12 Best Laptops for Programming and Coding in 2023
May 5, 2023
Modern laptops are much more capable and have gotten to the point where they can reasonably perform the same sorts of tasks that desktops can. You can do a lot with the portable computers of today!
Laptops for programming are great for convenience. With the right one, you can code from practically anywhere at any time, even at your favorite cafe — or on a plane! And with the right specifications, you can compile and test your code, even if you’re working on a video game.
As a programmer or developer, it becomes really confusing to pick the best laptop from thousands of laptops available in the market. It becomes even more difficult for a person who is just starting programming.
Not every laptop fits every requirement. For developers, who are either programming or designing packages, the ideal laptop specification changes, depending on the field you are into. While the tools and software used by different specialties might be similar, the hardware requirements differ. For example, a game developer’s laptop, needs to be far more focused on graphical performance, than the one a web developer might need.
If you’re looking for the best laptop for programming, you’re in the right place! In this article, we put together an in-depth buying guide to help you select the best computer for your needs. We also provided our top recommendations for the best laptop for software development to help point you in the right direction.
How to choose a good laptop for programming?
When choosing a laptop for programming, it’s important to consider the specs that will make the most sense for your specific needs.
You don’t always need the most powerful laptop for programming. You just need something modern and reliable that can compile, run, and test all your code and projects.
But of course, You will want something fast because compiling and running code shouldn’t eat up all your time.
Choosing the right operating system is essential as some tools are OS specific. Windows, Mac and ChromeOS are the most common, but you can also install Linux.
As a programmer, you’ll need to select the best operating system for your needs. Choose one that is compatible with most, if not all, of the tools you need to use for your coding projects. You probably also want to select the OS best suited for your intended projects.
Windows is the most widely used operating system, so it has the largest selection of software and applications. It’s worth mentioning that most developers who want to work on video games will most likely prefer a Windows machine.
MacOS has a more user-friendly interface. However, it only works with Apple computers. If you do any mobile development thats targets Apple phones/tablets you need a Mac anyway.
Linux is free to use and is compatible with a wide range of computer hardware. However, it has a learning curve and may not have as many applications as Windows or macOS.
Although, Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel as its base it is no where close to being as complete an OS as a proper Linux Distro like Ubuntu or even Windows for that matter.
Chromebooks are designed for web browsing and using apps, not for running heavy duty programming tools. Chromebooks also tend to have lower end specs, with very small hard drives and slower processor.
You can do programming on chrome os but basically just in crostini (the linux container system).
The processor is the brain of your laptop and one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a laptop for programming.
If your work requires running multiple applications at once, you should prioritise core counts on the processor chip.
If you’re more likely to be spending most of your time on one specific application, make sure you aim to get a processor with a high clock speed. for example, PLC software for the most part will only use 1 core for processing and compiling.
A fast CPU will easily manage all of your large compilation projects. Furthermore, it will allow you to multitask and effortlessly transition between programmers.
For handling massive projects, and for graphically intensive applications. we recommend at least an 10th-gen Intel Core i5 or the AMD equivalent, the Ryzen 5. You’ll want a multi-core processor, though thankfully, the vast majority of processors today are multi-core by default.
On the other hand, if you’re working with web designing tools, you don’t necessarily need a high-end processor. A laptop with an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Ryzen 3 processor will do just fine.
If you want to use an Apple MacBook as a laptop for coding, M1 and M2 chips offer more than enough processing power, even at the base model.
RAM is short for Random Access Memory, and it is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a laptop for programming.
RAM allows your computer to store data temporarily so that it can be accessed quickly. The more RAM you have, the more data your computer can store, and the faster it will be able to access that data.
Thus, the more RAM you have, the better your machine will be at multitasking and the faster it can compile and run your code.
It really sucks working on a low memory machine, because everything works really slow.
For web developers, RAM might not be as major concern, since there is little compiling or heavy development tools to work on. A laptop with 4GB of RAM should suffice.
However, application or software developers who need to run virtual machines, emulators and IDEs to compile massive projects will need more RAM. A laptop with at least 8GB of RAM is ideal.
The requirement goes even higher for game developers. Game development environments, level design need powerful systems to run. We recommend finding laptops with 16GB of RAM or even 32GB of RAM.
Storage is where you keep all of your files, programs, and data.
SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive) are two storage types that laptops have. SSD gives faster performance but costlier than HDD.
Thankfully, almost all laptops today come with SSDs by default. which will make your computer feel more responsive.
If you must choose between an SSD and a HDD, you should choose a faster SSD drive to store your operating system, programs, and current work. The slower HDD can then be used to store your archived and other stuff.
When choosing a laptop for programming, you should look for a laptop with a large amount of storage space so that you can keep all of your files and data on hand.
In 2023, 256GB will be the bare minimum for laptops, although a 512GB SSD or more is still preferred.
If you need more storage, you can always expand to cloud or external storage solutions.
Your graphics processor, also known as the GPU (graphics processing unit) or video card, is responsible for the image your laptop’s screen displays.
Programmers won’t always need a discrete graphics card. Integrated GPUs like Intel UHD graphics, Intel Iris Xe graphics, or AMD Radeon graphics are enough for general coding.
If you intend to work on developing video games, you’ll almost certainly need a discrete GPU. Discrete video cards are separate components, the most popular ones being the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30XX or 40XX cards.
Macs running Apple Silicon do not have or need discrete GPUs, as the M1 and M2 chips already come with powerful GPU cores.
Programming involves spending large amounts of time in front of your laptop. The quality of the screen is important, as is as little strain on the eyes as possible.
Laptops come in a few standard sizes, the most common being 13”, 14”, 15”, and 17”. The smaller the screen, the more portable your machine will be. On the other hand, the larger your screen, the more you can fit into it.
If you value portability, choose a laptop with an 13-14 inch screen, but we wouldn’t recommend less than 13”.
If portability is not the main problem then you can go for the largest monitor you can afford. Because you have less space to work with on smaller screens, Text, icons, and other user interface components will appear smaller as a result, causing increased eyestrain.
In addition, A laptop with a higher resolution will be better for programming as it will allow you to see more code on the screen at one time. For that reason, we recommend getting a laptop with at least Full HD 1080P.
Touch screen displays and 2-in-1 laptops aren’t very useful for programmers. Unless you intend to use your computer for other purposes, they aren’t worth the extra money.
Regardless of what kind of screen you choose, a matte screen reflects a lot less than reflective screens, so it’s less distracting.
Besides just the internal hardware, a lot of emphasis must go to the keyboard of the laptop. Programmers need to spend endless hours in front of the laptop, coding. It’s very important to find a laptop with a comfortable keyboard.
Possibly, opt for one that comes with a numerical pad. Consider the ones that have a decent travel and a soft touch. The quality and sturdiness of the keys is important, because you’re going to be using it for a long time.
Look at the keyboard layout as well. Some laptops may have keyboards with odd layouts, where the Fn keys and Ctrl keys may be repositioned, or some keys such as the Enter or Backspace keys are smaller. This can take some time getting used to.
Having a backlit keyboard can also help if you’re working at night or in low-light. If you’re not entirely happy with the keyboard, consider purchasing an USB keyboard. They are generally more comfortable to type on.
A laptop with a long battery life will allow you to work for extended periods of time without having to worry about recharging.
If you are frequently on the go, a laptop with a long battery life will also be more convenient as you will not have to carry around a charger. Make sure you have a battery that can last at least 6 hours.
A bigger capacity battery, such as a 90 Whr battery, will provide better portability than a 70 Whr or 50 Whr battery.
In terms of battery life, Apple laptops with ARM processors tend to fare better than windows laptops with Intel processors.
12 Best laptops for programming and Coding in 2023
If you want a new laptop for coding or programming, this list will provide some great ideas for what’s available today in terms of technology!
Are you ready? Understand and note down your requirements to choose the best product.
1. Apple Macbook Air
Apple MacBook Air is a great computer for anyone in the market for an upgrade. It’s very lightweight and portable yet still powerful enough to handle most tasks.
The design is extremely slim, sleek and modern, and the computer comes in 4 beautiful color options: Midnight, Space Gray, Silver, and Starlight
The processor of this MacBook Air is M2 Chip which SoC can easily handle general productivity tasks, like programming. There’s a hefty 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage.
In terms of Display, Apple wins with the 13.6-inch screen featuring 2560 x 1664 pixels. It’s a Retina display, and it displays very sharp images and text due to its high pixel density.
MacBook Air’s backlit keyboard has a full-height function row and Touch ID. The keys have adequate travel and are comfortably spaced. also there is a super smooth trackpad here.
Unfortunately, it only has two USB-C ports, and its M2 SoC only supports one external display.
The 13.6” MacBook Air have no cooling fans, Thus, if you know you’ll be using your laptop for heavy tasks, you may want the macbook Pro for its fans.
It has a powerful battery that lasts up to 18 hours. the battery life is excellent, so you won’t have to worry about getting sidetracked by a power outage.
We recommend the Macbook Air M2 to programming students who want an ultraportable with fantastic battery life. This machine is easily one of the best programming laptops, especially if you want an ultra-portable machine.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a business-focused laptop that great for programming and coding.
It has a thin, lightweight, and durable design. It is also known for its long battery life ( last over 14 hours on a single charge) and security features.
It comes with an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which makes it powerful enough to handle all kinds of software development projects.
It also has 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage space so that you can run multiple programs at once without having to worry about slowing down your machine or running out of space on your hard drive.
The 14-inch IPS display delivered a good picture with vivid colors, high contrast, and sharp details. It’s a 16:10 panel with 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution and matte finishing.
Thinkpad X1 Carbon is equipped with a spill resistant Backlit keyboard, The keys feel snappy and are quiet when mashed and offer just the right amount of travel.
The X1 Carbon has more than enough ports and expansion capabilities to keep the average user happy. It includeds 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports and a full-size HDMI output to keep the average user happy.
Many programmers are fans of the Thinkpad lineup. They’re fast, quiet, run cool, robust, reliable, and last a long time. which are made of better components than the low-grade stuff used in consumer laptops. They can stand the travel and constant use that professionals give them.
The Lenovo ThinkPad E14 is an office laptop, which is not as slim as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but it offer all the important things you need to work at just half the cost.
The Dell XPS 15 9520 OLED is a great laptop for programming. It has a high-resolution display, an excellent keyboard, and powerful processing capabilities.
Powered by the 12th generation Intel Core i9-12900HK processor, this Dell XPS 15 has a 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD Storage, and a discrete Nvidia Geforce RTX 3050 Ti GPU.
The XPS 15 laptop’s processing capabilities are powerful enough to handle complex tasks. which elevates your productivity, creativity, and programming to a whole new level.
The 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen offers everything you expect from OLED panel, including deep, rich blacks, extra-sharp detail, and vibrant color. which is a dream to view.
Dell XPS 15 is exceptionally thin and light for its size. The keyboard feels comfortable and responsive, the trackpad is luxuriously smooth and large.
For connectivity, it’s light on ports. there’s 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader.
As far as battery life goes, it lasted about 6 to 9 hours (depends on usuage), and that’s no surprise for a laptop like this one with Powerful processor and high-resolution screen.
Pick the 13.4″ Dell XPS 13 if you need more portability (eg, running between work meeting rooms, and/or travel). Buy the 17.0″ Dell XPS 17 if you need more power and screen realestate, but it would be a pain to carry around. These laptops are similar in many ways, with few differences.
If budget is your absolute priority, then you can’t beat the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-45-R74Z). All of its shortcomings (and there really aren’t many) are trumped by the low price.
For under $500, you get a really fast, extremely lightweight, and ultra portable laptop.
No matter what coding language you are learning about in school, this model has you covered. With a Hexa-Core AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8GB of RAM, and an Integrated AMD Radeon card, you can expect a smooth experience across the board.
The Aspire 5 is also designed with future upgrades in mind, which is helpful for the college student trying to save money. If you find you need a bigger SSD or more RAM later, it’s fairly easy to pop in upgraded components.
The device comes with a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display allowing you to easily spot errors in your code. but the display has a limited color gamut of 64% sRGB, which saps vibrancy from the display.
It has a backlit keyboard that feels comfortable to type on. Its touchpad is spacious and responsive, providing accurate navigation around Windows 11 without any hiccups or significant gestures.
In terms of battery life, the Aspire 5 laptop can work up to about 7.5 hours after each charge. And it allows you to meet the maximum desired use for your work.
The Acer Aspire 5 notebook handles heavy workloads easily and is a good choice for students and home or office users.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 is another solid entry from Lenovo that should be a good option for anyone looking to start their programming journey.
IdeaPad is a line of consumer-oriented laptops from Lenovo. What really sets the Ideapad 3 apart from its competitors is the combination of price and performance.
The screen is 15.6 inch, which makes it pretty comfortable for regular usage. It has a 1366 x 768 pixel HD resolution. This is not perfect, but still serviceable nonetheless. You can always attach an external monitor if you really want a great display.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is good enough to handle most programming needs because it comes with a good 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, an Integrated Intel UHD Graphics, enough 8GB RAM and decent 256GB SSD storage.
Another pro to the Ideapad 3 is that it’s loaded up with ports. It has 3 USB-A ports, a Combination Audio Jack, a Multi-format SD Media Card Reader, and one HDMI port. This is great for any extra pieces you want to hook up to make your coding setup complete, such as an external monitor or a keyboard.
The 15.6″ Ideapad 3 is accompanied by a full-width keyboard, one that includes a dedicated numeric keypad for spreadsheets and the like. the key presses feel soft but substantial, the keys are well spaced. There’s no keyboard backlighting, but we can live with that.
IdeaPad 3 laptop feels well-built, it’s easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design, and its battery lasts easily through a typical school day.
If you’re a programmer on a budget, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 is an excellent choice.
Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3501) is perfect in appearance, size, and weight. The device has a modern, neat design with a weight that is easy enough for your on-the-go activities.
This one is a great laptop for coding and programming. The 11th gen Core i5-1135G7 processor with an Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics will ensure that your projects run smoothly without any issues.
The 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD will store all your programs, files, and photos comfortably. Additionally, the 16GB of RAM will allow you to work on projects without running into any trouble.
It is equipped with an 15.6-inch anti-glare LED backlight narrow border screen, with perfect FHD 1080p resolution, allowing users to easily observe the work for a long time without worrying about affecting their vision.
You can easily use this laptop for long periods without feeling uncomfortable due to its ergonomic design and soft touch surface keyboard cover which helps keep hands comfortable even after hours of typing away code into terminal windows!
It’s well built, but you’ll have to live with a handful of cut corners including the lack of even a USB-C port.
The battery life might not be that great, Streaming 1080p content with the screen at full brightness will drain the battery in about six hours.
The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3501) excels as a budget laptop that can handle programming tasks and some very light gaming.
If you do not wish to spend a lot and are looking for high durability on a laptop for coding, then the HP Chromebook x360 14c will be the best choice for you.
The best thing about this laptop is that it has a 2.18 GHz 11th gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor which is good enough for working with various programming languages like C, C++, HTML+ CSS, and frameworks like ASP.Net.
The 8GB RAM gives you plenty of space for running multiple programs at once without slowing down your system.
It also comes with 128 GB SSD storage so that you can store all of your projects on it without having to worry about limited storage space.
The 14″ Anti-glare FHD IPS Touchscreen offers the best viewing experience possible while working on projects from anywhere in your home or office!
The Chromebook x360 14c’s keyboard is excellent — it’s springy and responsive, but at the same time, it’s quiet so you won’t disturb anyone nearby with obnoxiously loud clicking.
This device can support working up to nearly 8 hours to meet your working requirements fully. Thus, the maintenance of work progress will be more secure.
HP Chromebook X360 14c is one of the lowest-priced laptops on the market. It’s great for programmers who work on small-scale software applications.
gaming laptops can be good for programming, as they are typically equipped with high-performance hardware that can handle demanding applications and large datasets.
Also, gaming laptops can be used for a variety of tasks, including video editing, graphic design, and more.
However, gaming laptops are typically more expensive than other types of laptops, as they are designed with high-performance hardware in mind. However, there are budget-friendly gaming laptops available if you’re willing to compromise on some features.
Gaming laptops are more portable than ever, but they lack in terms of battery life when compared with other types of portables.
The reason is that they have high-performance processors and graphics cards, as well as high-speed fans that consume a lot of power. They also feature backlit keyboards and bigger speakers that contribute to bad battery life.
Choosing the best laptop for programming isn’t as complicated as you may think, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed.
As long as you’re taking your specific needs into consideration and looking for a suitable laptop that fits into your budget, you’re all set for success.
We’ve taken into account all of the factors that matter when choosing a laptop for coding or programming: price, performance, portability, and more.
We hope our guide has helped you narrow your search and choose the perfect device for your needs.
With the right tools and knowledge, you will be well on your way to becoming a programming pro in no time at all.
Do you have a favorite laptop that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
About the author : Clinton Kane
A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.