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Best Laptops For Programming [For Software Developers]

Best Laptops For Programming [For Software Developers]

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best laptops for programming in 2021.

The best laptop for coding is one that gives you plenty of power, allowing you to create, compile, and test your code quickly and easily. The best laptops for programming will have a modern processor from either Intel or AMD, or if you’re buying a new MacBook, Apple.

Since last year, Apple’s MacBooks have been powered by the M1 chip, which has proven to be an excellent piece of hardware for programmers. Additionally, Apple has improved on the M1 chip with the more powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which are available in the new MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) models. As a result, these new MacBooks are some of the best laptops for programming we’ve tested.

For multitasking, you need a laptop with plenty of RAM as well as a modern CPU. Although coding itself in an integrated development environment (IDE) application does not require a lot of processing power, the more powerful the laptop you use, the better it will be at compiling complex projects. With a faster workflow, you can spend more time programming (or taking on more projects) and less time waiting.

In addition to large screens with high resolution, the best laptops for programming should also be comfortable to work on for long periods of time. A higher resolution allows you to see more code at once, which reduces scrolling.

You’ll also need a great keyboard that’s comfortable and responsive, since you’ll be typing a lot of code on it. If you’re doing game development, you’ll also want a laptop that can play your game as you’re testing it, so a laptop with a graphics card is worth considering.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to complement your laptop with some top accessories. See our guides to the best keyboard, the best mouse, and the best monitor. 

Top 10 Best laptops for programming Available now in [2021]

1) Apple MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch)

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch
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Apple’s MacBook Pro 16-inch is the best laptop you can buy right now for programming.  The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) replaces the Intel-based model from 2019, and comes with Apple’s powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max processors, which make quick work of compiling and running even the most complex program.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch not only compiles code quickly, but it is also powerful enough to run your code in test environments, including emulators, to see how your game or program works.

We were incredibly impressed with how xCode performed on the MacBook Pro 16-inch, so if you’re a developer who specializes in iOS or Mac apps, this is a fantastic choice.

With a 16-inch screen, you can comfortably view code pages, and with the ProMotion adaptive refresh rate you can scroll through code without stuttering. It is the incredible battery life that will allow you to code all day without needing to plug in this laptop, as well as the improved keyboard.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Extremely long battery life
Cons
  • Expensive

2) New Dell XPS 15 OLED (2021)

 Dell XPS 15 OLED (2021)
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Dell’s XPS 13 currently tops our list of best laptops. XPS 13 has been a runaway success, but the rest of the family isn’t too far behind. One of those family members is the XPS 15 OLED, and it is another remarkable device. Powerful components enable the XPS 15 OLED to handle just about any computer-related task.

You can configure the XPS 15 OLED with an Intel Core i9-11900H CPU and a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU and up to 64GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD for use in a wide range of programming applications. You can do everything from machine learning to games development on a laptop this powerful, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

You can save on the XPS 15 OLED by choosing an FHD+ panel instead of the OLED or UHD+ options. Our review model, equipped with the 3.5K OLED panel, managed just 6 hours and 58 minutes of uptime during testing. Your programming platform of choice for years to come could be the Dell XPS 15 OLED if battery life isn’t so important to you and your budget permits.

Pros
  • Numerous configuration options
  • Great programming potential
  • Slim, premium design
Cons
  • Expensive

3) MSI WS75 10TK

MSI WS75 10TK
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You can use MSI WS 75 to power through every step of your workflow, whether you are a programmer, game developer, or designer. By combining a powerful core processor with a high-end graphics processor, MSI gives you the power of a monster programming and gaming rig.

Intel’s octa-core Core i9-10980HK runs at a maximum turbo frequency of 5.3GHz. Even when using scalable enterprise software and high-end graphic design applications, the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with 6GB of dedicated memory and CPU offers a seamless experience.

MSI’s machine runs game-developing software like Unity Pro and Unreal Engine smoothly, thanks to its 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Windows 10 Pro provides a secure environment with inbuilt security features that are essential for a workstation. Secure your laptop with a fingerprint reader and access it quickly.

In addition to a powerful processor and enough memory, the best laptop for computer programming will also have a large screen. The machine features a 17.3-inch screen with FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 144Hz. The result is a smooth visual experience. Slim bezels allow for a bigger screen. A display powered by TRUE PIXEL features a wide range of colors and brightness to keep your designs realistic.

The programming laptop comes with a full-sized backlit keyboard and a dedicated numeric pad. With its shallow key-travel and unique layout, the keyboard is ideal for long hours of typing with a quiet and crisp response. In addition to the fingerprint reader, the wider trackpad gives you a smooth gliding response for multi-touch gestures.

Utilize the four USB ports (3 Type-A, 1 Type-C) and HDMI port to share your screen or connect to an external display at work. There’s a thunderbolt port, an Ethernet port, a headphone/microphone combo, and a card reader. Utilize WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 to connect your laptop to high-speed internet and accessories.

An 82Whr battery provides 7 hours of backup. If you are an architect, an audio/video editor, a game developer, or a software programmer, MSI WS75 will be your best workplace companion, with a slim grey chassis that weighs close to 5.5 pounds.

Pros
  • Fingerprint reader
  • WiFi 6
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • ISV Certified System
Cons
  • Non-durable Chassis
  • Speakers are a letdown

4) Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch)

Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch
View at Amazon

Many coders find having a 16-inch or 17-inch screen on their laptop more comfortable, but others may find those laptops heavy and bulky to carry around. Therefore, the new MacBook Pro 14-inch is a great choice for anyone who wants a powerful laptop that is also portable.

Powered by either the new M1 Pro or M1 Max Apple chips, it offers a similar level of performance to the 16-inch model. Therefore, if you are looking for an extremely powerful laptop for programming, but you also want something portable, then you can pick this laptop without sacrificing performance.

Apple didn’t let the smaller model miss out on the new design elements added to the 16-inch model, as it comes with the same amount of ports, including an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Pros
  • Best screen on a laptop
  • Brilliant performance
Cons
  • Screen may be a bit small for some

5) HP – Spectre x360

HP - Spectre x360
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Form and function are hard to balance, but the HP Spectre x360 14 makes it look easy. Any laptop that looks this good makes me wonder what it is trying to distract you from. However, this laptop is much more than just a pretty face.

Under its hood, the Spectre x360 14 is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake CPU with integrated Iris Xe graphics. With up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, the Spectre is an easy recommendation for programmers looking for a high-performance laptop. The Spectre x360 14 impressed us with a battery life of over 12 hours when we tested it.

Anyone looking to create apps for mobile devices will benefit from the Spectre’s 2-in-1 design. A quick fold transforms the vivid, edge-to-edge 13.5-inch panel into an impressive touchscreen tablet. You can use this to quickly demonstrate a prototype or get a sense of how your project works in real time. HP’s laptop also impresses with a comfortable keyboard and a large touchpad.

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Powerful performance
Cons
  • Limited to 16GB of RAM

6) ASUS ZenBook 15

ASUS ZenBook 15
View at Amazon

Are you a software engineer spending a lot of time in IDE’s (Eclipse, Visual Studio, GNAT, JetBrains) and frameworks such as Angular, React, or Laravel? Asus ZenBook 15 offers a great combination of processing power, portability, and a brilliant dual-screen to get through your workload while keeping you entertained.

Compile and run your code smoothly, or play some games and enjoy the power of the i7-10510U and GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q, a proprietary design for the slim laptops from NVIDIA. The GPU has a dedicated memory of 4GB, which is great for designing, editing, and playing mid-range graphics games.

This coding laptop’s combination of 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD makes it a good multitasker. Listen to music while you code/design and let it inspire you. This edition of Zenbook comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home. Windows Hello facial recognition eliminates the need to remember passwords.

The main screen measures 15.6 inches with a 92% screen-to-body ratio and wide viewing angles for realistic visuals at 3840 x 2160. With the LCD Screenpad 2 (2160 x 1080), ASUS has innovated.As well as the primary screen, the secondary touch-screen is loaded with ASUS utility applications and interacts with it, making graphic designers’ lives easier..

Asus’ ingenuity in design makes it possible to combine a spacious full-size backlit keyboard with a separate Numpad. Multi-touch gestures work smoothly on the touchpad. One touch turns it into the secondary screen. The sleek silver Zenbook weighs 3.6 pounds and exudes class and sophistication.

A Zenbook features one HDMI port, three USB ports (2 Type-A, one Type-C), an audio jack, and an SD card reader. For some, the lack of an ethernet port is a disadvantage, but Asus includes the latest WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 standards. Wireless connectivity is fast and stable.

Asus claims the 71Whr battery can last up to seven hours. With a primary 4K display and a secondary display, the battery will be stretched to its limits. Zenbook 15 is designed for programmers and designers looking for a portable alternative to their workstations. This combination is ideal for programming IDE’s and occasional gaming.

Pros
  • 4K Display
  • Facial Recognition
  • Alexa compatible
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Screenpad 2.0 might be an overkill
  • No Ethernet

7) LG gram 17

LG gram
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If you need a large-screen laptop to code on, the LG Gram 17 (2021) is an excellent choice. It has a gorgeous, high-resolution screen that’s large, giving you plenty of workspace. It is a laptop that proves you don’t have to sacrifice portability and comfort for screen size, as it is impressively light. As a result, you can easily carry it around – perfect for frequent travelers.

It also has one of the best battery lives we’ve seen in a Windows 10 laptop, mainly thanks to the new Intel 11th generation hardware that powers it. Therefore, you can work anywhere you like, safe in the knowledge that the battery will easily last you a whole work day – and longer.

Pros
  • Incredibly light
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Not the best touchpad
  • Expensive

8) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
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In 2018, we gave Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon a rare 5-star rating on its original launch. Lenovo has done a good job of maintaining its position as the best business laptop on the market with each new iteration. Thanks to improvements to its processor, display, and battery life, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is once again hitting those 5-star marks.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon keeps all the great features of the original ThinkPad and refines them to near perfection. A best-in-class keyboard, a durable lightweight chassis, a generous number of ports, and a great aesthetic return. It includes a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU with Iris Xe graphics, a new 16:10 14-inch display, and an improved battery life that blew past the 15-hour mark in our testing.

With up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, this is the best ThinkPad X1 Carbon to date. Furthermore, you are provided with a very competent machine for programmers of all branches. Featuring one of the best laptop keyboards on the market, you can code in comfort for hours thanks to the impressive battery.

Pros
  • Powerful performance
  • Plenty of ports
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Configurations can get pricey

9) Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
View at Amazon

The Surface Laptop 4 could be the best laptop if you’re a programmer who works with Windows 10 apps. This is a great showcase for Windows 10, so you can be sure your Windows apps work flawlessly on the operating system. With Windows 11, you can upgrade for free, and as you’d expect from a Microsoft device, the new operating system works flawlessly on it.

With a choice of Intel Core processors from the 11th generation or AMD’s finest mobile CPUs, up to 32 GB of RAM and a speedy SSD, this laptop is excellent for even the most intense programming tasks.

Lastly, it has one of the longest battery lives we’ve seen in a laptop, so you can work out and about without worrying about being plugged in.

Pros
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Beautiful screen
Cons
  • Alcantara fabric might get gross over time
  • Not enough ports

10) Lenovo Thinkbook 14s 

Lenovo Thinkbook 14s 
View at Amazon

Lenovo Think book 14s offers a secure combination of Linux OS, TPM Chip, and a capable quad-core processor, making it an excellent choice for Linux work laptops. For the travel enthusiast in a programmer, a portable, value-for-money work companion.

It can handle the processing demands of programming IDEs or handling large data sets thanks to the Intel Core i5-8265U. The processor runs at a maximum speed of 3.9GHz. It offers the performance boost needed to run Business Intelligence interfaces and games like FIFA, SIMS, WOW, etc.

Fast data access speeds are provided by the 256GB SSD. With 16GB RAM, your simulations and computations run smoothly. Secure your confidential data with Linux Mint’s TPM chip.

Its 14-inch FHD screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Wide viewing angles and realistic visuals keep you engaged with narrow bezels. The 3.3lbs Lenovo Thinkbook features a sleek aluminum body with a 180-degree flexible hinge. With a physical webcam shutter, you can keep your privacy intact, making this a complete video conferencing package.

Although there is no dedicated numeric pad on the keyboard panel, it makes up for it with an ideally spaced backlit keyboard. The keys remain ideal for prolonged work hours despite the smaller landscape. The standard-sized touchpad offers smooth operation.

You can connect peripherals and accessories to this affordable laptop under $1000 via HDMI, two Type-A USB ports, one Type-C USB port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Due to the lack of an Ethernet port, access to high-speed internet is limited. However, WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5 provide wireless connectivity.

Lenovo expects the laptop to last 11 hours even with a 45WHr battery. The most efficient way to use the battery is to use it optimally. The Lenovo Thinkbook 14s might be the best laptop for software development if you want to fit your laptop in a backpack and keep it secure from data theft.

Pros
  • Camera Shutter
  • 180-Degree Hinge
  • TPM Security
Cons
  • No LAN connectivity

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) How much RAM is required in laptops meant for programming?

Developers and programmers are usually satisfied with laptops with 8GB RAM. It is sufficient for standard programming tasks. However, developers who heavily rely on good graphics need around 12GB of RAM. Graphic designers and video editors need a minimum of 16GB RAM.

Q2) What kind of processor is best for programming laptops?

The best laptops for programming feature Intel i5 or i7 processors. They offer high performance. The higher the number of cores, the faster the laptop. It is also possible to find laptops with AMD processors if you do not wish to choose an Intel processor.

Q3) Are 13-inch laptops suitable for programming?

In terms of screen size, 3-inch laptops would not be ideal for developers. The display quality is more important than the screen size when considering laptops for programming. Therefore, a 13-inch laptop with a Full HD Display and a high resolution would be suitable for programming.

Q4) Why is Solid State Drive important for internal storage on a laptop for programming?

When purchasing a laptop, developers must consider an SSD. You could always get a smaller SSD laptop and pair it with a large HDD if it’s out of your budget. Another option is an SSHD hybrid drive. The internal storage will therefore ensure good OS performance, and you will be able to access programs, documents, and other files easily.

Q5) Does one need expensive laptops for programming?

It’s not necessary. Specific configurations are essential for graphic designers and video editors, increasing the cost of the laptop. Mid-range laptops can provide all the programming specifications that standard coders and developers need to make them affordable for everyone.

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Conclusion

Programmers must consider many factors simultaneously – CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, battery life, display quality, keyboard, and so on. For users looking for laptops in a variety of price ranges, the aforementioned laptops are the best options for programming.
The products in the list offer effective performance overall. The majority of them have also outdone their predecessors and have become benchmarks for programmers, developers, coders, gamers, and editors alike.


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Edward Connelly
By Edward Connelly

I’m Edward, and I am a passionate tech writer who loves to try new gadgets. I work as the blog editor at TechHamster where I write about everything from how to use technology in your business, to what apps you should download for your next vacation. I also test out all of the latest and gadgets that come along!

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