As a developer or programmer, only you would know the importance of investing in the best laptop for programming. Even if you are a top-level developer, using an inappropriate or less fitting machine for your job can actually make your work worthless.
Of course, you can write codes on many standard laptop models. But then, why do you need one specifically for programming? Because the right machine will help speed up processes, thus, in turn, improving productivity, and not all laptops can help you achieve the same. Again, similar to buying any consumer product, choosing the programming laptop can be really tough. With the wide array of options available in front of you, you are most likely to get overwhelmed and confused.
In fact, even when you have a list of programming laptops you can choose from, the laptop specification requirements will change from one programmer to another, depending on your field and other factors. In general, the following are a few aspects you need to look at when choosing the laptops for all your programming work.
Points to Consider Before Buying a Laptop For Programming
Memory / RAM
Obviously, the RAM size is one of the top factors to consider in a programming laptop. As you will be using applications that are large in size and take up a lot of memory on your machine, and run multiple applications simultaneously, you will need plenty of RAM in your laptop. Regardless of the type of programming you do, you will need a minimum of 4 GB RAM. However, the highly recommended choice is 8 GB of RAM.
CPU / Processing Power
For glitch-free programming, you need to get a machine with sufficient processing power to handle your projects. Remember, for huge projects or highly intensive applications, you need a faster CPU. There is a wide range of processors for you to choose from, and each of those comes with varied specifications as well. In general, a proper Intel Core i5 or i7 processor should be ideal for most tasks. Also, check out the below-given posts
Display / Screen
As a programmer, you will be staring at your laptop screen for longer durations of time; therefore, it is one of the most important features you should consider when choosing the best laptop for programming. You need to make sure that the level of strain to your eyes is minimal, and the most straightforward way to do this is by choosing a 15-inch laptop rather than a model with a 13- or 14-inch screen.
In terms of display, the next point to consider is the screen resolution; instead of going with a 720p resolution, which wouldn’t be able to display sharp texts and not the best option for multitasking, or a 4k display, which will drain the battery at a faster pace and is just an overkill for a programming laptop, just go with a Full HD display with resolution 1920 x 1080.
Of course, this is one component in your laptop that you cannot afford to ignore when it comes to quality because it is what you will use all day long building codes. Due to this reason, you need to look at the quality and durability of the keys. Also, it is essential that you feel comfortable working with the keyboard. There should be sufficient travel and the keys must be easy to reach; if you can, find a laptop with a numerical pad, and a backlit keyboard is always a useful addition.
Now that you know how to find suitable laptops, here is our list of the top ones available in the market today:
Top 9 Best Laptops for Programming & Coding 2020
|Model||Check Latest Price||Processor||RAM||Storage|
|Apple MacBook Pro||Intel Core i5||8 GB||128 GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 15 9570||Intel Core i5-8300H||8 GB||256 GB SSD|
|Microsoft Surface Laptop 2||Intel Core i5||8 GB||128 GB SSD|
|Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop||Intel Core i5-8250U||8 GB||256 GB SSD|
|ASUS VivoBook S410||Intel Core i7 8550U||8 GB||256 GB SSD|
|Lenovo ThinkPad E590||Intel Core i5-8265U||16 GB||512 GB SSD|
|Dell Inspiron 15 5000||Intel Core i7-8550U||8 GB||128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|ASUS VivoBook K570UD||Intel Core i7-8550U||16 GB||256 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|HP ProBook 450 G6||Intel Core i7-8565U||16 GB||1 TB SSD|
Below we’ve listed a recommended laptop and a laptop which offers the best value for money. If you want to jump to our awarded laptop directly, then you can click the button below.
1. Apple MacBook Pro
Processor: Intel Core i5 | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Display: 13.3″ LED Retina | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | Weight: 3 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 10 Hours
When you think about finding the best laptop for programming, the MacBook would probably not be your first choice. But, the MacBook Pro is considered to be one of the best machines available for programming, as well as multitasking. Of course, it does come with some pitfalls; but, for the most part, it carries a lot of good features.
When it comes to the build quality and overall aesthetics of their machine, Apple never disappoints. The MacBook Pro is built with durable materials, making it look and feel premium, and its build quality is outstanding. As always, the laptop carries a simplistic look, available in silver and space gray color options, any programmer would love to boast its professional appearance.
The display is another area where the MacBook Pro excels, which is a huge plus as a programming laptop. Available in both 13-inch and 15-inch screen sizes, what you get is a Retina display, which delivers excellent brightness, both indoors and outdoors, and reduces strain to your eyes, which will be extremely beneficial during those long nights of coding. In addition, the thin bezels minimalize distractions, enabling you to concentrate on the project at hand. On the whole, this is definitely one of the best displays you can get for coding or programming.
The MacBook Pro’s keyboard comes with butterfly keys rather than the usual scissor mechanism. If you are new to using a MacBook, you might need some time to get used to the keyboard layout and the lack of Function keys. But, once you start using it, you will realize how effortless and comfortable it is to type on this keyboard. The keys, however, are a bit loud. The trackpad is huge and works efficiently enough so you wouldn’t need a mouse even during long hours of coding.
For performance needs, the MacBook Pro is equipped with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 processor, which is highly sufficient for your programming needs. The device comes with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD, both of which are again sufficient for coding or programming. As far as battery life goes, the MacBook has always been a step ahead of its competitors. However, with this MacBook Pro, due to the high specs of the device, battery consumption happens faster, and you can expect around 7 to 8 hours of juice on a full charge.
2. Dell XPS 15 9570 – Best Laptop for Programming
Processor: Intel Core i5-8300H | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB | Weight: 4.5 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 6-7 Hours
The XPS 15 9570 from Dell is a refreshing addition to the brand’s XPS series laptops, and this device comes packed with a lot of performance-delivering hardware, making it an ideal choice for programmers.
In terms of its aesthetics, the Dell XPS 15 9570 is not the most attractive machine of the lot. It carries the usual basic look that you find in many Dell laptops, with silver finish on the outside and a contrasting all-black finish inside. Though it isn’t really gorgeous, it certainly is decent. The build quality of the laptop is really good, and the fact that the brand has used more environment-friendly materials to build this laptop is appreciable.
For display, you get a 15.6-inch Full HD InfinityEdge anti-glare, non-touch IPS display. The InifnityEdge feature, which makes the display virtually borderless, maximizes screen space, which means you get more space and better views while coding. The full HD 1080p screen is sharp and clear, and the IPS panel delivers a wider and better viewing angle.
The keyboard you get with the Dell XPS 15 9570 is decent, with a good layout of the keys, which are properly spaced and comfortable to work with. The backlight on the keyboard illuminates it in low- or no-light conditions, enabling you to stay productive at all times. One of the highlights of the device’s touchpad is the Accidental Activation Prevention feature, which eliminates unintentional clicks when you accidentally touch it, and this can be highly beneficial to prevent errors while coding.
The XPS 15 9570 is powered by the 8th generation Intel Core i5-8300H processor, capable of reaching clock speeds up to 4 GHz. The processor is certainly good and powerful enough for programming, and you wouldn’t face any lags or slowdowns. The RAM memory here is 8 GB, which is the recommended size for programming, and you also get a 256 GB SSD for storage. And on a full charge, the laptop can run for anywhere between 5 and 8 hours depending on the workload.
3. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 – Programming Laptop
Processor: Intel Core i5 | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 13.5″ Full HD | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | Weight: 2.76 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 14 Hours
While Microsoft had previously introduced only 2-in-1 machines and tablets, the company finally released a full-on laptop with their Surface Laptop, which had almost everything right and was one of the top laptops then. The Surface Laptop 2 from the company is basically the same device as the first one, only with more color choices and a few updates here and there.
As a programmer, if you are looking for a laptop that is compact and easily portable, and comes packed with a proper set of features and configurations, then the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 could just be it. Available in four attractive colors – platinum, black, burgundy, and cobalt, the laptop is sleek, elegant, light, and professional in terms of its appearance. Its aluminum finish is Microsoft’s standard, and the Alcantara fabric covering the keyboard is a great addition. It is well-made as well, and weighing just 2.7 pounds and 0.96 inches thick, the device is easy to be carried around and used on the lap.
The Surface Laptop 2 comes with a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with an interactive touchscreen. Though the screen size is rather small, it excels in quality; right from offering great brightness to the highly interactive and responsive touchscreen, the display ticks all the boxes, and supports easy and fast navigation.
Moving on to the keyboard and trackpad of the device – first of all, the keyboard in this model is designed to be quieter than that of the previous one, which it surely is. The keyboard is really comfortable to type on, is backlit, and comes with all the standard keys you would expect from a laptop keyboard. The glass-covered trackpad, though not very spacious, is also designed to be comfortable, and easily registers gestures. And as mentioned earlier, the keyboard and palm rest area are covered by Alcantara fabric to make your coding marathon sessions easy and comfortable.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is powered by 8th generation Intel Core processor and you can choose between i5 and i7 variants. With RAM, you can again choose between 8 GB and 16 GB sizes based on the type and size of projects you will undertake. Even with storage space, you can choose from 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB SSD. With all these specifications, you are most likely to have no performance-related complaints. The device is capable of running for up to 7 hours between charges, which is a respectable number.
4. Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop
Processor: Intel Core i5-8250U | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2 GB | Weight: 5.27 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 14 Hours
Since you will be carrying out some highly demanding tasks as a programmer, the laptop you use should be powerful enough to handle all the tasks you throw at it. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean than you wouldn’t find a mid-range or pocket-friendly laptop to serve the purpose. The Aspire E 15 laptop from Acer is one such affordable choice that offers great performance for its price tag.
Known to be one of the bestselling multipurpose laptops, the Acer Aspire E 15 is pretty basic in terms of its looks. Yes, the laptop carries a smooth and clean look with no unwanted lines or other design aspects; but, it has resulted in a basic-looking laptop, which some might love. That being said, considering the pricing of the device, this simple design shouldn’t be an issue. Weighing 5.27 pounds and at 1.19 inches in thickness, this is not the lightest device and not the most portable either.
The display here is a 15.6-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 widescreen LED-lit IPS display. The display is able to deliver decent color reproduction, and thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angles are decent too. The level of brightness offered by the display is good; however, the laptop’s bezels are quite thick and can be distracting at times.
The keyboard is one of the best features of the Acer Aspire E 15 laptop because this is one of the few devices on our list that comes with a number pad, one aspect that will make your typing experience much easier and more comfortable. The layout of the keys is good, with just the right spacing, and the backlighting on the keyboard makes it easy for you to work in reduced or no lighting conditions as well. The touchpad works really well and accurately tracks input.
When it comes to the device’s processor, you have three different options to choose from i5-8250U, i7-8550U, and i7-8750H. Regardless of the CPU you choose, what you get is an 8th generation Intel Core processor, which is powerful enough to handle all your programming needs. The RAM size here is 8 GB, and for storage, you get a 256 GB SSD. In terms of battery life, while the brand claims up to 15 hours, the actual run time you are likely to get is around 8 to 9 hours, which is a really good number.
5. ASUS VivoBook S410 for Programming
Processor: Intel Core i7 8550U | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display: 14″ Full HD | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB) | Weight: 3.2 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 7 Hours
Yet another ultraportable laptop on our list, the ASUS VivoBook S410 is designed to perform high-end tasks, without costing users a whole lot of money. Again, this will be a great choice of programming laptop for those programmers who travel frequently.
Straightaway, what you will notice about the device is its slim and sleek design. Weighing just 3.2 pounds and with a thickness of 0.7 inches, this is one thin, light, and highly portable programming laptop that can be carried around easily. Available in two different colors: Icicle Gold and Star Grey, the brushed metal finish on the exterior give the laptop an attractive and sophisticated look. Also, the laptop is well-built, which means durability is not a concern here.
On the VivoBook S410, ASUS has included a 14-inch Full HD WideView display. With thin bezels being the trend these days, which are known to be extremely useful for professionals, including programmers, this laptop also comes with an ultrathin bezel, which they call NanoEdge display. As a result, you get 77% screen-to-body ratio, which can be considered above average. The anti-glare coating on the display prevents reflections regardless of the lighting conditions you work in. The display, on the whole, is able to produce sharp visuals and even brightness.
The laptop comes equipped with a chiclet keyboard, where the keys are designed to be of the right shape and size. The keys get multiple levels or modes of backlighting and are well-spaced as well, making typing easier. However, the keyboard tends to be a bit shallow and there is quite some flex in the keys, which makes them noisy. The trackpad, on the other hand, is spacious enough, works smoothly, and responds to gestures accurately. There is also a fingerprint sensor in the corner of the trackpad, which allows for quick login.
The ASUS VivoBook S410 gets it power from the 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-Core Processor, which can reach clock speeds of up to 4 GHz in Turbo mode. Supported by 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, this configuration makes the device suitable for running demanding tasks, including programming, and the whole hardware can handle almost any task you expect it to do. Battery life certainly isn’t the strongest area for the device; in fact, it is only average, lasting for about four hours on a full charge.
6. Lenovo ThinkPad E590
Processor: Intel Quad-Core i5-8265U | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Display: 15.6″ HD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Weight: 4.7 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 7 Hours
The Lenovo ThinkPad E590 has a really strong predecessor, the ThinkPad E580. This latest version of the laptop is almost the same, except for a few changes, the primary of which is the processor. Known widely as a business laptop, this device also happens to be a viable choice for programming.
In terms of looks, the ThinkPad E590 is very much similar to the E580. Built from a combination of plastic and aluminum, where plastic is the most used material, the laptop is still really sturdy and a well-built one. The all-black chassis is slim and compact, perfectly reflecting the ultraportable name. Weighing 4.7 pounds and with a thickness of 0.8 inches, though this is not the lightest laptop on our list, it isn’t the heaviest either and is moderately portable.
The display you get with the 2019 Lenovo ThinkPad E590 is a 15.6-inch anti-glare 1366 x 768 display. Though the device supports a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 via HDMI or USB Type C on an external digital monitor or independent display, the fact that the actual laptop comes only with the above-mentioned screen resolution is a huge disappointment for what could really be a proper programming laptop. The anti-glare feature on the display is a good addition.
Focusing on the device’s keyboard, what comes with the E590 is one of the best keyboard units available in the category. The full-size keyboard comes with a separate number pad, which tends to be very useful for coding, and the keys provide great feedback for each click. The keyboard, overall, is really comfortable to type on and the keys are not loud either. The touchpad, however, doesn’t feel as smooth as some of the other models, but is decent enough and takes input pretty accurately.
The ThinkPad E590 uses the 8th generation Intel Quad Core i5-8265U processor for its power. The processor is faster than many other versions and powerful enough to handle the big coding projects you take over. The memory here is 16 GB DDR4 RAM, which is higher than the 8 GB RAM you get on many of the other devices on our list. For storage space, you can choose from 256 GB SSD, 512 GB SSD, or 256 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD, and the pricing of the laptop varies accordingly. You can expect around 7 hours of run time from the device on a single full charge.
7. Dell Inspiron 15 5000
Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Weight: 4.80 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 4-5 Hours
The Dell Inspiron range of laptops are known to their budget or mid-range price tag, and these laptops typically offer great performance on a budget. The Inspiron 15 5000 (5575) is the latest offering from the brand in this series and there are many aspects that make the device a good choice for programmers.
The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (5575), similar to many other laptop models from the brand, is basic-looking. While the shiny silver finish on the device makes it look a bit premium, the fact that it is made fully of plastic is definitely a setback. However, it has to be mentioned that the all-plastic body doesn’t affect the quality and durability of the device in any way. The build quality of the laptop is really solid, and the machine doesn’t flex even under pressure. Therefore, it is evident that this is one durable machine you can rely on. The laptop weighs 4.4 pounds and has a thickness of 0.8 inches, which places it in the mid-range category in terms of compactness and portability.
The 15.6-inch full HD TrueLife LED-backlit display, which is a decent offering for the laptop’s pricing. The full HD resolution of the display produces good color reproduction and sufficient brightness. However, since the panel is not of IPS quality, the viewing angles are below par, which could be frustrating during those long hours of coding. The old-fashioned, thick bezel is another hindrance in terms of display.
The keyboards on Dell laptops are always known for their excellent layout, comfort, and quality, and the one on the Inspiron boasts the same. The device comes with a full-blown keyboard with a separate number pad, and all the keys are well-spaced and ergonomically placed. With their sufficient feedback and minimal noise, the keys are a breeze to type on, and you will experience less to no fatigue on your fingers. The trackpad is pretty spacious and delivers great functionality and feedback.
Powering up the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is the 8th generation Intel Core i7-550U processor. This quad-core processor delivers excellent processing performance, and with the Turbo Boost technology, you can get some extra power whenever you need the same. The processor, along with the 8 GB RAM, enables you to run multiple programs at the same time and is capable of handling huge coding tasks. For storage, you get a combination of 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD, which will be beneficial in a lot of different ways. The battery life of the device is really disappointing, with just four hours of run time on a single charge.
8. ASUS VivoBook K570UD
Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB | Weight: 4.3 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 9 Hours
A relatively new addition to the VivoBook laptop series from ASUS, the K570UD is basically a device designed to support gaming, casual and professional levels, which boasts a strong feature set and great build quality. Despite being a gaming laptop, its specifications make it an equally good option for programming.
The design of the VivoBook K570UD is really eye-catching. The Reaper Black finish in itself gives the laptop a sophisticated look, and this, when combined with the Lightning Blue edge accents, makes the device furthermore attractive. The sharp corners and rear ventilation grilles add to the premium look of the laptop. Despite the entire unit is made from plastic, there is nothing concerning about the laptop’s build quality. The machine weighs 4.3 pounds and has a thickness of 0.9 inches, and is a reasonably portable model.
The ASUS VivoBook K570UD comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS-level display. Along with the ASUS Splendid display technology, the display is able to produce more accurate colors, and the whole display is crisp, with no issues of graininess whatsoever. As a result, you wouldn’t have visibility issues while writing your codes. And thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angles of the machine are good too.
The laptop features a full-sized keyboard with number pad, where the key travel is about 1.4mm. While the keys are backlit and feature ambient light control, they tend to be a bit shallow, and this could be troublesome when you type codes for an extended period of time. Also, though there is a separate number pad, it is rather small, which makes typing in numbers hard. The touchpad is designed to be responsive, but it could have been bigger in size to match with the spacious palm rest. There is also a fingerprint sensor on the top right corner of the touchpad.
The VivoBook K570UD is powered by 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor, which can reach clock speeds of up to 4 GHz in Turbo mode. As always, the 8th gen processor enables effortless multitasking. Further supported by the 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD, the device’s performance is pepped further, delivering faster startup and transfer times and lag-free multitasking, ideal for programming. While the brand’s claim in terms of battery life is 9 hours, the device is able to last only for just over four hours on a single full charge, which is very disappointing.
9. HP ProBook 450 G6 – Programmer’s Laptop
Processor: Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Weight: 4.41 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 6 Hours
The ProBook 450 G6 is a new addition to the brand’s already popular ProBook 400 series laptops and is basically known as an entry-level business laptop. The device doesn’t carry a lot of changes when compared to the G5 devices, but it does sport some latest configurations, including its CPU.
The laptop looks modern, featuring a refined natural silver finish that gives it a stylish appearance. The case is well-built and feels really sturdy, a feature you would expect from a leading brand like HP. Weighing 4.4 pounds and 0.8 inches in thickness, the device is quite compact and you wouldn’t find it very difficult to carry it around, especially when compared to some of the other bulky models.
The display you get with the HP ProBook 450 G6 is a 15.6-inch full HD anti-glare LED-backlit non-touch display, where the screen resolution is 1920 x 1080. While the full HD screen is decent in terms of display quality, including brightness and other aspects, the anti-glare feature on the screen prevents reflections, making it possible and easy for you to work in different lighting conditions. Since this is not an IPS-level display, you could find the viewing angles to be a bit off.
The ProBook 450 G6 has a full-size keyboard with an exclusive number pad, and the overall layout of the keys is designed to be structurally stable. The pressure points of the keys are rather crisp and are easy and comfortable to type on. However, these are certainly not the quietest. This particular model, however, doesn’t come with backlighting, but the laptop comes with other configurations, one of which includes a backlit-keyboard. The trackpad has multi-touch gesture support, is large enough, smooth, easy to use, is fully functional and highly responsive as well.
The laptop comes equipped with 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7-8565U processor, which is designed to reach up to 4.6 GHz in clock speeds in Turbo mode. The processor enables the device to deliver and maintain top-notch performance under different workloads, which will make your coding sessions effortless. You get 16 GB DDR4 memory and 1 TB SSD for storage. You can choose to go with other storage space options as well if your requirements demand so. Under heavy loads, the system’s battery lasts only for a couple of hours and requires charging, which can be extremely frustrating most of the time.
For other good options, check out: The best laptops for hacking
Programming is equally about the hardware as it is about the codes, flowcharts, and other aspects. Therefore, choosing the best laptop for programming is crucial, and the laptop you choose should be able to help increase your productivity in every way possible. Consider the options given above and you are most likely to land one that meets your requirements.