Top-rated laptops for programming at an affordable prices.
When looking for a laptop for programming, pay attention to its basic specifications. For programming, you need a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM, a good SSD, a Core i5 or i7 processor, and a powerful GPU. However, even if a device comes with such specs, it doesn’t necessarily make it the best option on the market.
I have prepared this list of the best programmer laptops to help you choose a suitable device based on your preferences. Since the market is overflowing with various models, I have hand-picked the 7 best devices and provided a full description of each option.
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 16-inch | Weight: 8.23 pounds
⊕ Upgraded keypad
⊕ A convenient and large touchpad
⊕ Great audio quality
⊕ Battery is long-lasting
⊖ No MicroSD slot and USB Type-A ports
⊖ Lacks a touch-screen feature
Apple has significantly upgraded its MacBook for programming. Not all the changes play an important role, but some solve the shortcomings of the previous version, such as an uncomfortable-to-use keypad and poor sound quality. The MacBook Pro 16-inch comes with an improved and comfortable keyboard and delivers high-quality audio playback, making it a number one for Apple users.
The device is equipped with a powerful graphics chip, which, together with a huge display and multiple advanced features, makes the MacBook Pro an exceptional device for programmers, developers and web-designers.
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7 | GPU: AMD Ryzen 5 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15-inch | Weight: 2.80 lbs
⊕ Smooth design
⊕ Fast processor
⊕ USB-C port
⊕ The charging is fast
⊖ Too expensive
⊖ Poor battery
The Surface is a 13.5-inch laptop for software development. It boasts improved specs and an impressive design similar to that one of the previous models.
Just like its predecessors, it remains lightweight and easy to transport. At the heart of the device is the Ryzen APU that delivers remarkable CPU and GPU performance but affects the overall battery life.
CPU: 10th Gen Core i7 1065G7 | GPU: Intel | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1000GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 2.5 lbs
⊕ Slim and lightweight
⊕ Long-lasting battery
⊕ 10th Gen Intel Core CPU
⊕ Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5
⊖ Comes without a discrete GPU
⊖ Weak CPU
⊖ The touchpad isn’t big enough
The LG Gram 15 is a laptop for developers who have to work on the road, as it weighs less than 2.5 pounds (1.12 kg) and is very convenient to carry around. Although the model is less powerful than some competitors in this category, it is the lightest 15-inch laptop thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis.
Besides, the device was designed with a 10th Gen Intel Core processor and a long-lasting battery, which makes it a worthy choice to consider.
CPU: AMD Quad Core R5-3500U | GPU: Intel | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 3.5pound
⊕ Amazing backlighting
⊕ High-quality build
⊕ Comes in different colors
⊖ Poor battery
⊖ Inconvenient fingerprint sensor placement
⊖ The IPS panel looks dark and blurred
When Asus launched the VivoBook 15 X512, they wanted to create a flagship-level device at an affordable price. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well. The laptop has a poor display, low audio quality and an inconvenient keyboard. Besides, the plastic case makes the laptop look cheaper, which does not correspond to the declared price.
The only reason I recommend considering this laptop for web development is the 8th Gen Core i7 processor, which delivers great performance. The device comes at a reasonable price, but its processor is the only advantage it has.
CPU: 1.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 13inch | Weight: 5.14 pounds
⊕ Nice HD display
⊕ Lightweight aluminum body
⊕ Comes in three colors
⊕ Decent performance
⊖ Lacks a MagSafe connector
⊖ Too expensive
Many users choose the Retina MacBook Air for its lightweight design, which makes it incredibly portable. At the same time, it boasts several connectivity options and a long-lasting battery.
The Retina MacBook Air was suitable for those who are willing to pay a hefty sum for its small size and disregard its mediocre performance and connectivity. Since Apple discontinued it, I can conclude that there were not many such users.
The Retina MacBook Air was replaced by the Retina MacBook Pro, which is slightly larger and more powerful than the Air. Nevertheless, it is a great MacBook for developers, because only they can use its functionality to the maximum. For other users, it is not worth the money.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 4.34 pounds
⊕ Remarkable performance
⊕ Worth the money
⊕ A flagship-level metal body
⊖ Weak battery
⊖ A bit noisy
HP did a great job launching the Envy x360 developer laptop. It is very similar to the premium HP Specter x360 model but is slightly less powerful and costs less. While the Specter is a high-end premium laptop similar to the Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air, the Envy x360 is one of the best cheap laptops under $1000.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 10th Gen, | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 13.4-inch | Weight: 6.12 pounds
⊕ Attractive design
⊕ Speedy performance
⊕ Great 4K display
⊕ InfinityEdge bezels
⊖ Mediocre battery
⊖ No USB-A or HDMI connection
⊖ Expensive loaded configs
The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best portable laptops, that has no analogs. If you don’t need a laptop for gaming, then this is a great option. The Dell XPS 13 excels at everything, from its attractive design to the high-quality Dolby Vision HDR display. After the brand returned the webcam where it used to be, you definitely won’t find a better option.
MacBook Pro 16-InchOur choice
|CHECK PRICE →|
Microsoft Surface LaptopAffordable
|CHECK PRICE →|
|CHECK PRICE →|
Despite the large selection of operating systems on the market, not all of them are suitable for programming. Typically, developers work in such operating systems as macOS and Microsoft Windows. Windows laptop for coding is better than macOS devices due to a more affordable price and the number of programming languages it supports. I don’t mean that macOS is worse than Windows, it is simply more expensive, and not everyone can afford it.
If your dream is to work for Apple and to become a developer of their ecosystem, then a macOS laptop is a must. The Xcode development environment is unique for macOS. Besides, it is required for Swift and Objective-C. In any case, every Apple programmer should have a MacBook. However, if you do not plan to tie your life with Apple, then I recommend using Microsoft Windows, because it is more accessible and supports a large number of programming languages. Linux is great if you work with PHP, Ruby on Rails and Python.
The processor is the brain of the laptop, which is responsible for the main workflow. At the same time, some CPUs are better than others. If you are looking for a laptop for software engineers, the more powerful it is, the better. A CPU should run various encoding programs with ease. Let’s see which processor is worth considering.
Your choice will depend on your skills and budget. Thus, for novice programmers with a modest budget, the Intel Core i3 processor is the most optimal option. If you are ready to move on and have a larger budget, then I recommend paying attention to the Intel Core i5, which offers better performance. If you are searching for the best laptop for game development, the Intel Core i7 processor is the best option. Keep in mind that you will have to spend more money on it, but it will perfectly cope with the necessary tasks.
If you occasionally play games, then you might need to find a more powerful option than the Intel Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors, even though they run most programs with ease. 2GB of dedicated GPU memory will suffice for gaming sessions and programming, however, coding and advanced programming need a more powerful graphics card.
When choosing the best laptop for programming, you should also consider the following details:
Display. Choose a decent display like IPS, which will help you reduce eye strain when you spend long hours in front of your PC solving programming tasks. Besides, remember about the size - you can find 11-, 12-, 13-inch laptops and larger models.
Keyboard. Pick a convenient keyboard with amazing backlighting and a decent key travel.
Design. You need to purchase a lightweight and small device that can be carried around easily. Look through the range of Lenovo, Acer, Dell, LG, HP, and Asus laptops to find a perfect option.
Battery life. A long-lasting battery that will serve at least 6 hours on a single charge.
This information will help you purchase a great laptop for IT professional. If you understand what processor, graphics card, RAM and OS your laptop should come with, it will be easier for you to make a choice.