They have a reputation of being built like a brick. Sturdy they may be, but the XPS 9360 is still an attractive slimline model. It weighs just over three pounds, so it is easy to carry around.
Dell’s XPS series of laptops has been around a while now, so they are not a new product. They have a rather small screen at 13 inches, but that is one of the few negatives. A big feature of this laptop is its 128GB SSD hard drive. It has an Intel i5 processor at 2.5GHz and 8GB of RAM. Windows 10 is installed as the operating system, and it is has a touch screen.
Having enough RAM is important, and for a DJ, 8GB is probably the smallest you might consider. A lot of computers these days are built so you cannot expand the RAM. Manufacturers prefer you to spend more money to buy a new one, therefore getting enough RAM to start with is a good move.
The laptop has some connections but no HDMI port. Battery life isn’t good either at 5-7 hours of constant use. It does, though, have a backlit keyboard.
This is a decent machine. Plenty of power and memory and with a very tough but sleek build. It is quite expensive, though, for what it is. But then it is made using good components. You will find cheaper machines, but they might not be so well made.
Good looking machine with good features and good build quality. It should be considered as of the Best DJ Laptops.
- Plenty of power and a 128SSD.
- Nice design.
- Quite expensive.
5 Dell XPS 15 9560
Another Dell computer and this one is a great looking machine. Slimline and sleek, it looks elegant and even looks expensive. It is more than just good looks though. It is a powerhouse.
Running Windows 10 Pro, it has an Intel i7 Quad-Core processor with a massive 32 GB of RAM. You won’t be needing to upgrade that in a hurry. The processing speed is quick at 3.8GHz.
Dell is really trying to give you as much as they can with this machine. It has a 15-inch screen with a display tech of 4K UHD. The hard disk size is a whopping 1 TB of flash memory. It is Bluetooth 4.1 compatible and has a backlit screen and a fingerprint reader. There are plenty of USB and other port connection possibilities.
There certainly is not enough space here to list all the features included in the laptop. Suffice to say it has great processing speeds and with a big operative memory. If you choose to use the Graphics, they are high-spec with a 3840 by 2160 resolution.
It has the usual quality build from Dell, who make their machines suitable for being carried around without a problem.
From a DJ viewpoint…
It has most of what you need. The memory size is more than large enough to accommodate the various DJ packages, and the speeds, as we have said, are quick.
Expensive? Yes, a little, but it depends on how you view it, and it is carrying a lot of power.
- Plenty of power and memory size.
- Good looking but sturdy design.
- The price will put some people off.
6 Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop
Someone once remarked Asus is the best computer manufacturer you have never heard of. That might be a little unfair, but to many people, they are an unknown quantity,
Like Acer, they came to the computer party a little later than everybody else. Very late, in fact, being established in Taiwan in 1989. Since then, they have made a rapid rise to become a multinational organization with a reputation. They are perhaps best known for their laptops that are popular as gaming machines. The power and features needed for that discipline are easily transferable to the needs of the modern DJ.
It carries an Intel Core i7 processor and has 16GB of RAM at a speed of 3.9GHz. It has 512GB of hard disk storage. If you wish to use it for visual work to go with your music, the graphics are excellent. Running Nividia GeForce, they are top drawer as you might expect. For a computer designed with gamers in mind, this should not be a surprise.
Windows 10 at 64-bit is installed as the operating system, and we have an illuminated keyboard. Screen size is nice 15 inches, and it is Bluetooth 5 compatible. It has plenty of USB connector ports but no thunderbolt port.
This is an all-powerful machine that crosses the bridge between gaming and DJ’ing comfortably. If there is one thing, we need to mention it is the fan. It can be quite loud at times, depending on what programs you are running. That could be an issue for a DJ, depending on their connections.
It is not cheap, but for the power and features, it has we would not say it is overpriced.
- Powerful machine with a lot of features.
- Large memory size.
- The noisy fan might be an issue.
7 Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
Dell was first formed in 1984 by a student at University in Texas. He ran the business from his dormitory and provided customized upgrades for PCs. They released their first Notebook in 1989. They have now, of course, expanded somewhat and have become a recognized manufacturer with sites in Ireland, Brazil, China, and Malaysia. Although they are still headquartered in Texas.
The GS 15 is a laptop designed for the gaming market. The requirements though between what a gamer needs and a DJ must have been somewhat similar.
This machine is very typical of the latest range of Dell laptops. That is, they are well-built and are quite stylish. This machine not quite as slim and sleek as some but nevertheless compact and functional.
It has an Intel Core i7 processor with a speed of 4.5GHz. The 15-inch screen is always a welcome addition in our view, and the hard disk memory is 256GB. It uses Windows 10 as its operating system.
If graphics are a part of your show, then that facility won’t disappoint you. It uses Nvidia GeForce with 4GB of graphics RAM. It has two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port. Interestingly it is quite heavy compared to its competitors at 8.65 pounds. The battery life lets it down at only about 5 hours.
Well-built, it has enough memory and features to deserve consideration as one of the Best DJ Laptops. This even though it was built for the gaming market.
It has a reasonable price point and is a little cheaper than some other Dell machines.
- Well-built with a sturdy design.
- It has some good features on board.
- Only five hours of battery life.
8 Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Of all the computer hardware and software systems, Microsoft and Windows may well be the most used. People love them or gate them, but we cannot ignore the development they have made. Neither can we forget the driving force for others to try and emulate them.
The Surface Pro is full of Microsoft development and features that make it a great machine. It suits a variety of applications, and DJ’s should be taking a close look at what it can offer.
The design is very slim and sleek, and the whole unit weighs just 1.7 pounds. One of its big advantages is its 13.5 hours of battery life. It has also been designed to convert to work in three modes. As a laptop and as a tablet but also in what they call studio mode for drawing with the pen.
It has an Intel Premium Gold i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. 128GB of SSD storage and touch screen technology. It has 1 TB of flash memory and a 12-inch screen. It runs Windows 10 and has Bluetooth and WiFI compatibility.
One issue you need to be aware of is this laptop does not come with a keyboard. You use the onscreen facility. If you want a normal keyboard, it is an optional extra. It has a single 3.0 USB port, which we think is a little under-equipped. It also has a mini display port and a 3.5mm headphone socket. There is no HDMI port.
While this is a powerful computer, we see a few potential problems. Firstly as we have said, it has not got a normal keyboard. The touch screen is at best a little unreliable, and it doesn’t actually function with some software. The cost of the machine is quite expensive. But then add on a keyboard charge and also if you want to use the pen that it is another extra. It is all getting rather expensive.
- Some very good features and work modes.
- Very expensive.
- Some basic tools are extras.
9 Alienware 13 R3 Extreme Gaming Laptop
Alienware is a subsidiary of Dell computers. They are based in Miami, Florida, and their computer hardware products are aimed at the gaming market. Many of these designs have an Alien theme. This doesn’t necessarily immediately bring to mind the world of the DJ. But the computers do possess many of the requirements needed by the modern DJ who uses a laptop.
It is a 16GB SD-RAM machine with an Intel i5 6th generation processor. It has an SSD hard drive memory of 512GB. Some of the features are quite basic, for instance, only a 13-inch screen. If graphics will form part of your show, then Nvidia GeForce is used and is included. It runs on Windows 10.
The physical size is quite small. Just 12.9 by 9.2 by 1.1 inches make it extremely portable. It is also a very slimline design, which makes it attractive looking. And it is Bluetooth compatible and has USB and HDMI ports.
It is a machine, as we have already said, that is designed for the gaming market. As such, it carries features that may not apply to a DJ. However, the power is there, and the memory size is capable. The graphics are of a very high standard if you want to include them. It may be that a DJ might want to combine his DJ work with a gaming machine for home. Or possibly that in someway the facilities onboard will fit in with the DJ work. If that is the case, then this laptop is certainly worth a look.
It isn’t cheap, though. You will find more dedicated DJ laptops at a lower price.
- Good processing speeds and graphics.
- Compact size and slimline design.
- Very expensive.
10 Lenovo Yoga Book
This laptop could be described in a number of ways. Yes, it is different, and yes, the cost is very low. Yes, it has a variety of uses. It is also very compact, and you might even call it small.
It measures only 10 x 6.5 x0.5 inches and weighs just one and a half pounds.
Because of its size, though, it has one or two issues that some might call drawbacks. It is too small to have a USB port, though it does have a mini USB. It does, though, have a halo keyboard which acts to illuminate it.
This really is a two in one laptop. Running Android software, it can operate in a number of ways, though it doesn’t have access to Microsoft software. It does, though, come in a Windows version. It is made not from plastic but a lightweight metal alloy that is finished in a gunmetal color.
This is a computer that is certainly not going to suit everybody, A 10-inch screen size certainly won’t, and a 4GB RAM is a little underpowered. It has a 2.4GHz Intel processor and an SSD hard drive. Battery life is quite good at 12 hours.
For use as a DJ laptop, it has a few plus points in terms of its size, good graphics, etc. But it might be a little underpowered, it is, however, a very cheap option to consider.
- Compact size and cost-effective.
- Well made tough exterior
- Might be a little underpowered.
Best DJ Laptops Buyers Guide
Seeking Out The Best Laptops For DJs
As we said in our opening statement to this review, there are some important things a DJ might need for his laptop; for example, you will need at least 2GB of RAM. Usually, this is not a problem at all. All the laptops we looked at had at least that and most significantly more. An Intel processor they all have as well, and that is important to have good processing speeds, You will need at least 2GB of free space on your hard drive. Again, not a problem as they all have that and more. The overriding element, though, is that it is big enough memory-wise and fast enough in processing.
Given that nearly all the laptops we looked at had these elements, you may ask what makes the difference.
Well, there isn’t much between some of them, most of the time. Some we looked at were gaming machines. The graphics on those machines had taken some form of priority in the design process. All well and good if you are planning to use graphics as part of your act. If not, then they are of little value.
Portability is an issue but really only a minor one. Nearly all the machines are quite similar in weight. An extra two pounds to have to carry around is not going to cause irreversible body damage.
Build Quality Is Something To Consider…
Unless you have a residency at one venue, you are going to be carrying it around. That exposes itself to potential damage. Most of the laptops we looked at were made of good quality plastic, one even made from a composite metal. Most will take the strain of movement if reasonable care is taken with them.
One thing you can see a difference though is in processing speed times and RAM. Both, as we have already said, are vitally important.
So What Is It About The RAM (Random Access Memory)?
And no, we are not talking about the superb album by Daft Punk. If your CPU has access to a higher level of RAM, then it makes the job easier for the machine. This makes your laptop work faster and more efficiently. If you do not have enough, then your machine has to work harder. This slows down the transfer of data and restricts its performance.
RAM, of course, also allows supporting other software efficiently. So, the bigger the RAM, the better.
Processing time takes less explanation and speaks for itself. Generally, though, a processing time of 3.5GHz to 4 GHz is considered exceptional.
There may be other issues depending on individual DJ requirements. But these things are the basic priorities.
Reliability is, of course, something to consider. Manufacturers these days are very good with their customer support. If you’ve heard of them, then they will probably be ok. There will always be an odd case where that doesn’t apply, though.
Maybe, DJ’ing isn’t your only musical focus, and you produce music as well, if so, please check out our in-depth reviews of the best laptops for music production, as well as the best music production software DAW.
So, What Are The Best DJ Laptops?
What we would be looking for to be the best laptop for DJs to use would fall into two categories. Reliability is one, memory size and processing speed another, and it goes without saying that you will need reliability, most of the machines are. But processing speeds and RAM size are important. You can trade off one against the other a little bit, but what you really want is a good all-round machine.
We have therefore chosen the…
A quality machine by a world-class manufacturer. For us, it ticks all the boxes.