Microsoft Power BI is one of the most used tools among data analysts and business intelligence professionals. If you need a new laptop for Power BI and wondering which one is the right choice for you, we’re here to help! In this article, you will find some of the best laptops for Power BI!

But before directing you to our list, let’s first look at Microsoft Power BI’s system requirements, and what specs to consider when looking for a laptop for Power BI.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and data visualization tool that helps you transform data into intuitive insights.

Thanks to its deep integration with other Microsoft Office products, you can connect to various data sources, including Excel, SQL Server, and Salesforce, to visualize and analyze your data in real-time.

Microsoft Power BI is available on many platforms, and has different “components” including Power BI desktop, Power BI Service,and Power BI Mobile Apps among others.

Power BI Desktop:

Power BI Desktop is a self-service business intelligence tool designed for individual use that lets you quickly connect to your data, visualize and explore it, and create rich reports. With Power BI Desktop, you can build advanced queries, models, and reports that visualize data. You can also build data models, create reports, and share your work by publishing it to the Power BI service. Currently,  Power BI is only available on windows, and can’t be installed on Macs.

Power BI Online:

Power BI Online is a cloud-based version of Power BI. It’s a web service that enables you to share your reports and insights with other people. Power BI Online also offers additional features, such as collaborating on reports in real-time, publishing reports on the web, and using artificial intelligence (AI) to get insights from your data. In general, people who work on data analysis projects use Power BI Desktop to create reports, and then use the Power BI service to share their reports with others.

The image below offers a short comparison between Power BI desktop and Power BI service, you can also check the link here in order to learn more:

Difference between power BI desktop and power BI service
Image Credit: Microsoft website.

 

The flow of work in Power BI

A typical workflow in Power BI begins by connecting to data sources in Power BI Desktop and building a report. You then publish that report from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service and share it so business users in the Power BI service and on mobile devices can view and interact with the report.

This workflow pattern is typical and shows how the three main Power BI elements complement one another. However, using Power BI depends mainly on your role in a project or as a team. Other people in other positions might use Power BI differently.

What to consider when looking for a laptop for Power BI?

Power BI desktop can only be installed on Windows computers, and currently you can’t use on Mac OS (unless you use a virtual machine or Windows through Bootcamp).

Here are the official minimum system requirements for using Power BI Desktop:

  • Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 R2, or later
  • Memory (RAM): At least 2 GB available, 4 GB or more recommended.
  • Display: At least 1440×900 or 1600×900 (16:9) required. Lower resolutions such as 1024×768 or 1280×800 aren’t supported, as certain controls (such as closing the startup screen) display beyond those resolutions.
  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (GHz) 64-bit (x64) processor or better recommended.
  • Other: WebView2, NET 4.6.2 or later, Internet Explorer 11 or later

As usual, these are the minimum system requirements for running Power BI desktop, but won’t be enough for working on advanced data models. In order to get a better performance, you should go above the minimum requirements, and depending on your projects, you may need more RAM. Power BI consumes a lot of RAM, and if your systems runs low on RAM, you might experience sudden crushes when working on large projects on Power BI.

To help you make an informed decision, and get the best laptop for your needs, here are our recommendations for a laptop for Power BI desktop:

Recommended specs for Power BI desktop:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 or higher
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM or more
  • Storage: SSD storage
  • Display: Full HD display
  • OS: Windows 10 version 1709 or higher

Best Laptops for Power BI : Our Top picks

  1. Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-53S3

When it comes to value for money, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-53S3 is one of the best laptops out there. And if you’re looking for an affordable budget laptop for Power BI, then you should definitely consider it. This amazing machine comes equipped with a powerful Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and delivers desktop-class performance, 8GB of DDR4 memory, an 256GB of SSD storage. For most people, this laptop will probably be more than enough for Power BI, unless you’re working on large and complex projects.

The laptop’s stunning 15.6″ Full HD display, 82.58% screen-to-body ratio, 16:9 aspect ratio, and small bezels produce sharp images that make for an enjoyable viewing experience. However, the display on this device isn’t the most vibrant.

This device also packs a fantastic battery life in its slim body, as Acer claims it can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. Additionally, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB has a fingerprint reader for added security and a backlit keyboard for convenience in low-light situations.

The Acer Aspire 5 features a bio-protected fingerprint reader, and Windows Hello certification guarantees safe access to your Acer Aspire 5, keeping all of your creations and files secure. This Acer Aspire 5 can be converted into a virtual conference room with the help of Acer Purified Voice Technology and has an HD webcam and two built-in microphones for crystal-clear communication. With dual-band Wi-Fi 6 collaborating intelligently with your router to improve network performance, you’ll stay connected to your network whether you’re video chatting, streaming media, or working from home.

The ports available on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-53S3 are: 1  USB 3.2 Type-C, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 (1 Power-off Charging), 1 USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0 with HDCP support, a headphone speaker line-out jack, and Ethernet (RJ-45).

  1. HP Pavilion 15 (15-eg0025nr)

If you’re looking for a compact yet powerful device that can keep up with you, the HP Pavilion 15 is what you need. This laptop has the power and speed you need to stay productive on the go. With its 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a staggering 512 GB of SSD storage, along with the impressive Intel Iris Xe Graphics, you’ll experience premium performance.

While it’s not typically budget-friendly, the HP Pavilion 15 delivers a lot for its price. It has a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS micro-edge screen display, a higher screen-to-body ratio, and B&O audio, which offers excellent visuals and sound, maximizing your view so that it feels like a movie theater experience. Its full-sized keyboard, integrated numeric pad, Precision Touchpad, and the Windows 11 Pro OS provide an incredible and fluid user experience.

On its right side, the HP Pavilion 15 has a lock port, USB-A (5 Gbps), and an AC adapter, while on the left side, it has HDMI 2.0, USB-A (5 Gbps), USB-C w/Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4 (10 Gbps), a MicroSD reader, and a 3.5 mm headset.

Although slim and compact, this device appears bulky and is a little weighty, which puts it out of the Ultrabook category. It also has a little above average battery life, but on the plus side, it can go from zero to 50% charge in approximately 45 minutes, thanks to the HP Fast Charge.

In terms of performance, the HP Pavilion 15 won’t falter, but if you’re looking for a super-light laptop or a device that stays on for very long hours, this might not be the laptop for you.

  1. Dell Inspiron 5510

The Dell Inspiron 5510 is a premium device perfect for anyone demanding a laptop with the best speed and power. With an 11th-generation Intel Core i5-11300H Quad-Core processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of PCIe SSD storage, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics, this laptop offers an incredible performance that will leave you wanting more.

This laptop packs a lot of performance under its sleek silver body, so it is well worth its price. The high-speed RAM and enormous space ensure that your computer can handle heavy use and allow for fast boot-up, swift data transfer, and multitasking.

The 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight Narrow Border WVA Display delivers crisp and clear visuals. It also features a webcam, a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader, and an HDMI port.

The Dell Inspiron 5510 has 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, 1 Universal Audio Jack, 1 HDMI 1.4 port, and 1 power adapter port.

It also features WiFi 6, which gives you fast wireless speeds, while Windows 11 Home offers a familiar interface, improved performance features, a new video game selection, and capabilities, and is compatible with Android apps. The battery life is excellent and can last an average of 10 hours.

The Dell Inspiron 5510 pushes the boundaries of what is budget-friendly, but this laptop has everything you need to stay connected and productive.

  1. LG Gram 16Z90P

The LG Gram 16Z90P Laptop is a workhorse of a machine built for productivity and efficiency. This device packs an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, and Iris Xe Graphics in a slim, sturdy body.

Thanks to its 16 inch color accurate IPS display , the LG Gram 16 offers plenty of display real estate to view and work on your power BI projects. The display also has a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels.

But despite that huge display, the LG Gram 16 has a very good battery life, which, according to the manufacturer, can reach 22-hours.

In terms of connectivity, the LG Gram 16 has WiFi6 and Thunderbolt 4 that allow you to connect to the internet and other devices quickly and easily, while the fingerprint sensor adds an extra layer of security. The backlit keyboard makes working in low-light conditions easy, and the dedicated numeric pad makes number crunching very easy. It also has a fingerprint reader for faster and safer sign-in and an HD webcam for high-quality video conferencing.

The LG Gram 16 has Two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

So, if you’re looking for a laptop built to help you tackle any task, big or small, this laptop has everything you need to stay productive on the go.

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2

Last but not the least, we’ve got the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 . Thinkpads have always been a long time favorite among business and professional users. And while they usually cost more than similarly configured laptops, their real value resides in built quality and reliability. The model featured here is the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2, which is one of the most popular laptops of the Thinkpad lineup, and for good reasons. This laptop offers the 11th Generation Intel Quad-Core i7-1165G7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe SSD, and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics.

This laptop packs a lot of performance under its stylish silver body, and it’s an excellent option to consider if you’re looking for a device for both work and play.

Despite having a high price, this product is worth every penny. Its 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) anti-glare display at 250 nits provides vivid images and a great viewing experience thanks to the IPS. It has a built-in fingerprint reader, a 720p HD webcam with a microphone, and it runs Windows 10 Pro (Windows 11 ready).

The 6-row keyboard on this laptop is backlit, spill-resistant, and has multimedia function keys and a numeric keypad. The battery life on his device is average, and a full charge should last about 6-7 hours.

When it comes to performance, you can rest assured that this device will perform maximally, even when opening multiple Chrome Tabs, word processing, and will run various applications with no issues.

In terms of ports, the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 comes with 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Always On), 1 HDMI 1.4b, 1 headphone/microphone combo jack (3.5mm), 1 USB 2.0, 1 Thunderbolt 4/USB4 40Gbps, 1 Ethernet (RJ-45), and an HDMI port.

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