As a programmer, there are few things that you want to consider when getting a new laptop:
- A powerful processor: The CPU is what makes a huge difference in laptop performance. Code compilation depends heavily on the laptop processor. Hence, it’s important to go for the laptop featuring an evidently fast processor, preferably the multi-core Intel i7.
- A good amount of RAM: It is a deciding factor while buying a laptop for coding. A good amount of RAM paired with an effective storage configuration, i.e., insanely fast SSD storage unit for faster Windows bootups and data retrievals. Not just that, it would also help you quickly browse Stack Overflow, transfer files to GIT or when writing your code in your favorite IDE.
- But do you know what makes a huge difference and is often missed in most programmers’ research? It’s the keyboard. Yes! As a coder, you are going to type a lot, and for a long duration. Hence, it’s essential to look for a laptop that features a full-size backlit keyboard with outstanding travel and increased comfort.
- This must be considered alongside a powerful display with high resolution IPS screen that doesn’t strain your eyes while working on a laptop for long hours.
Let us now dive deep into the system requirements for buying the best laptop for coders. Here are the minimum and recommended system requirements for you to consider thoroughly before you read about the top laptops under each category.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 9 Best Laptops for Programming in 2021
- 1. Best Laptop for Programming: MSI WS75
- 2. Best Double-Screen Laptop: ASUS ZenBook 15
- 3. Best MacOS for Programming: Apple MacBook Pro
- 4. Best Laptop With 4K Panel: HP Spectre x360
- 5. Best Linux OS: Lenovo Thinkbook 14s
- 6. Best Dell Programming Laptop: Dell Inspiron 15
- 7. Best With 12GB RAM: Lenovo Yoga C740
- 8. Best Microsoft Laptop: Microsoft Surface 3
- 9. Best Battery Life: ASUS VivoBook S15
- Frequently Asked Questions
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i5||10th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|GPU||Integrated Intel UHD 620||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Battery||Up to 5 hours||Up to 8 hours|
9 Best Laptops for Programming in 2021
|ASUS ZenBook 15|
|Apple MacBook Pro|
|HP Spectre x360|
|Lenovo Thinkbook 14s|
|Dell Inspiron 15|
|Lenovo Yoga C740|
|Microsoft Surface 3|
|ASUS VivoBook S15|
Let us dive into 9 of the best laptops for coding available in the market for you to purchase by looking at their configuration and whether they meet your requirements. These devices come with enough resources; hence, writing large codes or compiling them on the go should not be an issue. That said, let us begin!
1. Best Laptop for Programming: MSI WS75
If you are a programmer, game developer, or designer, MSI WS 75 is designed to power you through all the stages of your workflow. By putting a powerful core processing unit and a high-end graphics processor together, MSI gives you a professional workstation with the power of a beastly programming and gaming rig.
CPU and GPU
The octa-core Intel Core i9-10980HK clocks at a maximum turbo frequency of 5.3GHz. The NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with a dedicated memory of 6GB and CPU combine to offer a seamless working experience, even if you are working with scalable enterprise software and high-end graphic design applications.
RAM and Storage
Game developing software like Unity Pro or Unreal engine operates smoothly in this MSI machine, credit to a 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Windows 10 Pro offers a secure environment with inbuilt security features that are indispensable for a workstation. Access your laptop quickly and secure it with a fingerprint reader.
In addition to the powerful processor and enough memory, the best laptop for computer programming will need a larger screen. This machine comes with a 17.3-inch screen and FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 144Hz. This combination will give you a smooth visual experience. Thin edge bezels leave a bigger screen at your disposal. The display powered by TRUE PIXEL comes with a wide gamut of colors and brightness that keeps your designs realistic.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The programming laptop gets a full-sized backlit keyboard and a dedicated numeric pad. Despite the shallow key-travel and unique layout, the keyboard is ideal for long hours with a quiet but crisp response system. The wider trackpad finds room for a fingerprint reader and gives you a smooth gliding response for multi-touch gestures.
Share your screen with colleagues or connect to an external display at work with four USB ports (3 Type-A, 1 Type-C) and an HDMI port. MSI throws in one thunderbolt port, an Ethernet port, a headphone/microphone combo, a card reader into the mix. Connect your laptop to high-speed internet and accessories with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
Get 7 hours of backup with an 82Whr battery. You can be an architect or audio/video editor or a game developer or software programmer, MSI WS75 would be your best workplace companion, that comes in a slim grey chassis, weighing close to 5.5lbs.
- Octa-core processor
- Fingerprint reader
- WiFi 6
- Windows 10 Pro
- ISV Certified System
- Speakers are a letdown
- Non-durable Chassis
2. Best Double-Screen Laptop: ASUS ZenBook 15
Are you a software engineer spending a great deal of time in Programming IDE’S (Eclipse, Visual Studio, GNAT, JetBrains) and application frameworks like Angular, React or Laravel? Asus ZenBook 15 offers a great combination of processing power, portability, and a brilliant dual-screen to cruise through your workload and keep you entertained.
CPU and GPU
Compile and run your codes seamlessly or load some games and entertain yourself with the power of i7-10510U and GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q, a proprietary design for the slim laptops from NVIDIA. The GPU has a dedicated memory of 4GB, which makes light work of designing, editing, and mid-range graphic games.
RAM and Storage
The synergy of 16GB RAM and quick read/write speeds of 512GBSSD makes this coding laptop a good multitasker. Stream music while you code/design and let the music inspire you. The Windows 10 Home comes pre-installed in this edition of Zenbook. Windows Hello facial recognition takes away the hassle of remembering passwords.
The main 15.6-inch UHD screen with a 92% screen-to-body ratio and wide viewing angles delivers realistic visuals at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. Ingenious to ASUS is the LCD Screenpad 2 (2160 x 1080). The secondary touch-screen is loaded with ASUS utility applications and interacts with the primary screen making job easier for graphic designers as well.
Design and Keyboard
Asus’s ingenuity in design puts together a spacious full-size backlit keyboard with a separate Numpad. The touchpad smoothly accommodates all the multi-touch gestures. It turns into the secondary screen in a single touch. At 3.6 lbs, Zenbook comes in a compact silver chassis that exudes class and sophistication.
Zenbook accommodates one HDMI port, three USB ports (2 Type-A, one Type-C), an audio jack, and an SD card reader. The lack of an ethernet port is a disadvantage for a few, but Asus throws in the latest WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5. Stable and faster wireless connectivity is well within its purview.
Asus claims the 71Whr battery can last up to 7 hours. The combination of a primary 4K and a secondary display will test the limits of the battery. Zenbook 15 is designed for programmers, design professionals looking for a portable alternative for their workstations. The CPU /GPU combo is primed to ease through programming IDE’s and occasional gaming.
- WiFi 6
- 4K Display
- Facial Recognition
- Alexa compatible
- No Ethernet
- Screenpad 2.0 might be an overkill
3. Best MacOS for Programming: 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 x 1920 pixel resolution. This provides the MacBook Pro 16 with crisp and intense image quality.
CPU, RAM and Storage
This laptop for computer 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 coders 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 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM is an absolute upgrade from the previous MacBook models. The MacBook Pro 16 works wonder with such specifications when it comes to programming, video editing, photo editing, android development, and more relevant tasks.
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 thin and 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.
Design and Ports
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.
- The most powerful and productivity-inclined MacBook
- Impressive battery life
- Addition of Esc key and shortened TouchBar
- Formidable GPU
- Increased key travel
- On the higher end of price point
- Bulky build
4. Best Laptop With 4K Panel: HP Spectre x360
Marketed as the most powerful Spectre yet, HP brought it’s newest HP Spectre x360 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.
CPU, RAM and Storage
This stylish laptop is laced with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor which makes working on Spectre x360 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. This programming machine also has 32GB Optane storage.
The laptop also provides an entry-level gaming experience to users through its 4GB of NVIDIA GeForce MX330 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 x 2160 resolution, the touchscreen is disappointingly dim with some glare. Although, the colors are vivid and the 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 comes with Bang & Olufsen speakers which are average for the audio experience.
The battery life is the highlight of this laptop. Lasting between 11 to 13.5 hours, the battery is optimal for a programmer and makes HP Spectre x360 suitable along with other configurations mentioned above.
- A powerful processor for a smooth performance
- Good keyboard and typing experience
- Provision of touchscreen
- Addition of Stylus
- Excellent battery life
- Display quality could be improved
- Speakers lack a good performance
5. Best Linux OS: Lenovo Thinkbook 14s
Lenovo puts together a secure combination of Linux OS, TPM Chip, and a capable quad-core processor, which makes Lenovo Thinkbook 14s a wonderful choice as a Linux work laptop. A portable value-for-money work companion for the travel enthusiast in a programmer.
CPU and GPU
Intel Core i5-8265U equips the Thinkbook with the power to handle the processing demands of programming IDE’s or handling data sets. The CPU clocks at a max speed of 3.9GHz. The AMD Radeon 540X with VRAM of 2GB offers the performance boost for running Business Intelligence interfaces and games like FIFA, SIMS, WOW, etc.
RAM and Storage
The 256GB SSD has fast data access speeds. It keeps your simulations, computations smooth with a multitasking 16GB RAM. Keep your confidential data secure with Linux Mint secured by a TPM chip.
The 14-inch FHD screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Narrow bezels keep you engaged with wide viewing angles and realistic visuals. The sleek aluminum body sports a flexible 180-degree hinge while giving a classy feel to the 3.3lbs Lenovo Thinkbook. A physical webcam shutter keeps your privacy intact, making it a complete combo for video conferencing.
The keyboard panel lacks a dedicated numeric pad but makes up for it with an ideally spaced backlit keyboard. Despite the smaller landscape, the keys remain ideal for longer work hours. The standard-sized touchpad leaves a smooth response during operations.
Design and Ports
This affordable laptop under $1000 gets an HDMI port, two Type-A USB ports, one Type-C USB port, and a 3.5mm audio jack to keep you connected to peripherals and accessories. The lack of an Ethernet port limits access to high-speed internet. With WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5, the device gets wireless connectivity.
Even with a 45WHr battery, Lenovo expects it to last for 11 hours. Getting the best out of the battery depends on optimal utilization. If you are into software development looking to fit your laptop into a backpack and keep it secure from data theft, the Lenovo Thinkbook 14s might be the right laptop for software development.
- Lightweight, Slim
- Camera Shutter
- 180-Degree Hinge
- TPM Security
- No LAN connectivity
6. Best Dell Programming Laptop: Dell Inspiron 15
The Inspiron 15 finds the right mix of price, features, and utility in this edition. By combining the 11th generation processor with adequate operating and storage memory, Dell gives the programmers and developers a suitable device capable of handling work and entertaining themselves by streaming movies in HD resolution.
CPU and GPU
Intel Core i7-1165G7 is a powerful quad-core processor clocking at a higher base speed of 2.8GHz. Its maximum potential of 4.7GHz combined with the integrated graphics processor gives ample processing power to handle low-end gaming and basic photo/video editing.
RAM and Storage
Be it visual infographics, presentations, or heavy data set computations, the 16GB RAM and faster read/write speeds of 1TB SSD make it possible. Windows 10 Home offers the user a friendly environment, and the Dell MobileConnect offers PC/smartphone integration.
The 15.6-inch FHD delivers visuals at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Inspiron 5000 comes in a simply elegant silver chassis with an ergonomic hinge to facilitate ventilation. At 3.84 lbs, the laptop remains lightweight in concurrence to its compact design making it ideal for IT professionals.
A full-size backlit keyboard with a numeric pad leaves the arrow keys tightly packed. The rest of the keyboard panel finds its ideally spaced and conducive to long working hours. The touchpad comes in its standard size and has a smooth gliding feel to it. The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.
Use the HDMI port to cast your screen to an external display or any of the three USB ports (2 Type-A, one Type-C) to connect your accessories. Dell finds room for a 3.5mm audio jack and a card reader. With WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5, you get support to the latest standards of Wireless connectivity.
The 52Whr remains the weak link in an otherwise perfect business laptop. Dell compensates for a weaker battery with the quick ExpressCharge. The 11th generation processor gives the Dell Inspiron sufficient power to handle the day-to-day activities at work and home.
- 11th Generation processor
- Backlit keyboard
- Express Charge
- WiFi 6
- Mobile Connect
- Battery life
- No Ethernet port
7. Best With 12GB RAM: Lenovo Yoga C740
The Lenovo Yoga C740 is an improved 2-in-1 laptop within a good price range that certainly fulfills the demands of everyday developers. and computer science students.
Design and Display
This 15.6-inch laptop brings out minimalism and luxury through its design with a black aluminum finish and a small bezel. At 4.19 pounds, not only is Lenovo Yoga C740 portable but also a preferred convertible choice. The hinges provide 360-degree flexibility and this makes device usable in modes like a laptop, tablet, tent and a stand which enhances productivity for programmers throughout the day.
RAM and Storage
The 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor is accompanied by 12GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage to help programmers pursue multitasking and web browsing with ease. This is further supported by Integrated Intel UHD Graphics to reduce lag on the system and better viewing angles.
The 15.6-inch display on Yoga C740 is laced with a 1080p Full HD touch screen panel that allows crisp picture quality. The sRGB color gamut and luminous brightness are excellent on Lenovo Yoga C740 and it makes the convertible laptop stand out.
Keyboard and Touchpad
With a 1.4mm 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 which you can find on the laptops dedicated for writers. The Touchpad on Lenovo Yoga C740 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 for a smooth music listening experience. The battery life is a definite plus as it lasts up to 10 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 software engineers.
- Decent battery life
- Capable mid-range CPU
- Touch supported display
- Fingerprint reader
- Thin and lightweight form factor
- No backlit keyboard
- Average webcam
8. Best Microsoft Laptop: Microsoft Surface 3
The Microsoft Surface 3 rides on the power of AMD Ryzen 7 and its 10-point multi-touch screen. Backed by a sleek, portable design that oozes minimalistic elegance. The laptop will find its audience in programmers who enjoy the comfort of the Microsoft ecosystem and put their creative ideas to test in the stylus-enabled touch-screen. This is suitable if you’re also interested in drawing.
CPU and GPU
AMD Ryzen 7 3780U is a quad-core processor clocking at a base speed of 2.3GHz and a maximum speed of 4GHz. R-Studio, Python, Java-based environments run smoothly, credit to the powerful processor. The integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 gives sufficient power to handle graphic-oriented activities.
RAM and Storage
The 16GB operating memory and the fast accessibility of 512GB SSD make the laptop capable of pulling through loads of data-oriented computations and designs. Login quickly with Windows Hello facial authentication that comes as a part of the Windows 10 Home edition.
The 15-inch PixelSense Touch Screen remains one of the standout features of Surface 3. The screen comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio and higher resolution of 2496 x 1664 that makes the visuals sharp and crisp for text-based programming IDE’S and creative pursuits like design, illustrations, etc.
Keyboard and Design
Microsoft offers a chiclet-style keyboard with a decent amount of key-travel and ideal spacing suitable for long hours of programming. The lack of a separate Numpad works in favor of fast, error-free typing. The touchpad is wider than its predecessor and offers ample room for smooth multi-finger windows gestures.
This sub-$2000 laptop offers limited in terms of Ports and external connectivity despite the premium price tag. It comes with one USB Type-C, one USB Type-A port, an audio jack, and a SurfaceConnect port. It offers WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5 for wireless connectivity. At 3.4lbs, the Aluminum Matte-black finish adds further finesse to its sleek, lightweight design.
The Surface boasts of long battery life of 11.5 hours. If you are looking for a light-weight touch-screen laptop within the Windows/Microsoft ecosystem to be a game for pursuing both your creative aspirations and the career as a programmer, you will find a way around to handle the lack of ports and connectivity.
- Stylus Friendly
- Battery Life
- A limited selection of ports
9. Best Battery Life: ASUS VivoBook S15
The Asus VivoBook S15 brings an efficient power-saving solution with three different modes of performance. With more aerodynamic blades handling the cooling, Asus gets the best out of the processor and the battery.
CPU and GPU
Intel Core i5-1135G7 is no run-of-the-mill processor. It can clock up to 4.2GHz and run the programming IDE’s hassle-free. The Intel Iris Xe GPU takes care of the visual/graphics-based component of the activities.
RAM and Storage
Write codes, compile and simulate them seamlessly with the 8GB RAM and fast 512MB SSD. Protect your system and get quicker logins with the Fingerprint reader. Windows 10 Home edition comes as a part of the Vivobook.
The 15.6-inch FHD screen is suitable for the indoor viewing experience. A higher screen-to-body ratio, 178-degree wide viewing angle, a wide gamut of colors, and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels keep you immersed in its visuals. At 3.97lbs, the laptop is lightweight and comes in a unique combination of colors making it suitable for traveling.
Asus keeps the standard full-sized keyboard as a part of its design. The backlit keyboard is designed ergonomically with a 1.4mm key-travel. The touchpad accommodates a fingerprint reader on its right corner and still offers ample space for unhindered multi-touch gestures.
Vivobook offers sufficient avenues for connectivity. It has four USB ports (2 USB 2.0 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Type-C), one HDMI port, a MicroSD card reader, and an audio jack. It compensates for the lack of an Ethernet port, with its support for the latest standards in wireless connectivity (WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5).
Vivobook comes with a 50WHr battery. With multiple modes to manage power consumption, it can last up to 15 hours. If you are looking for a cheap work laptop within a budget of under $700, the Asus Vivobook brings the power of the 11th generation processor in a sleek machine with support to the latest wireless connectivity.
- WiFi 6
- 11th generation processor
- Slim, portable design
- Accelerated cooling
- Fingerprint reader
- No Ethernet port
Frequently Asked Questions
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 so as to making it affordable for everyone.
When it comes to programming, the users have to consider many factors simultaneously – CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, battery life, display quality, keyboard, and more. The aforementioned laptops are the best options for programming listed for users looking to buy laptops under diverse price ranges.
- If you’re always on the move, we suggest ASUS VivoBook S15. While if you work from home, and need heavy processing-efficient workstation, go for ASUS ZenBook 15.
- In case you’re looking for a Mac device, Apple MacBook Pro is tailor-made just for you.
- For people looking for affordable options, we’ve Lenovo Yoga C740. It is idea for programming students.
The products in the list provide effective overall performance. Most of them have also outdone their predecessors and have created a benchmark for programmers, developers, coders, gamers, and editors alike.