7+ Best Laptops for Programming

by CT | Last Updated: April 19, 2021

If you are a programmer, then you know how important it is to have the right laptop. It can be hard to find one that has all of your needs and meets your budget. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of laptops with three different budgets for programmers with varying needs.

The Best Laptop for Programming

There are many great options to consider as the best programming laptop, so let’s dive in!

1. Apple MacBook Pro or Macbook Air

New Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life (that's not a typo)
  • 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
  • 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
  • Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
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The 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.

Best Features:

MacBook Pro comes with the new and super powerful M1 chip that 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 MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is another great option for programming, as it’s lighter and doesn’t have as hefty as a price tag. While the MacBook Air isn’t as incredible in terms of storage, you’ll get a more portable laptop for programming on the go.

The 13-inch display is large enough to get work done, but small enough to travel with. 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.

2. LG Gram 17 Inch Laptop

LG Gram Laptop 17Inch Laptop
  • WQXGA 2560 x 1600 Intel 10th Gen Core i7 1065G7 CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD 512GB x2
  • 17 Hour Battery
  • Thunderbolt 3 17Z90N 2020
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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.

Pros:

Cons:

Great Features:

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.

3. ASUS VivoBook

ASUS VivoBook 17.3 Inch
  • 17.3" HD+ Laptop Computer
  • AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 7-3700U up to 4.0GHz
  • 36GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB PCIe SSD
  • AC WiFi
  • Type-C
  • Remote Work
  • Windows 10
  • BROAGE 64GB Flash Drive
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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.

Best Features:

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 programmers 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 want the speed for coding should be able to see the value in it. Some people have complained about its internet connection but most don’t have this issue.

Pros:

Cons:

4. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 Processor, 512 GB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 17 hours of video playback
  • Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
  • The fastest Surface Book yet, with 4x more power
  • Vibrant PixelSense Display: now available with a new 15" touchscreen. Weight : Starting at 4.2 pounds including keyboard
  • Four versatile modes of use and new USB-C port
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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.

Best Features:

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, 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 a great choice.

Pros:

Cons:

5. Asus Zenbook UX501VW-DS71T

Asus UX501VW-XH71T Zenbook Pro
  • 15.6" UHD (3840*2160), glossy
  • Intel Quad-Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.5GHz)
  • Mobile Intel HM170 Express Chipsets
  • 1x Socket (one slot installed w/8GB) + [8GB on board]
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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.

Best Features:

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.

The 15.6 inch 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.

Pros:

Cons:

6. Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Dell Inspiron 15 5000
  • 15.6" Full HD Display
  • 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • HDMI, Webcam, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home
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Best Features:

As a mid-size laptop it comes with the 15’’ full HD screen which does its job quite well and provides a great display.

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.

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.

Pros:

Cons:

7. ASUS ZenBook UX303UB

ASUS ZenBook UX303UB 13.3 Inch Touchscreen Laptop
  • 13.3-Inch QHD+ Touchscreen Laptop
  • Intel Core i7
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 512 GB SSD
  • Discrete GPU Nvidia GT940M
  • Windows 10 (64 bit)
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Let’s explore ASUS ZenBook UX303UB briefly and we are going to talk about its pros and cons.

Best Features:

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. The battery life is only 7 hours and I think that is lower than expected for a programmer.

Pros:

Cons:

Laptops For Programming Under $1500:

1. Lenovo ThinkPad T460s

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A front view of the Black coloured Lenovo ThinkPad T460s
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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. Dell XPS 15 Inch 9570 15.6″

Dell XPS 9570 Laptop 15.6"
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU
  • 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
  • Thin bzl 400 Nits Display
  • Windows 10 Home
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If you are looking for portability and performance in a single laptop, the Dell XPS 15 is the best solution for your problem. It is a 15-inch laptop that is lighter and smaller due to its sleek carbon-fiber 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 customization 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.

Laptops for Programming Under $1000:

1. Dell G5

Dell G5 Gaming Laptop 15.6"
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080 LED Display
  • 8th Gen 6 Core Intel i7-8750H Processor
  • 16GB Memory
  • 256GB SSD +1TB HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
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Dell G5 series is considered as one the best reasonable programming 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 programming. It uses an Intel Core i7 processor to handle and manage your complex programs easily and smoothly.

Its 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.

2. Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3 SF314-54-56L8
  •  14" Full HD
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
  • 8GB DDR4
  • 256GB SSD
  • Windows 10, Silver
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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.

Laptop Buying Guide for a Programmer

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.

A typical Laptop's processor

Processor

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.

Ram of a Typical Laptop

RAM

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.

Hard Drive

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.

Storage Space

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.

A Desktop Screen showing the screen size differences

Screen & Display Size

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.

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.

The differences in the screen quality of a 720p and 1080p Screen.

Screen Quality

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.

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 and 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.

CT loves marketing, entrepreneurship, and learning about the latest tech. She blogs about laptops has always been a nerd at heart from the young age of 8 when she got her first computer. She now owns multiple machines and spend 10-15 hours a day on them learning about tech and working from home.