Best Programming Laptops for Coders

By Best Programming Laptops for Coders

Getting a laptop that is ideal for coding is not easy, especially with a wide variety of laptops to choose from. Moreover, there’s a lot of options to consider when you are trying to stick to a budget.

In this article, we are going to dive deep into specs of the best programming laptops and how different they are. Coding is just not about writing lines of code, which can be done with any laptop. It calls for some extra power to debug, compile, and run programs. For example, it requires more memory so that IDEs like NetBeans and Android Studio can run without difficulties. You need a faster processor for compiling complex programs and RAM to enable you to open multiple apps smoothly.

Different coding languages call for different laptop power; therefore, we will help you pick out the best laptop based on the kind of programming you will be doing.

First, our quick pick will be:

Laptop Get it
Acer Aspire E 15Get it on Amazon
ASUS VivobookGet it on Amazon
Dell Inspiron 15 7000Get it on Amazon
Apple MacBook Air (2019)Get it on Amazon
Microsoft Surface Book 2Get it on Amazon

What are essential programming Laptop Specs?

Screen Size

Screen size is the first thing you will put into consideration when narrowing down your options for a programming laptop. If you like traveling around often, you might require a computer with a screen size between the range of 11“ – 13” to enable you to carry the laptop as efficiently as possible.

Others like me do most of our work from one location. And others too who don’t mind carrying a bigger laptop when traveling. So you might want a laptop with screen size 15”+.

A larger screen will enable you to see most of your code at once and also will make multitasking smoother.

Processing Power

The kind of programming you will do will influence so much the amount of processing power you require. Fortunately, in this era, we have witnessed significant advances in processors there laptops are not offering slow experiences like in the past, which could be frustrating.  A fast processor is excellent for programming, and 2.2+ GHz Intel Core i5 CPU is a right choice. Some Intel CPUs can turbo boost up to 2.7GHZ when your program requires to boost processing power.

RAM Capacity

The size of the RAM will also influence the laptop you will buy. Luckily again, most laptops nowadays come with at least 4GB memory installed, and many have 8GB and 16GB.

The size of the RAM will determine the number of applications simultaneously. Also, some task like image and video processing requires more memory.

Web developers might be comfortable 4GB RAM since web development does not involve much, and many web programming languages, like PHP, are interpreted. Desktop developers who use compiled languages like Java, C, and C++, might be comfortable with 8GB RAM.

Generally, most developers will want to get at least 8GB of memory.

Hard drive Type

SSD (Solid State Disk) hard drive is a better option for your laptop because SSD is much faster than the traditional hard drives. The process of writing and reading data stored on your laptop will be faster when using SSD. They are also more tolerant to damage, especially when your laptop falls down.

Operating System

This is a vital factor to put into consideration for your laptop choice. In the current era, the operating system you use will not affect how effective your code is. Because you can write code on Windows OS, Unix System, or Mac OS, and everything will be the same.

The real differences are how easy it is easy to install and set up development environments and how much support you can get when you encounter problems.

For instance, developing iOS applications is more comfortable when using Mac OS because you already have many tools provided and more support at your disposal. Likewise, it is easier to develop .NET applications on Windows OS.

Use an Operating System you are aware of because set up development tools and troubleshooting problems on your own will be more straightforward.

Touch Screen

This is not a necessary feature for many developers. This will be necessary when you will be testing touch screen apps for POS applications that run on bustling shopping centers.

Graphics Card

Some laptops will come with a dedicated graphics card. This offers better video performance. This is not necessary as well unless you will be developing video games or editing videos.

Do you require a powerful programming laptop?

Yes, better safe than sorry! It is good you buy a more powerful laptop if you can afford it.

You can do with a less powerful laptop if you are focusing on the following:

  1. Web development: if your primary focus is website development, you don’t need a very powerful laptop, especially when the websites are live and hosted on a web server.
  2. SQL Development/Data Analysis: If your main focus is working with databases MySQL, MS SQL, Oracle, Postgress SQL, and writing scripts in SQL, T-SQL, PL/SQL, you don’t need a very powerful language especially when the database is hosted remotely.

If any of the following describes you, then you definitely require a powerful laptop.

  1. Compiling complex applications: if you’re programming in a language that needs to be compiled, such as Java, C, or C++, you’ll want more processing power for compiling your application as it gets more complex.
  2. Running virtual machines : if you’re required to test your code on a virtual machine instance (testing across OSs, mobile devices, etc.), you’re going to want a laptop with more processing that can keep up. Few things are more frustrating than having your virtual machine running so slow you can barely tell if your app is working.
  3. Working heavily with images or video: if this is you, you’re going to need an ultrabook with a dedicated graphics card to keep up with your multimedia needs.

At this point, we hope you have a better idea of what you want. So we will give you a list of the best laptops for programming.

Best Laptops for Programming under $500

We pick: Acer Aspire E 15

If you are looking for a cheap programming laptop then this Acer is your best option. It has everything you would require for basic programming that doesn’t require strong graphics card and speedy hard drive. The laptop is actually powerful for the price.

Screen Size15.6”
ProcessorIntel Core i3-8130u 2.2GHZ
Hard Drive1TB 5400RPM
OSWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 13.5 hours

Best MacBook for Programming

W e pick: Apple MacBook Air (2019)

If you’re developing software for macOS, you’re eventually going to find yourself looking at the MacBook Pro. It is thinner, lighter with retina display. It is easy to carry around with you and and is powerful hence making programming on it a joy.

Screen Size13.3
Processor1.6 GHZ dual-core Intel Core i5
Memory8 GB | 16GB
Hard Drive128GB – 1TB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 617


Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our list of best programming laptops. Not to forget, also comfortable ergonomics influence your choice. Applause for you being so patient and curious! Please share the article with your friends.

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Eric Murithi Muchenah

Life is beautiful, time is precious. Make the most out of it.