There’s nothing worse than your tech letting you down at a pivotal moment. Whether it’s at the start of your set, between tracks, or even worse, just before a heavy drop, the sudden silence will immediately kill the vibe.
Sure, you can try to play it off as part of the buildup of some epic rise while you secretly try and get things on track, but if you want to fill that dance floor, it’s this sort of hiccup you need to avoid at all costs.
Don’t worry, though; having spent the last few weeks researching the best laptops on the market for DJing, I’ve curated this shortlist of the ultimate five. Bring one of these machines into your musical arsenal, and you’ll never suffer the dreaded mid-set silence again!
Reviews of Laptop for DJing
Premium Pick – 2019 Apple MacBook Pro
I’m sure you all saw this coming. Featuring a gorgeous 16-inch Retina display, the 2019 MacBook Pro presents small details with extreme clarity, and the 400 nit brightness improves screen visibility during daytime sets.
16GB RAM is twice my recommended amount, so all functionality is incredibly smooth, no matter how many windows you’ve got open, especially as there’s a hyperthreaded octa-core i9 process at the heart of operations.
It also features an ultrafast 1TB SSD, for snappy file retrieval, ensuring you’re never left in the lurch in a time-sensitive situation, and much like its predecessors, the build quality is second to none.
My only gripe is that it features four Thunderbolt ports and zero USB. Don’t get me wrong, Thunderbolt is better, but not all DJ peripherals support it.
- 16GB RAM – Low latency performance.
- i9 Octa-Core CPU – Great multitasker.
- 16”, 400 Nit Display – Easy on the eyes.
- 1TB SSD – Snappy loading and saving.
- Metal Enclosure – Tough as nails.
- 4 x Thunderbolt – No USB compatibility.
Best Display – Dell XPS 15
Boasting a 15.6”, 4K, 500 nit display, you can bring the house down at any time of day with the Dell XPS 15 — visuals will always be crystal clear.
What’s more, 32GB of DDR4 RAM makes for an incredibly efficient system, allowing you to truly streamline your set and make decisions on the fly without any perceivable latency issues.
Storage-wise, we’ve got a 1TB SSD for snappy file acquisition and tons of room to save and back up your painstakingly put together performances.
With a base frequency of 2.6GHz and TurboBoost technology that pushes clock speed to a whopping 5.0GHz, the hyperthreaded, hexa-core 10750H can support any sort of workflow or live improvisation.
Build quality is amazing, but once again, I’m a little let down by the absence of multiple USB ports.
- 15.6, 4K Display – Awesome clarity.
- 32GB RAM – Quick load times and general performance.
- Hexa-Core i7 CPU – All the power you’d ever need.
- 1TB SSD – Room for all software and files.
- Price – Doesn’t come cheap.
- Compatibility – Only one USB port.
Best Gaming Laptop for Djing – ASUS ROG Strix G17 Gaming Notebook
The Strix may have been created for gaming, but that doesn’t mean it can’t rip an amazing DJ set. 32GB of RAM makes for lightning-fast loading speeds, a definite boon when you’re dealing with multiple musical applications.
You get 1TB of SSD storage to play with, which equates to roughly 17,000 hours of music and makes loading large files quick and painless, giving you more time to get into the zone before your set.
Granted, it only has a 1080p display, but it’s also 17 inches wide, giving you an opportunity to hang back every now and again and hype up the crowd without losing visuals on the music.
The star of the show is the Ryzen 9 5900X CPU. This 12 core, 24 thread monster can support any sort of threaded workload, allowing you to use more programs simultaneously and create ever more intricate sonic sequences.
- 12-Core Ryzen CPU – Supports all applications at once.
- 1TB SSD – No external drive necessary.
- 3 x USB – Perfect for hardware setups.
- 32GB RAM – Fast general performance.
- 17” Display – Nice!
- Price – It ain’t cheap.
- 1080p – Not the best resolution.
Best Portable Pick – LG Gram Laptop
At 2.8lbs, the MacBook Air is lighter than the 2.98lbs LG Gram, but here’s the thing.
The Gram offers 4 more inches of screen real estate; twice the SSD storage, so you can keep all your music in this single device; and twice the RAM, ensuring the computer can keep up with your superfast musical intuition.
It only has a quad-core processor, but don’t fret…it’s hyperthreaded, meaning it can support the heavy multitasking required of a truly mind-melting set!
- 17” Display – Great visuals, day or night.
- 2.98lbs – Insanely portable.
- Battery Life – 17 hours!
- 1TB SSD – Plenty of low latency storage.
- 3 x USB + 1 x Thunderbolt – Great compatibility.
- Quad-Core CPU – Not as powerful as some others.
Best Budget Pick – Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-73AP
This wallet-friendly DJing dynamo arrives with 16GB of RAM, just like my premium Apple pick, ensuring general functionality is buttery smooth.
We have to settle for 512GB SSD storage, but it’s an upgradeable machine, meaning you can add a second SSD drive for a 1TB+ long-term memory.
The quad-core i7 CPU is hyperthreaded and more than capable of supporting tons of applications simultaneously, perfect for complex performances, and the 15.6” screen means you won’t be constantly leaning in and squinting to see where you’re at in your set.
I only wish the 8-hour battery life was a little longer, but at this price, you can’t sweat the small stuff.
- Upgradeable – Improve it as and when necessary.
- 16GB RAM – Twice what you’d need.
- 15.6” Display – No headaches here, folks.
- Price – Unreal value for money.
- Quad-Core CPU – Not great, but not bad.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-73AP, 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display, 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6, Fingerprint Reader, Backlit Keyboard
- Get high performance, responsiveness and long battery life with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor – up to 4.7GHz, 4 cores, 8 threads, 12MB Intel Smart Cache
- 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit Display | Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- 16GB DDR4 Memory (Expandable to 24GB) and 512GB NVMe SSD
- 1 – USB 3.2 (Type-C) Gen 1 port (up to 5 Gbps) | 2 – USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port (one with Power-off Charging) | 1 – USB 2.0 Port | 1 – HDMI Port with HDCP support
- Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 | Acer Fingerprint Reader | Backlit Keyboard | Up to 8.5 Hours Battery Life
Best Laptop for DJing – Buyer’s Guide
You may be hot on your music trends, a master of transmissions, and a surgeon when it comes to turntablism, but computers are a different ball game altogether.
How do you know what makes one good for DJing, right? Well….I’m going to tell you!
The processor (CPU) of a computer is the center of operations, the brains if you will. This cyber gray matter handles pretty much all the problem solving and command execution for the entire system.
Composed of a collection of cores and sometimes threads, you need a powerful CPU in order to run multiple programs and plugins at the same time. Too weak, and you’ll experience significant lag (if the software even loads at all).
The more cores the better in this scenario, and multithreading (hyperthreading) is a nice-to-have too. You should be aiming for an i5 processor or above.
RAM is your laptop’s short-term memory. It’s essential to in-the-moment functionality, ensuring your computer can store and retrieve information quickly, smoothing out command sequences. You should be looking for 8GB RAM at the very least.
Storage is more like long-term memory. It’s the permanent capacity for storing files, apps, and, well…whatever really. When you manually click File > Save on a document, for example, the file will be imprinted in the storage of your computer.
As you’ll be preparing numerous DJ sets on your little laptop and downloading numerous sample libraries, music-based programs, and plugins, you need a fairly large capacity; we’re talking 1 terabit or as close to 1TB as possible.
Choosing SSD over HDD is also important. SSDs are faster, use less energy, and they’re generally more reliable than HDD, but prepare your bank account for a hit because they’re way more expensive per GB.
Granted, you could probably pull off a half-decent set with just your laptop and a sound system, but if you really want to put on a show, you’ll be hooking up a DJ controller, a pad controller, and possibly even an external sound card.
In light of this, your laptop will need to have the ports to support these devices. 3 x USB ports is fine, but the odd high-speed Thunderbolt connection would certainly sweeten the deal.
Needless to say, running out of battery part way through a set would be a total career ruiner, not to mention insanely embarrassing, so you should prioritize battery life in your DJing laptop.
Long battery life will also help you to sort and cue point your tracks during lengthy journeys, giving you an opportunity to add the finishing touches to a show before you arrive at the venue.
Display quality is often treated as an afterthought, but it couldn’t be more important for DJing. Holding all the pivotal set data, you need it to present the information with clarity at all times.
You’re going to struggle with a small screen, especially if you like to take a step back from the laptop and throw some shapes every now and again. I’d recommend 15” at a minimum for a comfortable performance.
The higher the resolution of your computer, the crisper images and text will appear, reducing eye strain. Aim for higher than 1080p.
If you’ve booked a few daytime gigs, a bright screen is essential, otherwise, you simply won’t be able to see anything through the sun. 400-700 nits is considered the sweet spot for day computing, but 1000 nits is the only way to combat direct sunlight.
You don’t want to be carrying around an anchor with you on your musical adventures. No, no, that won’t do at all. Your laptop needs to be lightweight and thin to aid your travels.
Life on the road is never easy, on us or the stuff we drag around the world with us, which is why your DJing laptop needs to be built like a tank! Avoid weak hinges and cheap plastic cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s bring things to a nice, neat close with an informative FAQ segment.
How much RAM do you need for DJing?
The minimum system requirement for most DJ software in terms of RAM is 4GB, but if you want to create truly seamless sets, free from lag and glitches, you’ll need at least 8GB (or even more if possible).
Is MacBook Pro good for DJing?
In many ways, the MacBook Pro is the perfect DJing laptop. The Retina display is immaculate and super bright, and if you fork out for it, they have decent RAM and storage.
The only issue is that Apple streamlines their laptops by reducing the I/O, so you may need a USB hub to hook up all your favorite DJ peripherals.
Can I use a gaming laptop for DJing?
Yes, you can absolutely use a gaming laptop for DJing. They have beefy processors, stacked RAM, lots of memory, and they’re often built to handle life in a backpack; however, you’ll be wasting money on integrated graphics facilities you don’t need.
Can you DJ with only a laptop?
DJing with only a laptop has been made possible due to advancements in popular DJing software, but it’s not a very tactile experience. If you’re more of a hardware enthusiast, you’ll need a laptop with plenty of USB ports to connect your DJ peripherals.
That’s your lot from me, friends. Was there anything on here that you could see slotting seamlessly into your setup?
Budget permitting, I’d 100% opt for the 2019 Apple MacBook Pro, but as they’re the most popular DJing laptops on the market, that’s not really a hot take.
What is a little bit of a curveball is the incredibly affordable Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-73AP that comes with all the rudiments of a quality DJing laptop, but at roughly half the price of the premium options.
Truly, though, any one of these laptops will help you get bodies on the dance floor and increase the chances you’ll book the venue time and time again!