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Last updated on September 1st, 2020 at 03:41 pm

7 Best Laptops For Programming and Coding [2020 Complete List]

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Last updated on September 11th, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Looking for the best laptop for programming is not an easy task. You have to know precisely what you want in a laptop.

And there is also the case where you might be new to programming or are a student programmer. Either way, you might not know the requirements that a laptop has to meet before you can code on it.

Most importantly because there are several programming languages each will task your laptop differently. The time in compiling the code with C++ is going to be different from Java. The operating system and hardware also affect the time. Moreover, coding is a very valuable skill to have today.

So many factors come into play because programming languages have their own requirements. Luckily, most of the requirements are also similar to other programming languages making things easier.

To be honest any laptop with decent hardware can be used for basic programming or coding. The only exception is if you are developing games, server-side, applications for Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS etc. Here are the best laptops for programming, software development and coding.


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Also Great
Snapshot
Dell XPS 15 Notebook (15.6-inch FHD+, Intel Core i7 10th Gen, 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD Storage, GTX 1650Ti GFX, Windows 10 Home) Silver (Newest Model)
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core with Radeon Graphics, 8GB LPDDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Alexa Built-in, SF314-42-R9YN
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The most powerful workstation you can get for programming and coding.

The Apple MacBook Pro has great compatibility with IDEs because of its UNIX based OS. Plus, it has great build quality.

The Acer Swift 3 is an affordable laptop with an all metallic design. Plus, the keyboard is great. Highly recommended.

Prime
Rating
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Position
First Place
Snapshot
Dell XPS 15 Notebook (15.6-inch FHD+, Intel Core i7 10th Gen, 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD Storage, GTX 1650Ti GFX, Windows 10 Home) Silver (Newest Model)
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The most powerful workstation you can get for programming and coding.

Prime
Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Apple MacBook Pro has great compatibility with IDEs because of its UNIX based OS. Plus, it has great build quality.

Prime
Rating
-
Position
Also Great
Snapshot
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core with Radeon Graphics, 8GB LPDDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Alexa Built-in, SF314-42-R9YN
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Acer Swift 3 is an affordable laptop with an all metallic design. Plus, the keyboard is great. Highly recommended.

Prime
Rating
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Last update on 2020-09-23 at 22:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Processor, GPU & RAM
 
Dell XPS 15 Notebook (15.6-inch FHD+, Intel Core i7 10th Gen, 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD Storage, GTX 1650Ti GFX, Windows 10 Home) Silver (Newest Model)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti & 16 GB
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Intel i7-i9, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M & 16GB
LG Gram Laptop - 17' IPS 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)

Intel Core i7, Intel HD Graphics & 16GB
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14' Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core with Radeon Graphics, 8GB LPDDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Alexa Built-in, SF314-42-R9YN

AMD Ryzen 7, AMD Radeon Vega & 8GB
2019 Newest Lenovo Thinkpad T480 14' HD Business Laptop (Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD) Fingerprint, Thunderbolt 3, Type-C, WiFi AC, Windows 10 Pro

Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics & 32GB
Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-56VK, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6, HD Webcam, Fingerprint Reader, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 Home

Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics & 8GB
Lenovo Thinkpad T430 Business Laptop computer Intel i5-3320m up tp 3.3GHz, 8GB DDR3, 128GB SSD, 14in HD LED-backlit display, DVD, WiFi, USB 3.0, Windows 10 Pro (Renewed)

Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics & 8GB

Here’s Our Recommended List For The Best Laptops For Programming And Coding


Where To Buy

$1,729.00

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • Excellent Performance
  • Lightweight & solid chassis
  • Beautiful Display
  • Good battery life
  • Comfy keyboard
  • USB-C adapter included

Cons

  • Runs hot
  • Pricey
  • No type-A ports

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 3840 x 2400 Infinity Edge Display | Storage: 512GB SSD

If you want the best laptop for programming and gaming. You are looking at it – The Dell XPS 15. At the same time the best laptop for Linux programming.

Dell created this powerful workstation to serve as a programmer’s best friend or someone who needs a lot of computing power. It offers an almost perfect balance between performance, quality and value.

Let’s talk about performance.

It is powered by an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti. Powerful hardware that can IDEs and VMs with ease. You can also do a bit of gaming on it too.

Furthermore, hardware like this makes it future-proof. The i7 processor is a six-core high-performance CPU which will be useful for a long time. Plus, 16GB RAM means you won’t be upgrading for a long time.

When it comes to the display. You have a 15.6 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display. What that means for you is that. It is bright, has great viewing angles and high colour accuracy and reproduction.

When it comes to battery life. The Dell XPS 15 is able to last 8 hours on average. Also, it has only USB-C ports. The good news is that Dell includes a USB-C to Type-A port adapter.

Every programmer is concerned about the keyboard. The Dell XPS 15 doesn’t disappoint. It has the right about of tactile feedback, key spacing and travel. This allows you to type at your near MAX WPM for long periods.

Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is the best laptop for programming and coding. Because has great keyboard and solid performance.


Pros

  • Excellent Performance
  • Great Battery Life, Slim and Lightweight
  • Great Build Quality and Great Display
  • Unix OS Makes It Perfect For Programming

Cons

  • Pricey
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter needed

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i9| Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 16” Retina Display | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

The Apple MacBook Pro has the best compatibility with the majority of programming languages. This is because Mac OS is UNIX-based.

A convenient platform for programmers to develop software. Plus, you also get exceptional hardware and software optimisation.

Talking about hardware. The Apple MacBook Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and an AMD Radeon Pro. Powerful hardware combined with the Mac OS ensures that code is compiled very fast.

You can also multitask without any performance impact. Unfortunately, you can’t game on a MacBook Pro. The graphics card is optimised for professional drawings (CAD, Adobe, etc.).

MacBook Pros are known to have the best build quality. An aluminium uni-body that has a smooth finish. No sign of flex on the MacBook. A sturdy and robust laptop that will last a long time. It also weighs 4 pounds and almost half-an-inch thick.

When it comes to the display. It’s a 16-inch Retina Display (3072×1920). It is bright, sharp and has great viewing angles. Colours are also reproduced well. One of the main reasons it is the go-to laptop for content creators.

Battery life is superb. You can continuously code on it for 10 hours on a single charge.

The Apple MacBook Pro has only Thunderbolt 3 ports. Whiles this is great it because you can connect high resolution external monitors.

You have to carry a dock if you want to make use of the different ports. Plus, the MacBook itself is an expensive laptop.

Still, the great software compatibility it has with a lot of programming languages can’t be overlooked. One of the best workstation laptops for programmers, software developers and coding.


Pros

  • Big Screen and Superb Performance
  • Decent Keyboard
  • Lightweight
  • Long Battery Life

Cons

  • Pricey

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 17” (2560 x 1600) Display | Storage: 1TB SSD

Every programmer knows the benefit of having a large screen. You can fit more applications which results in getting more done.

Unfortunately, 17-inch laptops are mostly the heaviest laptops. But, not the LG Gram 17. This is the lightest 17-inch laptop out there. You can take advantage of its big screen and lightweight. It weighs approximately 3 pounds or 1.4 kg. Just a little heavier than the Acer Swift 3.

As you already know. The display is a high resolution (2560 x 1600) 17-inch screen. It is bright, sharp and has good colour accuracy.

Build quality is also top-notch. Made from carbon and aluminium. The body is strong and sturdy with little flex. The only part of the laptop with a little flex is the keyboard deck.

Talking about keyboards. The LG Gram’s keyboard is well-spaced. It also has decent tactile feedback and travel. Enough to allow you to type code for long periods.

When it comes to performance. The LG Gram isn’t here to play. An Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. The perfect recipe for a fast and responsive laptop. You can easily multitask and run some demanding applications on it.

For a big-screen laptop. This thing has amazing battery life. You are looking 12 hours under consistent use. That is close to half a day. You can squeeze out more if you turn on battery saver.

The LG Gram is the one of the best laptops for programming and coding. Because not only is the display big enough. It is lightweight and has the performance for software development.


Pros

  • Great performance
  • Above average battery Life
  • Nice build quality
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not the best display

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 14” Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Acer Swift 3 for programming? Absolutely.The Acer Swift 3 is an all-rounder. It is a premium looking laptop that has an aluminium body. A beautiful looking laptop to be honest. It is sleek and has a smooth finish.

At this point, you might think it is a fingerprint magnet. But, it is not. Plus, it weighs only 2.9 pounds or 1.3 kg making it the lightest laptop for programming.

The keyboard offers excellent tactile feedback, long travel and its backlit. A great combination for typing. A good keyboard on a laptop makes it possible to type a lot in short a time and it’s comfortable.

Performance-wise. The Acer Swift is delivers amazing processing power at its price tag. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 and 8GB RAM. This budget laptop has more performance than most premium Intel Core i7 laptops.

The 8GB RAM is also sufficient enough to multitask and it is the recommended amount of RAM for programming. However, upgrading to 16GB takes the performance to new heights.

The Acer Swift 3 employs the use of a 15.6 inch Full HD display. The biggest weakpoint of the laptops. It’s not bright enough to be used outdoors and colour accuracy isn’t that great. The good news is that you don’t need a colour accurate laptop for coding.

For battFor battery life, the Acer Swift 3 can last an average of 9 – 10 hours under normal usage. Enough battery power to do a lot of coding.

Overall, Acer Swift 3 is one of the best laptops for programming and coding. A solid choice if you are on a budget.


Where To Buy

$1,079.99

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • Solid Performance With A Lot Of RAM
  • Thunderbolt 3 Port
  • Plenty Of Battery Life and Good Keyboard

Cons

  • Dim Display

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 32 GB | Screen: 14” HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB SSD

Built like a tank and a great keyboard. The only thing you can accuse the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 of is its dim display. A 15.6 inch HD (1366 x 768) with a little below average brightness. The same for the colour accuracy and reproduction. Aside from that, this laptop is near perfect for programming and coding.

The keyboard is great. It offers great typing experience which is something all ThinkPads provide. The tactile feedback and travel are just right. Build quality is solid. Strong enough to last generations. Plus, it weighs close to 4 pounds or 1.8 kg.

For the performance, this thing has been specced out to the MAX. An Intel Core i5, 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. Now, this kind of hardware tells you two things. Your laptop is future-proof and multitasking won’t be a problem ever again. You can put your mind at ease in matters of computing performance.

Battery life is also excellent. You can use it continuously for 9-10 hours. You also have a Thunderbolt 3 port which allows you to hook-up it up to external monitors. As a programmer, you know what that means.

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is the best value laptop for programming. Solid keyboard, build quality and performance makes it a great choice.


Pros

  • Solid Performance
  • Plenty Of Ports
  • Good Battery Life

Cons

  • Not the brightest display

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 256GB SSD

The Acer Aspire 5 is the best cheap laptop for programming and coding. It might not be the fastest or the most powerful. But, it will get the job done. Great for programmers and students on a tight budget.

Powered by an Intel Core i5 and 8GB RAM. The processing performance is decent for everyday tasks and coding.

It also comes with a 256GB SSD. So you can expect fast boot-up speeds, loading of games and launching of applications. However, swapping it out for a larger SSD drive is a great idea. 

Now for the display. It is a 15.6 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080). It is not impressive by any means. The display is not bright and so outdoor use will be difficult. Viewing angles are also not great.

Build quality isn’t so great either. There is quite a bit of flex at the keyboard area and display. It is to be expected since this is an affordable laptop.

The battery life is also decent. It has enough power to last 8 hours under consistent use. Overall, it is a great all-round laptop. It is the best budget laptop for programming.


Pros

  • Easily upgradeable
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Not the best display

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 15” HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 128GB SSD

The strength of the Lenovo ThinkPad T430 lies in the fact that it is easily upgradeable changing it from a weak laptop to a very power machine.

There is a reason why ThinkPads are one of the most favoured laptops not only for programming but other type of related tasks that are demanding.

You can easily upgrade it to have a 16 GB ram and 1 TB SSD without breaking your bank. ThinkPads are also known to last a very long time. A good futureproof machine.

The processor is a 3rd Gen Intel i5 and has 8 GB of ram. The storage is a 128 GB SSD. The display is a 14 inch HD (1366 x 768).

If you are not satisfied with the resolution you can easily connect the Thinkpad to an external monitor with a higher resolution. It also has an available dock.

The battery life is not all that great since it is an old model but you can easily swap it out for a new battery and even add an extra battery to it.

The Lenovo Thinkpad is cheap laptop that you can use for programming and has decent performance. It is available for less than $300.

And upgrading it to have 16 GB of ram and 1 TB SSD won’t cost that much. A win-win situation if you can’t afford a laptop higher than $400 or $500.


How To Find The Best Laptop For Programming And Coding

Here are a few things to consider if you are looking for the best laptop for programming or coding.

What Programming Language Are You Going To Use The Laptop For?

This is the first question you should ask yourself. Every programmer is different so is every programming language. Developing a game application is going to need a powerful laptop as compared to the JavaScript program. Every programming language has its requirements.

Unless you are a student a laptop with decent hardware is enough to handle the programming languages you will learn at school. As a programmer, you should take into consideration which laptop has the best configuration that is able to handle the programming language you are going to use it for.

Which Operating System Should You Use For Programming?

Windows, MacOS and Linux which is the best for programming? Windows is widely used because of the fact that it can support a lot of the programming languages out there.

MacOS is mostly used by Apple developers or those who prefer Apple’s MacBooks over PCs. Linux is preferred by developers who like to tinker with the OS because it is open-source.

Every operating system has its pros and cons when it comes to programming.

For example in Windows, developing desktop apps in C# or C++ has great support because of Visual Studio which is a great integrated development environment (IDE).

But, when it comes to setting up a system for development in Windows you go through a lot of stuff which can be a pain, there is also the fact that you can’t develop iOS apps on Windows.

There is also personal preference. No matter what the pros and cons are you might prefer Linux over MacOS or Windows over MacOS.

What Hardware Configuration Do You Need For Programming?

Ideally, an i5, i7, Ryzen 5 or higher processor and at least 8 GB of RAM is a good combination. There is also the programming language you should consider.

Less-intense programming languages can work well on i3 laptops. But the more intense programming languages need a powerful processor and a lot of RAM.

For the storage type, it doesn’t really matter though having an SSD will make everything run smoother and faster. Boots times are quick and loading of applications doesn’t take too long. It improves the overall performance of your laptop.

The port selection is also important. Laptops with ports that can allow you to connect to multiple external monitors are highly recommended, especially for serious projects. If you are a student, this might not apply to you.

Good battery life is also important. You don’t want your laptop dying on you when you are coding an important program or apps.

For the weight it depends, do you move around a lot? If so then going with a lightweight laptop is the best option. The only downside is, the lighter the laptop fewer ports it has.

There is also the keyboard. A bad keyboard can affect the number lines you type in a negative way causing your productivity to go down.

A comfortable keyboard with decent key travel and spacing will do wonders for you, especially if you type code for long periods of time. A sensitive enough trackpad is also recommended.

Do You Need A Dedicated Graphics Card For Programming?

Most programming languages do not need a dedicated graphics card unless it is graphics related. If you like to play games on your laptop having a dedicated graphics card is actually beneficial because games run smoother than when your laptop has an integrated graphics card.

What Kind Of Display Is Important For Programmers?

For programming or coding having an anti-glare or matte display is recommended. Matte displays are coated in an anti-reflective finish that reduces glare and screen reflections. Glare is a serious problem especially if you stare at screens for a long time.

And as a programmer, you will definitely stare at your display for long periods of time. Glare can cause eye strains, headaches and macular degeneration.

Getting a laptop with a matte display will keep your eyes healthy. The downside is that matte displays are dull. Colours are not vibrant and sharp like glossy displays.

In case you go for a glossy display make sure you get an anti-reflective or matte screen protector to reduce the amount of glare.

For display resolution, Full HD (1920 x 1080) or higher is recommended. The reason is that you will be able to fit more applications into the screen getting more done.

What’s Your Budget?

This should be the most important thing you should consider before everything else. How much are you willing to spend on a laptop?

The amount of money is important because you know how much you are willing to compromise on hardware configuration at the same time trying the get a laptop that will give you the best bang for your buck.

Budget is very important when it comes to buying a laptop unless your company provides you with one.

Conclusions

That’s it for our guide to the best laptops for programming and coding. Feel free to comment if you need any help.

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