Laptops

6 Best Laptops For Programming & Coding Reviewed

Computer programming and coding is so much more than code and algorithms. The hardware used to write this code and solve it is essential, which means that you need the right laptop.

As you may already know, particular software is required for programming and coding, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or VB. To run them without glitches or slowing down, a high-quality laptop designed to handle these demands is necessary.

Lucky for you, I have all of the best models right here, so you aren't spending hours searching for one!

Image

Product Name

Processor (CPU)

RAM

Display Resolution

Graphics/GPU

Screen Size

SSD Storage Size

Check Price

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6' Full HD IPS...

AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Dual-Core

8GB

1920 x 1080

Vega 8

15.6 inches

256GB

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel...

i7-9750H

16GB

1920 x 1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

15.6 inches

512GB

New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM,...

9th Gen 6-Core i7

16GB

1920 x 1080

AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6

16 inches

512GB

ASUS ROG Strix G 15.6' FHD 120Hz Premium...

9th Gen i7-9750H

16GB

1920 x 1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB

15.6 inches

512GB

Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop -...

8th Gen i4

8GB

2160x1440

NVIDIA GeForce MX150

13 inches

256GB

Microsoft  Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i5, 8GB...

8th Gen Intel Core i5

8GB

2736x1824

Intel UHD Graphics 620

12.3 inches

128GB


Who Should Invest in a Programming Laptop

Programming Students

Programming students will require a laptop powerful enough to be able to handle any assignments or courses that are thrown at them. To succeed, you'll need to spend countless hours at your laptop, which means you need a good-sized screen and proper ergonomics, such as a solid keyboard and mouse/trackpad.

Web Developer

The wrong laptop could very well hinder your development efforts. If you're always on the road, then you need a lightweight, compact model that places particular importance on battery life.

Make sure you're choosing the right OS for you, and make a list of the tasks you'll be using it for to determine the other specs you need. For example, if you're using JavaScript regularly, you'll need a fast CPU. You'll also want a nice monitor for long hours at the computer.

Software Engineers

Software engineers create software, computer games, and run network control systems through the use of engineering and programming languages. Needless to say, you'll need a very powerful laptop that can handle various programs at once.

Game & App Developers

Game and app development is a very broad subject, as different tasks have different requirements.

However, if you're programming, then you're going to be compiling vast amounts of code. This means the CPU needs to handle a lot and is undoubtedly the most important spec here. You absolutely need to have an SSD to do this.


Minimum Requirements & Specifications For Programming

Processor & CPU

If I were to pick just one spec to place the most importance on in this case, it would be the CPU. You'll need to look at 2 different features of the processer: the number of cores and the clock speed. As each core can process data independently, adding more will significantly increase processing capabilities.

I'd highly recommend an 8th Gen i5 or an i7 for game and VR development. Clock speed typically ranges from 2.4 to 4.2 GHz, with the higher number being more efficient. However, I wouldn't go anywhere lower than 3GHz for coding and programming. 

The main tradeoff you’ll be making with processing power is the compilation speed, which is particularly important if you’re working on a large project. Even if you’re working on smaller ones, it’s a smart idea to have a machine that is prepared for anything.

RAM

You're probably wondering, "How much RAM do I need for coding?". Once you're done writing some code, you have to execute it as a program. In this scenario, your laptop will use RAM to store these directions to tell the computer what to do.

Not only that but when you're running various programs simultaneously, adequate memory will allow it to run smoothly. I would never go lower than 8GB, and for game and VR development, 16GB or above. Although, I personally wouldn't recommend going over 16GB, as only professional graphic designers and video editors will ever really need it.

Graphics Card

Dedicated graphics cards are always nice to have. However, most modern Intel hardware is going to have integrated graphics that are more than sufficient for anything you'll need while programming. Most newer CPUs aren't ideal for dedicated gaming, but for programming purposes, they'll do just fine.

Screen Size & Display

One of the most important features of any laptop for programming and coding is the screen size and display. Either one will require you to be staring at the screen for a good chunk of time each day, so being able to see details clearly is crucial.

With that being said, I highly suggest a full HD display. Full HD displays will keep the lines of code from mushing together towards the end of the day when your eyes and brain are tired.

Storage Space/Hard Drive

As I briefly mentioned earlier, an SSD is absolutely necessary. These standard state hard drives are much more efficient at accessing stored information. Not only that, but they’ll be able to boot up the OS faster, launch apps, load projects, and compile code quicker.

I’d say 256GB should be your starting point though if you can swing it, an SSD with 512GB or 1TB is better. If you’re a student or just starting out, a smaller capacity is just fine.

Battery Life

If you’re always on-the-go, you need to be able to rely on your battery life to hold through while working on a large project. What’s the point of a laptop if you have to leave it plugged in all day? The minimum battery life should be at least 6 hours.

Design/Portability/Weight

If you’re planning to be on-the-go with your new laptop, you’ll want to make sure that it’s convenient to take with you and can fit securely in a backpack or messenger bag.

Operating System

For many, this is the most important factor and will have the biggest influence on the laptop they choose. Windows definitely has a lot of options, and even though Mac is very reliable, Mac users may find themselves pretty limited. If you're running Linux, you may as well get a laptop that already has it pre-installed.

Extra Features

Tactile keyboards are wonderful to have, though not absolutely necessary—these feature keys comprised of rubber layers and a conductive pad. Once you press a certain key, the pad detects the pressure and registers the key.

I'd also recommend an updated OS, so you get all features possible, and have fewer issues with software/hardware compatibility. Finally, check in to see how repairable it is. Chances are, you're going to come across at least one issue with your laptop. You don't want it to be challenging, impossible, or expensive to fix.

Price & Warranty

This is kind of a given, as we typically consider both of these factors in any purchase we make. Think about how much you feel comfortable with spending on one of the best laptops for coding and programming.

Now, set a budget for yourself and don’t go over that. There are plenty of excellent models that will perform well but will still be a good cost for what you receive. It may be lacking some unnecessary features that are still nice to have, but you’ll come to love the laptop you get no matter what.


6 Best Programming & Coding Laptops Reviewed

1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS...
  • Amd Ryzen 5 3500U dual-core processor (Up to...
  • 15 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen...
  • 1 - USB 3 1 Gen 1 port 2 - USB 2 0 Ports & 1...
  • 802 11AC Wi-Fi | Backlit keyboard | up to 7 5...

Our Top Pick

Processor (CPU)

AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Dual-Core

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Graphics/GPU

Vega 8

Screen Size

15.6 inches

SSD Storage Size

256GB

If I were to choose just one model to be considered the best laptop for computer programming, it would be the Acer Aspire 5 Slim. This 15.6-inch laptop weighs in at just 3.8 pounds (1.7kg) and is only an inch thick.

That combo is actually quite difficult to find with that size of display, making it wonderful if you're a programmer who regularly travels – even if it's just to the local café.

As I’ve said multiple times now, the CPU of a laptop is most likely going to be the most important feature for you in how well it performs. The Aspire 5 comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Dual-Core processor, making it very fast during operation and powerful enough to handle various programs at the same time.

8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is also quite sufficient, ensuring everything runs smoothly without stalling or slowing down. It's not the highest out there, no, but it does the job and for the price you're receiving, it's an excellent buy.

You're not locked into these specs, either. If you want, you can simply pop off the laptop's bottom and add more RAM or increase storage on your own, which is something fewer top models are allowing users to do.

The laptop for programming is made of mostly plastic, though it does have a thin top sheet of aluminum to make it look more expensive and give an almost Mac-esque vibe to it. The build quality is good enough, though it's not the most durable out there, so keep that in mind. 

You'll find various ports on the sides, like two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet, and a headphone/mic jack. The keyboard and touchpad are nice, though nothing is very outstanding or unique about them.

The backlit keys are a bit soft though nice to use, and the touchpad even comes with a fingerprint reader. With an 8.5-hour battery life (on average), you can use it when you’re out and about with no issues worrying about keeping it plugged in the entire time.

Overall, if you are in the market for a quick ad reliable laptop perfect for travel or desktop use, the Acer Aspire 5 is the one!

Good
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Nice port selection
  • Easy to upgrade storage and memory
  • Great performance and battery life for the price
Bad
  • Build quality is that of more budget options
  • No SD card slot

2. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-7108

On Sale Today
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel...
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core...
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6 GB...
  • 15. 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen...
  • 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 512GB PCIe NVMe...

Best Laptop for Programming and Gaming

Processor (CPU)

i7-9750H

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Graphics/GPU

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

Screen Size

15.6 inches

SSD Storage Size

512GB

There are many good laptops for programming and gaming, but few I could consider to be great. The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-7108, however, falls right into that category. Made originally to be a gaming laptop, you’ll find a hulk of a CPU and a peppy Turing GPU for excellent graphics.

In the past, it was considered to be the best mid-tier gaming laptop out there, but Acer updated the design, hardware, and components also to make it a solid choice for gaming. The 5-inch laptop comes with a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor, which is made to take on grandiose jobs with ease.

The 512GB solid state drive and 16GB of RAM make it a joy to use, and the 144Hz refresh rate along with the 3ms Overdrive response time in Full HD makes it easy to see code (or your enemy) crisp and clearly.

You may not need it much for programming, but for gaming, you'll fall in love with the Waves MAXXAudio technology to make it feel like you’re right there in the game.

The performance will never be compromised due to heat, thanks to the 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D Fan technology to keep it cool. PredatorSense lets you have complete control over lighting, fan speed, overclocking, and more to remind you this is your laptop.

Build quality is a huge step up from previous models and is made to take a beating. You can count on it resisting bumps and dents without problems. Finally, the backlit 4-zone RGB keyboard makes it easier to be accurate while typing or defeating your opponent.

Good
  • Solid build quality
  • Wonderful 144 Hz matte screen
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Reasonable pricing
Bad
  • Small 58 Wh battery
  • No SD card slot

3. Apple Macbook Pro

On Sale Today
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM,...
  • Ninth-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7...
  • Stunning 16-inch Retina Display with True...
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Amd Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6...

Top of The Range

Processor (CPU)

9th Gen 6-Core i7

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Graphics/GPU

AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6

Screen Size

16 inches

SSD Storage Size

512GB

Simply put, it’s hard to get better than the Apple Macbook Pro, no matter what you're using it for. Whether you're developing software or just starting out and are in school, if you can afford it, it needs to be an option.

I’m a bit hesitant throwing this much praise at any one model, but the Macbook really is in a class by itself and can handle just about anything that comes its way.

“Apple is breaking new ground for memory and storage in the Macbook Pro. Notably, Apple says this is the largest SSD ever in a notebook, and we haven’t found any evidence out there to prove otherwise,” informs Entrepreneur.

For those of you who are Swift lovers and Objective C coders, this is the absolute top choice for you.

Powered by coffee lake i7 six-core processor along with 16GB of RAM, you'll be able to run all your local servers code editors, browser with 30 tabs, and you still won't slow it down. To ensure you'll be able to store just about anything you want on there, you'll also get a 256GB SSD.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics GPU delivers some of the best graphics horsepower out there, which is also great if you plan on watching movies or playing games on it. Not to mention, even through hours of coding, your vision will be crystal clear.

It’s not often I get to brag about keyboards, but the 16” Macbook Pro takes the cake and workflow to a new level. The Magic Keyboard comes with a scissor mechanism with 1mm travel for incredible response and comfort.

The Touch Bar is optional, though it's nice if you like using shortcuts. The Touch ID can't be beaten for security, and the Escape key makes it easier to switch between modes and views when you have multiple programs open. 

No matter if you’re out of the house or hanging out in the office, you’ll appreciate the 100-watt-hour-lithium-polymer battery which delivers power and a whopping 11 hours of wireless use. That kind of battery life is practically unheard of. So, if you’re searching for the best laptop for developers, best laptop for coding, etc. you know where to turn.

Good
  • Solid build quality
  • Beautifully clear graphics
  • Very lengthy battery life
  • Nice amount of RAM and storage
  • Powerful processor
Bad
  • Steep price

4. Asus ROG Strix G

ASUS ROG Strix G 15.6" FHD 120Hz Premium...
  • 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H Processor...
  • 15.6 in Full HD LCD (1920 x 1080) 120 Hz...
  • 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet, 802_11_AC,...
  • 3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x...

Value for The Money Option

Processor (CPU)

9th Gen i7-9750H

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Graphics/GPU

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB

Screen Size

15.6 inches

SSD Storage Size

512GB

If you’re looking for one of the best laptops for programming but don’t have a large budget, then check out the ROG Strix G. 

“The Strix G essentially borrows a lot from the high-end ROG models but with the help of certain compromises, keeps the prices well within everyone’s reach,” says India Today

The ROG Strix G has previously been toted as one of the best gaming laptops and best laptops for production, but it's also going to be the best bang for your buck in terms of laptops made for programming and coding.

With an entire terabyte hard drive along with a 256GB SSD, you won’t have to worry about it lagging on you, and it’s hard to even get it to slow down. 16GB of RAM is also important for speedy operation. Connectivity is one of the best I’ve seen, with three standard USB 2.0 ports and one Type-C.

The 15.6" screen makes it easy to see even after extended periods or to work in the dark. GeForce graphics overclocked with ROG Boost makes for some of the most excellent performance out there.

You can easily switch between Turbo, Balanced, and Silent operating modes, depending on what you’re using the computer for! On top of that, anti-dust tunnels and enhanced fans make it easy to keep your laptop clean and cool.

The exterior housing is just as well-made as the rest, creating a streamlined yet very tough laptop. In fact, Asus puts it through thorough vibration, drop, and pressure testing to make sure they last for many years to come. Even the hinges, keyboards, and ports are tested for strength and durability.

The keyboard is designed with precision and quickness in mind, with full N-key rollover for incredible accuracy with multi-key inputs, which is necessary for most coders and programmers. The customizable RGB lighting facilitates operation even more, making adjustments intuitive and quick.

So, are there any downsides to this top laptop for programming? The battery life can vary widely  – from around 2 hours up to 9, depending on what you’re using it for. It’s also a bit more expensive than most on this guide, though it’s definitely worth the extra investment if it’s feasible for you.

Good
  • Great SSD storage
  • Wonderful graphics processing
  • Tough and durable
  • Quick operation
  • Powerful processor
Bad
  • More expensive price
  • Rather hefty

5. Huawei Matebook 13

Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop -...
  • Thin, light & portable: weighs only 2.86...
  • Fullview touch Display: feels larger than...
  • Powerful performance: 8th Gen Intel Core i5...
  • Innovative cooling design: Huawei Shark fin...

Best Small Laptop for Coding (Great for Students)

Processor (CPU)

8th Gen i4

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

2160x1440

Graphics/GPU

NVIDIA GeForce MX150

Screen Size

13 inches

SSD Storage Size

256GB

There are plenty of great laptops for coding out there, as is evident in this guide. However, not all of them are well-suited for students – at least not as much as the Huawei Matebook 13. 

“Compared to the most recent Apple Macbook Air, the Matebook 13 brings a touch screen and a significantly more powerful U-series processor along with an option for discrete NVIDIA graphics with the GeForce MX150,” says Windows Central.

This fast laptop for programming does draw many similarities to the Macbook, though it's available for around half the cost. With a full metal chassis, it's very durable, and you can expect to have it look brand-new for many years. Coming in either Dark Grey or Silver, it looks very modern and sophisticated.

Weighing less than 3 pounds and coming in at just 0.59 inches thick, it's incredibly compact and portable for you to carry around in your bag. The 13-inch touchscreen is easy to use, though it is obviously going to be notably smaller than the others we've covered so far. However, with an 88% screen-to-body ratio, it actually makes more room for vivid graphics.

Resolution and color accuracy is spot-on, though I did find the automatic brightness adjustment a bit annoying and just turned it off eventually.

An 8th Gen i5 8265U processor is very powerful, and with their cooling solution, it won’t overheat and is very power efficient.

Good
  • Great build quality
  • Nice keyboard and trackpad
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Powerful processor and optional GPU
Bad
  • Not great battery life
  • Limited USB-C ports

6. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

On Sale Today
Microsoft  Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i5, 8GB...
  • A best in class laptop with the versatility...
  • More power now with the new 8th Generation...
  • Ultra slim and light, starting at just 1.7...
  • All day battery life, with upto 13.5 hours of...

Best Budget Laptop for Programming (Affordable Option Under $600)

Processor (CPU)

8th Gen Intel Core i5

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

2736x1824

Graphics/GPU

Intel UHD Graphics 620

Screen Size

12.3 inches

SSD Storage Size

128GB

If you're looking for the best 2-in-1 laptop on the market currently, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is the one for you. Not only that but if you need a high performer while staying on a tight budget, then it's hard to beat this model.

With 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, I’ll be honest – it’s not the most generous. However, it will get the job done, especially considering the incredibly low price. Laptop-to-tablet versatility makes it very adaptable, no matter if you're a student or a veteran in programming. You get your choice of 2 different colors – Platinum or a sleek Black. The option to use their Signature Type Cover, Surface Pen and Surface Arc Mouse make it a full laptop as well. 

"All of that is to say that the Surface Pro is one of the easiest full-power PCs to cart around, either in the hand or in a bag, beaten only really by the smaller Surface Go and mobile tablets such as Apple's iPad," says The Guardian.

The battery life on this model is one of the best I've seen, on average lasting around 9 hours, which is long enough to accidentally forget your charger at home at work all day long at a café. Unfortunately, the ports aren't the most updated, lacking any kind of USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, though it does include a full-sized USB 3.0 port.

Good
  • Great build quality
  • Nice keyboard and trackpad
  • Great battery life
  • Powerful processor and optional GPU
Bad
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • No USB-C ports

Programming Software & Downloads for Students

First off, you’re going to need a solid operating system, which all of the aforementioned models come with. A decent editor like Emacs or Vim is also a wise idea. Emacs runs on various operating systems regardless of the machine type, and the main ones are GNU, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS, MS Windows, and Solaris.

Git is a nice distributed source control, and it’s also important to have a solid diff/patch/merging tool like Diff and Meld. Meld is made for most Linux/Unix distributions, and it's important to note that it is not available on OS X.

Finally, a decent scripting language is needed for sys-admin on the OS, like Shell, Perl, or Python.


Which Is Better For Coding – Mac or Windows?

Mac is often considered to be better than Windows for coding, due to a few different reasons. Let’s take a look at each point.

  1. 1
    Consider UNIX and LINUX
    Both operating systems play a huge role in programming, and both are very similar to one another. LINUX can be run on both Mac and Windows machines, though Macs run full-time on UNIX-based operating systems, which makes them more developer-friendly. If you're going with a UNIX-based command line, programming is much simpler as you can run programs in just about any language. UNIX is also more secure overall, which is why Macs are also harder to hack.
  2. 2
    Mac Build Quality
    Mac has a build quality that's hard, if not impossible, to beat for the price. If you need yours repaired for any reason, it's much easier to diagnose and find the issue, though technical issues with Macs are generally rarer than with Windows anyway.
  3. 3
    Zero Interruptions During Work
    If that weren’t enough, you also get zero interruptions while working for hours on end. Compare that to Windows, where various computer operations can interrupt, which is quite a downside for developers.

However, there are things about Windows laptops that are also quite appealing! First of all, is the fact that they’re flexible with hardware options.

After programming for a while, you’re undoubtedly going to make changes to your laptop so you can work with various programming languages. Not only that, but they’re going to be much more affordable than a Mac.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why do so many developers use Macs?

As previously spoken about, Macs are very reliable in terms of security and build quality. They have excellent warranties and are made to last for years upon years of regular use. Not only that, but you won't be interrupted during your work by your Mac, and programming is often much simpler.

Which processor is best for coding?

I’d recommend at least an Intel i5 CPU, or i7 minimum.

What graphics card is best for game development?

This is difficult to give a straight answer to, as many game developers actually use lower-end, older graphics cards. Nvidia GTX 750Ti, GTX 680, and many more on our guide are all great.

Why are programming laptops more expensive?

They must be very reliable, safe, and be able to have a large amount of power to handle running various programs at once. Not only that, but they’ll also have long battery lives to accommodate long programming sessions.

Where is the best place to buy coding laptops?

Amazon is definitely the place to go. You'll be able to read real user feedback, and Amazon offers extremely fast and safe shipping. Not only that, but you will often receive great warranties with your laptops.


Conclusion

Allow me to recommend our first product again – the Acer Aspire 5 Slim. It's lightweight and compact enough to easily take on trips or to the local coffee shop. Performance and battery life are excellent, and you're even able to upgrade memory and storage in the future if you need to. 

Not to mention, it's listed at a very affordable price for everything that it offers. However, what's most important is that you select the perfect laptop for you and your individual needs. I hope this guide has helped you to do just that.


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