12 Best Laptops For CAC Readers- An Elaborate Review

With the growth of computing and the advancements in technology, the need for cyber security has never been greater. 

There are many means of providing security to computer users. They include passwords, firewalls, facial recognition technology, etc.

One of the best ways to ensure that access is restricted is using a device with a CAC reader.

A Common Access Card (CAC) reader is a unique smart card that authenticates special computers and systems access. 

These cards have multi-factor authentication. Officials mainly use them in the United States Department of Defense.

Particular laptops have inbuilt CAC readers. They allow DoD officials to access computer networks anywhere conveniently. These laptops are available in retail stores.

Quick Comparison Table For Top 3 Picks

Preview
OUR BEST PICK
Lenovo ThinkPad X395 Laptop, 13.3" FHD Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 8GB Ram, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader Windows 10 Pro
ANOTHER GOOD PICK
Dell Precision 7740 17.3" Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7-9850H - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD
OUR BUDGET PICK
HP 15.6" ZBook 15 G6 Mobile Workstation
Products
Lenovo ThinkPad X395 Laptop, 13.3" FHD Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 8GB Ram, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader Windows 10 Pro
Dell Precision 7740 17.3" Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7-9850H - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD
HP 15.6" ZBook 15 G6 Mobile Workstation
Storage
512 GB SSD
512 GB HDD
512GB SSD
RAM
8GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
6GB DDR4
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U Processor
Intel Core i9
Intel core i7
Screen Size
13.3 inches
17.3 inches
15.6 inches
Screen Resolution
1920 by 1080
1920 by 1080
3840 by 2160
OUR BEST PICK
Preview
Lenovo ThinkPad X395 Laptop, 13.3" FHD Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 8GB Ram, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader Windows 10 Pro
Products
Lenovo ThinkPad X395 Laptop, 13.3" FHD Touch, Ryzen 7 3700U, 8GB Ram, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader Windows 10 Pro
Storage
512 GB SSD
RAM
8GB DDR4
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U Processor
Screen Size
13.3 inches
Screen Resolution
1920 by 1080
Know More Details
ANOTHER GOOD PICK
Preview
Dell Precision 7740 17.3" Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7-9850H - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD
Products
Dell Precision 7740 17.3" Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7-9850H - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD
Storage
512 GB HDD
RAM
16GB DDR4
Processor
Intel Core i9
Screen Size
17.3 inches
Screen Resolution
1920 by 1080
Know More Details
OUR BUDGET PICK
Preview
HP 15.6" ZBook 15 G6 Mobile Workstation
Products
HP 15.6" ZBook 15 G6 Mobile Workstation
Storage
512GB SSD
RAM
6GB DDR4
Processor
Intel core i7
Screen Size
15.6 inches
Screen Resolution
3840 by 2160
Know More Details

12 Best Laptops For  CAC Readers

1. LG Gram 16Z90P

LG Gram 16Z90

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Specifications

  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel core i7-1165G7
  • Screen Size: 16 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2560 by 1600

Features

Thin and light laptops are trendy these days. People not only love sleek devices for their aesthetics but also for their portability. 

The LG Gram 16Z90P is perfect for you if you are looking for a high-end thin, and light laptop with a CAC reader.

The LG Gram 16Z90P ships with the latest operating system-the, the Windows 11 pro. It natively runs at 2560 by 1600, which is excellent for external monitors and projectors.

The Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor is a powerhouse. It is fast, efficient, and optimized for minimum power draws at peak performance. The laptop is ideal for productivity and can run non-AAA titles with no fuss.

You get multiple ports, including a 3.5mm audio jack, two USB-C slots (thunderbolt), and a couple of USB-A 3.2 slots. You also get an SD card slot.

Pros
  • The laptop has an excellent sleek design.
  • It ships with Windows 11 preinstalled.
  • The laptop has inbuilt Alexa voice assistance AI.
Cons
  • The native SSD storage size might be too small for some users.

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2. Lenovo THINKPAD P53S

Lenovo THINKPAD P53S

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Specifications

  • Storage: 512GB HDD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Processor: i7-8565u
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

As many manufacturers ditch ports on their laptops favouring sleek designs, Lenovo has gone against the grain with the P53S. 

Therefore, the laptop is suitable for people looking for a PC with multiple ports, as the machine has plenty.

With the device, you get one HDMI slot, Two USB-C for faster transfer speeds, and two USB gen 3.1 for reading thumb drives and connecting other peripherals such as mice and keyboards.

The laptop comes preinstalled with a licensed copy of Windows 10 pro. You do not have to purchase a separate copy or a license key.

The i7-8565u chip is excellent for productivity. It breezes through most tasks with ease. It is ideal for other intensive programs such as AutoCAD. It can also run non-AAA titles at 60-100 FPS.

Pros
  • The laptop has multiple slots.
  • The laptop can run heavy-duty productivity applications.
  • The memory is expandable up to 48GB.
Cons
  • It ships with a hard disk rather than an SSD.

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3. HP ZBook 15 G6

HP ZBook 15 G6

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Specifications

  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel core i7
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 3840 by 2160

Features

Display technology on portable machines simply gets better and better each day. The HP ZBook 15 G6 is a testament to this. 

It has a full 4K panel, making it the perfect laptop if you want to use it with an external monitor or a projector.

The 3840 by 2160 display looks sharp and crisp even on ultra-wide external displays. The laptop is, therefore, great for editing and media consumption. The inbuilt CAC reader is fast and accurate.

It ships with an Intel Core i7-9850H processor. It makes the laptop ideal for productivity. The chip has 12 threads.

It is decent for heavy-duty applications such as AutoCAD and efficiently runs most AAA titles. The chip supports hyperthreading, making it efficient and powerful.

Pros
  • The HP ZBook 15 G6 uses an upgradable 512GB SSD, which is fast.
  • It ships preinstalled with Windows 10 pro.
  • The resolution is excellent as it uses a full 4K panel.
Cons
  • The battery life is not impressive.
  • It is heavy

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4. Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14

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Specifications

  • Storage: 500GB HDD
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4
  • Processor: AMD Athlon™ Silver 3050e Mobile Processor
  • Screen Size: 14 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 is not the most powerful laptop, but it has excellent functionality. The device is excellent as it is inexpensive, making it the best value laptop with an inbuilt CAC reader. It is therefore perfect if you are on a tight budget.

One of the things you immediately notice with the laptop is its sleek design. It is pretty thin and light. Its compact nature makes it quite portable.

For its price, it has an excellent resolution. The panel is fully HD, making it perfect for media consumption.

The Athlon chip is productivity-oriented. The laptop comfortably handles Microsoft Office applications with ease. Do not expect any decent gaming performance from the unit.

Its CAC reader is fast and accurate. The laptop gives you great value for your money.

Pros
  • The laptop is light and sleek. It is portable.
  • You get a decent assortment of ports with the unit.
  • The laptop has excellent battery life.
Cons
  • The processor is not powerful.

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5. HP 1135G7

HP 1135G7

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Specifications:

  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

Capacitive touch screens were, at a point, considered a niche feature in PCs. They have since become mainstream in many high-end devices. The HP 1135G7 is perfect if you are looking for a touch-enabled laptop with a CAC reader.

The laptop is a great mid-range device for people who run drawing applications. It is ideal for creatives—the unit ships with a stylus pen. HP has also included an SD card with the machine.

The Intel Core i5-1135G7 chip is an effective chip for productivity. It supports some heavy-duty programs such as AutoCAD.

You get all your primary ports, that is, a USB-C slot, two USB-A slots, an audio jack and an HDMI slot.

The laptop weighs 3.92 grams, making it quite portable. It easily slots into backpacks for convenient portage.

Pros
  • The laptop is touch-sensitive, making it ideal for touch-based applications.
  • Its keyboard is backlit, and you can use it in low ambient light.
  • HP have included a stylus and an SD card.
Cons
  • The battery life is poor.

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6. Dell Precision 7740

Dell Precision 7740

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Specifications

  • Storage: 512 GB HDD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i9
  • Screen Size: 17.3 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

When purchasing a PC, you need to consider the degree to which you can upgrade its hardware. The Dell Precision 7740 is one of the most upgradable laptops with a CAC reader. You can easily source the components.

The laptop’s components are pretty powerful and reliable. The Intel I9-9880H processor is more than enough to get you through the most demanding tasks. Not only is it ideal for productivity, but also gaming as well.

It is the ultimate unit. Thanks to its dual-channel slots, you can upgrade the RAM to 128GB. You can also upgrade the storage to 8TB. It will easily hold your large programs and even many titles in your Steam library.

The 17-inch screen gives you excellent real estate to display multiple apps simultaneously.

Pros
  • The laptop comes with a powerful 97Whr charger for quick charging.
  • It is pretty upgradable; you will use it for years.
  • The PC has multiple ports, including a Thunderbolt 3 for rapid data transfers.

Cons
  • The laptop is relatively bulky.

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7. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

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Specifications

  • Storage: 64GB
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i3
  • Screen Size: 13.3 inches 
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080 pixels

Features

Chrome OS has become popular. It is loved because it is pretty easy to use and integrates seamlessly with the Google ecosystem. 

It is one of the fastest-growing operating systems globally, and the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is the perfect laptop with a CAC reader running Chrome OS.

While an Intel Core I3 might appear unimpressive on a Windows or Mac device, it is overkill on a device running Chrome OS. 

It is due to the minimal requirements needed for the system. The laptop can efficiently run intense programs geared toward productivity.

The laptop has 2 USB-C and one USB A slot for peripherals or other storage devices. The battery life on the device is quite impressive. It can easily do 10 hours on a single charge.

Pros
  • The laptop is relatively thin and portable, weighing only 2.97 pounds.
  • Like most Chromebooks, it is pretty affordable.
  • The battery life is long.
Cons
  • The storage is relatively small.
  • You cannot upgrade the hardware on the device.

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8. Samsung Chromebook XE303C12-A01

Samsung Chromebook XE303C12-A01

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Specifications

  • Storage: 16GB
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3
  • Processor: Exynos 5000 Series
  • Screen Size: 11.6 inches 
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 by 768 pixels

Features

The Samsung XE303C12-A01 is the second Chromebook on the list. The device is perfect if you want to buy a budget-friendly Chromebook device with a CAC reader.

Laptops have become affordable. Chrome OS devices, in particular, are cheap and attractive to people on a tight budget. The devices are functional, durable and easy to use.

The Samsung XE303C12-A01 is a device that has been optimized to perform and handle light to mid-duty tasks properly. 

The Exynos 5000 series is a mobile chip that consumes very little power, even when running heavy programs.

The battery life on the unit is quite impressive. A single charge can get the laptop through more than 10 hours of screen-on time. The laptop is geared towards media consumption and light-duty tasks,

Pros
  • The laptop is quite affordable.
  • The laptop is lightweight and portable.
  • Its OS is easy to use.

Cons
  • The storage on the machine is barely enough to accommodate serious programs.

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9. Lenovo Thinkpad X395

Lenovo Thinkpad X395

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Specifications

  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U Processor
  • Screen Size: 13.3 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

The Thinkpad X395 is a laptop typified by Lenovo’s design language. It has the classic Lenovo chassis complete with the iconic knob. The laptop is perfect if you are looking for a laptop with a good warranty.

The laptop is productivity-oriented. The AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U is robust and easily handles heavy-duty applications. It is perfect for video editings design applications like CAD and other Microsoft Office programs.

The AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U is also great for running games. You get consistent 60FPS on most AAA games without cranking down the settings.

The display is quite impressive. It is touch-sensitive ideal for drawing applications such as Photoshop CC and Clip Studio Paints.

Pros
  • The laptop has a generous three-year warranty.
  • It is a multi-purpose device geared for both productivity and gaming.
  • It uses an SSD, which is faster than hard disks.

Cons
  • The laptop might develop heating problems after extensive use.

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10. Dell XPS 13 9360

Dell XPS 13 9360

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Specifications

  • Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Processor: Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U 1.60 GHz
  • Screen Size: 13.3 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 by 1080

Features

Most thin and light laptops lack enough ports. These laptops usually have a couple of USB-C slots that probably support Thunderbolt technology. 

The Dell XPS 13 9360 is appropriate if you are looking for a sleek laptop that doesn’t require purchasing a dongle.

The laptop has the following ports: a noble lock slot, one 3.5mm audio jack, an SD card reader, USB 3.1, two USB 3.0 and one thunderbolt, three slots.

The unit’s net weight is 2.7lb (1.22 kg). It is incredibly portable. For a thin and light, the laptop is quite sturdy. 

It uses a Gorilla Glass 4 display, which is scratch resistant. The aluminium chassis can withstand impact, and unlike most thin laptops, it will not bend in your bag.

Pros
  • You do not need to buy an adapter to connect extra peripherals and storage devices with the laptop.
  • The device has thunderbolt 3, which enables rapid transfer speeds.
  • The laptop is touch-enabled.
Cons
  • The battery life is poor.

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11. Panasonic Toughbook CF-53

Panasonic Toughbook CF-53

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Specifications

  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 Processor i5-2520M
  • Screen Size: 14 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 by 768

Features

One of the biggest criticisms you can levy against modern-day laptops is that they are pretty flimsy. 

Most laptops can’t survive a drop from your desk’s height. The Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 is built differently. It is perfect if you are looking for a sturdy laptop.

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 is the ideal job site laptop. It is equipped with a built-in handle for easy portage.

The 1TB SSD gives you enough storage for most applications. The laptop has an expandable 16 GB memory. 

The processor is perfect for productivity, and it can easily handle multiple heavy-duty applications. Its battery life is quite impressive.

Pros
  • It is easy to transport, thanks to the built-in handle.
  • It is tough and durable.
  • You get multiple ports.
Cons
  • The Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 lacks a webcam.
  • It is not the most aesthetically pleasing laptop.

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12. HP 1035 G1

HP 1035 G1

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Specifications

  • Storage: 512GB HDD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: ‎1366 by 768

Features

The HP 1035 G1 is a powerful laptop with an inbuilt CAC reader. It is perfect for you if you look for a proper mid-range laptop that doesn’t skimp on performance.

HP is renowned for optimizing its devices. The 1035 G1 is quick and efficient. Its processor is perfect for mid and heavy-duty workloads, making it the ideal machine.

With the device, you get multiple ports, including one HDMI slot, one USB-C slot, two USB 3.1 slots and a 3.5mm audio jack port.

Pros
  • The laptop is quite affordable.
  • The processor has been optimized for heavy workloads.
  • The screen is touch-enabled.
Cons
  • The webcam has a terrible resolution.

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Best Laptop With CAC Reader- Buying Guide

Anyone who works in the DoD is required to have a CAC reader. These cards ensure the safety of thousands of sensitive documents and keep people with malicious intentions away from the government network.

Today, several laptops come pre-built with CAC readers. These laptops make it more convenient for the user. An inbuilt CAC reader means that you do not purchase a separate scanner.

What should you look for in a decent laptop?

1. The Processor

The processor should be one of your top considerations. You must choose a processor that can keep up with your requirements. It is best to select a laptop with a decent processor if you plan to do heavy-duty tasks on your device.

Examine the clock speeds of the processor and the thread count.

 2. Memory

Regardless of the nature of tasks you intend to use your laptop for, it never hurts to pick a laptop with a sizable memory. If you have a lot of RAM, you will run tasks faster and more efficiently.

You should select a laptop with multiple RAM slots. The laptop RAM should also be expandable.

3. Storage 

The laptop you select should have adequate storage. It will enable you to hold more files and store more documents.

It is recommended that you select a laptop with a Solid-State Drive (SSD) rather than a mechanical drive (HDD). SSDs are considerably faster and more durable than hard disk drives.

4. Size

The laptop size boils down to preferences and the nature of tasks. A large laptop gives you more screen real estate, but you will have to compromise portability.

A small laptop is more portable, but they tend to fall short in other aspects such as cooling, upgradability, and battery capacity.

5. Screen resolution

Always choose a laptop with a high screen resolution. The display is critical, as the user interface is displayed.

For laptops, 1920 by 1080 displays is excellent. If you intend to use your laptop with a larger secondary display or projector, consider the 1440P or 4K options, as they are better.

6. Ports

Unfortunately, ports are becoming less commonplace in laptops. You should buy a laptop with a decent number of ports. Consider multiple USB slots and, most importantly, an HDMI or display port.

If you want a sleeker laptop, choose one with a thunderbolt and multiple USB C slots. The downside to this is that you will have to purchase a dongle.

7. Battery life

You should select a laptop with decent battery life. For laptops, anywhere above 5 hours of screen-on time passes as pretty good. The battery should keep up with the requirements of your processor. Power-hungry chips need larger batteries.

8. Upgrades

Never underestimate the power of upgrades. If your laptop is upgradeable, you will not need to replace it every few years. You should avoid the system on a Chip (SOC) device, as you will never upgrade the hardware.

Conclusion

Security is a top priority for many for any computer systems and networks user. Safeguarding data prevents it from falling into the wrong hands and keeps folk with bad intentions at bay.

The Department of Defense has sensitive information on their networks, and hence each employee must use a CAC reader to access their networks. Laptops enable the employees to do this with ease.

The article provides you with the best laptops with CAC readers and the best laptops for each specific user.

John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!

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