Programming and software developers span an incredibly large field of needs when looking for the best laptops for developers. Those who are working on graphics intense projects may need to pop in and out of programs quite often to see if what they’re doing is actually registering correctly. For those working on less visual requiring checks, processor power is most likely their best friend. Here, we’ll look at several different categories and their ideal requirements for each section. RAM and HDD/SSD aren’t included here. Get what you prefer the most in these categories.
If you are a full-stack developer, you have different needs than someone who focuses on front-end development only. Will you be doing a lot of graphic work? Do you want to switch back and forth from Linux to Windows? Once you have the answers to those types of questions, you’ll have a better idea of what requirements will matter most for your individual situation. That being said, the requirements that follow cover the full spectrum, giving you a good view of what’s required for the best web design laptop.
If you’re new to game development and are only interested in small 2d or casual games, it’s possible to get by with less, but if you want one of the best game development laptops, you’ll want to spend more than for your usual budget machine. Even if you are just starting out, investing in a good laptop up front can help you avoid some of the frustrations that arise in game development.
Meanwhile, programming is more than just a hobby to me – it’s my primary job. I have been working mostly on my laptop for the past 5 years and I take my time when upgrading my hardware. That’s why I didn’t want to rush out a guide for best developer laptop.
In this post, I’ll guide you through my train of thought while looking for the best programming laptop, which developer laptops I recommend and why.
What is your coding lifestyle?
Before you proceed, you should evaluate how you see yourself using this laptop.
Here’s a little graph I made for locating what laptop category should match your needs.
Programming laptop comes down to two key requirements – performance and mobility. If you need only one of them – congratulations – you’re in the clear! There’s quite a few great programming laptops if you don’t try to “have it all”. But if you need performance and portability – well… finding the best one won’t be easy, especially if you’re on a tight budget (under 1300$).
- Powerhouse – Performance is everything
- Convertible/hybrid/2-in-1 – Flexibility is my top priority
- Classic laptop – Balanced laptop with great value
- Ultrabook – I’ll pay extra for the best of both worlds
For example, laptop for me is my main workstation. That’s why I prefer having superb performance (so no
convertibles and regular laptops). I also lean towards having a lot of screen space for multiple windows and I don’t mind adding 1-2 pounds of weight if that gives me significant performance boost (so no ultrabooks). Finally, I live/work in 3 different cities throughout the year and having a dedicated external monitor setup for each place just isn’t practical. That’s why I have 17.3″ laptop though 15.6″ laptop wouldn’t too bad if it had enough juice in it.
From my experience, a laptop for programming depends on what kind of a developer you are:
- Coding on a laptop – bulky and powerful laptop (15″ – 17″)
- Coding on a dedicated PC/Mac – ultrabook for coding on the go (13″ – 15″)