As a programmer there are few things that you should consider when getting a laptop:
- A powerful processor, for one, is what makes a huge difference in laptop performance. Code compilation depends heavily on the laptop CPU. Hence, it’s important to go for the laptop featuring an evidently fast processor.
- Good amount of RAM: It is a deciding factor while purchasing a laptop for the purpose of coding. A good amount of RAM paired best-in-class storage configuration, i.e. SSD storage could allow you to browse Stack Overflow while writing your code in your favorite IDE.
- But do you know what makes a huge difference and is often missed upon in the journey of buying? It’s the keyboard. Yes! As a coder, you are going to type a lot and for a long duration. Hence, it’s very essential to look for a laptop that includes a keyboard with outstanding travel and increased comfort.
Goes without saying that this must be considered alongside a powerful display with high resolution that doesn’t strain your eyes while you work.
Let us now dive deep into the system requirements for buying a good laptop suited for coders. To begin with, here are the minimum system requirements and the recommended system requirements for you to consider thoroughly before you read about the top laptops under the concerned category.
Minimum And Recommended System Requirements
|Dell G7 17|
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
|Check Best Price|
|New Apple MacBook Pro|
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 (9th Gen)
|Check Best Price|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme|
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-8850H
|Check Best Price|
Here’s a list of the minimum and recommended system requirements one must consider to make an informed buying decision and ensure that the system does not lags or heats up while writing code.
Best Laptops for Programming in 2020
Let us dive deep into the best laptops for programming available in the market for you to purchase by looking at their configuration and whether they meet your requirements.
1. Dell G7 17
The DELL G7 is one of the most reliable programming laptops. The large 17.3-inch display brings in more room to the screen thereby allowing you to have multiple windows open at the same time.
With a robust design and a sturdy body-build, the Dell G7 17 is here to do its only job – provide quality configuration for the programmers and game developers. Following the previous model’s design approach. Besides, despite such giant like specs, it doesn’t look like a gaming laptop, that’s why a lot of professional computer programmers consider getting it.
At 17 inches, Dell G7 17 is quite heavy as compared to a few counterparts. This 7.28 pounds machine is not suitable for portability but it does stand out for its excellent performance. The 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor boosts the laptop’s value for money. Whether it’s for compiling a large code or using CPU intensive IDEs such as Android Studio, the processor can handle it all smoothly!
The high-quality processor is further paired with an efficient 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM which provides Dell G7 17 with speed and easy access to programs and applications. Moving to the internal storage of this high power laptop, a 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD configuration goes a long way for those who code routinely.
As for the display, a 17.3-inch full HD screen helps provide the programmer with a more than decent viewing experience. The resolution of 1920×1080 pixels on this IPS display is a valuable feature too, given the long duration which the coders spend in front of the laptop screens.
The fascinating Graphics unit on Dell G7 17 is laced with the power of Nvidia GTX Ti 6G GDDR5 that enhances the performance adequately amidst the mid-range laptops for programming. Thereby, you can also use this machine for 3D rendering, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Sketch. So, if you plan to pursue graphic designing or web designing, there’s nothing that’d stop you.
However, the keyboard unit is not the best-in-class although it comes with RGB backlit features. The typing experience is decent even as key travel is not quite deep. The speakers on Dell G7 17 are pretty good at a reasonable price given that you tweak the sound-settings on the laptop.
The battery life on Dell G7 17 is modest with up to 7 hours and you can adjust the performance of the processor, GPU, and RAM on this laptop. Ergo, it is a good choice for those who are looking for an entry-level, mid-range laptop for programming to fit under their budget.
2. New Apple MacBook Pro
Apple has ensured delivery of features based on the customer feedback on their previous models through the new Apple MacBook Pro and it has been an absolute victory. With MacBook Pro 16, programmers are going to have a seamless experience thanks to all the upgrades that Apple decided to inculcate in this fresh model.
MacBook Pro 16 has sought after the design inspiration from the previous MacBook models – thin, sleek, and gorgeous. The thin bezels ensure that the 16-inch display fits smoothly in the make of MacBook Pro 16 and the user reviews have been mostly about admiration. The 16-inch Retina Display with Two-Tone Technology steals the show due to the large screen size and a 3072×1920 pixel resolution. This provides the MacBook Pro 16 with crisp and intense image quality.
This laptop for programming comes with a 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor that basically seals the deal for the potential buyer. MacBook Pro 16-inch is a high value-for-money laptop for programming that comes with an astonishing 512GB SSD storage accompanied by 16GB DDR4 RAM. This configuration makes the MacBook powerful and formidable.
With a decent weight of 4.3 pounds, MacBook Pro 16 is designed to be durable and robust. The graphics unit on this laptop is the showstopper. AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with GDDR6 VRAM GPU is an absolute upgrade from its previous models and the MacBook Pro 16 works wonders with such specifications when it comes to video editing, android development, and programming
An interesting tweak to note is the keyboard on MacBook Pro 16. The Butterfly switches have been replaced by Scissor which ensures that the keys do not become unresponsive when dust collects between the keys. The key travel has increased decently even as the MacBook remains slim. Moreover, the new, shortened Touch Bar and dedicated Esc key is such a great add-on directed to the coders by Apple. This makes the users have a good typing experience thereby making the MacBook Pro 16 a preferred choice for programmers.
The laptop also includes a six-speaker system that is supported by four canceling-woofers to enhance the audio experience. As for the battery life, the MacBook Pro 16 comes with up to 11 hours of consistent performance on a single charge which is a boon for developers. The other features include four Thunderbolt 3 USB type C ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, a microphone jack, FaceTime HD Webcam, and a Touch ID.
If you are looking for a steal deal in terms of the configuration of an upper-segment laptop meant for programmers, editors, and gamers, Apple MacBook Pro 16 is your best bet.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the newest addition to the X-series and has rightfully been named so. This laptop is giving a tough fight to the 15-inch laptops under this segment in the market.
At 6.35 pounds, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is designed to be thin keeping in mind the comfort of the user. Its 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 processor when paired with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD internal storage makes it a powerful and an ultrafast device.
There’s no lag whatsoever when switching apps on ThinkPad X1 Extreme. This configuration is best suited for programmers and gamers. Boasting good functionality and a pretty good battery life of up to 8 hours, the laptop can run a plethora of programs without hassle.
The keyboard on ThinkPad X1 Extreme is top-notch with 1.7 mm key travel which is noteworthy for such a thin laptop. Even though the keys feel a bit stiff and the number pad is missing, the keys are well spaced. The touchpad is decent and the iconic ThinkPad red pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard provides accurate tracking movements.
As for the display, it is by far one of the best screen features in the 15-inch laptop range. The 15.6-inch display on ThinkPad X1 Extreme comes with an astonishing 4k HDR IPS touch screen with a 3840×2160 pixel resolution. The colors are so vivid and the details are awe-striking. This is competitive with premium laptops.
With a dedicated 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GPU, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme can be targeted to business professionals, programmers, and gamers alike. The performance of the graphics unit is one of the most effective amidst the laptops for programming. However, beware of heating issues.
Dual-speakers on this laptop provide an average sound quality suitable for standard audio use. Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a good choice for the users looking to buy a laptop for programming.
4. HP Spectre x360
Marketed as the most powerful Spectre yet, HP brought it’s newest HP Spectre x360 15T Touch to serve programmers well. This laptop comes with a meticulous aluminum design in a premium Poseidon Blue and outfitted with an above-average configuration that attracts potential consumers.
This stylish laptop is laced with 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor which makes working on Spectre x360 15t smoother than butter. You can switch between multiple tabs and simultaneously handle tasks without the fear of lag. This is the courtesy of specifications like 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD internal storage.
The laptop also provides entry-level gaming experience to users through its 4GB of NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics. This machine is also capable of handling VR better than its rivals.
Moreover, the 4K WLED display on this 15.6-inch screen size is not as wild as expected. Even with 3840×2160 resolution, the touchscreen is disappointingly dim with some glare. Although, the colors are vivid and picture quality is sharp.
The keyboard is meant for programmers. Spacing between keys is just right, the travel is modest, the number pad is sized well and the keys are not too clicky. Spectre x360 15t comes with Bang & Olufsen speakers which are average for the audio experience.
The battery life is the highlight of this laptop. Lasting between 8 to 10 hours, the battery is optimal for a programmer and makes HP Spectre x360 15t suitable along with other configurations mentioned above.
5. LG Gram 17
LG Gram 17 is regarded as the most lightweight 17-inch laptop that also comes with exciting battery life and even more valuable display features. LG seems to have almost hit home with this laptop for programmers.
Let’s talk about design. The LG Gram 17 weighs only 2.95 pounds. It’s a 17-inch machine weighing just 2.95 pounds! This is astonishing and an attractive feature. The body is built out of special metal alloy using nanocarbon and magnesium. This is extremely portable even with a huge display and displays certain endurance against shock or vibration. The overall aesthetic of this machine seems to be inspired by MacBook, which doesn’t necessarily hurt the consumer. However, bezels are thicker than many laptops which might be a concern for a few.
With 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U processor, the LG Gram 17 is a decent machine as far as speed and performance are considered. This is furthered by the addition of 16GB SDRAM and 512GB SSD internal storage. The graphics on this laptop are supported by Integrated Intel HD 610 GPU.
LG Gram 17 also comes with a fingerprint sensor alongside Windows Hello built-in the power button which works well if not instantly. As for the keyboard, the experience is comfortable however the placement of G and H keys is not centered above Touchpad and the Backspace key on the right is quite small to fit the number pad. Again, the key travel is great, keys aren’t noisy, and you can achieve a fast typing experience on LG Gram 17 as a coder. As for the Touchpad, it is sized well and responsive.
The 17-inch display is magnificent. With a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, the colors on LG Gram 17 are sharp and vibrant. The brightness levels are noteworthy too. It doesn’t hurt your eye even with a long duration of exposure to the screen.
Moving on to the battery life, LG Gram 17 is astounding as it can work up to 11 hours of standard use. This is definitely a win for the programmers as well as editors and can be purchased given that the laptop competes well with premium range laptops.
6. MSI GP73
The GP73 Leopard-609 17 is a mid-level gaming laptop that has been launched as a VR Ready machine by MSI.
With the inclusion of a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GDDR5 GPU, this machine is recommended by gamers and programmers alike. The laptop is further laced with a great configuration of 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM and 1TB 7200 Rpm HDD internal storage which is beyond the recommended requirements for a coder and/or gamer when considering to buy a laptop.
The Windows 10 laptop comes with a weight of 6 pounds and the keyboard seems to be fulfilling the needs of developers and professional gamers. The Touchpad’s response is good and tactile feedback works well. You can also avail the benefit of multi-key inputs. The RGB controllable keyboard is a striking feature too. This includes a number pad and well-placed keys. Controls like sound, brightness, mouse pad activity, and volumes can be easily accessed via the keyboard.
The display itself on GP73 Leopard-609 17 is a full HD 17.3-inch with a good resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. This is a good deal for programmers who use laptops for long durations.
One good thing about this laptop is that the fans keep the device reasonably cool even with heavy usage. One command blasts both fans. So overheating is not a problem.
As for the battery life, MSI hasn’t touched upon the inclusion of a long-lasting battery. 5 hours isn’t enough for users who use the machine for developing or gaming in one sitting. And the bottom cover itself isn’t sturdy enough which can be an issue for a few users. Otherwise, a fair purchase with the aforementioned configurations.
7. Lenovo Yoga 710-15
The Lenovo Yoga 710-15 is an improved 2-in-1 laptop within a good price range that certainly fulfills the demands of everyday developers.
This 15-inch laptop brings out minimalism and luxury through its design with a black aluminum finish and a small bezel. At 4.45 pounds, not only is Lenovo Yoga 710-15 portable but also a preferred convertible choice. The hinges provide 360-degree flexibility and this makes Yoga 710-15 usable in modes like a laptop, tablet, tent and a stand which enhances productivity for programmers throughout the day.
The 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-7200U processor is accompanied by 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage to help programmers pursue multitasking. This is further supported by Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 to reduce lag on the system.
The 15.6-inch display on Yoga 710-15 is laced with a 1080 Full-HD touch-screen that allows crisp picture quality. The sRGB color gamut and luminous brightness are excellent on Lenovo Yoga 710-15 and it makes the convertible laptop stand out.
With a 1.4 mm vertical travel and evident responsiveness, the keyboard on this laptop works very well. The tactile feedback on keys is strong and the typing experience is very comfortable. The Touchpad on Lenovo Yoga 710-15 responds well to navigation and provides Windows 10 gestures like app-switch with 3 fingers and swipe-down to reach the desktop.
As for the audio, the laptop ensures loudspeakers available with Dolby settings and an average sound quality which might echo in tablet mode. The battery life is a definite plus as Lenovo Yoga 710-15 performs up to 8 hours. And of course, overheating doesn’t stand a chance with this machine. However, the webcam may disappoint but it isn’t a huge deal given that the aforementioned configuration is extremely compatible with the needs of the programmers.
8. Huawei Matebook 13
Huawei is globally known as one of the largest smartphone manufacturers globally but with Huawei Matebook 13 Signature edition, the brand has gotten a significant leap in terms of showcasing its technical efficiency and how!
The Matebook 13 is packed with a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-8265U processor which enhances performance when paired with Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU. This set-up is accompanied by 8GB SDRAM and 256GB NVMe SSD internal storage which provides the programmers with a necessary specification to carry out their coding routine. Under the specific price range, Huawei seems to be competing with MacBook Air from Apple.
The Matebook 13 weighs only at 2.86 pounds and is a portable notebook that is always ready to use on the go. Given its size and thin body, the laptop can fit on the tray table in a flight without the hassle and it very much increases the productivity of routine users like developers.
As for the display, the Huawei Matebook comes with a 13-inch touchscreen that provides the user with a FullView 2k experience at a resolution of 2160×1440 pixels. The keyboard functions well and the power button situated at the top right-hand corner also functions as a fingerprint reader supporting Windows Hello. The bezels are large and not thin, though.
Huawei also seems to have missed on adding Thunderbolt 3 support with only 2 USB-C ports present. Again, battery life isn’t the worst but is limited to 6 hours. The speakers could have been better equipped however Bluetooth connectivity ensures eradication of the sound problem.
Overall, the Huawei Matebook 13 signature edition is a very competitive laptop that provides programmers with recommended requirements including ultrafast performance.
9. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Launched as an ultralight and versatile machine, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is a winner when it comes to the prior Surface models.
With the presence of a tablet, laptop, and studio modes, the Surface Pro 6 comes with a matte-black finish and appears to be a sleek machine. Fingerprints are resisted, thanks to the black exterior and the texture makes the user grip the 2-in-1 laptop well. The build is sturdy but the thick bezels around the display may not be an attractive feature for some. But weighing at just 1.7 pounds, the Surface Pro 6 is a steal deal for programmers on-the-go.
The leap in performance on Surface Pro 6 comes because of 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5-8400T processor paired with an Integrated Intel UltraHD 620 GPU. Multitasking becomes smooth with the addition of 8GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz RAM and 256GB SSD internal storage. You can switch between multiple apps on the browser without facing any lag.
The 12.3-inch PixelSense display on this laptop is competitive amidst the convertibles. The resolution of 2736×1824 pixels is vivid and bright. The sRGB color gamut is excellent and accurate, something you expect usually from an iPad Pro. Coders will find it good to use this screen as it will be easy on the eyes and ensure accuracy.
As for the keyboard, programmers will find it easy to gauge through the keys on Surface Pro 6. 1.3 mm key travel on the thin Type Cover or the keyboard is great. The Touchpad on this laptop is effective when it comes to precision. Switching between apps is smooth through the glass Touchpad. However, it may be loud and clicky.
There is an addition of Surface Pen at extra cost which ensures good sensitivity and comes with an eraser on the back. It can support artists to draw and sketch on the apps available on Surface Pro 6. Coders can use this to create handwritten notes or editing documents.
The longevity on this laptop is probably one of the key highlights. Surface Pro 6 can endure up to 9 hours of laptop use at high brightness and constant web-surfing. This makes the Surface Pro 6 an optimal choice for developers and gamers.
10. Dell XPS 13 9360
Dell has launched the XPS 13 9360 to compete in the ultraportable range of laptops. It has easily become the beloved laptop of many consumers since its release.
The XPS 13 has a familiar aesthetic given that Dell hasn’t made any noticeable changes in this laptop as compared to the previous XPS models. Aluminum has been used to build the lid and the bottom. Carbon fiber gives the sides, deck and hinges a premium look. The display is surrounded by ultra-thin bezels. However, the irregular placement of the webcam on the left side below the screen is disappointing. The hinge itself is quite sturdy and at 3 pounds, Dell XPS 13 9360 is comfortably light and easy to carry.
The inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 is useful in that it gives users the ability to charge the laptop and connects to USB-C ports. Two USB 3 ports, SD Card reader, headphone jack, battery meter button, and a light indicator to let you check power even when the laptop is not in use.
XPS 13 comes with a 13.3-inch Full HD Touchscreen that is rich in color and ensures wide viewing angles. With a 1920×1080 pixel resolution, the almost-bezel-less screen gives a very vivid viewing experience to users. The luminosity on this laptop is excellent. Hence, coders can make the most of this feature.
With 1.2 mm key travel, the XPS 13 laptop brings to the users a decent typing experience as the palm rest is very comfortable. Tactile feedback is great and the Touchpad works quite well. The accuracy of the Touchpad, as well as the response, is an attractive feature.
Intel’s 8th Generation Core processor called Kaby Lake Refresh is configured into Dell’s XPS 13 for the first time. The turbo clock speeds have significantly increased thanks to the 1.6 GHz Intel Quad-core i5-8250U, and the laptop has become efficient. With the support of 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM and 128GB M.2 SSD storage, the device is quick during routine use. This is a boon for coders.
With integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 and a respected battery life of up to 10 hours, Dell XPS 13 is a decent machine if one pursues mid-level gaming and is an excellent choice for everyday programming needs.
11. Acer Aspire ES 15
Launched as an everyday performer, the Acer Aspire ES 15 is best suited for students who are pursuing computer programming careers and young professional developers on a budget.
Aspire ES 15 is designed to look like a high-end machine with black chassis, lid, and deck. The laptop itself weighs 5.29 pounds, which is a slightly disappointing feature for those who travel a lot with their laptops. However, the configuration balances this out.
Laced with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor, the laptop is configured with 4GB DDR3L RAM and an astonishing 1TB 5400 RPM HDD internal storage. This set up is well-chosen amongst programming enthusiasts and is further supported by Intel HD Graphics 520 which is a fair deal under a budget range.
With a 15.6-inch display, the Aspire ES 15 competes well with the likes of high-end VivoBook. The LED HD screen has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels which provides clear picture quality. However, the viewing angles are not wide.
The keyboard works well and is accompanied by a responsive touchpad that allows multi-touch inputs. This makes the keyboard comfortable to use and provides tracking accuracy. Speakers provide average sound quality.
Acer Aspire ES 15 is also known for its fusion connectivity features. Alongside a DVD drive, ethernet port, and an HDMI port, you will find a headphone jack, SD card reader, 2 USB 2 ports, 1 USB 3 port, and a Kensington lock port. This is further supported by WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity which makes Aspire ES 15 a preferred choice for developers.
Lastly, the battery life on Acer Aspire ES 15 can last up to 6.5 hours which is barely decent for programmers and gamers but goes a long way for standard use.
12. HP 15.6 inch
While HP is known for its innovation in laptop durability, the HP 15t laptop seems to have a mix of exciting and disappointing features. But can you really complain about the price range that this laptop falls under? Certainly not.
With 2.5GHz AMD Dual-core A6-9220 APU processor, the performance on this laptop is fairly decent. This is paired with 4GB RAM for standard multitasking. Moreover, the 500GB HDD internal storage holds files with standard read/write time at 5400rpm speed.
The GPU for HP 15.6 Laptop is packed with Dedicated AMD Radeon R4 graphics to provide above-average display quality in order to support programmers and entry-level gamers.
At 4.52 pounds, HP 15.6 is a thin and lightweight device that ensures portability and an HD LED display of 15-6-inch. The resolution on this laptop is configured at 1366×768 pixels. However, the image quality might not be up to the mark. The keyboard is comfortable and the Touchpad works alright with occasional lag.
As for the connectivity, the HP 15.6 comes with 2 USB 3 ports, 1 USB 2 port, 1 HDMI port, a built-in media reader, WiFi, Bluetooth, DVD/CD burner, and a headphone jack. The speakers provide a decent listening experience. However, the laptop is missing a USB Type C port.
HP 15.6 is an overall decent laptop with a relatively short battery life lasting up to only 5 hours. This is a good option for young professional developers and students who are on a budget and are still in the process of getting used to coding.
How much RAM is required in laptops meant for programming?
Usually, programmers and developers will find their needs met through 8GB RAM laptops. This is sufficient for standard programming use. However, game developers who heavily depend on good graphics need around 12GB RAM. For heavy graphic designers and video editors, a maximum of 16GB RAM is required.
What kind of processor is best for programming laptops?
The best laptops for programming boast of Intel i5 or i7 processors. They provide high performance. The higher the number of cores, the more optimal the speed of the laptop. However, if you don’t wish to choose the Intel processor, you can find laptops with newer AMD processors too.
Are 13-inch laptops suitable for programming?
If a developer’s personal priority is good screen size, 3-inch laptops wouldn’t be ideal for programming. However, more than the screen size, the display quality matters when considering laptops for programming. So, a 13-inch laptop with Full HD Display and a high resolution will be feasible for programming needs.
Why is Solid State Drive important for internal storage on a laptop for programming?
An SSD becomes essential to consider for developers when purchasing a laptop. If it’s out of budget, you can always choose a smaller SSD laptop and pair it with a large HDD. Furthermore, you can pursue an SSHD hybrid drive for internal storage. These options will ensure good OS performance and you will be able to access programs, documents, et al easily on the internal storage.
Does one need expensive laptops for programming?
Not necessarily. For high-end graphic designers and video editors, specific configurations are essential thereby increasing the cost of the laptop. However, for standard coders and developers, mid-range laptops can provide required programming specifications too.
When it comes to programming, the users have to consider a lot of factors simultaneously – CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, battery life, display quality and more. The aforementioned laptops are the best laptops for programming listed for users who are looking to buy laptops under diverse price ranges.
Having deep-dived into the descriptions and customer as well as critical reviews, the two laptops that outshine the rest are new Apple MacBook Pro 16 and LG Gram 17. Not only do they provide effective overall performance, but these laptops have also outdone their predecessors and have created a benchmark for programmers, developers, coders, gamers, and editors alike.
You must go through every product description mentioned above so as to make an informed decision based on your laptop requirements and programming needs.