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Top 6 laptops for programming in 2021

Jan 08, 2021 - 6 min read
Educative
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As a programmer, it can be tricky to decide which laptop to buy. You need a good workstation, especially if you are working from home. But the best laptop for programming needs to offer more than just power alone. You also need to account for things like speed, storage, and ergonomics.

Yes, you do need a laptop with a good processor, but fast memory and speedy storage is equally important. And, since you are typing for hours on end, you also need a laptop with a top-notch keyboard.

To make your life easier, we’ve compiled our top picks for the best laptop for programming in 2021 for a variety of needs and wants. Below, we discuss their pros, cons, price, and reasons for making the list.

Our list at a glance:



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Things to consider as a buyer

Intel vPro or AMD Pro (Processors)

Many laptops for programming have Intel vPro and AMD technology for running programs smoothly. Intel based laptops are generally better at handling larger tasks and are recommended for developers and programmers.

Battery life

You want to ensure that your laptop can hold more than 9 hours of charge. Battery life will deplete over time, so make sure you are starting strong.

Speed

Most programmers can get the job done with a laptop that offers Core i5 CPU and the built-in graphics processor. If you are working with advanced visuals, such as 3D Modeling or big data, you may want to consider a quad-focus Core i5 or Core i7 CPU.

Screen size

You’ll want a computer with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution or higher. Anything less than that will make your life hard and eyes tired.

Hard drive

Hard drives are useful for people who rely on speed to get their work done. A solid-state drive (SSD) is recommended for developers over a mechanical hard drive for their boot up times and ability to perform multiple tasks at once.

Keyboard

A good keyboard is the difference between productivity and wasted time. You’ll want to make sure that the keyboard is comfortable for your hands and allows for quick typing and hot keys.

VRAM

Data scientists need lots of VRAM for tasks like cleaning large data sets or running deep learning networks. While the standard 8-16GB of VRAM will be find for most programmers, data scientists often need more than 64GB.


1. HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop is a great option for programmers looking for a new laptop. This version comes with 10th generation Intel Core processors and powerful Intel Iris Plus graphics. This model of the HP Spectre line takes the HP computer to the next level, especially in terms of battery life and sleek design.

Specifications

  • CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
  • RAM: 8GB – 16GB
  • Screen: 13.3 inches FHD, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Pros

  • Stylish, sleek design
  • Overall powerful and useful

Cons

  • Can get very hot
  • On the pricey end

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2. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

This laptop is on the pricier end, the Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme is one of the best laptops for programming, especially for those who like Lenovo. One perk of this laptop is that it’s far more configurable than most. It’s a solid laptop with a robust carbon-fiber and aluminum package.

Specification

  • CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q
  • RAM: 64GB
  • Screen: 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080 resolution)
  • Storage: 1TB SSD

Pros

  • Powerful and fast
  • 4K screen
  • Easy to configure to your specifications

Cons

  • Heavier than most laptops
  • On the pricey end

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3. MacBook Pro (2020)

This is the best of the macOS options out there. The MacBook Pro offers an all-round powerful processor, tons RAM, and a speed not comparable to most laptops on the market. Coming in at 16-inches, the computer still feels light and portable.

This laptop is known for its top-notch display, powerful speakers, and speedy keyboard. This is a great laptop for all kinds of uses, including programming, design, art, and student life.

Specifications

  • CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
  • RAM: 16GB – 64GB
  • Screen: 16-inch Retina display
  • Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD

Pros

  • Improved keyboard
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Only uses Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Battery life drains quickly


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4. Asus Chromebook Flip C436F/C436FA

Chromebooks are known for being a middle ground between a traditional laptop and a lightweight tablet. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436F is the best one out there, combining tons power, premium build, and a cheaper price. It’s an ideal laptop for remote web developers who are on the move.

Specifications

  • CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i3 – i5
  • Graphics: Intel UHD
  • RAM: 8GB – 16GB
  • Screen: 14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution)
  • Storage: 512GB, 256GB, or 128GB

Pros

  • Known for performance
  • Fast keyboard

Cons

  • Speakers are not great
  • Touchpad and touch display can be laggy

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5. Dell XPS 15

Dell is known for its superior devices. The Dell XPS 15 9500 is another great Dell product with a quality build. It offers a 10th generation i7 processor for extra speed. The trackpad and keyboard is flouted for its fast trackpad and intuitive navigation. On top of that, this robust laptop can be charge for more than 12 hours of battery life.

Specifications

  • CPU: i7 processor
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti
  • Screen: UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD display (3840 x 2160 resolution)
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 6GBs of DDR4 RAM

Pros

  • Quick boot up time
  • Loud speakers

Cons

  • Heavier than most laptops
  • Full featured laptop is expensive

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6. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

If you like Microsoft, this is an ideal laptop for you. The Microsoft Surface 3 is a great budget laptop for the 13.5 inch size. The powerful processor is capable of compiling complex programming languages. This laptop offers an overall great experience for programmers who like the Microsoft layout.

Specifications

  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i3
  • Graphics: Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics
  • RAM: 4GB – 16GB
  • Screen: 12.3” PixelSense Display
  • Storage: 128GB – 1TB

Pros

  • Good boot up time
  • Comfortable touchpad and keyboard

Cons

  • No fingerprint scanner
  • High price

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