From writing basic code to testing apps and software development, what’s important for the computer is to support the ongoing web development tasks without any speed lags and interruptions.
When shopping for a laptop for programming, a smart set of baseline specifications to look for should include at least 8GB of RAM, a decent GPU, and an Intel Core i5 or i7 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 best laptops for coding & web development to help you find the most suitable one for you from the crowded marketplace.
- 10 Best Laptops For Programming in 2021
- How to Choose the Best Programming Laptop?
10 Best Laptops For Programming in 2021
– best MacBook for programming
- CPU: M1 chip; 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores; 16-core Neural Engine
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Display: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600, 16:10 aspect ratio
- GPU: Apple 8-core GPU
The new Apple MacBook Pro is the a perfect Mac for all die-hard Apple fans.
It bears a smooth and thin design, comes with a 13-inch LED display in 16:10 screen ratio – the new design standard in the laptop industry.
As for the specification, it comes with the new M1 chip made by Apple. You will be impressed by the performance, which takes a big step further than laptops with Intel cores. Combined with 8GB of RAM this model is clearly the best option for coders in 2021.
Despite these specs, the vendors have taken care of the portability of the device. Thus, it merely weighs 3 pounds, allowing you to carry it along with you whenever required.
Moreover, MacBook Pro offers two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports with support for charging, DisplayPort Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps).
Apple MacBook Air (2021) – cheaper MacBook Pro alternative
- CPU: Apple M1 chip, 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores; 16-core Neural Engine
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Display: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600
- GPU: Apple 8-core GPU
This one is a choice for all Apple fans who cannot afford a pricey MacBook Pro – the Apple MacBook Air comes with a much more affordable price tag.
Yet, this affordability does not impact the features and performance of the machine. From the display that features Retina display with True Tone technology to the 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage, and, of course, the M1 processor.
Bearing a smooth, ultra-thin design and durable body, this laptop also provides you with two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports with support for charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps)
Last, but not least, this laptop also gives you an incredible work experience with an 18 hours long battery life.
– best Windows laptop for programming
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe
- Display: 15.6 FHD+ InfinityEdge Non-Touch with Anti-Glare technology and with screen resolution of 3840 x 2400
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti with 4GB GDDR6
The second one of the best laptops for programming on our list comes from the tech giant Dell. The Dell XPS 15 is a wonderful choice for all programmers for its amazing performance, portability & good value for money.
Besides the budget, the laptop also exhibits all the desirable features that a programmer looks for. Prominent mentions include an Intel 10th Generation Quad-Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR4 RAM.
Certainly, these specs sufficiently run more apps together without causing any system crashes.
While designing a high quality laptop, Dell has also taken care of ergonomics. Hence, the small size of this laptop and FHD 15-inch display doesn’t stress your eyes. Rather, the ultra-thin bezels and the Corning Gorilla 4 glass display with anti-reflective coating make it comfortable to use for extended hours.
Among the notable exciting features include a stunning bight display with 500 nits of brightness, an ergonomic keyboard that makes typing as easy as possible. In terms of audio quality, the laptop is packed with impressive speakers that will provide you with the ultimate audio experience.
Also, the laptop supports Thunderbolt 3. Thus, you can easily connect two USB-C ports besides charging the laptop.
Dell XPS 17 – Bigger XPS 15 alternative
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H
- RAM: 32GB
- Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
- Display: 17-inch UHD Plus, 3840 x 2400
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q
The XPS 17 from Dell essentially has all the necessary features that any developer is looking for in a Windows programming laptop.
The laptop comes with a 1TB SSD, up to 32GB of RAM, and a 10th gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor for faster performance and coding efficiency.
So, whether you’re a game developer, information security researcher, or any type of IT professional, the XPS 17 will provide you with a perfect combination of style, power and performance.
– powerful laptop for programming
- CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz (Up to 4.10GHz)
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB PCIe-NVMe SSD
- Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) HDR 400
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB
If you are willing to pay a little more for a top-quality programming laptop, then Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme is the choice.
Given its premium features, it won’t be wrong to call it a powerhouse as it bears 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD internal storage. You can also upgrade the RAM further as it bears an empty slot to let you customize the laptop according to your use.
Moreover, this laptop has got an incredible battery that lasts up to 8 hours.
Apart from the specs, this laptops also boasts an extremely impressive 14-inch display in a near bezel-less style. Yet, you can connect more displays to the laptop as it supports multiple monitors.
Not to forget mentioning the ultra-thin design which makes it even more desirable.
– best laptop for programming and gaming
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H with up to 5.0GHz Max Turbo and 6 cores
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
- Display: 15.6 FHD 1080p 144Hz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
This one comes from the gaming tech giant Razer. Despite bearing a high price tag, the features of this laptop make it worth the money.
With this machine, the vendors have showcased their creative finesse as they enclose everything within an ultra-thin 0.78-inch CNC aluminum body.
Within this sleek casing, it bears premium hardware including 10th gen Intel Core i7 Hexa-core processor, expandable SSD of 512TB, and 16GB RAM. Whereas, the display includes a 144Hz FHD display which is something every gamer wants to have.
Moreover, the integration of NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3060 graphics enables the machine to deliver a desktop-level performance. Laptops with this GPU sell out fast, so you should not wait too long if you want to get one for yourself.
Besides being one of the best laptops for programming, it also delivers an unmatchable gaming experience.
– best laptop for web development, web design
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H Quad Core Processor (12M Cache, up to 4.5 GHz)
- RAM: 16GB DDR
- Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
- Display: 15.6 4K UHD NanoEdge Touch & 14 inch 4K matte touchscreen
- GPU: GeForce RTX 2060
Professional web development often requires the developer to be involved in graphic design. If that’s the case with you, then ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo is a great choice for you.
The most exciting feature of this high quality laptop is its ScreenPad Plus. This screen is as interactive as the main screen. Whereas, you also get a stylus with it for a precise touch experience.
It means you get extra screen space where you can place your tools while you write codes. Likewise, this 14-inch 4K matte screen also helps designers, photographers, and video editors in managing their screen tools during work.
And that’s not the only thing it offers. This laptop also encloses premium quality hardware. Prominent specs include Intel 9th Gen Core i7-10750H Quad-Core processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB PCI-E, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. The latter ensures superb graphics rendering without problems.
All these delicacies are enclosed within a compact 15.6-inches laptop weighing just 5.5 pounds. It means you don’t have to worry about its portability while working.
6. HP Envy 13
– best laptop for programming students
- CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 Processor, Quad-Core, 1.3 GHz (up to 3.9 GHz)
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Display: 13.3” Full HD Touchscreen
- GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
For all those looking for a modest laptop, here is the best laptop for programming students with an impressive design. The HP Envy 13 certainly causes its rivals to envy as it bears all the premium features at an affordable cost.
At first, it succeeds in impressing the users with its sleek look that is neither too artsy nor the old-school. Inside this casing, it encloses the Intel 10th Gen Core i7, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.
With all these specs, the laptop also comes with a high-end 13.3-inch touchscreen display featuring diagonal full HD touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass. Hence, you can work, watch movies and even play video games on this laptop for long without stressing your eyes.
Also, HP takes care of the programmers’ ergonomics as it features large keys with a broad touchpad.
And, if you’re concerned about your laptop security, then you can activate secure biometric sign-in using the embedded fingerprint reader.
– good cheap laptop for coding
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8GHz (up to 4.0GHz)
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
- Display: 17.3 Full HD
- GPU: GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
Here is another product from ASUS for everyone looking for the portable laptop for programming.
The ASUS VivoBook Pro also bears impressive features. Nonetheless, what makes it distinct from ASUS Zenbook Pro is its lower price tag. If you aren’t a fan of an extra screen, then this one is for you.
Notable specs of this laptop include an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD storage. On top of all this, it impresses the users with a large 17.3-inch display. It means this laptop will serve you the best whether it about programming or video editing.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the laptop heating issue while multi-tasking as it comes with a dedicated cooling system.
Besides all the high-end provisions, this laptop also supports present and old hardware, thanks to the multiple USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Type-A and USB-C ports. You will also find an HDMI port, an audio jack, a DC jack, and a LAN RJ-45 jack.
– best budget laptop for coding
- CPU: 1.6 GHz 8th Gen i5
- RAM: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Display: 13 inches 2K Touchscreen
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
Aside from producing smartphones, the Chinese tech giant Huawei also makes some great laptops. So, here we have the Huawei MateBook 13 – the budget laptop bearing a super-sleek design and great performance.
This laptop also includes high-end specifications, such as an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 8265U Processor and 8GB RAM.
But what makes it desirable is the integrated Huawei Shark Fin Design 2.0 cooling solution which keeps the machine cool even after long use. Certainly, as a developer, you don’t want your device to heat up in the middle of your code verses.
Moreover, the 13-inch touchscreen display of this laptop comes with an anti-fingerprint coating, keeping your screen smudge-free.
Besides, the overall system looks impressive with ultra-thin design, small size, and lightweight (2.86 pounds). Hence, you can easily carry it with you without hassle.
Plus, it also comes with a Quick Charge pocket charger that boosts the laptop battery time for up to 2.5 hours within 15 minutes. Thus, you can continue working on the go without worrying about laptop battery time.
9. Google Pixelbook
– best Chromebook for programming
- CPU: 3.3 GHz 7th generation Intel Core i5
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Display: 12.3 360° touchscreen
- GPU: Integrated HD615, 8 GB
Among all the Chromebooks, Google Pixelbook is the right choice for programming. Like all its rivals, it exhibits impressive design with premium features for the ultimate performance.
It bears a slim design and is extremely light in weight (2.45 pounds only). Plus, it offers tremendous customization for ergonomics.
For instance, you can rotate the screen back forming an inverted-V shape to use it as a standing display. Or, you can rotate it 360 degrees forming a slate to use it as a tablet. Being light in weight, you won’t face any trouble while using it in this position.
Alongside the designs, the hardware specs of this laptop are also impressive. That includes an 8GB RAM, 128GB Hard Disk, and a superb battery that lasts up to 10 hours in a single charge. Besides, for uninterrupted work, the battery gets charged really quick, giving you 2 hours with merely 15 minutes of charging.
Moreover, the built-in support for Google Assistant further makes using this laptop a blissful experience.
10. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
– portable 2-in-1 laptop for web design & development
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB SSD
- Display: 12.3 Touch-Screen
- GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
For web developers who need a more portable laptop equipped with touch screen and requisite coding horsepower, or for web designers – 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 coding tasks. It offers a battery life of 7.5 hours, weighs just 1.7lbs which makes it perfect for travel.
How to Choose the Best Programming Laptop?
Operating system (OS)
As you know, there are a lot of operating systems in the market. Unfortunately, not all of them are perfect for programming. When it comes to development and coding, the operating systems that have been most used by developers are Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows.
However, you will have to purchase a laptop with macOS if you want to be an Apple ecosystem developer. There is something unique to macOS that other OS doesn’t have, and that is the Xcode that is required by Swift and Objective-C.
Also, if you are a PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Python developer, Linux is a great option. Overall, Mac is a must for Apple developers, but for all developers and programmers generally, Microsoft Windows 10 is the right option because its support is vast.
Just like humans and other living things, a computer also has a brain, and it is the processor. The power of computer’s brain varies. One can be more powerful than the other and no doubt, the powerful processors are what you need as a programmer.
The best laptops for coding should come with processors that can run the programs for coding and running the codes easily and efficiently.
If you are a budget buyer or a newbie in programming, Intel Core i3 processor laptops will get the job done. However, if you can afford to spend more or a bit higher, a computer that comes with the minimum of Intel Core i5 processor can get the job done better.
In case you are a graphics designer, game developer or something more intensive, raising your budget and going for a Hexa-core (Intel Core i7) processor can be the best option and solid choice.
If you want to run more programs simultaneously and also switch between all the running applications easily, you need a laptop with a high number of RAM. Don’t get it twisted: we are not saying you should spend your hard-earned money of the highest RAM available.
However, to simultaneously run code editor, compilers, web browsers, and local servers efficiently, it is always good to have a laptop with more RAM. As for how much RAM is perfect for a programmer’s laptop, we recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM. Remember that more intensive programming will need more- like 12 or 16GB.
You probably know that computers often come with two types of drives. A laptop either comes with SSD, which is known as Solid State Drive or HDD, also called Hard Drive. Out of the two the SSD is faster and is mostly found in high-end laptops, but the HDD is slower and most of the time features in tight budget laptops.
So it means if you are a programmer looking for a laptop with a drive that will load your previously saved project quickly, and also reduce the booting time significantly, Solid State Drive is the best choice.
Take note that the storage space of each drive type varies – HDDs come with higher storage space like 1TB while SSDs come with lower storage space that can be as less as 256GB.
Choosing the right one for you is simple. If you want a laptop with more storage space and reasonably good speed but can sometimes be lower, HDD can be a good choice.
But if you care less about more storage, can work with less storage, and need a drive that works at a faster speed, SSD is the solid choice.
Even though the integrated graphics on Intel CPUs can run most programs easily, you may need to go for better graphics, especially if you play games on your laptop occasionally.
A dedicated graphics of 4GB is recommended for gaming and programming.
As we have mentioned earlier, more intensive programming or game development will require more graphics capability.
There are some other important things you should consider while buying a laptop as a programmer. They are:
- Display – prolong coding sessions can strain the eye, so going for a good display like IPS will help reduce the strain.
- Keyboard – it must be comfortable to use. If possible, it should come with a backlit keyboard and decent traveling keys.
- Design – the laptop should be a lightweight and compact design for easier movement and use.
- Battery life – the battery should be good and last you for a longer time – an average of six hours.
With the information above, your questions and doubts about buying the best laptop for programming have been answered and cleared.
You now know the right processor, graphics, RAM, drive, and OS to go for.
Yes, a powerful laptop will speed up your programming tasks and processes without lagging or freezing, thus, increasing your productivity.
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.
Speed is critical in programming. That is why laptops with a Intel Core i5 or i7 or even i9 CPU are considered the best as they will help you work faster and reduce the compilation period especially if you’re working on a huge task.
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.
Programming is not only about code, flowcharts, and algorithms, you must also take care of the hardware. The ability to write code 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 is the right way to stay on top of your game and easily transform your ideas into reality.