Looking for the best laptop for programming?
This right here is certainly the resource you needed to make sure you don’t get any panic attacks and get the best programming laptop. Keep in mind that buying the best programming laptop is not a cup of tea for most of us.
Because there are many factors you need to consider before buying a laptop generally and particularly because you select a programming laptop on the basis of level and complexity of your programming.
In this detailed guide, we are not only covering and listing the best laptop choices for you in 2020 but we are here to address all your questions and confusion related to buying a programming laptop.
Let’s start and explore the best laptop for programming in 2020.
Table of Contents
- Best Laptops for Programmers:
- Laptops For Programming Under $1500:
- Laptops for Programming Under $1000:
Apple MacBook Pro needs no introduction because of its brand. We all even a common person who has nothing to do with programming will prefer Apple MacBook Pro because it is an Apple product if it does not cost his kidneys. But, when it comes to programmers, MacBook Pro is a great option to increase productivity generally and particularly when you are into swift programming. Let’s explore how Apple MacBook Pro is the best choice for programmers.
MacBook Pro comes with a powerful i7 processor which provides super-fast processing speeds. Its graphics AMD Radeon R9 M370X card has 2GB GDDR5 memory which is helpful for sharing some tasks of the memory and makes multitasking faster.
You can access all the applications within your MacBook because of its 16 GB RAM based on SSD storage and still, there is enough space for the heavy files and applications. Another important feature of MacBook Pro that standouts are its beautiful display. The 15-inch display gives you a feel of real life through images and videos. Two Thunderbolt ports help you to transfer the backup of your data onto external devices at a high speed. When we talk about mic and speakers of this Apple beast, Apple ensures quality and rich experience without any need of additional hardware.
Drawbacks: There aren’t any major drawbacks to the MacBook Pro except its price. But when we consider its features and functions, it is not expensive at all.
If you love thin and smart gadgets or you are looking for a laptop you can easily take anywhere during your trips or holidays, then we will recommend LG Gram Thin and Light Laptop. Keep reading to know about LG Gram Thin and Light Laptop more.
As the name indicates that the prominent feature of this laptop is its weight (less than 2.5 pounds) and its slim body which helps you to carry this laptop anywhere without any difficulty. The laptop comes with other noticeable features which make your coding work easy and fast. It uses an Intel 8th Generation i5-8250U CPU to provide you enough power to program any application. Its 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD allow the faster execution of multiple programs without any hassle and disturbance. You can take backup of your data onto external devices and charge your mobile at a good speed using 3.0 USB port. You can use an HDMI port to connect the laptop with your TV to have a bigger display. Another important feature that programmers crave for is its long battery life i.e. 19 Hours.
Drawbacks: Overall, we loved this laptop. If LG provides more disk space for this slim and lightweight laptop, that would be really great. If you are a digital nomad and you are looking for a laptop at a reasonable price, consider buying this laptop.
If you are looking for a good laptop at a reasonable price, then explore Acer Aspire E15. At first glance, it is not a fancy product but the Acer Aspire E15 has got all the basics which can meet the demands of any student or a beginner coder.
The best feature which we loved is its battery life. Its battery life is 13.5 hours which means you can practice and learn to programme for a very long time without having a mini attack while seeing low battery warnings. It is really hard to find a long battery life in cheaper laptops. But a programmer does not only need good battery life. That’s why the laptop is using an Intel Core i3-8130U Processor which ensures the running of heavy programs at a good speed. It comes with 1 TB HDD and 6GB RAM which makes multitasking smooth and fast. You can transfer data to other devices within a few minutes because of the 3.0 USB ports and using these ports you can easily charge other devices.
Drawbacks: This laptop is only a good choice for beginners and students because of its lesser configurations. It has HDD whereas SDD is a better choice as it is faster. But its long battery life, durable design and low cost make it a good choice for a tight-budget purchase.
ASUS is winning the laptop’s market slowly and steadily. Today, it is considered one of the biggest laptop companies and Vivobook tells us why programmers and even gamers are crazy for it.
If you are paying almost $1000 for a laptop, then speed must be your priority. Understanding this fact, ASUS has paid special attention to the speed of Vivo book. It comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U and a 16 GB RAM. It also allows you to perform multitasking really quickly. The reason gamers love this laptop is its 17-inch display. It does not only give you unmatched display but also supports the 4k external display. If you are into game coding or apps development, you will love the NVIDIA Gaming GeForce GTX which is helpful for increasing system performance and improving display. It also comes with 3.0 USB ports which allow you to transfer data to external devices within seconds. Another powerful feature is its storage capacity and you get 256 GB SSD along with a 1 TB HDD.
Drawbacks: It is an expensive notebook but the programmers who care for the speed and knows the value of a fast laptop for coding will not find it expensive but a premium product. Some people have complained about its internet connection. You can tackle the issue either using a LAN or placing the modem close to your laptop.
If you have a handsome budget and looking for a fancy product, you will fall in love with this laptop. It is an amazing gadget and the only reason it is at number 5 in our list is its high price.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 has many outstanding features but the biggest attraction for most of the people is its multiple modes such as the Laptop, tablet, view and studio modes. You can detach its exceptional PixelSense display to carry it as a tablet. You can also turn its keyboard and fold it into a stand for easy reading and learning. If we talk about its processing power and speed, Microsoft Surface Book 2 does not disappoint at all. It comes with the 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 and 16GB RAM which is an awesome and powerful combo. With 6GB RAM of the graphics card and other latest processing technologies, the Surface Book provides 4x more speed and faster experience than other laptops available in the market. It also has a fast 512 GB SSD. To run the laptop with all its power and speed, Microsoft has provided a durable and long-lasting battery which can last for 17 hours.
Drawbacks: The only aspect which can force you to revise your decision of buying Surface Book 2 is its high-price. But if you are looking for a stylish and comfortable product with high-speed and processing features, then surface book 2 is good enough in $2500.
In 2020, Lenovo is considered one of the top laptop brands for providing quality and innovative laptops to programmers, gamers and common users across the globe. Lenovo has hit the market with the ThinkPad Edge to provide you all necessary features to do your work from any part of the world smoothly and efficiently.
ThinkPad Edge is known for its speed and performance that comes with its Intel Core i5-5200U Dual-Core Processor. You can execute large and complex programs without the fear of burn out of the fans because this machine has the ability to provide high-quality results while staying cool. You can comfortably rely on the laptop for your work. We enjoyed using its keyboard because it is really easy to use and its screen is sizeable and broad. Its sleek build and design make it attractive and appealing. It has got all the features and qualities that a modern programmer is looking for. It’s 15.6 inch HD display has anti-glare properties that help programmers to use the screen for long hours easily without eye strain. It comes with Windows 7 professional OS and you can easily upgrade it later to Windows 8.1 pro. You can also upgrade your OS to Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) without any additional cost.
Drawbacks: The major drawback of the laptop is its smaller 4GB RAM which limits the multitasking. It also comes with 500 GB HDD which also slows the speed of the laptop. Overall, it is an awesome and a perfect laptop for a mid-range category in less than $1000
The ASUS Zenbook has made to our list because of its variety of rich features for expert programmers. To know more about it, keep reading.
The prominent feature of this machine is its combination of an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM. This powerful combination makes the laptop a perfect choice for developing different applications and games. It is known for using one of the best SSD technologies that is 512 GB NVMe SSD. It does not only help to increase the speed of your laptop but it also provides enough storage for all your applications and data. Its 15.6 inches display makes your job of coding easy and it also supports 4k HD display through its HDMI port for a bigger and better experience. It has an Nvidia graphics card which comes with a 2GB RAM and it enhances the speed and enables multitasking. You can transfer or take a backup of your data with the help of two 3.0 USB ports at the speed of 10GBS. Let us tell you that it is really fast. Another plus is that it has a touchscreen model so you don’t have to rely on the keyboard and your mouse to use the laptop.
Drawbacks: We have a big concern with its touchscreen as its repair can be heavy on your pocket and in most cases, you need it even within the first year of use. It is a bit pricey because you have to pay a handsome amount of $2000. We are not going to recommend this laptop to you because it totally depends on your comfort and preferences.
Sometimes it is not feasible to find a table or a desk to smoothly operate your laptop from. The Dell Inspiron solves this issue because you can operate your laptop just carrying it in your hands. You can also set it on a table to finish your work quickly. But Dell Inspiron has a lot more to impress you other than its compact size. Let’s explore what Dell Inspiron has got for you.
As it is a small laptop so it comes with the 13’’ full HD screen which does its job quite well and provides a great display. It is a better option than many tabs mostly people are using. But if you prefer a bigger display to learn new things or code different applications, you can connect it with an external output display via HDMI port. To handle the load well, it features an Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-Core processor and an 8GB RAM. It has an outstanding Intel UHD 620 Graphics card and a 256 GB SSD and this ideal combination provides you with enough space and pace. Its compact design helps you to take it anywhere and it fits easily into almost every backpack. It’s 3.1 USB port is good for charging and 2.0 USB is perfect for connecting with printers, wireless mouse and keyboard. You have two options to operate it either you can operate it using the touchscreen or using a keyboard and mouse.
Drawbacks: Battery life is less impressive when we compare it to the other models of big brands. You have to charge it daily. Another issue is that its touchpad is less sensitive.
Let’s explore ASUS ZenBook UX303UB briefly and we are going to talk about its pros and cons.
The main features of ASUS Zenbook UX303UB includes Intel Core i7-6500U processor, 512 GB SSD storage capacity and 12GB RAM. These features make programming process easy for programmers because they don’t have to go through the annoyance of hanging or slowing down of the system. As it comes with a touchscreen so you can easily access and operate the laptop. You can quickly transfer your data and charge your mobile phones easily using 3.0 USB ports. It has Instant On mode which helps you to get back to your work within a few seconds. It has a display which is clean and clear and it supports NVIDIA GT 940M graphics. We are done with its positive aspects. Let’s jump to its drawbacks.
Drawbacks: When we talk about the drawbacks of the laptop, it sucks in the quality of the touchscreen. Many users have complained of its failure within a year. Its battery life is only 7 hours and we think it is low than expected for a programmer. We have observed multiple issues related to hinge.
If you are a student and looking for a portable and cheaper notebook, chrome book is the best choice. We strongly recommend you for going Samsung Chromebook.
It is suitable for meeting the basic needs of an entry-level coder through its 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 1.6 to 2.48 GHz processor and the 4GB RAM. It comes with 16 GB internal storage which is quite good for storing small files and lightweight programming.
The features of the Samsung Chromebook we loved are its display and relatively long battery life. It uses the 3. 0 USB port for transferring data and charging your mobile. In short, it is a lightweight book so you can carry it and go everywhere easily.
Drawbacks: As we mentioned earlier that it is the best choice for the students who are going to learn to code. It is a decent product under 200 dollars but you have to upgrade it after some time. It is not recommended for professionals, in fact, it is useless for them because of its slow processor and less space and memory.
1. Lenovo ThinkPad T460s
The most prominent feature of the ThinkPad T460s is its strong built. Like you dropped it on the floor or you accidentally spilled water but still, it will work. If we talk about its specs, then it comes with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB RAM and 256 GB Solid State Drive.
Its 14-inch display is perfect and you can enjoy your long nights with your friends by watching movies on this laptop. All ThinkPads have easy to use and outstanding keyboards beating all their competitors in this aspect. According to our recommendation, it is one of the perfect choices for programming laptops.
2. Apple MacBook Air (13 Inch)
If you are an Apple developer and looking for a reasonable Apple Macbook, it is the perfect choice because it is the most affordable Apple laptop you can buy in 2020. It is a powerful and beautiful laptop under $1000. It is lightweight and the aspect that we loved most is its beautiful look and design. In our opinion, it is one of the cool and attractive laptops in the market. It comes with 13.3-inch retina display and you will have an amazing experience with it either it is text or graphics. It has a backlit keyboard following Apple Butterfly mechanism and is perfect for low-lighting environments.
Apple MacBook Air also does not disappoint us at the hardware front as it is powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 128 GB of SSD storage and 8 GB of RAM. It can easily run your programming emulators and software without getting heated. The only drawback of this laptop is that it only has USB Type-C ports. Due to this, connecting peripheral devices frequently to your laptop becomes annoying. It is the best laptop for Mac OS and iOS applications and games development because of its affordability, portability, and beautiful design.
3. ASUS VivoBook Pro 15
ASUS VivoBook is basically designed for software developers, gamers and coders. It is a slim, lightweight and good-quality laptop. It is a way to go for a reasonable budget and it provides a lot of value in this price. It is using Powerful 7th Generation Intel Core i7-770HQ Processor and supports NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB discrete graphics. It is a handsome laptop for the gamers because of its powerful NVIDIA graphics card. It has a 1TB HDD storage combo of 16GB DDR4 and RAM. It has a comfortable keyboard so you can type for hours without any difficulty. It has a good display.
4. Acer Swift 5, 14″
If you want to buy a programming laptop that you can carry easily anywhere, buy the Acer Swift 5. It is a mid-range laptop that comes with a 14-inch HD display. This 8 generation laptop comes with an Intel Core i7-8550U Processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. Its specs are good enough for a programming laptop but its unique feature is its lightweight and ultra-portability.
It comes with an HDMI port and two 3.0 USB ports. It has a reasonable battery life of 8 hours. It uses Intel UHD Graphics card and provides an outstanding graphical experience. You will not find a lightweight laptop with 14-inch display other than Acer Swift 5 anywhere in the world. Overall, it is a reasonably priced, lightweight and beautifully designed laptop which works perfectly for programmers.
5. Dell XPS 9570 15.6″ FHD
If you are looking for portability and performance in a single laptop, Dell XPS 15 is the best solution for your problem. It is a 15-inch laptop which is lighter and smaller due to its sleek carbon- fibre design. Its weight is just 4.4 pounds so the laptop is a good choice for IT and Software Development students. It has Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU which enables the laptop to be used for game development and graphics programming.
Its keyboard is perfectly designed for programmers and it is a backlit keyboard which gives really good typing experience in even dark environments. It has two USB 3.0 ports, 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB Type-C thunderbolt port. The biggest plus of Dell XPS 15 is that it gives you customisation with touch and non-touch display and other specifications according to your preference and needs. In our opinion, it is a perfect laptop for game development, graphics programming and gaming.
1. HP Envy 15t
This is the laptop we love the most on this list because all goodness is packed in a single device. It is a 15-inch laptop that you can easily carry anywhere. With this size, it is the most portable laptop you can find. It is a powerful laptop because of the combination of i7 processor and 12 GB RAM. The battery life is quite good so you don’t need to carry an extra burden of its charger everywhere. It is reasonably priced and it comes with a touchscreen. If you want a bigger display, you can go for its 17-inch version.
2. Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY 15.6″ UHD
If you are looking for a mid-range laptop with a fantastic 4k screen display and super amazing speed, this laptop is for you. If portability is your concern, then scroll down. Because this laptop is not made for you, you can check other laptops in the list. It is a powerhouse because of its i7 processor, a dedicated graphics card and 8 GB of RAM. You can go for a hybrid drive for additional space and speed but with it but you cannot achieve the speed of a real SSD. It is a perfect choice for a programmer who loves to play games sometimes.
3. ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6”
If you are on a tight budget and looking for a reasonable laptop option, ASUS VivoBook is a way to go. Although it is the cheapest laptop in our list, it does not mean it is a cheap product in terms of functionalities and performance. It is an 8th generation product which has Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core processor and 8GB RAM to provide you with a smooth experience of multitasking. It does not have a dedicated graphics card but integrated UHD 620 graphics can handle programming and gaming quite well.
Its 15.6 inch and 1080 p display come with anti-glare properties and you can use it in dark and light conditions comfortably. The negative aspect of the laptop is that it lacks a backlit keyboard but still it has a comfortable keyboard to type. ASUS VivoBook F510UA is an overall good package for programmers.
4. Dell G5587-7866BLK-PUS
Dell G5 series is considered as one the best reasonable gaming laptops in our list of laptops under $1000. It comes with a backlit keyboard and a long battery life. So programmers can also use the laptop for coding, particularly for game development. It has a 15.6 inch HD display which is perfect for coding and its backlit keyboard is awesome for typing and gaming. It uses an Intel Core i7 processor to handle and manage your complex programs easily and smoothly. It got 16GB of RAM and you can expand it further up to 32GB. It weighed almost 6 pounds and you can travel with it in your backpack if you are a student.
It comes in variations in terms of specs and prices. Dell also gives a touchscreen variant of these machines with ultra HD resolution display. But 4k touchscreen will be a burden on battery because we don’t need such high resolution in the programming usually.
5. Acer Swift 3
Acer has recently updated its Swift laptop series and added latest 8th generation Intel processors with slight changes in design. The changes in design have given a new and professional look to the laptop. Its performance is also amazing just as its new look and feel. For multitasking, it uses 8th generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GB RAM. Just like other professional and high-quality laptops, Acer Swift 3 has a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics, a backlit keyboard and an eye-friendly display. So the latest version of Acer Swift 3 is an awesome programming laptop for coders and it is equipped with the latest hardware technologies.
Programming is a lot of fun and you can enjoy it if you have a good programming laptop. In this section, we are going to explore what factors you should consider before buying a programming laptop.
What factors are important for a programming laptop?
As programming is a broad niche so generally, you should go for a laptop that is well specced and can support coding in maximum languages and platforms. Some people believe that you need really powerful laptops for coding. Well, that is not the case. You should keep the following points in mind while purchasing a programming laptop.
Go for core i5 or i7
Go for 8 GB RAM or even more
Select a laptop with a minimum size of 14-inch
The most important factor to consider for a programming laptop is its processor because it will determine the efficiency and speed of your laptop. In programming, every phase such as code compilation, debugging, loading of the templates and data and program execution need a reliable and efficient CPU.
We would recommend you to go for Intel i5 or i7 processors. Anything slower than processor i5 is not recommended. Because if you will execute high-demanding and complex applications with an i3 processor or less than that, your system will slow down and start crashing and hanging.
The Intel i5 processor is enough for most of the programming needs but with the i7 processor, you will get the best performance and fast experience. You will need an i7 processor when you are developing high-demanding applications. If you are concerned about speed and performance, then go for a laptop with an i7 processor. But keep in mind, the i7 processor is costly than i5.
When it comes to RAM, don’t go for any laptop having less than 8 GB of RAM. If you have a laptop with 6 GB RAM, then it can meet the requirements of students and light programs. But a laptop with 4 GB RAM for programming is a big NO. With 8 GB RAM, you have enough space to code smoothly. Because OS and background processes take less than 3 GB of RAM and rest 5 GB is sufficient for the development environment and other applications. It is enough for any standard programming software but in particular, cases, when you are developing complex programs and you may need more memory, look for a programming laptop with 16 GB.
If you are not on a tight budget, then go for SSD. Because it is a way faster and mostly development also depends on the storage capacity of your laptop as well. In such scenarios, just going with a Standard HDD drive is not a good decision. Some people go for a hybrid hard drive instead of a real SSD. This approach can provide you extra disk space and fast booting but the experience you will get with a real SSD is unbeatable.
In our opinion, 256 GB is good enough for most cases. If you are not comfortable with it, go for 512 GB but it will cost you more. In a worse case, you can get an external hard drive.
Generally, our recommendation is 13-inch or above 13-inch display. Because lesser than this is too small and annoying to work in any setup. For programming laptops, the minimum requirement is a 14-inch display. A laptop with a 15-inch display provides you a better environment and a 17-inch laptop is a perfect choice in terms of screen size but not portable enough.
If portability is important for you, a 14-inch laptop is recommended else go for a 17-inch laptop. You can take a middle ground by purchasing a 15-inch laptop because it is portable and provides sufficient screen space for writing code and executing program easily.
Screen quality is important for graphic designers. You have nothing to do as such with screen quality but still get a good screen for the sake of your eyes. Because programmers have to use laptops for hours and hours in a day so bad screen will make the process of programming tiring and difficult.
Again, the graphics card is necessary for gamers, so having a powerful graphics card in a programming laptop is not necessary. An integrated graphics card will meet your requirements. But if you are into 3D development, good graphics should be your concern too.
Keyboard & Touchpad
A programmer needs a good and a comfortable keyboard in a programming laptop because programmers don’t have time to worry about typos. If a laptop is coming with a good touchpad, it is interesting but should not be your concern as such because you have to use a mouse for development.
Price Range/ Budget
We would recommend you buy a mid-range laptop for programming. Because you should not pay too much for a programming laptop as a mid-range laptop can meet almost all your demands. If you are a college student, then you can go for low-budget laptops as well. If you are okay with expensive laptops, they are good in terms of performance. But in this guide, we have focused and featured mid-range laptops.
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