When shopping for a programming laptop, a smart set of baseline specifications to look for include at least 8GB of RAM, a decent SSD, a powerful integrated GPU, and a Core i5 processor. Although these baseline specs are good, they are not enough to help you find the best laptop. In this post, I have researched and compiled the top choices for programmers to help you find the most suitable one for you from the crowded marketplace.
Programming is not all about code, flowcharts, and algorithms, you must also understand the hardware. The ability to write codes and provide solutions to problems using an excellent laptop with the hardware and processing power designed for such purpose is very crucial. As a developer, having the best laptop for programming is the right way to stay on top of your game and easily transform your ideas into reality.
Here are the best laptops for programming in 2019
1. Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
The MacBook Pro 15-inch from Apple is a noteworthy entry for programmers and developers with an affinity for AMD graphics cards. The laptop features 16GB of RAM, 512GB storage, AMD Radeon Pro 560 graphics card and Intel Core i7 CPU (clocked at 2.9GHz) – which means it can handle multiple programs and tasks at once without lagging or freezing. It also sports a long battery life of 11 hours with a great performance which makes it one of the best computers for programming.
2. Dell XPS 13
With a crisp, bright, colorful and (virtually) bezel-less screen, along with an 8GB of RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, and Intel Core i7-8550U processor, the Dell XPS 13 is certainly a good developer laptop you can rely on. The laptop’s strong battery life, portability, and build quality make it a great laptop for programming on the go.
3. Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN spots a Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and a GeForce MX150 graphics card from NVIDIA which makes it a good laptop for coding. This laptop has an average battery life of 9 hours, and 11 minutes which means that you have good window of time to complete a task even if don’t have a charger handy. The laptop is lightweight and has a solid-state drive of 256GB as well as many useful ports such as a microSD card reader, an HDMI port, and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
4. HP EliteBook 840 G5
The EliteBook 840 G5 from HP features a comfortable keyboard, an SSD of 512GB, 16GB of RAM, a Core i7 processor, and a battery life of 8 hours, 30 minutes. As with other programmer laptops I tested, its 16GB of RAM is much appreciated as it allows your EliteBook to handle a lot of programming task and heavy-hitting processes – all at the same time without lagging. The laptop also fared well in terms of connectivity as it has a USB 3.0 port, a Type-C port, an HDMI port, the mic/headphone jack, and more.
5. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin
If you want a laptop with all the power to code or run the most graphically intensive programming software, then this it. The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is one of the most powerful laptops that is specially designed for coders. The laptop can run any game or program you throw at it, thanks to its Intel Core i7-8750H CPU (clocked at 3.9GHz), Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics card, and 16GB RAM.
6. Razer Blade
The Razer Blade has a lot of impressive hardware like the 16GB of RAM, Intel Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU and 512GB SSD that makes it one of the best developer laptops on the market today. It offers up to 6 hours of battery life which is okay for laptops of this power level. However, some coders or developers with killer word-per-minute rates may not find its keyboard to be as comfortable as they require.
7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has all that it takes to qualify as one of the best laptops for coding. It features a stylish and lightweight design, a stunning display, comfortable keyboard with 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and a decent Intel UHD graphic card. Its long battery life of 11 hours and its strong performance are also worth mentioning as it registers it as a good laptop for coding and one of the best programmers’ laptops.
8. Microsoft Surface Pro
For programmers who need a more portable laptop equipped with touch screen and requisite coding horsepower, or for those looking for the best laptop for computer science, this laptop answers the call. It packs a hefty 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and a Core i7-7660U processor which made it a reliable developer laptop to stockpile tons of files or handle intensive programming tasks. It offers a battery life of 7hours, thirty minutes and weighs just 1.7lbs which makes it perfect for travel.
9. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Programmers and software developers who prefer AMD GPUs and touch screens would appreciate the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro as it is the niche-specific machine to buy. It packs an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and a good collection of ports that are very useful for most programming situations. It also offers a battery life of 7 hours which is enough to complete most coding or programming tasks without plugging in your charger.
10. Dell XPS 15
The XPS 15 from Dell essentially has all the necessary features that any programmer or coder is looking for in a programming laptop. The laptop comes with a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and a 3.8 GHz Core i7-740QM processor for a faster performance and coding efficiency. So, whether you’re a gaming programmer, information security researcher, blockchain developer or a coder, the XPS 15 will provide you with a perfect combination of power and performance.
Do I need a powerful laptop for programming?
Yes, a powerful laptop will speed up your programming tasks and processes without lagging or freezing, thus, increasing your productivity.
What kind of laptop do programmers use?
Programmers require a special breed of laptop – the ones that are equipped with enough battery juice, hardware, and processing power that is not common in average work machines. Generally, programmers make use of laptops with at least 256GB SSD of storage, 8GB of RAM, 6 hours of battery life and a Core i5 processor with a decent GPU. However, these are just the basic requirements, so I recommend going for a laptop with a lot more oomph (if it won’t overstretch your budget) to help you complete your programming task faster, prepare you for future challenges and keep you on top of your game.
Which processor is best for programming?
Speed is critical in programming. That is why laptops with a Core i5 or i7 CPU are considered the best for programming as they will help you work faster and reduce the compilation period especially if you’re working on a huge task.
Is MacBook good for programming?
Yes, especially for writing macOS and iOS apps. And since MacBooks has all the basic programming requirements and can run Windows through Bootcamp or a virtual machine like Parallels, you can use your MacBook to develop apps or write programs for any platform.