When looking for the best laptop for programming, you want to look out for more than mere power. A lot of other features are necessary to coders, especially if they need to compile their codes, especially if they want to work fast and efficiently.
So, before discussing our list of the top 6 best laptops for programming, let’s see what features you’d better pay attention to if you want to purchase the absolute best laptop for coding.
Best laptops for programming: main features
We’ve summarized the main features that characterize the best laptop for programming as follows:
- Processor: A powerful and multi-core processor is essential on a laptop for programming;
- RAM: The best laptop for coding should have plenty of RAM. It’ll be necessary when you need to compile your code and test the projects you’re working on;
- SSD: most coders would need plenty of storage space. SSDs should be chosen over the older HHDs, they can enormously improve the performance of your laptop by reducing the loading time of all projects;
- Keyboard: nobody ever thinks about the keyboard, but the truth is that when you spend hours in front of your laptop, an uncomfortable keyboard can affect your productivity. You can always purchase a separate Bluetooth keyboard to optimize your coding performance, but since you’re looking for a new laptop, pay attention to its keyboard too!
Top 6 best laptops for programming
Please Note: if you’re looking for the best cheap laptop for programming, you may have a bad surprise: the best laptops for coding aren’t necessarily cheap, however, in our list, we’ve just included the best value for money. Check it out down below!
1. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a 15’’ laptop with a slim and light design that your eyes will appreciate. The gorgeous design and the Dell brand name (Dell has been a leading name among computer manufactures for decades) aren’t the only interesting features that make the Dell XPS 15 one of the best laptops for coding.
The Dell XPS 15 can come in different configurations but we’re going to discuss the most powerful. The processor is a 10th generation Intel Core i7, one that provides speed and power to your laptop’s performance. With the (up to 1TB) SSD hard-drive the computer’s performances are even enhanced.
The wide and high-resolution display (15.6 inches) and the built-in NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti graphics card make this good-looking computer one of the best laptops for programming and design: it’s capable of loading graphic-intense projects fast and compiles heavy graphic and animation codes. The wide RAM (up to 64 GB) makes it all faster and more efficient: all your software and processes will boot up and open in no time with this Dell laptop.
Other than beautiful, the Dell XPS 15 feels also comfortable: both the keyboard and trackpad are highly responsive and give a pleasant sensation under your fingers.
The Dell XPS 15 isn’t cheap, but by opting for different configurations (with an i5 processor and a smaller SSD and RAM) you can save some money.
2. Apple MacBook Air (M1) 2020 – best laptop for programming from Apple
The main feature of the Apple MacBook Air is that it’s provided with the same M1 chip as high-end Apple laptops like the MacBook Pro. This makes this laptop even faster than the previous versions with the 10th gen Intel processor and, therefore, even more, suitable for coding.
Just like the Dell XPS 15 we’ve just discussed, the Apple MacBook Air features a gorgeous thin design and it’s also very lightweight. If you are one of those that need to code on the road, this is the best laptop for programming for you.
The 8 GB RAM is enough on this Apple laptop to make you perform your task and load your software and processes smoothly.
The keyboard and trackpad are also very comfortable to the touch and the battery is extremely long-lasting Once again, the Apple MacBook Air seems to be the best laptop for coders who are often on the road, as students.
The Apple MacBook Air is fanless. However, we’ve never come across overheating issues. Plus, this also makes this laptop one of the most silent on the market.
3. HP Envy 13
HP is known for manufacturing some best-buy entry-level laptops, with good features and low prices, but the worldwide known manufacturer also produces some high-end laptops that are great for programmers: the HP Envy 13 is an example.
It features a powerful i7 processor and 16 GB RAM that provide speed, responsiveness, and great performance during coding and compiling.
The HP Envy 13 could be one of the best laptops for programming and gaming thanks to its NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2 GB Graphics RAM that works great to handle programming focused on graphics such as design or gaming coding. The 4K 13.99-inch display is also great to experience beautiful and detailed graphic and visual content.
We could spot a couple of cons in the HP Envy 13:
- We would prefer a wider trackpad: even though when you spend hours at the computer, you always end up using a mouse, sometimes it happens that you need to work on the road and a wider trackpad would make things easier.
- It doesn’t feature any full-size SD card slot: to some, this could be uncomfortable.
4. Huawei MateBook 13
Huawei hasn’t been in the market of laptops as long as companies such as HP or Dell but its offer includes some very interesting examples. The HUAWEI MateBook 13 is a powerful little laptop (only 13 inches display and extremely lightweight) ideal for programming and working on the road. Some may choose it as a second unit to be used any time they need to take their work out of the house of the office with them.
Despite the small dimensions, the MateBook 13 is well equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor (also available with an i5 one) and 8 GB RAM. The hard drive is an SSD unit and it’s available in 256 GB and 512 GB.
For its dimensions and features, this is a cheaper alternative to the also portable MacBook Air.
The HUAWEI MateBook 13 features a high-resolution display that is not 4K. Those who are searching for the best laptop for programming and design may have to renounce some resolution with this option.
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best laptops for coding and comes with several different options available starting with its CPU: the powerful Intel Core i7 option is available (for the highest price) next to the i5 but also the cheaper AMD Ryzen 5 and 7. The RAM is available in two options: 8 or 16 GB.
When you pick the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 as the best laptop for programming, you can customize its features (and price) depending on your needs. The graphics compartment is also available in different options: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / AMD Radeon Vega 9 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 11. The same goes for the storage unit (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD) and even the display – and, therefore, dimensions: the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is available with a 13 of 15 inches display.
Anyone who wants to customize their laptop and decide on what features to invest in the most and on what, instead, to save some money, will find in the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 plenty of options to obtain just what they want.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 doesn’t come for a cheap price, even though by customizing some features you can end up saving some money. Some also complain that especially the 15 inches version, has too few ports despite the dimensions of the laptop.
6. Google Pixelbook Go
We want to conclude our list with a laptop aimed at Android developers: the Google Pixelbook Go. It’s a small (13 inches) laptop that’s mainly a Chromebook (running ChromeOS) but upgraded from the basic models. With its Intel Core i7 CPU (an Intel Core m3 is also available) and 8GB or 16GB RAM, it becomes very powerful and the best option for those who work with Google native software.
With this laptop, you can work on Google’s Android Studio development tools and all Linux apps as well. This laptop also features an amazing keyboard that it’s a pleasure to use.
Some find Chromebooks and ChromeOS limitations. Despite they’re the best for Android developers, programmers that work on different projects may be limited by their OS that is not as known and widespread as Windows or macOS. However, the possibility of using Linux apps it’s what makes the difference for many programmers.
There is no absolute best laptop for programming but there is the best for your needs. We hope that, with our article, we helped you make the point of the situation so that it will be easier for you now to pick the best laptop for coding for your budget and needs.
If you’re interested in the best laptop for programming and gaming then check our article – Best Cheap 4K Monitors for Gaming.