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Are you a professional programmer? If so, you must be aware that computer programming does not just involve factors like algorithms, coding, and flowcharts. As a career programmer, you must also understand the elements of hardware.
Indeed, the work of programming means the ability to write codes and solve problems using the best programming laptop you can get. This is really crucial. Moreover, the essence of programming is not merely about writing text. As such, be aware that a laptop that would be perfect for use by a writer or a journalist is not what we are talking about here. It is simply not suitable for you as a programmer.
Best Developer Laptops 2020
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)👑LaptopFella Top Pick
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
📱 LaptopFella Tablet Pick
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop👍🏼Slim and inexpensive
All factors considered, the best way to stay ahead of the competition in the world of programming is to make sure that you get the best programming laptop which can help you transform great ideas into reality. The perfect laptop for the job will speed up the tasks and processes, helping to increase productivity.
For you to discover the best laptop for programming, you need to recognize what you should search for. What, then, are the most fundamental factors that all developers must know before they purchase the desired laptop for coding and programming? Here is what you should know.
What to Look for in the Best laptop for programming
As noted above, computer programming is essentially centered on writing text. It is tempting to think that you could do this using almost any laptop for writing. There are, however, a few features that, when used, will make a massive difference in a coder’s daily workflow.
Consider a few of these:
- Multi-Function, Graphics
If you want to develop some exciting, new ideas for the future, go for a programming laptop that is capable of running MacOS (for Xcode), Apple’s IDE ( used to develop applications for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac). If you wish to work with game development projects, consider the question of graphics performance as well.
- Perfect Screen Size:
A perfect screen size for programming laptop is essential. If you have more screen area available on a 15-inch laptop, it is certainly easier to read through the code and make GUI adjustments. The downside, however, is that you will likely lose some of the portability of such a smaller computer.
You can try the impressive new LG Gram 17-inch laptop. This laptop comes with a massive screen that accommodates more code, without the weight and bulk found on a typical 17-inch laptop.
If you have a greater memory, this means that modern integrated development environments (IDEs), like the Visual Studio, will run battery-smooth. This makes it easier to create changes working with complex website layouts, the kind that comes with vast amounts of background code. Keep in mind that large, complex programs generally compile faster using a faster processor.
- Keyboard and Mouse
Finally, while shopping for your new programming laptop, keep in mind that ergonomics will make a big difference if you will be coding for long stretches. Make sure to choose a laptop with the best keyboards and computer mouse.
Best Programming Laptops Comparison
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)
The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018) is undoubtedly a superb, modern, all-rounder Mac laptop. Generally, the Mac laptops are the best option for programmers. The 13-inch Mac Book Pro is highly portable, with a powerful touch bar. Both Apple’s MacBook and the new updated MacBook Air are probably the most portable laptops in their range. The 13-inch MacBook Pro should undoubtedly take the first choice if you are working with Xcode to develop apps for iOS and MacOS. This you can do even while on –the- go.
The Quad-core eighth-generation Intel CPUs offer a great option. They deliver performance improvements right across the board, making them both portable and powerful.
While the MacBook weighs a little more than its sister models of the MacBook family, the performance boost is well worth it, especially when running some taxing processing tasks. This, no doubt, includes projects involving heavy-duty coding.
Features of the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2018:
- CPU: 2-4 Cores
- RAM: 8-16GB
- Graphics: Intel Iris Plus 640-655
- Size: 30.4cm x 21.2cm x 1.5cm
- Storage: 128GB-2TB
- Weight: 1.37kg
- OS: MacOS
Lenovo ThinkPad X1
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme laptop offers excellent power, albeit at a massive price tag.
Could you spare some funds to buy an unstoppable workhorse? By far, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme mobile workstation is the most suitable laptop for programming that will work correctly for your programming needs.
The laptop has several configurations on offer, depending on your needs and budget. At the most basic, though, the Lenovo Think Pad is a pretty powerful machine, packed with a reliable graphics card found in a robust, carbon-fiber and aluminum package. This is, undoubtedly, a great laptop for developers.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review: Design
The Lenovo ThinkPad is really a 15.6in laptop. For this reason, it was never designed to be the most compact of machines. Regardless, it is reasonably portable, notwithstanding the screen size and discrete graphics. Indeed, it weighs only 1.8kg and is 18.7mm thick when closed.
Lenovo has designed the ThinkPad X1 Extreme with a versatile combination of physical connections. It has two USB 3 ports, two other USB Type-C ports on the left, one full-size HDMI video output, an SD card reader, a combined mic/headphone 3.5mm jack and a smart card reader.
No RJ45 Ethernet
The laptop has no conventional RJ45 Ethernet. However, it has an Ethernet adaptor that you can plug into a smaller network extension port. You can then enjoy the benefits of a wired connection without the need to sacrifice the USB ports to a generic dongle.
There is an added benefit to this: Using the bundled adaptor ensures that the laptop’s MAC address is passed through. On the other hand, using USB adaptors often means that only the adaptor’s MAC address is sent.
The laptop has other security measures coming in the form of a fingerprint reader. This is wisely placed away to the right of the keyboard, and the Hello-compatible camera. Both of these can easily be enabled at once. This provides multiple layers of protection. In our experience, both of these devices work quickly and effectively.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Keyboard & Trackpad
As usual for Lenovo, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme’s keyboard is fantastic. You get a substantial feel to every keypress. You get clear feedback when the mechanism has bottomed out. The laptop’s signature red pointing stick does not intrude. The only possible issue is that the Ctrl keys are switched around. This can lead to quite a few annoying copy/paste failures.
The laptop’s glass-topped trackpad strikes a perfect balance between a smooth and matte finish. It also offers you a choice between the integrated left/right click buttons or physical buttons which are above the pad. The trackpad is crisp and responsive at all times, just like the touchscreen.
Hardware & Performance
The Lenovo ThinkPad’s Intel’s six-core and twelve-thread Core i7-8750H make it a much more powerful notebook than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, for instance. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme also features a monster 32GB of RAM which won’t hurt anyone.
Generally, 4K laptops like the ThinkPad are not well known for having amazing battery life. In this regard, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme neither impresses nor fails completely. It lasts for 6hrs 26mins in a video playback test. This makes it fine for long meetings and short trips, but you should always keep the charging cable on hand for daily recharges.
As expensive as it is, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is just the kind of laptop that deserves its high-end status. Moreover, it fixes several problems experienced with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This makes it truly the best developer laptop of Lenovo’s most recent premium ThinkPads.
Features of the Lenovo ThinkPad
- 6” 4K UHD HDR (3840 x 2160)
- Storage: up to 1TB SSD
- CPU: up to 8th-generation Intel Core i7
- Screen: 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, Max-Q design
- RAM: up to 64GB
The 2018 Razer Blade 15
The brand new Razer Blade 2018 15-inch laptop is an incredibly sleek and good-feeling laptop. It has been acclaimed as the world’s smallest 15.6″ gaming laptop. Without doubt, the production of The 2018 Razer Blade and its release into the market represented a major revolution for the better-known thin and light Razer that came first.
Even before the new product, the earlier model was already famous as one of the best laptops for programming and gaming found in the market. In the new model, the Razer changed its former 14-inch model for a brand new 14-inch ultra-new Razer Blade.
The new Razer Blade 15, launched in 2018, came with brand new features. With the new brand, the manufacturer managed to fix the former 15.6-inch display, cleverly fitting everything into a 14-inch chassis. The final result was a laptop that would be strikingly similar to some of the best Ultra books sold in the market .It was a remarkable case of very clever modification and tech genius, all combined.
The new machine greatly resembled the Razer Blade Stealth. Eventually, the world received the smallest 15-inch gaming laptop that had ever been made, up to that time.
For a time, the status quo maintained, until the Razer Blade 2019 hit the streets months later. Interestingly, the Razer Blade 2018 was cleverly redesigned starting from the ground, right up. When launched, the new Razer highly impressed most laptop enthusiasts everywhere in the world.
Indeed, the Razer Blade 15 2018 arrived in a completely evolved laptop market that had changed over the years. Within a short time, the market had totally transformed, metamorphosing into a new world, a world defined by some choice ultra-modern gaming laptops.
The question fast arose as to whether the new Razer Blade would succeed in getting significant attention in the ever competitive marketplace? The answer would probably come as time passed.
Features of the Razer Blade 2018
The Razer Blade 15 was acclaimed as the world’s smallest 15.6″ gaming laptop. It had the following novel features:
- CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (hexa-core)
- Maximum 4.1GHz, Turbo Boost
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX
- 8GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Intel UHD 630
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- Screen: 15.6-inch
The Razer’s manufacturer has actually priced the latest product similar to the previous models of its laptops. Regardless of its merits, however, the price of the new Razer seems to be too high, perhaps exaggerated. Why should we arrive at such a conclusion? .This machine offers you a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display at 60Hz.
The Razer Blade 2018 15 is, however, powered by quite the same processor that runs the other models. The only difference is that the new device is paired with a 256 GB storage and an Nvidia GTX 1060. Realistically, you can easily find the same item, with similar specs, at a much lesser cost, though, probably, in a less flashy chassis.
The Razer Blade 15 deserves a place as one of the best laptops for software development that have ever been made by Razer. The new Razer Blade, featured in an all-black, unibody aluminum shell, tends to take a more angular shape compared to its predecessors. It has also toned down its lighting to cover both the keyboard and the Razer logo featured on the lid.
It is notable that Razer invested lots of effort into slimming down the new laptop. The manufacturer subsequently announced the production of the world’s smallest ever 15.6-inch gaming laptop. Indeed, the new Razer measures 0.66 inches (16.76mm) thinner than the GTX 1060 model. At the same time, it measures less than 14-inches wide. Credit for this goes to the laptop’s new, thinner screen bezel.
Fortunately, the new Razer Blade has retained the webcam in its rightful position, above the screen. Significantly, this is good learning curve to other laptop manufacturers who must follow suit.
Spoilt for Choice
Unexpectedly, the new Razer Blade is still dense. This is surprising. When measured, it is some half a pound heavier than its peer, the MSI GS65 Stealth. While the manufacturer managed to reduce the charging brick’s size, the new laptop is still heavier than most similar thin and light gaming laptops. This is definitely disadvantageous.
The 2018 Razer Blade 15 is, unquestionably, an incredibly sleek and beautiful laptop. Nevertheless, it has some flaws. Regardless, the Razer remains at the top of its game. What is new is that the latest models of laptops are hot on the chase and fast closing in the gaps. The competition is getting fiercer. Asa result, the buyer is now spoilt for choice.
- Beautiful new design.
- Excellent screen.
- Fantastic performance.
- Heats up under pressure.
- Poor battery life.
- No Windows Hello.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
The ASUS Company recently launched its brand new Zenbook line of portable and durable laptops. You can get these in three sizes: The 13-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch. Each of these has similar specs, designed for different kinds of users. The 13-inch model happens to be the most portable. Indeed, the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 seems to be the company’s flagship model.
Notably, the ZenBook series is reputable not only for delivering great performance, but also doing it in great style; just about similar to what Apple did with their new MacBook devices.
The new ZenBook 13 notebook laptop retains all the iconic design features that made it popular. It also adds some details which result in a huge difference. For instance, ASUS added a rose gold trim to its two available colors.
When these are combined with Icicle Silver or Royal Blue, the result is a greatly sophisticated, mature device. The ZenBook 13 whispers its elegance silently through such small details.
Moreover, some practicality has been added, owing to new innovations by ASUS. Now, the new ZenBook 13 model features a significantly reduced screen bezel width on all the sides. This reduces its overall dimensions. Also, a new hinge called the “ErgoLift” has been introduced.
On opening the lid, the hinge raises the base of the notebook automatically by about three degrees. This makes it more comfortable typing on the laptop, while also optimizing the air -flow for better cooling. The same feature is also found in the cheaper Vivobook 15 model.
ASUS also introduced another feature: the number pad! This feature is quite revolutionary. Usually, with such smaller machines, the user does not enjoy the luxury of having a number pad placed on the keyboard. ASUS has now solved this inconvenience by adding the element on the touch pad. Just by pressing an icon, you can turn the touch pad into a functional number pad and vice versa.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 laptop is run by an 8th generation, quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U processor. The frequency varies between 1.8 GHz and 4.6 GHz in turbo mode. The cache size is some 8 megabytes. Accordingly, the benchmark tests have rated this laptop’s CPU at around 9000 points. This means it can do virtually anything you ask it without hiccups.
Of course, most users may not need this kind of computing power for everyday use. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to have that extra function ready, on stand-by, for your photo or video editing jobs, advanced calculations, data mining, or 3D renderings.
The laptop’s standard memory size rates at 16 gigabytes of LP-DDR3 on-board memory. This amount and frequency (2133 MHz) is quite satisfactory for all types of users of this remarkable Ultrabook. The term ‘On-board’ indicates that the memory modules are soldered to the motherboard. For this reason, it cannot be upgraded further.
The laptop’s storage is large enough to cater for all your daily needs, as well as store many files. Although it is limited to 512 gigabytes, it comes in form of a blazing fast PCIe Solid State Drive. In case you are a video editor, a photographer or you simply love having large, physical media collections, you may decide to invest in external storage.
The graphics features on the laptop rhyme with its slimness and user profile. For instance, it has no dedicated graphics cards installed. It comes with an on-board Intel UHD Graphics 620 card.
Happily, most modern programs rely solely on features like processing power and memory size. The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 comes with all these. As for online MMOs, games, CS:GO and similar titles, you will be OK using these with this laptop.
Features of the ASUS Zen Book
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
- 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x combo audio
- 1 x HDMI-out
- 1 x microSD card reader
- Portability and battery life
- A speedier, more reliable wireless connectivity. The wireless card offers faster download and upload speeds, improved range, and a more stable connection for streaming.
- Dual-Band 802.11ac gigabit-class Wi-Fi.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Portability-wise, the ASUS notebook is one of the most compact 13-inch laptops available out there. It is smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. It is a great laptop for people on the move.
- Battery life: The Zenbook offers a 50Whr, 3-Cell Lithium-Polymer battery pack. With moderate use, this can hold a charge for up to 14 hours.
With all these superb features, the new ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 is truly get a place on ours top of best laptops for programming.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
There are, obviously, many faster quad-core laptops than the Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop in the market. You will not, however, get them at such a friendly price. If you want a reasonably cheap laptop for programming that measures less than three-quarters of an inch in thickness, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ is likely to fit the bill.
This ultra slim Acer Aspire laptop packs in great power for everyday tasks. Its quad-core performance is respectable, even awe-inspiring. It comes with a remarkable fingerprint reader and an all-day battery life that appeals to many productivity-minded users. One downside with this laptop is that you will have to settle for a display that is a bit dimmer.
The Core i5 Acer Aspire 5 features an impressively slim and trim shell.
The laptop’s reasonable 8GB RAM helps to enhance performance when running multiple programs simultaneously. It comes with a 256GB SSD, which is a decent amount of storage, suitable for a speedy solid-state drive. It also has a full-HD (1920×1080) 15.6-inch display and an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 chip.
On paper, the Acer Aspire is a relatively sturdy workhorse that will work great for your everyday computing chores. These include such tasks as web browsing and composition of Office documents. The laptop’s integrated UHD 620 will also let you do some light gaming at leisure.
Laptops of the Acer’s Aspire 5 family are well-known for feeling thinner and lighter than they actually are. This model of the Aspire 5 is not different. Admittedly, it tips the scales at about 4.25 pounds. Nevertheless, coming at 0.7 inches thin, the Aspire 5 feels quite light, considering its sizable 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.
The Acer’s slim aluminum lid and tapered shell make it look rather stylish for a budget laptop. On opening the lid you will get a 15.6-inch display with svelte right and left bezels, a dapper “Aspire” logo on the hinge, and a silver-colored chassis offset next to the black keyboard. The lid is capable of bending slightly way back beyond 180 degrees. This means you can lay the laptop completely flat with its lid open, if you wish.
The Acer’s Downside:
- The slim bezel on the Aspire 5’s display is likable, but the screen brightness leaves much to be desired. Unfortunately, as noted, the display on this model of the Aspire 5 is disappointingly dim. It is just 201 nits (or candelas) in measurement. This is well below the recommended 250 nits.
- The Aspire 5’s screen looks sufficiently bright while indoors. It however, begins to fade when used outside in the shade. Things become even worse when you venture into direct sunlight.
- The speakers on the Aspire 5 are not impressive; they are as ordinary as those found on most other laptops.
- Disappointingly, the Acer Aspire features no memory card reader. This means you will not be able to slot in memory cards from your digital camera or Android phone. This is a definite downside.
On a positive note, the laptop’s trackpad features a fingerprint reader. This is pretty useful for signing into your Windows profile or other compatible apps. You simply press your fingertip on the sensor and, voila! It is done
The Aspire 5 features a roomy backlit keyboard. It comes complete with a 10-key numeric keypad. The keys on the laptop feel fairly good to type on.
- acer aspire 5 51dj fingerprint reader
- Ben Patterson/IDG
- A fingerprint reader is a nice touch, and the one on the Aspire 5 is fairly reliable.
The Aspire 5’s ports offer a decent selection of new options. You will get a full-on Gigabit Ethernet port which works well for the old-school wired connection. It also comes with a HDMI, a speedy USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port which you may use to connect the peripherals and the newer USB-C-equipped storage devices.
The Aspire scores excellently on matters of everyday productivity like office work, programming, web browsing, playing tunes, and light photo editing.
Slightly ahead of the Aspire are devices that are either too expensive (like the Lenovo ThinkPad L480) or much bigger and, therefore, easier coolers (like the hefty Acer E 15).
Lagging behind is the 2.7-pound Asus ZenBook 13. As you would expect, a number of dual-core Acer laptops, including a Core- i3-packing model of the Aspire 5 family, all make up the rear.
- Impressive battery life
- Much mainstream productivity power
- Fingerprint reader.
- No memory card reader
- Dim display
- So-so quad-core performance.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 can be described as the best Windows tablet for programming available in the market.
Whenever you have to work on the go, you will certainly be thankful for the gift of the Microsoft Surface Pro 6.
Coming with its superior quad-core processors and a sizeable RAM, you will be able to conveniently compile codes even when on the go. Moreover, you will do so quickly and efficiently. As you will discover, with this laptop, you will never again want to get your coding done on a touch screen.
Features of the Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Laptop has several attractive features. Here are a few:
- CPU: 5th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1
- RAM: 8-16GB
- Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD
- Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
- Weight: 1.73 pounds.
Apple MacBook Pro Wins!
All said and done, which is the best laptop for coding and programming work? In our opinion, the Apple Macbook Pro 15 or Apple Macbook Pro 13 are the best laptops for programming. Consider buying any of these, especially if you do tasks likes iOS coding and Web development.
While doing this, please note that, you will not be able to expand the Apple Macbook ‘s RAM or HDD. Make sure to get a configuration that will be useful to you, at least for the next few years.
If you don’t do iOS development and you work mostly on Windows, consider other alternatives further afield. These include the Dell XPS and Lenovo Thinkpad. The latter is a famous brand which is loved by many programmers. It is powerful, portable, durable and even upgradeable. The Thinkpad is also UNIX friendly. For this reason, you can use Hackintosh to run Mac OS X on it.
Some authorities consider the Huawei MateBook 13 as one of the best laptops for programming. It certainly features some great specs at a reasonable price. Moreover, it is super-portable.
Overall, computer programming may mean different things to different people. Basically, programming involves writing lines of text. For such an important task, it is always wise to pack some horsepower under the hood. The best laptop for programming will do the trick. You are free to make your selection from the best laptops for computer programming as featured here.
Frank C, the same LaptopFella
Contact me: frank.cooper[@]laptopfella.com
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- Best Developer Laptops 2020
- Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
- What to Look for in the Best laptop for programming
- Best Programming Laptops Comparison
- Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1
- The 2018 Razer Blade 15
- The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6
- The Verdict: