5 Best Laptops for Running Penetration Testing Simulations

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What are the best laptops for running penetration testing simulations? Apart from knowing how to build codes for web and mobile apps, you should also know all about penetration and vulnerability testing. This will ensure the effectiveness of the app you have built.

In addition to a deep and thorough knowledge about penetration testing, you must also know how to run the simulations. For this you will need one of the best laptops.

These laptops should allow you to access the data and resources beyond the conventional ways. It should run software like Kali Linux smoothly to make the difficult task look easy. Therefore, the laptop should have a strong processor.

You will also need a good graphics card, a good amount of RAM and storage, in addition to other features.

This is not an easy task with so many different brands out there. A list of recommendations like this and a buying guide will be of extreme help. Make sure you go through it till the end.

Laptops for Running Penetration Testing Simulations – Price

Role of Laptop in Running Penetration Testing Simulations

Penetration testing is also known as pen testing. This involves a cyber-attack simulated in the computer system to identify the vulnerabilities and the exploitable loopholes in the code.

Ideally, this is the process that is used commonly to enhance WAF or Web Application Firewall.

A laptop helps in testing different application systems and Application Protocol Interfaces.

It helps in uncovering the unclean inputs that are vulnerable to code injection occurrences. It helps in patching up the susceptibilities to fine-tune the WAF security policies.

The laptop will prove to be helpful in performing all the different stages of pen testing.

It will help in planning and reconnaissance as well as defining the goals of the test. It will help in selecting the right testing methods to use, collecting all information and intelligence, domain names, network, and mail server.

Scanning will also be easy using one of the best laptops for pen testing simulation.

This helps in understanding the responsiveness of the apps to different invasion attempts. It helps in using static and dynamic analysis to inspect the apps in a solo pass as well as its performance.

You can gain and maintain access to SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and traffic to reproduce advanced insistent threats. This will further help in analysis and report detailing.

It will help in blind testing to find how exactly such an attack may happen on the app.

In a double-blind test, the simulated attack is done at random without any prior knowledge and therefore no defenses created to prevent a breach. The laptop will also help with it.

Finally, the device will help in external penetration testing to protect the assets of the company. It will also help in internal testing as well to protect the app from being stolen by a rogue employee.

In short, a laptop will help a lot in targeted testing to be well appraised with real-time feedback about the possible vulnerabilities from the point of view of a hacker.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Running Penetration Testing Simulations

If you are working with 5th generation servers, the minimum specs required in a laptop for it is an Intel Quad i5 processor of a fairly high base clock frequency. The minimum amount of RAM required is 8 GB and you will also need to have at least 500 GB of free hard drive space.

As for the screen, any LED based monitor of 13 inches in size will be enough with a fairly decent dedicated graphics card of at least 4 GB of video memory of its own.

However, due to the complex structures of today’s systems, apps, and software, a laptop with minimum specs will not suffice all your needs to run penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

You will need a powerful laptop that comes with the recommended set of hardware as below. You will fi9nd it easy to handle modern complex software and also make your system ready for the future.

Minimum system requirements: 8th generation Intel Core i5 or higher processor| 8 GB of RAM | 256 GB SSD storage | Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 or dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX 250 graphics card | 13.3 inches screen | 1366 x 768 pixels screen resolution

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Recommended system requirements: 9th generation Intel Core i5 or higher Intel Core i7 processor| 16 GB of RAM or higher | 512 GB SSD or larger | Dedicated GeForce GTX 1650 or higher Nvidia or AMD graphics chip | 15.6 inches screen or bigger | 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher screen resolution

5 Best Laptops for Running Penetration Testing Simulations:

1. Microsoft Surface 3 – Best Overall

Microsoft Surface 3

Bottom Line: With a higher data handling speed due to the 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, this laptop will provide the best overall performance while running penetration and vulnerability simulations on it. Moreover, the touchscreen adds to the convenience and Windows Hello support to its security.

Key Features 

  • Screen: 13.5 inches
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Processor: 10th generation Intel Core i7
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics


  • The response of the trackpad and keyboard is good.
  • The display is touchscreen and of good quality.
  • The camera with Windows Hello support is good.


  • There is no optical drive in the laptop.
  • The number of ports is limited.
  • The keyboard does not come with a separate number pad.

If you are looking for a clean and elegant laptop to make a powerful style statement and get the best support for all your computing needs during running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations, this is the one you should go for.

This lightweight laptop is packed with power and comes with improved speed.

The 10th generation processor is the latest that ensures a processing speed that is two times faster than the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.

It provides a lot of comfort while typing on the solid keyboard whether you work indoors or while traveling.

The good enough battery life will allow you to stay productive all day and complete all your projects on time.

The increased standby time and the fast charging feature of the lithium ion battery to regain 80% of its full charge in just about an hour will take care of all your charging needs.

You will get more ways to connect with its limited number of ports in the form of USB Type C and USB Type A.

You can connect the system to external displays, other accessories and docking stations. It also supports accessory charging.

The touchscreen comes with a thin bezel, thereby providing you with a larger working area.

The images are sharper and clearer and displayed at 2256 x 1504 resolution.

The familiar Windows 10 Home operating system will allow you to do more with it and the system on the whole, apart from running penetration testing simulations.

It allows a password-free Windows Hello sign-in to make the laptop safe and secure to use.

The operating system allows you to browse the internet faster by using Microsoft Edge, create the best content by using Office 365, and save them safely in the cloud by using the integrated OneDrive. Check out Microsoft Surface Book 3 Review.

2. Apple MacBook Pro – Runner Up

Apple MacBook Pro

Bottom Line: The different features included in this laptop makes it a good system to use for running penetration and vulnerability simulations but it is the 9th generation Intel i7 processor that makes it the second best. The keyboard, the screen, the cooling system, the audio system, and Touch ID are all useful.

Key Features 

  • Screen: 16 inches
  • Storage: 512 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Processor: 9th generation Intel Core i7
  • OS: Mac OS
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M


  • The screen quality is quite good and comes with a thin bezel.
  • The keyboard is good and comfortable to type on with extended key travel.
  • The speaker quality and sound output are good.


  • There is no numeric keypad in the system.
  • The system is pretty heavy.
  • The port selection is limited to four Thunderbolt 3.

Right from the keyboard to the speakers and SSD storage, everything in this laptop will support all your computing needs during running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

The keys feel fantastic and are quiet with an extended key travel of 1 mm and a decent tactile feedback which makes it good to type on.

It has properly set up directional keys and physical Esc keys. You can flip through all the open apps in a breeze.

The size of the screen as well as its quality are good enough to stare at it all day.

Technically, the pixel count per inch of the screen is denser making the images look clearer and bigger.

The performance of the processor as well as the graphics card are even better than the previous models by at least 10%.

The system stays cool and steady due to the larger heatsinks and an improved airflow mechanism.

Therefore, the heat related throttling issues are not experienced when you put this machine under heavy use.

The six-speaker sound system offers a better audio experience.

The sound delivered is crisp, loud, clear with sharper treble and pronounced bass, thanks to the force-cancelling woofers.

The Touch Bar and Touch ID adds to the convenience in use, and the performance of the system is further enhanced by the ultrafast SSD storage as well.

The RAM is adequate enough to allow smoother multitasking on this laptop, which is an important aspect of running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations. Check out Apple Macbook Pro Review.

3. Acer Aspire 5 – Maximized and Stunning Visuals

Acer Aspire 5

Bottom Line: In addition to its fairly high level of performance for running penetration simulations with the Intel Core i5 CPU and a dedicated GPU, this laptop comes with a good screen with a thin bezel, Acer Color Intelligence and Acer Blue Light Shield feature to offer crisp, stunning and maximized visuals.

Key Features 

  • Screen: 15.6 inches
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i5 8265U
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX 250


  • The backlit keyboard is full size and comes with a separate number keypad.
  • The SSD storage is adequate and fast.
  • The speakers are quite good and come with Acer Purified Voice technology.


  • The trackpad is shifted to the left and may cause issues while typing.
  • There is no optical drive in the system.
  • The battery life could have been better. 
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This device comes with a high level of specs and a full HD IPS display.

It gets enough power to process anything that you throw at it due to the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, the Nvidia GeForce graphics card, the DDR4 SDRAM, the PCIe NVMe SSD storage, and the Windows 10 Home operating system.

The 6 MB processor can process data at a base clock speed of 1.6 GHz on the lower side and 3.8 GHz at the higher side, with the unique Turbo Boost technology.

It supports the fast functioning of the SSD and the RAM that allows better multitasking during running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

The backlit keyboard makes typing easy and accurate even in low-lit rooms.

The 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution shows more vivid and sharper images on the widescreen LED backlit IPS display.

You can see the images clearly from any angle that are produced by the dedicated Nvidia graphics card which is powerful enough by itself and comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

The two stereo speakers of the system produce clear sounds and the two mics built in the system captures every sound distinctly.

The HD webcam will capture images perfectly to make a video call better in all respects.

You will get a strong and stable wireless and wired connectivity and surf the internet conveniently with its dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11ac wi-fi networking ability featuring 2×2 MU-MIMO technology and Bluetooth 4.2 support.

It also comes with a 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN or RJ 45 port.

The other ports and slots of the system include one USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port to transfer data at a speed up to 5 Gbps, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports of which one is meant for power-off charging, one USB 2.0 port, and one HDMI port with HDCP support. Check out Acer Aspire 5 Laptop Review.

4. Lenovo Ideapad L340 – Value for Money

Lenovo Ideapad L340

Bottom Line: The value for money offered by this laptop for running penetration and vulnerability simulations is much higher than the others featuring in this list. The 9th generation Intel Core i5 processor, the dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics card, and dual mode of operation, adds to its utility.  

Key Features 

  • Screen: 15.6 inches
  • Storage: 512 GB NVMe SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • Processor: 9th generation Intel Core i5 9300H
  • OS: Windows 10
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650


  • There is a separate number pad in the keyboard.
  • The keyboard comes with ambient backlighting.
  • The Dolby Audio speaker system produces immersive sound quality.


  • There may be some inconvenience while typing as the trackpad is located at the left.
  • The build quality is not the best being mostly plastic.
  • The keys are sticky and have relatively small travel distance.

The unique thing about this laptop is the beautiful blue ambient backlit keyboard. There are three settings of the lights.

You can turn it low, high or off. The light will not blind your peripheral vision while allowing you to type comfortably in a darker setting.

The SSD storage is quite fast and reduces the load times of the programs with an adequate storage space to save your projects and several other files, and even a couple of games.

The best part is that the system comes with an additional 2.5” bay to upgrade the storage with another SSD, very easily.

The screen of the laptop is a full HD IPS display that comes with a fair enough refresh rate, though nothing like those ultra-gaming laptops.

The 9th generation Intel Core i5 processor provides a greater processing power to the device when you run complicated software programs on it for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

It also provides adequate support to the Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card to produce the images with better color reproduction at a much faster rate.

The speakers of the device are quite good and come with Dolby Audio technology to ensure better sound output at full blast.

You can work on this laptop in ‘quiet’ mode or play games in ‘quick’ mode, but the specs will provide all the support and power you need with its high-end specs.

The fans are not loud but are good enough to maintain the desired temperature inside. Though it may get a bit warm while gaming but it will certainly not be something that will burn to touch.

The battery life is good enough for performing computing jobs on this device all day but may drain fast while gaming.

Most importantly, the system does not come with too many bloats that you will need to remove for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations. Check out Lenovo IdeaPad L340 Review.

5. Asus ZenBook UX333FA – Durable System with Extended Battery Life

Asus ZenBook UX333FA

Bottom Line: This particular laptop is good for running penetration and vulnerability simulations for its durable design and an extended battery life that will never let a user down, apart from the specs in it which are quite good to perform at a fairly decent level to produce faster and more accurate results.

Key Features 

  • Screen: 13.3 inches
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i7 8565U
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro
  • GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620


  • The screen comes with a very narrow bezel all around.
  • The touchpad doubles as a sensitive and responsive number pad.
  • The keyboard is backlit.


  • There is no optical drive in the system design.
  • The screen is glossy and not bright enough to see the images clearly under sunlight.
  • The right shift key is too small and is inconvenient to use.

It is simply due to the specs of the system that you will find it to be powerful and fast enough for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations as well as for effortless computing on the go.

The 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, the PCIe NVMe SSD and adequate amount of DDR3 RAM will ensure faster multitasking.

The system is very durable and meets the extremely demanding MIL STD 810G military standard. This adds to the reliability in performance.

The battery life is pretty long for basic computing jobs.

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The keyboard is quite comfortable to type on and the unique Ergo Lift design tilts it automatically to a more comfortable typing position.

This hinge design also adds to the cooling and audio performance of the unit.

The Windows 10 Professional operating system is good enough by itself and the hardware TPM security makes the system safe to use.

As for the screen, it comes with very slim bezels which provides a 95% body to screen ratio. The full HD resolution of the display makes the visuals more immersive.

The laptop also offers extensive connectivity and file transfer options with its USB Type C port, USB Type A port, HDMI port and a micro SD card reader.

The best part is the sensitive touchpad which changes into a numeric keypad by tapping it just once, making it easy for data entry during running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

How to Choose Best Laptops for Running Penetration Testing Simulations?

Now that you know about some of the best laptops for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations, you may be interested in knowing more about them and the most important features that these laptops should come with.

It is important to know about the main aspects to look for in a laptop because the specs requirement in your device may vary according to the type of penetration testing you want to do.

For example, for running web application penetration testing simulations you will need an i3 processor of 9th generation, 500 GB hard disk and 8 GB of RAM, but for network penetration testing and digital forensics you will need an i5 processor with the RAM and hard disk capacity being the same.

On the other hand, for malware analysis, you will need an i5 processor, 500 GB or 1 TB hard disk and 16 GB of RAM, and for cloud, docker, IoT and mobile penetration testing, the processor should be an i7 variant, while others remain the same.

Like most people, you may also be confused with so many different things to consider while buying a laptop for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations. Here are the aspects to look for and clarify all your doubts.


The processing power is one of the most important elements to consider while you choose a laptop.

It depends on the type of processor, not the brand. You can choose an Intel processor or an equivalent AMD processor for that matter.

Ideally, for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations, you should have a minimum of an i5 processor in your laptop. This will process data at a faster rate.

An Intel Core i3 processor may be good enough for everyday computing tasks but it will surely struggle with your penetration testing software and needs.

Therefore, steer away from them. In fact, to be better off, you should look for a laptop with an i7 processor. This will keep all issues during penetration and vulnerability testing away.

Graphics card

The choice of the graphics card is also very important, though this is a much underrated feature for a laptop that you want to use for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations.

Find a laptop with a good graphics card. This will help you to run the software more smoothly.

Normally, you should stick to NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards if you want a dedicated one in your device.

The integrated ones are also good enough but going for a dedicated graphics card is a more prudent decision.

RAM and storage

Ideally, while running penetration testing and vulnerability simulations, you will need to use many different virtual gears at the same time.

Therefore, you will need an adequate amount of RAM in the laptop to support such multitasking.

You should not go for anything lower than 8 GB of RAM because that will make the laptop function at a slow speed during penetration testing.

You will be better off if your device comes with 16 GB of RAM.

As for the storage, make sure that it is adequate and of SSD variant. The top laptops for running penetration testing and vulnerability simulations typically should have 512 GB of SSD storage.

Yes, you can choose one with lower storage but make sure that the system allows an easy upgrade later on when you need to download all of those required penetration testing software programs.

An SSD storage type is recommended, if you are not on a budget, as the boot time will not suffer because it will be faster than a traditional HDD storage.

You may also choose a laptop with hybrid storage of SSD and HDD, but you may have to compromise on the weight as well as the battery life of the system.

Display size and resolution

A laptop with a large enough display will be ideal for running penetration testing simulations as that will help you to see the images more clearly.

However, with that benefit will come the weight, something which you should certainly want to keep between 3 to 5 pounds.

In that case, a laptop with a screen size ranging between 13 and 15 inches is ideal. It will be portable and easy to view the images, both.

These images should be softer to your eyes so that it does not damage the optic nerves even if you look at the screen for long hours.

The minimum resolution should be 1920 x 1080 pixels. However, you can go for those high-end 4K Ultra HD screens, if you can afford the price.

Connectivity options

You will need different types of ports in the laptop if you plan to connect different devices to it for running penetration testing and vulnerability simulations.

Choose a device that comes with at least two USB ports and HDMI ports so that you can connect external monitors, hard drives, and other devices that will enhance your workflow while running penetration testing simulations.

Wi-fi connectivity is also important for such jobs. Therefore, choose a device that supports the latest IEEE standard of wireless communication networking as well as the latest Bluetooth technology.


Finally, make sure that the battery of the system is of good quality and the life of it is pretty long.

This is essential if you need to work while traveling. Your work will not be hampered or restricted simply due to poor battery life and lack of charging outlets.

A device with 10+ hours of battery life is excellent, but anything within 8 to 10 hours is good enough.


Are gaming laptops good for running penetration testing simulations?

Yes, they are. In fact, the high specs of the gaming laptops allow you to perform any type of complex computing jobs, depending on the specific hardware of it. However, all these laptops are expensive. Therefore, make sure you can afford it and really need it for running penetration testing simulations.

How important is the role of RAM and storage in a laptop for running penetration testing simulations? 

Both are important. The amount of RAM in the laptop will ensure smoother multitasking and the storage will determine the boot up and accessibility speed, depending on its type. You will need at least 8 GB of RAM to run Kali Linux, which will itself consume a minimum of 10 GB hard disk space to install.

Is Kali Linux a mandatory software to have in a laptop for running penetration testing simulations?

It is useful to install and use Kali Linux software for running penetration and vulnerability testing simulations. It is an 100% legal operating system and is designed in alliance with an open-source penetration testing software. This software is primarily used by and is very helpful to the security researchers.