7 Best Laptop for Programming

A reliable laptop is any coder’s best friend. With an external monitor and peripherals, it can fully replace a desktop computer, saving you money and making everything more convenient. Many coders spend as much as 12 hours per day on a laptop, so it’s paramount to select one that meets your criteria.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple MacBook ProCheck Price on Amazon
LenovoLenovo ThinkPad P50 20EN0013US 15.6 inch LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
HPHP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3 inch Touchscreen LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
AcerAcer Swift 7, 13.3 inch LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
DellDell Inspiron 3000 15.6-Inch HD LaptopCheck Price on Amazon

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There are a lot of different laptops out there, so there are tons of choices as far as laptops for programming go. Follow along below, and we’ll show you the best choices for programming, and what to look for in a programming laptop.

What to Look for in a Programming Laptop

Before we get to our list of top 7 best laptops for programming, let’s first go over some of the biggest things to look for:

    • CPU – In a certain way, coding is one of the least CPU-demanding tasks you can use a laptop for. After all, you’re just writing text, right? Not quite. It won’t take long before you want to compile and run your project, and that’s where even decently powerful CPUs may struggle. What’s more, any coding task that involves virtual machines, emulation, real-time compilation, or sophisticated graphics is going to require every gigahertz available. We would recommend you to get the best CPU you can afford.
    • Memory – Unless you can code without any reference material displayed in a web browser, you’re going to need a lot of RAM. These days, 8 GB is the bare minimum. Anything less than that, and the laptop may start caching to a hard drive, resulting in a dramatic slowdown. 16 GB is the sweet spot for advanced coding, while 32 GB is most likely

 

  • Storage – If you’re dabbling in data mining and data analytics, your storage space requirements are going to be different from those of a web developer. That being said, everyone can benefit from the speed of a modern solid-state drive.
  • Display – Coding usually involves multi-tasking, which is easier to do on a larger screen with the Full HD resolution than on a 13” It’s also less tiring to read text on a laptop with an excellent resolution, allowing you to push through long coding sessions without any significant eye fatigue.
  • Input devices – No laptop can match the comfort provided by a full-sized ergonomic keyboard and a mouse, but some come close. You should look for a laptop with a responsive keyboard with high-quality scissor switches and a large touchpad that supports multi-touch gestures.

Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 is a versatile laptop for programming. There’s so much that you can do on it with just Windows 10 alone — from Web programming to learning to code for desktop applications. And, with it being Windows, you can easily dual-boot a Linux operating system on it for more coding abilities.

This laptop makes an excellent choice for programming because of the screen, too. With a 15-inch PixelSense display, you get excellent screen clarity that allows you to see code with a sharpness that is easy on the eyes. And with 8 to 10 hour battery life, you can take your Surface Book 2 with you almost anywhere for work.

Surface Laptop 2

If you don’t want to break the bank with a great laptop, the Surface Laptop 2 is still an excellent laptop for programming. You get a 13.5-inch PixelSense display, which is smaller, but still provides you with plenty of room and clarity for programming.

It still has a excellent battery life, rated for around eight hours with straight video playback. You can imagine that you would get more out of it if you’re just coding. And, just like the Surface Book 2, you’ll have no problem dual-booting or installing Linux, should you need it.

It comes with a microfiber material around the keyboard, which makes the laptop pretty comfortable. Essential travel is perfect as well, so ergonomics shouldn’t be a problem here. Overall, the laptop is slim and easy to travel with.

Apple MacBook Pro

Used by Mark Zuckerberg, the new MacBook is a stunning, albeit pricey, machine. The 15.4” version is especially well-suited for programming. It features a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU, four USB-C ports, 256 GB SSD drive, 16 GB of memory, and Apple’s signature screen with the resolution of 2880×1800 pixels.

If you see yourself creating mobile apps and games, the MacBook Pro should be high up on your list because it allows you to develop for iOS using Xcode, the center of the Apple development experience. Just like all Apple products, the MacBook Pro is an engineering and design marvel, which is guaranteed to keep a high resell value for many years to come.

Levono Thinkpad

Thinkpads are known for their excellent keyboards and exceptional build quality. The Lenovo ThinkPad P50 sticks to the proven formula and improves upon it wherever possible. The highlight here is the presence of the 28nm NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, which is a mid-range DirectX 12- and OpenGL 4.5-compatible graphics card for mobile workstations. Besides the GPU, there’s also 8 GB of memory, 500 GB hard drive, and Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU.

When it comes to connectivity, Thinkpads are on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to MacBooks. Lenovo understands that its core users would much rather live with a slightly thicker laptop than live without an RJ45 socket and a full-sized HDMI output.

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 is our favorite 2-in-1 convertible currently on the market. HP has created a truly gorgeous, slim machine that’s not just nice to look at but also a real pleasure to use. Thanks to the Intel Core i7-7500U CPU and 16 GB of memory, you can expect top-notch performance and quiet operation even under heavy loads. When doing any I/O-demanding work, you’ll appreciate the speed of the 512GB PCIe NVM M.2 SSD. HP’s 15.6″ diagonal UHD UWVA eDP Brightview WLED-backlit display with the 4K resolution is currently among the best laptop displays out there.

Compared with the MacBook Pro, the x360 delivers incredible value without making any compromises in terms of design or build quality. Using the laptop as a tablet may feel awkward at first, but you’ll quickly discover how useful the added form-factors can be.

Asus Swift 7

The world’s thinnest laptop may not be as powerful as some portable workstations, but it’s not trying to be. The Asus Swift 7 is the laptop you choose if you want silence and excellent portability. At under 2.5 pounds, the laptop is so light that you won’t even notice it when carrying it around in a bag. Its design is inspiring, and its internals is admirable.

You get up to 9 hours of battery life on a single charge, up to three times faster wireless performance, and a clean and crisp 13.3” Full HD display with IPS technology. A laptop like this doesn’t make sense for all coders, but when it does, it’s incredible.

Dell Inspiron 3000

So far, every laptop described in this article hasn’t been precisely budget-friendly. In that case, you purchase the Dell Inspiron 3000, a budget laptop that can satisfy the needs of most coders.

We really appreciate how Dell included 6 GB of memory and not just 4 GB. Those 2 extra gigabytes go a long way when you open a dozen or so browser tabs. The Intel Core i3-5005U CPU is more than sufficient for basic programming tasks, and you can replace the slow 1TB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive with a fast solid-state disk later.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple MacBook ProCheck Price on Amazon
LenovoLenovo ThinkPad P50 20EN0013US 15.6 inch LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
HPHP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3 inch Touchscreen LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
AcerAcer Swift 7, 13.3 inch LaptopCheck Price on Amazon
DellDell Inspiron 3000 15.6-Inch HD LaptopCheck Price on Amazon

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Verdict

You can program on almost any type of laptop or computer. Essentially anything that’s running an operating system is something that you can program on; however, once you get into the intermediate and advanced aspects of it, you might want to consider picking up a MacBook Pro.

You can program fine on anything, but as you start advancing, some of the tools that you need are Linux-based and are just easier to set up on the MacBook Pro. Those tools still work on Windows, especially more recent versions, but take a little more time to setup.

So, if you don’t mind jumping over to the Apple ecosystem, the MacBook Pro is a great choice, but the Surface Book 2 is plenty fine for those that want to stay on Windows 10.