A DJ’s laptop is arguably their greatest tool, serving as a hub for the myriad of both hardware and software that DJs use to keep the party going. Not just any laptop will suffice to meet a DJ’s high demands, so this guide will help you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the best laptop for DJing.
Best Laptop for DJing Comparison Guide
Best Laptop for DJing: What to Look For
DJing is already difficult enough without having to become a computer expert. To save you hours of homework, here’s a straight forward rundown of what to look for in the best laptop for DJing.
- CPU. The CPU, or processor, is the computing brain of your laptop that turns inputs into outputs, which you then see on your screen or hear from your computer speakers. A CPU with multiple cores is able to divide the workload more quickly and efficiently, with each core acting as its own processor. Multitasking DJs require multiple cores, and the best laptop for DJing should feature 4-core and better processors. That said, you may be able to get away with just two cores if you are on a budget. With an inferior CPU, your applications will crash, audio and video will stutter, and recordings may not be of the highest quality.
- RAM. Sometimes referred to simply as ‘memory’, stores short-term data which is used to run applications, but which doesn’t need to be permanently stored on the hard drive. More RAM means quicker, smoother performance with even the most resource hungry music production software. The best laptop for DJing should have no less than 8GB of RAM, but if you can’t afford the best now, RAM is easy to upgrade later on
- Storage Capacity. Not to be confused with memory, or RAM, a laptop’s storage capacity indicates the amount of space available for stored files and installed applications. Since DJs usually have entire libraries of music, samples, and digital instruments saved to their computers, it’s safe to suggest no less than 500GB of hard drive disk (HDD) storage capacity. External hard drives are relatively affordable and can be used for additional storage, and are especially useful with solid state drive (SSD) storage devices, which tend to be quicker but usually have well under 500GB capacities.
- Connectivity. DJs need plenty of USB ports to accommodate the all the gadgets and accessories required for a great performance. Look for laptops with multiple USB ports, and at least one USB 3.0 port, ensuring that your laptop will have professional-quality connectivity with controllers, external sound cards, etc. If your laptop doesn’t have proper connectivity, you may need to invest in a USB hub.
Screen size is important, but so is portability, so the best laptop for DJing are 15” or smaller and weigh no more than 5 lbs. Of course, as a laptop becomes more powerful, it becomes heavier and thicker, so DJs must consider power against portability and durability.
Battery life may also be a major concern, so make sure the laptop you choose will work for at least 6 hours of heavy use with multiple programs running. The best laptop for DJing can be expected to run 10+ hours without recharging, but many machines aren’t quite so well equipped.
Best Laptop for DJing Reviews
Apple’s reputation for being the OS of choice for artists is still strong, but the gap between Mac and PC becomes smaller every year. Mac remains on top for now, though, with such offerings like the stunning Macbook Pro MJLQ2LL/A. This laptop is state of the art, featuring enough processing power and memory to last you years into the future without skipping a beat.
Satisfied that your hardware won’t need upgrading for years to come, the Macbook Pro MJLQ2LL/A doesn’t stop there at meeting a DJ’s every need. Its aluminum body is light yet durable, making it ideally portable at just 5.6 lbs. The LED backlit display ensures your work space will be illuminated no matter how dark the room is, and you can get well over 6 hours of battery life when outlets are limited. Connectivity will never be a problem with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports, and SDXC card slot.
There are two major drawbacks to the Macbook MJLQ2LL/A; price and storage capacity. As always, the premium features of Apple products come at a premium price, but if you can afford it, any DJ would be proud to have this machine. The 256GB SSD is a good foundation that will make the laptop inherently quicker, but you will likely need to invest in extra disk space at some point.
The best laptop for DJing will have a lot in common with the best gaming laptops. Both require powerful processing for intensive programs and applications, as well as superior RAM to avoid even a moment’s lag. Both gaming and DJing laptops also need to have good cooling systems for hours-long sessions of high performance demand.
The Acer Inspire V15 Nitro Gaming Laptop meets all those requirements and more. It actually beats out the Macbook MJLQ2LL/A in storage space, featuring both a 256GB SDD and a 1TB HDD. Its high-performance, 4-core processor and 16GB of DDR3 RAM are also comparable to the Macbook MJLQ2LL/A. The backlit keyboard is another fine touch that DJs will appreciate. It’s also very trim at about 5.3 lbs and less than an inch thick.
User’s major concern with the Acer Inspire V15 Nitro Gaming Laptop is construction quality. Some complain that this laptop will not tolerate considerable abuse with a thin bottom casing. It comes with just a 1-year warranty, so if you’re clumsy or rough of your electronics, it may be worth investing in the Macbook’s aluminum casing anyway. It also has a very short battery life of 4 hours, so always plan to be by an outlet.
Is the Macbook out of your budget, but the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro a bit too delicate for your occasional clumsiness? You can still have one of the best laptop for DJing models, affordably outfitted by HP Pavilion Premium Laptop. It’s the same size and weight as the Acer Aspire, but has a sturdier build, and can be purchased at a more comfortable price.
Although this laptop has just 8GB of RAM compared to the 16GB of others, it’s 4-core CPU is absolutely competitive. Without the SDD of the other two, your computer may operate a little slower when retrieving data, but the 1TB HDD will suffice until you can upgrade.
Overall, this machine would be a premium laptop for the average user, but is just a really nice starting piece for a DJ. It will be enough to run your favorite applications and store your important data until you can find the funds to upgrade it into a professional-quality laptop.