What is the best laptop for programming for students or professionals?
Selecting the right laptop for programming does not have to be a challenging task.
However, it is obvious to get lost in the technical specifications.
This is where I want to help.
If you need a serious machine to write programs that can actually run CPU intensive applications without slow down the system, you definitely need a laptop with good specs.
To help you reach there, I have created a list of top 10 buys in the US, a simple and purposeful guide to find the perfect programming laptop for your needs.
I’ll also provide short reviews of those best programming laptops.
Best Programming Laptop
Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch LaptopWhen it comes to productivity, keeping connected with your buddies and coworkers, or enjoying gaming and apps, choosing the best laptop for you is essential. But with a variety of options available for each budget or use case, we have made efforts to make sure that you find exactly the right one for your requirements.
These laptops are available in a wide variety by shape and size, ranging from ultra-portable notebooks ideal for on-the-go work as well as killer gaming machines capable to handle AAA-rated games. Many of the leading notebooks are 2-in-1, implying that they have built-in touch screens that can be folded into a tablet to provide ultimate portability.
- Ninth-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 Processor
- Stunning 16-inch Retina Display with True Tone technology
- Touch Bar and Touch ID
- AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6 memory
- Ultrafast SSD
Thanks to the Apple MacBook Pro, the programming becomes enjoyable and easy. This laptop comes with plenty of handy new features to make development a breeze among programmers.
The MacBook Pro is the ultimate programming laptop to enable you to build iOS and MacOS games and apps for all iOS and iPhone developers. The new MacBook Pro 2020 is 16-inch that offers a touchscreen bar and premium specs inside.
Under the hood, this notebook boasts a fast 6-core, eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor that operates at a speed of 2.6GHz. With 16 GB of RAM and dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 555x GPU, you can enjoy the benefits of a cool programming machine. All together, this produces plenty of power for enabling you to run SDK, code editors, and opening multiple tabs on Safari browser and you still have plenty of room available for opening and running additional applications simultaneously. Awesome, isn’t it?
The Random Access Memory (RAM) of a computer is its short-term memory. All of your applications such as Netflix, Youtube, or MS World etc would not function at all without RAM. With a memory block size of 16GB, no worries about slowdowns in your system, there are plenty of applications and processes you can run while maintaining optimal performance.
This laptop also comes with i9 processor varients. The powerful ninth generation Intel Core i9 processor, an eight-core processor with a fast read/write capability, powers up every programming assignment you do.
As far as storage is concerned, the Apple Pro MacBook has plenty of storage to store numerous files locally and remotely. The SSD memory can go up to 4 terabytes in size depending on the development projects you have in mind. So, you don’t have to think about any space constraints. On the storage front, an ultra-fast 512 GB SSD storage is available with enough unused storage space to accommodate everything from personal documents to business and entertainment files.
There are two color options available for MacBook Pro, including silver and a sleek space gray that looks elegant across a workplace. In addition, the MacBook Pro has a retina display for clear, vivid, and rich images, which makes it ideal for programming, surfing the web, as well as streaming video.
This laptop features an IPS 16.0-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit screen with a native resolution of 3072×1920 at 226 pixels per inch supporting millions of colors.
Battery and Connectivity
There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports provided with the Apple MacBook Pro to facilitate inter-device data transfer at rates as high as 10 Gbps. During the battery life, you are assured of over 8 hours of continuous running time before your laptop’s battery has to be charged.
Other features on MacBook Pro 16″
Apple’s new T2 chip ensures secure boot-up capability and provides encrypted storage for your files, keeping them secure 24/7.
Also the sound quality is reasonably decent for a portable computer. In addition, the MacBook Pro’s other notable highlights are the Touch Bar, the Touch ID and, not least, Apple’s personal assistant, Siri.
Regardless if you’ re really an Apple fan or just someone who loves computers, there is something that you must appreciate about this machine is its performance and efficiency, no matter the workload.
With the latest MacBook Pro 16, all the essentials that you would want with regard to display, performance, and most other essentials are covered. In addition, MacBook Pro 16 also features powerful Intel Core i7 hexa-core processors paired with an enormous 16GB of RAM. It also has an extremely high-speed 512 GB SSD of storage. On the graphics side of this workhorse, there is 4 gigabytes of RAM available for the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M. These powerful specs come in a chassis that weights only 4.3 pounds, providing the advantage compared to other laptops in this segment.
In addition, the MacBook’s Mojave MacOS offers best-in-class resource utilization and best-in-class battery backup with up to 10 hours in continuous use. With a full list of features mentioned above, this latest Apple MacBook Pro is ideal for Programming.
For a programming laptop, safety is essential. With the Apple T2 chip, this powerful and reliable computer will keep all of your files safe and secure from intrusive access. Such encrypted storage space and secure boot-up maintain your code safe and secure.
While the notebook is fairly high-priced, one thing that makes it distinctive for programming is that you require a portable device that is both responsive and efficient, which puts it high on our list of the best laptop for programming in 2020.
The Dell XPS 9570 is a superb notebook for the money from American laptop manufacturer Dell.
In terms of configuration XPS 9570 comes with an impressive 6-core Intel 8th generation Core i7 8750 processor clocked at 4.1 GHz.
8750 is a high-end processor from Intel which is based on Coffee Lake architecture.
Moreover, this notebook is fuelled by 16 GB DDR4 RAM and GeForce GTX 1050Ti dedicated graphics card comes along with 4 GB DDR5 VRAM that ensures good graphics performance.
For those who like to watch YouTube learn to code, 15.6 inches 4k touchscreen display resolution will not disappoint you.
As for connectivity, Dell XPS 15 9570 packs Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi (802.11ac), Three USB 3.0 ports. You will also get one HDMI connector to share notebook content with the TV screen.
Additional features include 512 GB SSD to speed up load time, Windows Hello for better security.
In October 2017, Microsoft unveiled its Surface Book 2 laptop with two display size variants: one with a 13.5-inch screen and another with a bigger 15-inch screen.
This is a pretty powerful and portable notebook that is capable of handling anything you can imagine.
You can use it as a typical laptop for programming, also you could also pull out the screen to use it as a large tablet, you could dock the screen to the keyboard to use it as a clipboard, and it’s compatible with the optional Surface Pen to allow you to make notes and sketches too.
If you are a programmer who wants to invest in a laptop for a long term perspective, then you will love the performance of this premium product produced by Microsoft.
Surface Book 2 is a sturdy beast that comes with a lot of essential features for programmers and data scientists.
A laptop’s storage drive is most important.
Installing games and applications on an SSD can drastically reduce the bootup and loading time of the applications due to the high data transfer speed of SSD.
Surface Book 2 features 1 TB of SSD storage which will certainly improve the overall performance of the laptop.
Furthermore, to deliver more performance while coding, this laptop packs Core i7 processor paired with 16 GB of RAM.
Moreover, to further increase graphics performance, Surface Book 2 has GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU along with 6 GB of DDR4 VRAM.
Microsoft surface book 2 also provides good battery backup.
So while fixing a critical bug, you don’t have to run to find the charger.
The only con of this laptop is its price which is over $2500.
However, if you are ready for a one-time investment for better performance, this laptop would be a good choice.
To put it differently, This laptop would be a great choice for developers or someone who hates the slow systems and can invest in a premium laptop.
Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition
Huawei Technologies is a China-based manufacturer of consumer electronics products including laptops and smartphones.
Founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, Huawei has steadily been growing its market share, competing against brands like Dell, HP, Apple, etc.
MateBook X Pro signature edition comes with excellent features such as the 8th Gen i7 processor along with 16 GB of RAM which will be sufficient to deliver a quality performance while running multiple tasks.
Furthermore, Matebook X pro also flaunts 512 GB of SSD to decrease the load time of the applications.
For the high-quality display, MateBook X Pro flaunts a 13.9-inch 3K ultra-thin corning gorilla glass display which exhibits a screen resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels.
Moreover, the battery backup of this laptop is 15 hours per charge which is very impressive for coders and web designers.
In addition to that, MateBook X Pro features a wide range of connectivity options such as Wireless LAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, slot for USB 3.0, Headphone + Microphone Combo Jack, etc.
Dell XPS 13 is renowned for producing computers, servers, storage devices, network switches and many more.
The Dell brand is the synonyms of quality, performance, and durability.
Furthermore, they make premium quality laptops for gamers, programmers, and students.
Dell XPS 9370 is a premium laptop that comes with a number of mighty features.
The processor is capable to deliver a class performance while doing programming.
Moreover, battery backup is worthy of daily use.
Dell XPS 9370 flaunts a 13.3 inches 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge touch screen display which exhibits a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Furthermore, XPS 9370 also has a 720p webcam with 4 array digital microphones for video calling and recording.
The device weighs around 2.65 lbs and available in two color options.
Dell XPS 9370 has a wide range of connectivity options such as One USB-C 3.1 slot, one card reader, one headset jack, etc.
XPS 9370 is powered by a Quad-Core 8th Generation i7-8550U Processor along with 8GB LPDDR3 RAM which has a revolving speed of 2133MHz.
Moreover, Intel UHD Graphics 620 is the integrated graphics card that takes care of the graphical necessities of this programming laptop.
If you’re in the market for a new laptop for programming, you may want to check out the premium class of professional laptops from HP.
These highly advanced notebooks allow you to run CPU intensive tasks without worrying about the slowdown.
HP Envy 13-aq0044nr is a superb programming laptop that offers an affordable price tag.
The key attraction of the laptop is the cutting edge security such as the Webcam kill switch.
The ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop is a mid-range laptop under $1100 price range which would be a good choice for anyone looking for smooth performance while using this laptop for programming, or personal usages such as internet browsing, watching YouTube, etc.
ZenBook 14 houses 8th generation core i7 processor comes along with 16 GB LDDR3 RAM which provides satisfactory performance while coding on your favorite editor.
As far as internal storage is concerned, ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim laptop equipped with 512GB Pie NV Me SSD internal hard disk which will be enough to save many videos, apps, games, etc.
Moreover, SSD will boost the performance of your programming laptop.
Furthermore, ZenBook 14 packs Intel Integrated UHD 620 graphics card.
If you play titles like Counter-Strike, Dota 2, or League of Legends then you will enjoy playing at 60-80 fps on 1080p resolution.
ZenBook 14 comes with 14 inches Full HD Nano-Edge Bezel Display with 1080p resolution which is capable of delivering sharp image quality. 14 inches screen is also good enough for software developers as well as students.
On the connectivity front, the devices are paired with two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port. Additionally, there is also one HDMI port is available.
Apple MacBook Pro is one of the best mid-level programming laptop which is suitable for anyone who wants to learn to code or develop mobile applications especially ios apps.
To begin with, MacBook Pro is fuelled by the 8th generation Quad-core i5 processor paired with 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM which gives you blazing-fast performance while compiling and running software applications on any popular IDE.
Keeping up with the popular trend, Nitro 5 has 256 GB of SSD to boosts up your gaming.
Furthermore, to make images and videos more sharp and clear, MacBook Pro features 13 inches retina display with true tone technology.
However, this laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a high-range, thinnest gaming laptop manufactured by Taiwan-based company AsusTek Computer Inc.
This laptop is from ASUS’s famous ROG (Republic of Gamers) series and it is suitable for those who will use this laptop intense gaming and graphics design.
Zephyrus S GX701 is backed by Intel Core i7-8750H CPU clocks at 3.9 GHz and features 16 GB DDR4 RAM which gives you seamless performance while playing most famous gaming titles such as Monster Hunter World, Counter-Strike, DiRT 4, etc. or working with multiple applications simultaneously.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is armed with GeForce RTX 2080 GPU which is a superb GPU from NVIDIA.
Moreover, this GPU packs 8 GB DDR6 VRAM which ensures gigantic performance while playing games, or developing mobile applications or working with image editing applications.
Following the current trend, the ASUS notebook has 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD, equivalent to just over 1,000GB which is more than sufficient for most people to save files and programs without worrying about space.
As far as connectivity is concerned, this laptop bundled with 5 USB 3.0 ports.
To put it differently, due to its high-end specs such as high-end 8750H processor with 16 GB RAM paired with GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, this laptop would be a choice for programmers, gamers, and anyone who is ready to invest in future-proof, transportable super machine.
Dell Inspiron 13.3″ is a budget 2-in-1 programming laptop which comes with Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card, 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD storage.
Under the hood, Inspiron 2 in 1 comes along with Quad-Core i7-8550U processor running at 1.8GHz (Turbo Boost up to 4.00 GHz) that ensures smooth performance while coding and debugging application program.
Furthermore, Dell Inspiron 13.3 also packs 16 GB DDR4 RAM.
So, you will be able to debug bugs using your favorite IDE (integrated development environment) without any lag.
However, 256 GB SSD won’t be sufficient for all programmers.
Dell i5379 features 13.3 inches full HD IPS Display. This notebook is also equipped with WebCam which is useful for Skype video calls and conference calls.
The Dell i5379 is backed by a 3-Cell battery which is good enough in this price range.
On the connectivity front, there are one USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port available.
Moreover, you will also get Windows 10 OS Home pre-installed with this programming laptop.
Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition is a powerful programming laptop that comes with many useful features such as touch screen display, 2K display, and GeForce MX150 that is cool enough for software developers and data scientists.
To begin with, Matebook 13 is fuelled by the 8th generation i7-8565U mobile processor (based on Whiskey Lake architecture) paired with 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM which gives you decent performance doing data mining and analysis.
Furthermore, Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition flaunts 2K touchscreen display with a resolution of 1440p and 1000: 1 contrast ratio which is good enough for graphics designers, and web developers.
As far as internal storage is concerned, Matebook 13 equipped with 512 GB SSD of the internal hard disk which will be enough to save many videos, apps, games, etc.
On the connectivity front, the Matebook 13 is paired with two USB 3.0 and in addition to that there is also one HDMI port is available.
How to choose the best laptop for coding
Whenever people are looking to purchase a new piece of computer or laptop or a 2-in-1, they should have an idea about the specifications and the features they would like to have in an ideal machine. That includes a processor, RAM, storage, ports, and much more stuff.
In the field of “Programming,” there are several aspects that are important when it comes to selecting a laptop.
For instance, you may want to deploy ‘Virtual Machines’ for secure programming or may want to deploy an application inside a docker container, or even you may have to run IDE (Integrated developed environment) for coding.
Another example is the iOS application development, which required you to have a Mac machine. So, if you are planning to develop an application for ‘Apple’ devices or phones then you should focus only on Mac Laptops.
Therefore, while finalizing a laptop it is essential to know whether the laptop is capable of executing those essential applications.
Below are a few important tips to consider when you are looking for the best laptop for programming.
Generally, programmers spend a large amount of time working on their computers. The laptop invention was an excellent invention for us.
Because it gives us the flexibility to work from home or from anywhere we want.
However, a few things should be considered for comfort and convenience when you work remotely.
When you buy a laptop for programmers, it is extremely useful to ensure that your keyboard is ergonomic and battery backup is sufficient. People working at night often find a backlit keyboard useful as well.
As I mentioned earlier, for programmers or developers, the battery backup is essential, particularly for freelancers and remote workers. People who are going to buy a laptop will have to search for a laptop with a minimum of four hours of battery life.
The smaller screens, such as those in the 13-inch range, will be easier to carry and usually lighter in weight.
However, there are many users who work from home or office. And from those people, even 17 inches laptop will be a good option.
The screen type is very important to take into account when selecting a laptop for programming because visual fatigue is a real problem and the programmers spend a huge amount of time with the screen very close to their eyes. Eye doctors or ophthalmologists advise you to take your eyes off the screen every 20 minutes, but many people forget this point or are too busy at work to do it.
Although there are many laptops with 4k resolution are available in the market, however, these huge resolutions are often not required by a programmer who will focus especially on the coding.
IMHO a notebook with a 1080p screen would be sufficient for most of the programmers.
However, if you need a laptop for web designing or video editing then you may require a 2K or 4K screen laptop.
We can’ t leave out the operating system.
It is very important to know which operating system you want in your laptop.
The most commonly used OS today are Microsoft Windows and macOS and Linux.
For many programmers and testers, Microsoft Windows is typically the choice.
Because many economical laptops that come with Windows are capable to deliver the processing power a programmer requires.
Moreover, most of the programming languages and tools are compatible with Windows and are therefore more appealing to most of the programmers.
However, on the other hand, we have the MacOS that are usually more expensive; however, Apple developers need to work on them.
For instance, Xcode is not available in Windows which is required to develop iOS applications.
So if you write software for iOS or macOS, it is preferable to use Apple laptops.
In this article, I tried to include many laptops that are suitable for programmers.
To work conveniently with IDE without sacrificing with performance, you may need at least 16 GB of RAM and preferably an SSD storage.
In addition to that, you may also consider a laptop with a dedicated graphics card if you like to play graphics-intensive games along with the coding.