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12 Great Looking Linux Distros That Will Bring Style to Your Device
Distros

12 Great Looking Linux Distros That Will Bring Style to Your Device

Tired at looking at the same desktop every single day? Wish you could have an operating system that dazzles the eye and stands out from the crowd in terms of visuals? Sure, you can change your wallpaper and make a couple of other modifications to your current operating system but it won’t make that much of a difference at the end of the day. If you’re using Windows or MacOS you’re pretty much stuck with the same look regardless of what you do, however, that’s not the case at all when it comes to Linux.

Linux offers close to 600 distributions to choose from and while some of them do look fairly similar, there are also plenty of distros that are quite unique. So why stick with a bland operating system when you could easily have a gorgeous one? With that in mind, we decided to do some research and come up with a list of beautiful Linux distros that are sure to blow you away with their looks. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so consider these our personal picks for the best looking Linux distros you can download right now.

1. Elementary OS

  • A unique desktop environment known as Pantheon
  • Features a mix of MacOS and mobile OS elements
  • Very good choice for beginners

If you’re familiar with Linux you probably already know that a lot of distributions use one of only a handful of existing desktop environments, albeit usually featuring some modifications. Elementary OS breaks away from the mold by including an entirely unique desktop known as Pantheon, which happens to look incredible. As an added bonus, Elementary OS is one of the best Linux distros for beginners and provides a fantastic user experience regardless of whether you’re switching from Windows or MacOS.

Elementary OS 5.1
Elementary OS 5.1 ‘Hera’ Desktop

Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu LTS but looks quite different than its bigger sibling, or most other distros for that matter. The original goal of the project was to create a set of great-looking themes and apps for Ubuntu that borrowed a lot of elements from MacOS and mobile operating systems. That combination may sound a bit odd, however, it yielded some very nice results and the project eventually evolved into a full-fledged distribution that just so happens to be one of the best looking Linux distros on the market right now.

One of the things we appreciate about Elementary OS is the fact that it manages to remain relatively lightweight in spite of focusing so much on the aesthetics. That’s because the distro is stylish but not too flashy and doesn’t contain a lot of bloatware either. Most of the default applications you would expect to find on distros like Ubuntu have been replaced with lighter versions here while others have been removed completely. If you find yourself wanting more apps don’t worry because you can find plenty of them by visiting Elementary’s marketplace.

Minimum system requirements:

  • Intel i3 or equivalent dual-core 64-bit CPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 15GB of storage (SSD recommended)

Latest stable version: 5.1.6

2. Solus

  • First distro to feature the Budgie desktop environment
  • Not based on any pre-existing distribution
  • Lots of bundled apps and an intuitive Software Center

With a tagline like “designed for everyone” you would expect Solus to be just another run-of-the-mill distro that tries to appeal to all categories of users. While that wouldn’t be incorrect, we like to think of Solus as a distribution that appeals in particular to users who can appreciate a good looking operating system. Elementary OS isn’t based on any existing distribution and, much like Elementary OS, its iconic desktop environment was built from scratch as well.

Solus 4
Solus 4 Desktop

But while Elementary might feel more familiar to MacOS users, Solus seems to have been designed primarily for the Windows crowd, though it also bears a strong resemblance to Chrome OS. That said, the distro is available in multiple variants, some of which you may already be familiar with, including Gnome, Mate, and Plasma. The cream of the crop, however, is definitely Solus Budgie. While quite a few distros are using Budgie these days, the desktop environment was originally created for Solus and remains one of its most iconic features even now.

Solus is one of those operating systems that just work out of the box and can be used immediately after installation without any hassles. The distro comes bundled with a lot of useful apps like Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, Raven, Rhythmbox, and more. There’s also an intuitive Software Center for downloading extra apps and the distro even supports Canonical’s Snap store. The store features hundreds upon hundreds of curated apps, all of which are very easy to download and install.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 10GB of storage

Latest stable version: 4.1

3. Deepin

  • Particularly good choice for laptops
  • Great features including touchscreen support and Gestures
  • Quite flashy, complete with lots of interesting animations

Deepin can rightly be considered a bit of an underdog. Despite launching back in 2004, Deepin never managed to achieve the same heights of popularity as other distributions released around that time, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint for example. Luckily, things as starting to change lately as more and more people are catching on to the fact that Deepin is easily one of the best looking Linux distros out there. The Deepin desktop environment is so good that it was even integrated by major distros like Fedora and Ubuntu.

Deepin Arch Linux
Deepin Arch Linux Desktop

The operating system comes with loads of proprietary apps along with a nice selection of third-party ones like Google Chrome, Spotify, and Steam. Although we wouldn’t necessarily consider Deepin as being one of the best Linux distros for gaming, it does allow you to play tones of games and engage in any other form of entertainment you might be interested in. The distro was built from the ground up to be very accessible to new users so expect to find all the features and tools you see on Windows, or at least good alternatives to them.

Deepin OS is a relatively flashy distro but not too the point where it becomes an eyesore. The UI is nicely put together and has a very distinct look, which works particularly well when paired with a laptop or some other type of portable computer. One of Deepin’s most striking features is the mobile-inspired Control Center but the animations and some of the special features, such as the touchscreen support with Gestures, are not to be ignored either. The cherry on the top is that even the installer looks much prettier than those of other distros.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit quad-core CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 30GB of storage

Latest stable version: 15.11

4. Linux Mint

  • Great choice regardless of whether you’re into looks or functionality
  • The first distribution to feature the Cinnamon desktop environment
  • Looks and feels remarkably similar to Windows

Linux Mint is another distribution known for begin easy on the eyes and friendly to newcomers. Mint is not only one of the best looking Linux distros currently available but it’s also one of the most all-around solid distributions for users of all skill levels. The operating system is up there with Ubuntu in terms of popularity and doesn’t require a lot of resources in spite of its good looks. In addition, the distro benefits from amazing community support and an extremely dedicated team of developers.

Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon
Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon Desktop

Similar to a lot of other distributions on this list, Mint lets you choose between multiple desktop environments, including the ever-popular Xfce and Mate. The real star of the show, however, is Cinnamon. You may have already noticed that Cinnamon is used by a lot of distros but what you may not know is that Cinnamon was originally developed specifically for Linux Mint. Cinnamon was created in response to Gnome 3’s departure from what many considered to be a traditional desktop style. Plenty of users have since adapted to Gnome 3 but many still tout Cinnamon as the better alternative.

Linux Mint Cinnamon is quite possibly one of the most Windows-like distributions currently found on the market. Of course, that’s not a coincidence since the operating system was designed to be welcoming to users who are switching from Windows to Linux. If you’re one of those users, you will be greeted by a very familiar layout that includes things like a start menu, taskbar, system tray, all located exactly where you would expect.

Minimum system requirements:

  • Unspecified 32-bit or 64-bit CPU
  • 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 15GB of storage (20GB recommended)

Latest stable version: Mint 20

5. Pop!_OS

  • Lots of features designed to help increase productivity
  • A popular choice for programming and development
  • Focuses on security more than other distros

You would expect most of the popular Linux distros to have been around for ages but that’s no always the case. Pop!_OS is a notable exception to that “rule”, having been released just a few years ago in 2017. Despite its young age, the operating system quickly became one of the most popular distributions among programmers and developers, as well as plenty of regular home users who prefer to use a laptop instead of a desktop. As you can probably tell by now, this distribution was designed with a very particular audience in mind.

Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS
Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS Desktop and Device Info

Pop!_OS was created by computer manufacturer System76 and comes pre-installed on all the machines offered by the company. However, you can also download it separately and install it on any compatible machine, just as you would any other Linux distribution. The desktop is based on Gnome but includes some special features and visual customization that make it a better alternative to Ubuntu in many cases. Or, at the very least, make it a worthy competitor to the ever-popular distribution.

Some of the most noteworthy features offered by Pop!_OS include auto-tiling, enhanced keyboard navigation, and the ability to create Workspaces. All of these features are aimed at helping users increase their workflow and the OS also includes a comprehensive development toolkit that can boost your productivity even more. In addition, Pop!_OS is one of the only distributions that enables pre-installed encryption out of the box so there’s no need to worry about security here. Especially since you have a lot of great privacy tools at your disposal as well.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit CPU
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 20GB of storage

Latest stable version: 20.04

6. Manjaro

  • One of only a handful of user-friendly Arch-based distros
  • Puts a nice spin on familiar desktop environments
  • Offers a version specifically aimed at developers

Manjaro boasts the distinction of being one of the most user-friendly Arch-based Linux distros out there. That’s quite an impressive feat considering regular Arch Linux, and most of its derivatives, are notoriously difficult to install and configure. That’s not the case here at all as Manjaro works flawlessly out of the box without requiring any customization. Unless, of course, you choose to go with the Architect version, which provides a very traditional Arch-like experience.

Manjaro 20 Lysia
Manjaro 20 Lysia Desktop

Assuming you want a distro that’s intuitive and easy to work with, there are three additional desktops to choose from – Xfce, Gnome, and KDE Plasma. Xfce is the lightest if the bunch and is a good pick if you’re looking to conserve resources, however, the best looking one in our opinion would have to be KDE Plasma. Regardless of which desktop you choose, every version of Manajaro comes with an iconic theme mainly centered around green and black with blue accents.

If you don’t mind wandering off the beaten path, you can also find some community-developed versions of Manjaro that come equipped with other good looking desktops. One of them is the aforementioned Budgie, which is always a great choice regardless of which distribution you’re using. Cinnamon and Mate are a couple of other good options you may want to try. But if you’re feeling truly adventurous, we recommend checking out the brand new version of Manjaro built upon Just Another Desktop Environment.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 1 GHz CPU or better
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 30GB of storage

Latest stable version: 20.0.3

7. Endeavour OS

  • Continuation of the Antergos project
  • One of the youngest distros on the market
  • Tons of desktops to choose from

Since we’re talking about Arch-based distros it wouldn’t feel right to proceed further without mentioning Endeavour OS. The operating system is the successor to Antergos, a distro that quickly rose to popularity shortly after its initial release in 2012, but sadly ended up being discontinued by mid-2019. Endeavour picks up where Antergos left off but instead of simply trying to maintain its successor’s legacy, the operating system has been very successful at doing its own thing.

EndeavourOS 2020.05.08
EndeavourOS 2020.05.08 Desktop

If the idea of using a brand new Linux distribution sounds appealing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option given that Endeavour OS just recently had its very first birthday. The goal of the project is to remain faithful to Arch Linux while also making the process of working with it less daunting. Since this is a terminal-centric distro, there is no GUI right off the bat but you can easily set up one of many desktop environments using the Endeavour’s intuitive installer.

The desktop selection is very solid and includes many of our all-time favorite environments like Cinnamon, Plasma, Gnome, Budgie, and even Deepin. The developers are throwing in a small selection of handpicks applications to go with each environment along with some very interesting proprietary apps. The Welcome app strands out from the crowd as being a reliable assistant while the Update Notifier will ensure that you never miss an important patch.

Minimum system requirements:

  • X86_64 CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 2GB of storage

Latest stable release: 2020.07.15

8. KDE Neon

  • The best distro if you want to try out KDE Plasma
  • Supports a high degree of customization
  • Comes with all the latest bleeding-edge features

KDE is a name that carries a lot of weight in the Linux community so it’s likely that you’ve already heard of Neon. The distribution is the flagship product of KDE and incorporates a lot of its other well-known software, including the beautiful Plasma 5 desktop. Plasma is often considered one of the best Linux desktop environments and is supported by pretty much all of the major distributions. But the best way to experience it in our opinion is by getting Neon so you can enjoy the whole KDE package.

KDE Neon 07.10
KDE Neon 07.10 Desktop

So what makes KDE Neon special? Well, quite a few things but probably the most distinctive feature is its ability to be customized in a wide variety of ways. Plasma is known as the tinkerer’s desktop of choice and Neon takes that concept and dials it up to eleven. Unlike Arch-based distros, however, you don’t have to worry about complicated terminal commands or software packages because most of the customization involves widgets and plugins. Customizing Neon doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how but it does require patience since there are so many options to work with.

If you don’t necessarily enjoy tinkering, you can still expect a pretty good looking desktop even with the base installation. That said, the default version of the desktop is mainly suited for users who like a minimalistic design rather than a flashy one. Also worth noting is that KDE Neon is targeted at power users who enjoy testing all the bleeding-edge features developed by the KDE community. That means the OS receives more frequent updates when compared to other distros, including visual upgrades, but there’s no need to worry about potential stability issues because Neon uses Ubuntu LTS as its core.

Minimum system requirements:

  • Dual-core CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 30GB of storage

Latest stable release: 2020.07.10

9. Chrome OS

  • Technically only available with Google manufactured devices
  • Google Chrome serves as the distro’s desktop environment
  • Can run most Android apps out of the box

A lot of people think of Chrome OS as a distinct operating system built by Google from scratch but that’s not really the case. Both Chrome OS and Chromium OS, the development version of the software, are based on the Linux kernel. Just as its name suggests, the operating system uses Google Chrome as its user interface, or its desktop environment if you will. However, using the operating system is not really like simply opening Chrome on a desktop. There’s a little more to it than that.

Chrome OS 84
Chrome OS 84 Desktop

Chrome OS comes bundled with a media player, file manager, and a few other useful tools. Its most interesting feature, however, is its ability to run Android applications. That means you can go to Google Play and directly install pretty much any app you can find there. As you might expect, there’s seamless integration between Chrome OS and any other software or device powered by Google, allowing you to sync data between all your Google accounts.

In terms of drawbacks, one of the biggest complaints is that Chrome OS only works with web applications. Another thing to keep in mind is that the operating system is technically only available pre-installed on hardware manufactured by Google partners, such as Chromebooks. However, there are unofficial ways of installing it on a regular desktop computer or laptop if you really want to. The operating certainly looks pretty and is worth checking out whether you want to buy a Chromebook or not.

Minimum system requirements:

  • Not specified. Works right off the bat on any Google-powered device

Latest stable release: 84.0.4147.110

10. Zorin OS

  • Can mimic the appearance of most other operating systems
  • Interesting tools and features, such as Zorin Grid
  • Offers both free and premium versions

Next up on our list of best looking Linux distros we have Zorin OS. Zorin is an Ubuntu-based distro known for being extremely welcoming to newcomers. One of the reasons for that is because the Zorin Appearance app allows you to easily change the look of your desktop to resemble pretty much any operating system. That includes not just Windows and MacOS but also a number of other Linux distributions. Needless to say, that’s a huge advantage for anyone who switches to Zorin from a different OS.

Zorin OS 15.2
Zorin OS 15.2 Desktop

If you don’t want to mess too much with the appearance settings there’s no need to worry because the default Gnome-based desktop environment doesn’t look too shabby either. Meanwhile, there are also a couple of variants that ship with the Xfce environment, which are aimed at older systems. Make sure to pay attention to what version of Zorin OS you want to download because not all of them are free. Zorin Ultimate is considered a premium distro and will set you back $39 but comes with a lot of useful business apps, games, premium layouts, and more.

One of the latest and most interesting features added to the operating system is known as Zorin Grid and is meant to change the way you look at operating systems. In essence, Grid is a tool that allows you to manage a large number of Zorin-powered systems from a single central computer. The tool is primarily targeted at schools and businesses but can also come in handy to server managers and system administrators. Among other things, Zorin Grid lets you install applications on multiple computers at once, schedule software updates, monitor system status, and change desktop settings.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit Dual-core CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 10GB of storage

Latest stable release: 15.2

11. Feren OS

  • One of the best distros if you’re switching from Windows
  • Uses a customized version of Plasma as its desktop
  • Desktop Layout tools let you easily change the look of the OS

Originally launched almost exactly five years to this day, Feren OS is a Mint-based distro that tends to fly under the radar of most people. While not nearly as popular as Mint itself, this derivative is not be ignored because it does some very interesting things with the desktop environment. Feren’s desktop takes a lot of the elements we know and love from Windows and adds a few MacOS-inspired details to spice up the mix. The end result is a desktop that looks unique and yet familiar at the same time.

Feren OS July 2020
Feren OS July 2020 Desktop

Instead of using Cinnamon as one might expect looking at its base, Feren OS comes equipped with a heavily customized version of KDE Plasma. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at it, though, because Feren has all the typical hallmarks of Windows, including a bottom taskbar, system tray, and a start button located in the lower-left corner of the screen. Some of these elements do function a bit differently but you shouldn’t have any issues adjusting to the layout if you’re switching from Windows.

If you’re looking to try a different layout, on the other hand, you can simply use the built-in Desktop Layout tool to get a new look. Just like KDE Plasma, Feren OS can be customized, but not quite to the same degree since this is meant to be a complete operating system out of the box. On the bright side, Feren does incorporate a lot of other Plasma staples, including KDE Connect. Aside from that, you can expect the OS to come bundled with plenty of apps like Vivaldi, LibreOffice, Krita, Spectacle, and more.

Minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 20GB of storage

Latest stable release: July 2020 (rolling release)

12. MX Linux

  • The most popular distro around by some metrics
  • A very user-friendly version of Debian
  • Modest hardware requirements

If you’ve been following the Linux community for a while now, chances are high that you already know about MX’s meteoric rise to popularity over the past few years. If you don’t, you might be surprised to learn that MX Linux is by far the most searched distribution on DistroWatch, a trend that has been going on for at least 12 months at this point. So why is MX Linux so popular? There’s quite a bit of debate surrounding that question but the simple answer is that MX is the best user-friendly derivative of Debian and that gives it a whole slew of advantages over most other distros.

MX Linux 19.2
MX Linux 19.2 Desktop

In addition to being easier to work with than Debian, MX Linux also looks a bit more modern. But perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising considering MX launched almost two decades after Debian’s initial release. Despite focusing on functionality above all else, the distro’s variation of the Xfce4 desktop environment is visually appealing enough to warrant it a spot on our list. As an added bonus, MX Linux is remarkably lightweight and works on a very wide range of hardware. Including fairly old laptops.

If you don’t mind the fact that the taskbar is located to the side rather than at the bottom, you should be able to get used to MX Linux pretty quickly if you’re switching from Windows. It might not look like it at first glance, but the two share quite a few similarities. For example, MX has a utility that’s reminiscent of Windows’ Control Panel and there’s also a Control Center that lets you manage software packages. Granted, the Control Center is a lot more useful than a similar feature found on Windows 10 because it lets you install, uninstall and update applications, among other things, with a simple click of a button.

Minimum system requirements:

  • i486 Intel CPU or AMD equivalent
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 5GB of storage

Latest stable version: MX-19.2

Final Thoughts

Ranking the best looking Linux distros is no easy feat considering the vast amount of choices available on the market. We did our best here but ultimately looks are subjective so it’s up to you to decide which distro is best suited to your particular taste.

If you’re switching to Linux from a different operating system we recommend choosing a distribution that looks and feels similar to the OS you’re used to. Solus and Linux Mint are great picks for Windows users while Elementary OS is probably your best bet if you’re more familiar with MacOS.

But if looks aren’t necessarily the deciding factor for you, we welcome you to check out some of our other lists, such as most secure Linux distros or most reliable Linux server distros.  We also have a comprehensive list of Linux facts and statistics that we’re certain you’re going to enjoy whether you’re a veteran user or just now taking your first steps into the wonderful world of Linux.

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