Programming is a high-end skill and requires an impressive laptop. If you are a programming enthusiast looking for a good laptop for your programming, then you should read through this guide as we would be showing the best programming laptops in this guide.
Although some people out there feel that any laptop can be used for programming. But they are wrong, yes any laptop will work, but the question is how efficient will you be as a programmer using other laptops?
Why You Shouldn’t Use a General Laptop for Programming
You might argue this by saying the device isn’t always everything, and you can write code on just about any laptop. Even a general laptop will do if you want to get work done right away, right? If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re absolutely right.
Make no error: getting your perfect laptop is no replacement for being productive. You could have the world’s best laptop and still not get anything done. Although it’s preferable for you to have the right machine for the job, it isn’t a rigid requirement.
With that said, you still shouldn’t use a general laptop for programming. At least not on a long-term basis.
Most manufacturers in the market build general laptops with bare minimum features. A home PC will perform all your essential office work and still serve as an auxiliary entertainment center.
You can use it to code as well, but you’ll struggle with slower performance. Any serious programmer knows that building web apps, games and software is a demanding task. Low device memory, poor processing speeds, and lackluster display quality only make a challenging coding session even harder.
It’s common for many manufacturers to use lower-quality materials and components on general PCs, which could lead to frustration for you. You’ll deal with too many lags, glitches, hangups, and abrupt shutdowns.
How To Pick The Right Laptop For Programming?
The laptop display is one major thing that a programmer should consider. That’s because this is what you’ll be looking at nearly 99% of the time when working. So, don’t settle just for any display. Here are some things to consider when picking out a device.
Big Built-In Screen
If portability isn’t an issue with you, try to get the biggest possible monitor you can. That’s because smaller displays mean you have less space to work with. It also means that text, icons, and other user interface elements will be smaller, leading to more eyestrain.
Furthermore, programming uses a lot of vertical space. That’s why you would appreciate 16:10 displays. While most laptop displays nowadays feature a 16:9 aspect ratio, some options that let you have the former are out there.
Also, touch screen displays or 2-in-1 laptops do not have much utility for programmers. They’re not worth the additional cost unless you plan to use your computer for other purposes.
External Display Support
Most computers also let you attach at least one external monitor via HDMI. This is useful, especially for those with multiple windows open simultaneously for references. However, the mismatch between the small built-in screen and a larger external monitor can make work harder for you.
As with any application, it’s always better to have a high-performing processor. However, we do recognize that not everyone has an unlimited budget. So, when you’re picking out a processor, you should weigh a few options.
Do you use many applications simultaneously, with multiple instances of each app? Do you work with tons of data, spending hours compiling them? If that’s the case, you should prioritize core count over raw processing power. But if you focus on just one software, a processor with high clock speed might be worth it.
Just as essential to your experience is sufficient memory. In case you need to run a heavy IDE or virtual environment, you’ll need all the memory you can get. Even for web developers, your browser environment will use plenty of memory. You can’t have anything less than 4GB RAM.
8GB RAM is ideal for web and app development. If you’re a game developer, you’ll need at least 16GB or more. Where possible, pick a laptop with expandable memory so that you can add more RAM modules when you need to.
As far as hard drives go, it isn’t so much about storage capacity. Read-and-write speeds make all the difference to a developer. Faster speeds are always better, no matter the task you’re running.
In this case, choose a Solid-State Drive (SSD) or flash over a standard Hard Disk Drive (HDD). SSDs will give you exponential speeds, which means your laptop will boot in seconds whereas an HDD would boot in minutes.
Most modern laptops have excellent battery life, so you won’t have to worry much here. Most of the time you’ll always be next to a power outlet anyway. But if you ever move away from your desk or are a digital nomad, get a laptop with a long-lasting battery. It’s easy to tell how long a laptop battery lasts. Customer reviews on websites like Amazon will tell you much about a laptop’s battery performance. Don’t rely on manufacturer estimates.
You’ll type out plenty of code, so you need a comfortable keyboard. When choosing your next laptop, feel the keyboard and test it out. How’s the key travel? Are the keys soft to the touch? Does it have a numeric keypad? All these features ultimately play into your programming experience.
Best Programming Laptops
The HP Spectre x360 (2021) 2-in-1 laptop had a big refresh, and the boost in specs, with 11th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics, along with the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis, means that this version is at the top of our best laptops for programmers list.
The HP Spectre line has always consisted of stunning devices. So, when we say that the Spectre x360 takes things to another level, that should mean something. Not only is this one of the most beautiful laptops on the market right now – with its gem-cut design and sleek profile, but it’s tough on the inside.
HP fitted this with impressively long battery life, which means that you’re getting one of the best laptops on the market, hands down. As such, it’s also the best laptop for programming right now.
- CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- RAM: 8GB – 16GScreen: 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Bright
- View micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3″ diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch
- Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
- Powerful Intel Whiskey Lake processors
- 12-hour battery life
- Thin, light, and portable
- More powerful than some users will need
If you have the funds for an unstoppable workhorse, then Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme mobile workstation is the best laptop for programming for you.
This laptop has several configurations on hand, depending on your needs and budget, but at its most basic, it’s already pretty powerful, packed with a solid graphics card in a robust carbon-fiber and aluminum package that will survive any office or field.
- CPU: up to 8th-generation Intel Core i7
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q design
- RAM: up to 64GB
- Screen: 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) – 15.6” 4K UHD HDR (3840 x 2160) multi-touch
- Storage: up to 1TB SSD
- Extreme mobile workstation
- Multiple configuration options
- Robust carbon-fiber and aluminum package
- More power than some users will need
Another really impressive device for programming is the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is brilliant for creative workflows, but it’s terrific for programming as well. Taking the MacBook Pro to the ultimate level, this M1 Pro- or M1 Max-powered laptop absolutely blows the rest away with breathtaking power, an equally breathtaking battery life, and an XDR display with 1600 nits of peak brightness. The SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports help ensure that you have all the peripherals you need.
- CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core
- Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPU
- RAM: Up to 64GB
- Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
- Storage: Up to 8TB
- Brilliant performance
- Crystal Display
- The screen may be a bit small for some
The Razer Blade 17 is an incredible laptop for coding on if you’re working on games. Razer is a big name in PC gaming, and this laptop comes with Nvidia’s latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU, which is extremely powerful. This allows you to work with complex 3D games that use cutting-edge tech, like ray tracing, and you’ll be able to play your game afterward to test how it runs.
It’s not just a gaming laptop, however, as it’s built for creative professionals, and this means if you’re a programmer working on heavy-duty projects, this is a laptop well worth considering. It’s very expensive, but for your money, you’re getting some of the best mobile tech available right now.
- CPU: 12th-generation Intel Core i7
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 TiRAM: 32GB DDR5
- Screen: 17.3-inch QHD, 240Hz, G-Sync
- Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
- Incredibly powerful
- Modern design with a great keyboard
- Very expensive
- Short battery life
Yet another Apple device is on this list. The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is a fantastic thin and light laptop for programming on. It comes with a range of improvements over the previous model, including a new 1080p webcam and a larger, brighter screen.
It also packs the new M2 chip from Apple, which is a powerful bit of silicon that makes coding on the MacBook Air a real joy. It’s powerful enough to compile code in seconds, and you can run simultaneous emulations and tests at the same time.
Best of all, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022)’s battery life is amazing, lasting over 16 hours in our tests. So, you can work on this throughout the day without worrying about being plugged into a power source.
- CPU: Apple M2Graphics: Integrated 8-core /10-core GPU
- RAM: 8GB – 24GB
- Screen: 13.6-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,664 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
- Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
- Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (30.41 x 21.5 x 1.13cm; W x D x H)
- Great new design
- Excellent battery life
- More expensive than the previous model
- Gets hot when under pressure
If you’re after a large-screen laptop to do your coding on, then the LG Gram 17 (2021) is a perfect choice. It has a gorgeous screen that’s high resolution and large, giving you plenty of workspaces. However, this is a laptop that proves you don’t have to sacrifice portability and comfort for screen size, as it’s impressively light. This means you can comfortably carry it around with you – perfect for anyone who travels a lot.
- CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 Series
- RAM: Up to 64GB
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- extremely light
- Long battery life
- Not the best touchpad
The Surface Laptop 4 could be the best laptop for you if you enjoy using windows 10. As it’s made by Microsoft, this is a brilliant showcase for Windows 10, so you can be sure your Windows apps run perfectly on the operating system. With Windows 11 now out, you can upgrade for free, and as you’d expect from a Microsoft device, the latest operating system works brilliantly on it.
This model comes with a choice of 11th generation Intel Core processors, or AMD’s finest mobile CPUs, as well as up to 32 GB and a speedy SSD, which makes this an excellent laptop for even the most intense of programming tasks.
- CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 /AMD Ryzen 5 – 7
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
- RAM: 8GB – 32GBScreen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
- Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
- Comfortable keyboard
- Beautiful screen
- Not enough ports
Dell’s XPS machines are the firm’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Pro, so it’s no surprise that the Dell XPS 15 is impressive. It looks fantastic, with a robust aluminum body, and its keyboard is comfortable and fast – ideal for long days of typing.
On the inside, the XPS is available with Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Both are excellent: the Core i7 chip can easily tackle most mainstream programming situations, while the Core i9 part is well-suited to running virtual machines and emulated environments too.
It’s easy enough to upgrade this machine with more memory and storage, and you even get a modest Nvidia GPU for extra graphical grunts in content-creation tools.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H/Core i9-11900H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050/3050 TiRAM: 16GB, 32GB, 64GBStorage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
- Screen size: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS, 3840 x 2400 IPS, or 3456 x 2160 OLED
- Weight: 3.9 – 4.3 lbs (1.8 – 1.96kg)
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 9 x 0.7 in (345 x 230 x 18mm)
- Plenty of power and customization
- Great screen options
- A good keyboard and robust design
- Moderate battery life
The HP Envy x360 13 is a really light laptop, with a 13.3-inch display means it’s easy to carry this machine around, and it has a reasonable port selection and a fast, comfortable keyboard. You’ll get between nine and eleven hours of battery life, so it’ll last through most working days.
Bear in mind, though, that the lower price does mean some compromises. You can’t go beyond 16GB of memory or 512GB of SSD space, and there are no discrete graphics. And while the 1080p display is fine for everyday programming, it’s easily bettered elsewhere.
Despite that, there are loads to like: the Envy is affordable, well-built, and fast enough for mainstream programming, so it’s a great mid-range choice.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600U/Ryzen 7 5800U/Intel
- Core i5-1135G7/i7-1165G7GPU: AMD Radeon integrated/Intel Iris Xe integrated
- RAM: 8GB/16GBStorage: 256GB/512GB
- Screen size: 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touch
- Weight: 2.9 lbs (1.32kg)
- Dimensions: 12.1 x 7.6 x 0.64in (306 x 194 x 16.4mm)
- Consistently Affordable
- Good AMD and Intel processing options
- All-day battery life
- No high-resolution screen options
Google’s Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook money can buy right now, and it’s also a fantastic laptop for programming. Coming with a more affordable price tag than its predecessor, the Pixelbook, Google’s latest Chromebook still packs plenty of the premium features, the original came with, including amazing battery life, and one of the best keyboards we’ve used on a laptop – an important consideration when looking for a laptop for programming.
- CPU: Intel Core m3 – Intel Core i7
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
- RAM: 8GB – 16GB
- Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen
- Sturdy keyboard
Premium Chromebooks occupy their own space in the laptop market, bridging that gap between powerful traditional laptops and super lightweight Chromebooks. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436F/C436FA is perhaps one of the very few examples of these out there, with its combination of superb power, terrific feature set, and premium build, but a price tag that’s cheaper than its rivals. This makes the Asus Chromebook Flip C436F/C436FA perfect for web developers who need a powerful machine.
- CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i3 – i5
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
- RAM: 8GB – 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3
- Screen: 14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 display
- Affordable price
- Premium build
- Low resolution
In conclusion, we have presented you with some of the best laptops for programming. You don’t have to worry about looking somewhere else, as the above devices were carefully selected.