How to choose a laptop for programming

Updated on August 15, 2020
Choose a laptop for programming

When you are looking for a laptop for programming then the price tag is not enough. There are many things you should check. Yes, it’s true that you can write code on most laptops, but your productivity will improve if you have the right gear suited to the type of tasks you perform. Then there’s questions like Is Mac or Windows better for programing?

We got you covered. Here are some considerations you should consider before buying a programming laptop:

Mobility – You need to know the portability of the laptop you intend to use, if you want to carry your laptop around often you might consider a 15-inch laptop size that would suffice to multitask. If you travel a lot, a 13 or 14-inch laptop size may be best, it’s also lighter. Don’t fall for 2n1 laptop, the touchscreen does not provide enough benefits to justify the extra cost.

Keyboard – Coding means hitting the keyboard all day, you don’t wanna risk the quality of your keyboard go for a more compact keyboard layout. Importantly, use and test the keyboard thoroughly before buying, consider keys that are easy to reach and comfortable. Keyboards with back-lit features also help when coding in a low light setting.

Processor – When looking for the best laptop for programming, considering the power of the CPU is extremely important. As you have to manage a heavy programming task, you need a laptop Intel i7 quad-core processor. If you don’t want an Intel processor, you can get a laptop that has a newer AMD processor. If you are a beginner programmer and have a limited budget the laptop with an i5 processor will get the job done.

Display – Unlike with a graphic design laptop, you’ll need a laptop with high resolution (i.e. 1920 x 1080) for programming and coding work. A laptop with an IPS panel is mostly preferred over TN boards. For convenient use, a 15-inch screen size is ideal for programming and coding.

Graphics Card – For most programming purposes, the graphics card isn’t terribly important. A laptop with 2GB dedicated graphics is enough for programming and gaming but if you are in gaming development then you need powerful dedicated graphics cards such as Nvidia.

RAM and Storage – More is the RAM and hard drive, more programs you’ll be able to run simultaneously. For programming, we recommend at least 8 GB of RAM for programming laptops. 12GB+ RAM is preferred if you’re in gaming development. For the best coding laptop, we recommend the capacity of at least 1 TB HDD or 256 GB SSD.

Battery Life – Battery is another crucial factor to consider when you’re buying a laptop for programming and gaming. As a programmer, you have to spend a lot of time coding, then you need day-long battery life. As an ideal programming laptop, it should have 12-14 hours of battery life so that you don’t need to spend most of your time near an electrical outlet.

Operating System – Your operating system choice will determine which laptop to buy to a great extent. Windows OS has a lot of options, but if you prefer macOS then you are limited to one MacBook offerings. Most laptops support Linux but it’s better to buy laptops from vendors that provide top quality machines with Linux pre-installed. 

Typically, laptops with specs and features mentioned above fall in the mid-range to a high-end category, which cost ranges from $500 to $1000 plus.

But if you’re on a tight budget, we will recommend the minimum specs a laptop could have for programming.

A 15-inch core I3 laptop with 2/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD with 2GB dedicated graphics card or no graphics card at all if you’ll just do basic programming, laptops with these specs typically range from $230 to $250 at most that could handle light coding.

We’ve listed you some specs and features that would suffice your programming needs, now it’s up to you to choose your gear, just remember satisfaction over the price tag, but, yeah it’s up to you to decide so choose wisely and happy coding!

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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