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Best Laptops for Construction and Civil Engineering

Best Laptops for Construction and Civil Engineering

Daniel Horowitz
Is there a construction or civil engineering professional on your gift shopping list? If so, you may already know all about the perks of this career field. But do you know how important the right laptop is to their work? With many construction managers and civil engineers working in the field, they need laptops that are as sturdy and rugged as they are; laptops capable of processing heavy workloads.
This is why many of the best laptops for construction have strong processing power along with an excellent graphics card for drafting and drawing. Not only that, these professionals need long battery life to make sure their laptop lasts through the workday.
One of the key considerations in choosing the best laptop for civil engineering students and pros alike is how well it runs AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a design and drafting software for civil engineers; they use it to generate 2D and 3D models on their computer. It’s largely considered the gold standard of civil engineering software.

AutoCAD minimum requirements

The minimum requirements for using AutoCAD software are quite stringent. You need to invest in a laptop that is specific for civil engineering and construction management to run it. For starters, your laptop needs to run the 64-bit version of the Windows 10 OS, but it also requires these specs at a minimum.
  • 16GB of memory
  • 3 GHz processor (CPU) or more
  • 4GB GPU or more
  • At least Full High Definition (1920 x 1080) resolution

5 best laptops for construction managers and civil engineers

Beyond simply running AutoCAD, civil engineers and construction managers need their laptops to be durable and flexible enough to stand up to the longest workdays in rugged conditions. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best laptops for these hard-working folks.

1. HP ENVY 15t touch optional laptop

HP ENVY 15T Touch Screen Laptop
The HP ENVY laptop -15t-ep000 is an excellent laptop for civil engineers and construction managers because it blends performance and precision. With a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti graphics card, and 16GB of memory, this laptop will run AutoCAD and just about anything else. Beyond the impressive specs, this HP ENVY laptop boasts a long-lasting battery to keep your special someone covered in the field.
Another great advantage? The hidden vents. They continually cool the machine to avoid overheating, and because they’re hidden, won’t easily fill up with dust on the job site. There’s also an unhackable HP Wide Vision HD camera with a dedicated microphone mute button and fingerprint reader. That setup allows for easy communication with clients and coworkers, and it’s as secure as it gets.
Key features:
  • 15.6-inch diagonal FHD, IPS, anti-glare, micro-edge, WLED-backlit display
  • 6-cell, 83 Wh Li-ion polymer battery
  • HP Wide Vision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
  • Upgradable 256GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
  • Audio by Bang & Olufsen with 3 speakers, and HP Audio Boost
  • ENERGY STAR® certified; EPEAT® Silver registered

2. HP ZBook Firefly 15 G7 mobile workstation

HP ZBook Firefly 15 G7 Mobile Workstation
The HP Z workstation line is designed for technical and creative professionals who demand the best performance for their intense workloads. The HP ZBook Firefly 15 G7 mobile workstation earned its place in the series, and it’s an excellent option for civil engineers and construction managers.
While it starts with a clear 15.6-inch FHD display, you can boost this bad boy up to a super-sharp 4K UHD display to render crisp visuals in programs like AutoCAD, even in harsh weather. This HP ZBook also has a 3 Cell 56 WHr long-life battery, perfect for long work sessions far away from the office.
Best of all, the HP ZBook Firefly is fully customizable. Along with a discrete NVIDIA Quadro® P520 graphics card, you can upgrade this gift laptop to include Intel XMM 7560 LTE-Advanced professional mobile broadband, Intel AX201 WiFi 6, and other important perks for staying connected, even without a WiFi signal in sight.
Key features:
  • 3 Cell 56 WHr long-life battery
  • Smart card reader
  • Upgradable 128GB M2 SATA-3 TLC SSD
  • Dual point spill-resistant premium keyboard
  • Starts at only 3.74 lbs

3. HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop

HP Spectre x360 Convertible Laptop
The HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop has everything a civil engineer or construction manager needs. With an Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and 16GB of memory, this laptop will easily run AutoCAD and other civil engineering software at recommended settings.
However, the convertible features really set this laptop apart. Does your loved one prefer going hands-on with their work? They can convert this device into a tablet and use a stylus to map out their projects. This also makes it much easier to transport around the worksite.
This convertible HP Spectre has a dazzling 15.6-inch display, too, with a sleek and clean near-borderless design. The integrated 6-cell, 72.9 Wh Li-ion polymer battery is a boon for productivity, too, and will last throughout the workday. Even better, they’ll easily connect to any nearby wireless networks with the Intel WiFi 6 AX 201 and Bluetooth 5 combo technology.
Key features:
  • 15.6-inch diagonal 4K UHD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit, multitouch-enabled, edge-to-edge display
  • 6-cell, 72.9 Wh Li-ion polymer battery
  • MicroSD media card reader
  • Upgradable 512GB PCIe NVMe™ M.2 SSD
  • HP Wide Vision HD camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
  • ENERGY STAR certified; EPEAT Silver registered

4. HP ENVY x360 convertible laptop

HP ENVY x360 Convertible Laptop
Weighing in at just 4.24 lbs, the HP ENVY x360 convertible laptop is designed to move with anyone who uses it. And it’s particularly ideal for civil engineers and construction managers who frequent different worksites but need a setup to accommodate their flexibility.
Like the HP Spectre x360, this laptop is convertible, meaning the display can be flipped on the hinges of the laptop chassis to provide easier access to the touch screen. Also, the 3-cell, 51 Wh Li-ion battery provides up to 8 hours and 30 minutes of battery life, which is more than enough time for your gift recipient to get through their packed schedule.
The HP ENVY x360 convertible also comes with an Intel Core i7 processor featuring Intel Turbo Boost Technology for even more speed (though this may impact battery life). And while the machine is equipped by default with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, you can upgrade it to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX330 graphics card. This will help with rendering 3D models in AutoCAD or any other civil engineering software.
Key features:
  • 15.6-inch diagonal FHD IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit display
  • 3-cell, 51 Wh Li-ion Battery
  • Multi-format SD media card reader
  • Upgradable to discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX330 graphics card
  • 512GB Intel SSD
  • ENERGY STAR certified; EPEAT Silver registered

5. HP ZBook Fury 17 G7

HP ZBook Fury 17 G7 Mobile Workstation
An incredible combination of portability and power, the HP ZBook Fury 17 G7 is one of the best laptops for construction and civil engineering available. It provides unthrottled performance with the latest Intel CPUs and pro-grade graphics, but even those are upgradable. If you’re special someone needs it, you can boost this device up to the Intel Xeon® W-10885M vPro™ processor along with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 dedicated graphics card.
The HP ZBook Fury 17 G7 boasts a stunning display, too. At 17.3 inches, the FHD display helps to reduce eye strain while showcasing huge projects with ease. Along with the included 8 Cell 94 WHr long-life battery, that special someone will use this powerful laptop for hours and hours without a recharge.
Key features:
  • 17.3-inch diagonal FHD, LED, UWVA, anti-glare display
  • 8 Cell 94 WHr long-life battery
  • Upgradable to Intel Xeon® W-10885M vPro™ processor
  • Upgradable to discrete NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000
  • Upgradable 256GB PCIe NVMe Self Encrypted (SED) OPAL2 TLC SSD
  • Dual point backlit spill-resistant premium keyboard


Finding the best laptop for construction and civil engineering may seem challenging, but it’s all about knowing the right combination of specs. You’ll need excellent battery life, a lot of processing power, and a high-performing graphics card, but your device needs to be portable, too. Fortunately, the laptops on our list more than fit the bill.
For the most powerful, upgradable, and connective laptops, the HP ZBook Fury 17 G7 and HP ZBook Firefly 15 G7 mobile workstation are unprecedented. If your special someone could use a convertible laptop, the HP Spectre x360 and HP ENVY x360 laptops are flexible, portable, and powerful.
Whichever option you choose to give to your hard-working loved one, you’re sure to delight the civil engineering or construction management professional in your life.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.

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