The best laptops for programming

The best laptops for programming

  • April 8, 2020

One of the best laptops for programming can have a big impact on your working life. If you’re a programmer, you’ll know the benefit of having a powerful laptop, or if not,  the pain of having a sluggish machine. While computer programming or coding doesn’t necessarily need the most powerful laptop money can buy, your work probably also involves tasks like complex image editing that do require more powerful hardware. 

And, of course, testing and running the apps, websites or games you’ve created, often using emulation, can also be fairly intensive. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best laptops that coders and developers can use for day-to-day work. 

Bear in mind that ergonomics make a big difference if you’re going to be at your machine for hours on end – as most of us are. It’s a good idea to complement your laptop with some top accessories too, to get the best out of it. Check out our guides to the best keyboard, the best mouse and best monitor. 

Best laptops for programming: Top 5

01. Huawei MateBook 13
02. Dell Inspiron 14 5000
03. Lenovo Thinkpad P1
04. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
05. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Read on for an in-depth look at each of these and the rest of our top 10.

Best laptops for programming: What to look for

Programming can be done on many different types of machines but many programmers want something more than just a basic laptop. 

Screen size is really important when selecting a top laptop for programming. You’ll get more on a 15-inch screen than a smaller one, for example, so it’s easier to read through code and make GUI adjustments. Of course, with a bigger display you sacrifice portability. 

Memory is also key. Heavyweight development environments such as Visual Studio will run better with a healthy dollop of RAM and we’d recommend considering a minimum of 8GB but 16GB ideally. 

Also consider getting an Intel Core i5 processor as a minimum – that level of power isn’t exceptional but it will guarantee you enough performance, especially if you’re doing things like working with complex website layouts that have a lot of background code. Large, complex programs compile faster with a faster processor.

Graphics can also be key depending on the development work you’re doing. If you’re working with game development in an environment such as Unreal Engine or Unity then you need to consider the graphical requirements of those apps. 

And remember it’s a good idea to use an operating system that’s aligned with your goals. Want to develop in Xcode for the iPhone, iPad and Mac? Then you’re going to need a Mac.

The best laptops for programming right now

Best laptops for programming: Huawei MateBook 13

01. Huawei MateBook 13

For portability, performance and price, this is a brilliant all-rounder

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD | Size: 21.1×28.6×1.2cm | Weight: 1.3kg | OS: Windows 10

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