You need a great laptop as a computer programmer. However, laptops have different features and specs, so choosing the right one can be challenging. We’ve got the top 10 contenders for the best laptops for programmers, and we want to look at them in great detail.
- Best Laptops for Programmers: Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Thoughts
LG Gram 17Z90P Laptop 17″ IPS Ultra-Lightweight, (2560 x 1600), Intel Evo 11th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Upgradeable Windows 10 Home, Alexa Built-in, 2X USB-C, HDMI, USB-A – Silver
ASUS ROG Flow Z13 (2022) Gaming Laptop Tablet, 13.4” 120Hz FHD+ Display, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB LPDDR5, 512GB PCIe SSD, Detachable RGB Keyboard, Windows 11, GZ301ZC-PS73
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5” Touch-Screen – AMD Ryzen 5 Surface Edition – 8GB Memory – 256GB Solid State Drive – Platinum
HP Spectre x360 13T 2021 Intel Core i7 11th Gen i7-1165G7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, Win 10 PRO, Nightfall Black, Wi-Fi 6, 13.3″ FHD Touch, HP Tilt Pen, 64 GB TW Pen Drive
Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 Laptop LED-Backlit Touch Display, i7-8565U, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4, 256 GB m.2 PCIe SSD, 14″, Silver, Alexa Built-In (i5482-7069SLV-PUS)
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Gold
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop- 12.5” Full HD Touchscreen, Intel Core M3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage, All-Metal Body, USB Type C, Corning Gorilla Glass, Chrome OS- C302CA-DHM4 Silver
Best Laptops for Programmers: Reviews
LG Gram 17Z90P Laptop
This laptop is designed for high-end performance. It has plenty of RAM, a great processor, and tons of storage space. It’s not the cheapest laptop, but we think it is worth the investment.
The LG Gram is designed for high-performance applications, especially for those who need plenty of processing power for memory-heavy content. It has 16GB LPDDR4X 4266mhz of RAM for lightning-fast performance.
The LG Gram has an 11th-generation Intel core i7-1165G7, a high-quality processor that provides speed and power, regardless of application.
In addition, this laptop has 2 TB of integrated memory, which should be more than enough, no matter how many new apps or lines of code you need to save.
Moreover, it comes with Intel XE graphics, with a screen resolution of 2500 x 1600 pixels. As you can see, this is a full high-definition laptop, so you should be able to see every last character in every line of code with ease. In addition, it has DCI-P3 99% color expression.
The 17” screen makes it large enough for programming. However, at the same time, this laptop is thin and lightweight to be highly portable.
This laptop also comes with dual USBC ports, dual USBA ports, an HDMI port, a micro-SD card reader, an audio jack, and Thunderbolt 4 support. We like the HDMI ports, as you can hook it up to a much larger display if needed.
The LG Gram has everything you need for programming, including great graphics, a fast processor, plenty of RAM, and tons of storage space. Although it is expensive, we think it is worth the investment.
- Good graphics
- Strong processor
- Plenty of RAM and storage
- Good size and weight
- Many connectivity options
ASUS ROG Flow Z13 Gaming Laptop Tablet
If you are looking for a laptop designed for gaming and programming, this combination of tablet and laptop is worth investigating. It has a laptop’s full functionality combined with a tablet’s convenience.
This is a small and lightweight tablet that features a foldout keyboard. In addition, it features a touchscreen display and comes with a stylus, which is handy for many applications, particularly gaming.
However, when you need a keyboard, such as for programming, you can easily fold it. In addition, this tablet has its own foldout stand, so you can set it up anywhere. It’s a great option in terms of portability and overall convenience.
The display is just over 13 inches, so it’s not huge, but this contributes to its portability. It’s a 1920 x 1200 FHD display with 100% sRGB coverage and features an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card for high-quality, lag-free gaming, programming, and more.
This unit model has an Intel Core i7-12700H Processor with a 24MB Cache. It also has a 4.7GHz clock speed for lightning-fast processing and display properties. With 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, it should be more than enough for gaming, programming, and anything in between.
However, this is a relatively small unit, so it doesn’t have much storage, 512GB. It’s not small per se, but it could have better storage capabilities. The ASUS ROG is made with a custom vapor chamber module, with liquid metal on the CPU for high-speed and reliable cooling,
The connectivity options include a USB 2.0 port, a USB-C port, a MicroSD slot, Bluetooth 5.2, and support for Thunderbolt 4. The only downside is that it doesn’t have an HDMI port. As you can see, this is a high-end tablet that functions just as well as a laptop, although you are paying for it.
- Lightweight and portable
- Responsive touchscreen
- Foldout keyboard
- Great processor and graphics card
- Plenty of RAM
- Durable design
- Great resolution
- Could have more storage
Microsoft Surface Laptop
If you are looking for something a bit more basic that doesn’t have high-end features but is good enough for programming and won’t cost a fortune, the Microsoft Surface is an excellent option.
This is another small and convenient laptop designed for portability. It’s a good option if you are always on the go, as it is lightweight and measures 13.5 inches. It’s obviously not a huge display, but this is the tradeoff you get for portability; 13.5 inches is large enough for most basic applications.
Although the display is not huge, it is very high quality. This is a full high-definition display with excellent color coverage and contrast. In addition, the AMD Radeon Graphics card provides high-quality display capabilities.
The display is not as nice as other laptops we have covered, but there is not much to complain about for the low price.
The AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processor is pretty high quality. Once again, it’s not the best, but it should be more than good enough for basic use.
Remember that the Microsoft Surfacer also features 8 GB of RAM, which is alright considering the price point, although not ideal for high-end applications. Moreover, this laptop also features a 256GB hard drive; it’s OK for basic use, although it’s not a tremendous amount of storage.
Many appreciate the 720p HD front-facing camera and dual far-field studio microphones. It makes this laptop ideal for conference and business calls.
Although there are higher-end laptops, for around $800 plus tax, you can’t complain about what you get with this Microsoft Surface laptop.
- Good price
- Lightweight and portable
- Good resolution
- Decent performance considering the price
- Great for video calls
- Has nice speakers
RAM and disk storage could be better
HP Spectre x360 Laptop
The HP Spectre is a much higher-end and more-expensive laptop. However, if you are willing to spend more, we recommend this model as it features stunning performance, graphics, and more.
This is not the largest laptop, as it features a 13.3-inch display. Although it isn’t massive, it has a large enough display for most needs, especially for programming. So it may not be overly large, but this keeps it lightweight and portable. It’s one of the lighter and more portable units on our list.
Moreover, this has a full high-definition display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. This combines with a maximum brightness of 400 nit and offers excellent color coverage.
The AI-powered Intel Iris Xe graphics card allows for high-end performance without choppiness or lagging. This unit features 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 with up to 4.7 GHz, 4 cores, and 12 MB L3 cache.
This is one of the best-performing laptops on the list today, but it still doesn’t end there. Did we forget to mention that this has a touchscreen display and comes with its own keyboard?
Furthermore, it features 16GB of RAM, which is more than enough for programming, gaming, and everything in between. In terms of storage, the HP Spectre has a massive 1 TB hard drive, which should be enough for most needs. On a side note, this laptop has great speakers and a long-lasting battery.
Next, this laptop has excellent connectivity options with a super-speed USBA port, four high-speed USB4C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. However, it does not have an HDMI port, which can be a problem for some, plus there’s no CD drive.
- Many connectivity options
- High-quality processor and graphics card
- Great screen resolution
- Small, lightweight, and portable
- High-end speakers
- Touchscreen capabilities
- Long battery life
- No HDMI or CD drive
- Not very budget-friendly
Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 Laptop
Suppose you are looking for the performance of a decent laptop combined with the convenience of a touchscreen tablet. In that case, this model has a reasonable price, is super user-friendly and portable, and performs well.
This is a combination tablet and laptop. It has its own keyboard, so you can use it as a regular laptop. However, you can then fold the keyboard backward, creating a stand, with the display acting like a tablet.
We like the dual functionality, as the keyboard is ideal for programming and basic use, whereas the touch screen mode has its own benefits, such as gaming. Moreover, this laptop is relatively small and lightweight; it doesn’t have a huge display, so it is pretty portable.
Moreover, this model has a 14-inch screen, which is a bit bigger than most other units on our list. However, the overall size is not larger because the screen has no bezel.
On that note, this is a 1920 x 1080P full HD display, so everything shown on it looks great. It’s not the highest-quality display, but it gets the job done, particularly considering the reasonable price.
In addition, this laptop comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565u Processor, which runs up to 4.6GHz, and an 8MB cache. The Intel HD Graphics 620 isn’t too shabby. When combined, they provide incredible processing speeds and a lag-free display.
However, the Dell Inspiron 2 has only 8 GB of RAM, which isn’t much. So while this tablet is ideal for programming and basic use, it might not be the best option for gaming. However, remember that it also comes with a 256 GB hard drive, which is alright for a combo laptop and tablet, although it’s not that much space.
Finally, the 720P HD integrated widescreen webcam combines with a dual digital mic array. The bottom line is that if you need a convenient and portable, good-performing laptop that can be used as a tablet and doesn’t cost a fortune, the Inspiron 2 is worth considering.
- Good price
- Solid display
- Combo tablet and laptop
- Decent performance considering the low price
Not much RAM and storage
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop
The 2020 MacBook Air is worth considering if you like Apple products and want a laptop that performs well without being overly expensive. Of course, it’s not the newest model, but it won’t cost as much while performing admirably.
This MacBook Air comes in three colors. As you can probably tell by the name, this laptop is designed to be small, lightweight, and portable. It’s ideal for people who are on the go a lot, as it is pretty compact.
The 13.3-inch display might not be huge, but it is high quality and features full high-definition resolution. In fact, for resolution and color quality, this might just be one of the better options on our list.
Furthermore, the MacBook features the Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU for super-fast and reliable processing. For the low price, the processing speed of this unit is quite impressive—3.1 GHz, to be exact. Of course, there are faster computers, but we don’t think there is much to complain about for this price.
This Mac offers 8 GB of unified memory or RAM, which should be enough for most needs. In addition, the processor is high-quality, so the machine should always run at great speeds without lagging or choppiness.
In addition, this MacBook model features a 256 GB hard drive; it’s not huge, but it should be enough for most basic needs, especially for something like programming. Finally, the fan-less design keeps it cool without making noise.
However, the standout feature of this MacBook features is the 18-hour battery. You can use it all day without having to plug it in, adding to its portability and convenience.
Furthermore, this laptop case is made with 100% recycled aluminum, so it’s pretty eco-friendly. Apple makes high-quality products, but if something goes wrong with this MacBook, there’s a one-year limited warranty and 90 days of complimentary technical support. The only downside is that MacBooks do not excel in terms of connectivity; there are no HDMI or USB ports.
- Looks nice
- Good warranty
- Good price
- Functions well considering the price
- Nice display
- Good battery life
- RAM and storage could be better
- No HDMI or USB
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop
If you are looking for the most affordable laptop on our list, this 2-in-1 combination laptop and tablet from ASUS could be right for you. The performance isn’t top-notch, but it works well enough for most needs—without costing a fortune.
This is a 2-in-1 laptop and tablet with its own keyboard, so you can use it like a regular laptop, which should be fine for basic programming needs. However, you can flip the keyboard back and use it as a stand, converting the display into a touchscreen tablet that you can use for many other purposes.
The ASUS Chromebook is compact and doesn’t weigh much. So it’s undoubtedly a good option for portability and being on the go.
This model has an FHD 12.5-inch display; it’s not huge, but this is the tradeoff for portability. However, it is a high-definition display with excellent resolution, contrast, and colors.
In addition, the Chromebook has an Intel Core Processor that is fast enough for most basic needs, although certainly not the best. It also comes with an Intel HD Graphics 515 coprocessor, combined with 4 GB of RAM, which is not all that much, but it should work fine for programming.
Furthermore, this Chromebook has just 64 GB of internal storage, which is alright, but you won’t be able to fit too much onto it. Finally, the 10-hour battery might not last as long as others, but for the small size and low price, 10-hour battery life is acceptable.
- 2-in-1 laptop and tablet
- Nice touch screen
- Compact and lightweight
- Good battery life for the price
- Great price
- Not the fastest unit
- Limited durability
Lenovo Thinkpad P1 Laptop
If you are looking for one of the highest-performing machines on our list and don’t mind paying for that performance, this Lenovo could be right for you. It is perhaps the most expensive unit on our list, but its performance is nearly unrivaled.
First, you get a full 15.6-inch display, making this unit the largest laptop with the biggest screen on our list. Some say that size doesn’t matter, but we disagree with this. A larger screen means more space to see your lines of code or that enemy hiding behind that bush.
That said, size isn’t the only important aspect because this unit features 1920 by 1080 resolution. It also has excellent graphics, so everything is clear and has great color contrast no matter what you are doing. However, this machine is relatively large and heavy, so it’s not the most portable option.
This laptop features an NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics coprocessor for some of the smoothest and best-looking images and videos. This laptop certainly is not laggy or choppy.
This is also thanks to the high-end Intel Core i7 processor that it comes with, or to be exact, the six separate processors it comes with, with a CPU speed of 2.2 GHz. This is quite a fast machine, and it shouldn’t give you any problems regarding speed, choppiness, or performance. This is one powerful machine.
Moreover, it features 16 GB of RAM, which is pretty good and should be more than enough for basic use, programming, and even lower-end gaming. However, this machine features only 256 GB of onboard storage, which, although it isn’t bad, could undoubtedly be better.
This laptop may seem expensive, but it comes with Windows Pro already installed. Windows Pro is ideal for businesspeople and those needing a highly functional machine with many capabilities.
- Very nice display
- Great processing speed
- Lots of RAM
- Very functional
- Large display
- Windows Pro
- Great connectivity capabilities
- Very expensive
- Not much onboard storage
If you are looking for a combination laptop, tablet, and entertainment center, the Pixelbook is worth a closer look. It has many excellent features, and although cheaper laptops are available, we think spending a bit extra on something like this is worth the investment.
This is a 4-in-1 model, as advertised. First, it functions as a standard laptop with its own keyboard. You can use it for applications such as programming. However, the keyboard also folds back, effectively creating a very thin and flat tablet you can use for gaming, web surfing, and other basic needs.
You can also turn the keyboard into a stand for the tablet, creating a nifty little entertainment center. Furthermore, this model has an easy-to-operate touchscreen display. On that note, it also comes with a pen or stylus for creative work.
The display measures 12.3 inches, one of the smaller displays on our list. However, the upside is that the Google Pixelbook is designed for portability and convenience. It features a paper-thin design and weighs just over 2 pounds, making it one of our list’s smallest and lightest units.
Moreover, this full HD display lets you see everything with great detail and clarity. The screen has a 2400 x 1600 resolution, effectively making it the highest resolution display of any laptop we have looked at. Simply put, whatever you do on the Pixelbook, you can rest assured that it will look stunning.
The Pixelbook is no slouch In terms of overall performance. It has an Intel Core i7 processor, two of them in fact, so it does have great speed. This is combined with 16 GB of DDR SDRAM for high-speed and efficient performance, whether you are programming, gaming, or multitasking. Keep in mind that this unit also has 512GB of onboard storage.
In addition, the Pixelbook will last for about 10 hours on a single charge, which isn’t amazing, although not too bad. We like how it charges quickly—you get up to 2 hours of runtime out of just 15 minutes of charging. The only downside is that you don’t get HDMI or USB ports for connectivity options.
- 4-in-1 functionality
- Nice touch screen display
- Fantastic resolution
- Great processing power
- Thin and lightweight
- High performance
Limited connectivity options
ASUS UX430UN-NB71 ZenBook
If you are looking for an all-around decent laptop that performs well for basic use, something that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the ASUS ZenBook is worth considering. For the price, its performance is actually outstanding.
This super-sleek, lightweight laptop measures 14 inches and weighs 2.87 pounds. If you want convenience and portability, you want to keep this model in mind.
Although the display is not massive, it is larger than most others on our list. We like a fairly wide display as it allows the user to easily see everything.
Of course, how a display looks is more important, especially regarding the resolution. This machine has a full high-definition display with fantastic color coverage and contrast. In addition, the display is clear enough for gaming, programming, and everything in between.
The Asus ZenBook has the 8th generation Intel Quad-Core i7-8550U Processor. This high-performance processor allows this machine to function at high speeds without lagging or breaking down.
It has an 8M cache and can function up to 4 GHz. It has 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, which should be enough operational memory for most applications, particularly coding and programming. This model has 256 GB of SSD storage; it’s not a lot of storage, but it should be enough for basic needs.
Moreover, it features an HDMI port, a USB-C port, an SD card reader, and more. On a side note, the sleek nano bezel design makes it look highly attractive. Remember, you get all of this for an excellent price.
- Looks very nice
- High-quality display
- Reasonable price
- Durable design
- High-quality processer
- Excellent graphics card
- Decent RAM for the price
Could use more storage
Before you shop for a programming laptop, there are considerations to keep in mind.
When choosing a laptop for programming, one of the most important considerations is how large the screen is. Many like small, lightweight, and portable laptops.
However, a large screen is also nice because it lets you see what is going on with great clarity and detail. This can be important if you are working on many lines of code, as those characters can be very small; a bigger screen makes things easier to see. Therefore, we’d recommend going for a display at least 13 inches, if not larger, for programming, functionality, and ease of use, which is more important than portability. But, as we will later discuss, the quality of the screen, particularly its resolution, is more important than screen size. You can have a big screen, but if the resolution is bad, you still won’t be able to see anything.
Programming can be quite energy intensive, as a lot is going on, especially when testing new lines of code. In addition, testing applications require a good deal of processing power.
It really all comes down to maximum processing power. You’ll need more power for gaming than for programming, but programming requires a fair bit of power. For example, the Intel Core i5 has much less processing power than the Core i7. Remember, the number of processors or CPUs that the machine has will make a difference.
However, you should be looking for processing speed in terms of GHz. The more GHz your computer has for processing power, the better it will perform. Of course, more processing power means spending more, but for most, this is well worth the investment.
The next consideration is the graphics card that your laptop comes with. In other words, this concerns the GPU or graphics processing unit. There are two GPU kinds—those that are embedded and those that are discreet. Embedded varieties will cost less but won’t perform as well. If you are looking for an excellent integrated GPU, look for something from Intel.
Intel is known for their excellent graphics cards that don’t cost a fortune. However, look for a higher-end NVIDIA graphics card if you want the best of the best. Also, pay attention to how much memory the graphics card has. If you are programming, you want a graphics card with good memory.
As mentioned before, a big screen is nice, but a big screen with bad resolution won’t get you far.
When programming, you are dealing with millions of small characters, so you need to be able to see with great detail. Generally, the better the screen resolution, the better you will be. Therefore, we recommend full high-definition with a resolution of 1800 x 1080P. However, there are much better resolutions, with some at 2400 x 1600P, with 4K options coming in at a full 4096 x 2160.
“P” represents how many pixels there are in a given space. For instance, with 4K laptops, you’ll see 4096 pixels in width and 2160 pixels in height; the more pixels, the better and clearer the resolution. So we recommend something relatively high-end on this front.
Yet another essential factor is the battery life of the computer. As we can see from our reviews, some machines last only 6 or 8 hours on a single charge, whereas others can last for well over an entire day.
It comes down to the type and size of the battery in the laptop. We recommend going for a high-end lithium-ion battery, as they tend to last the longest and have the most extended overall lifespan.
However, if you are programming at home or in the office, you may not need extensive battery life, but if you are on the go a lot, we recommend going for something that can last for some time. On that note, a laptop with a quick-charging feature will be convenient.
Every good laptop needs ports for connectivity, especially for programmers and gamers. First, if your laptop is just being used as a processor, but you want a larger display, you need something with an HDMI port, so you can hook up a big display.
You might want to look into various USB ports, as you will need these to connect computer mice, speakers, keyboards, etc. If you plan on working with a lot of audio, you may want to consider a model with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack so you can plug in your headphones.
You might want a laptop with high-quality Bluetooth connectivity, as many modern devices connect via Bluetooth. Moreover, many combination units allow you to switch from a keyboard laptop to a touch tablet, something worth considering.
Is Core i5 Good for Programming?
Yes, the Core i5 processor is ideal for programming, as it is sturdy, robust, and has plenty of processing power. In addition, these are relatively high-end processors that will work well for gaming. However, if you want to take things to the next level, we’d recommend a Core i7.
How Much RAM do I Need for Programming?
The amount of RAM your laptop has will determine how fast it can work, process, and display results without lagging or freezing. Generally, you want something that has at least 8 GB of RAM, as 4 GB is just not enough. However, the official recommendation is 16 GB of RAM. Programming can be pretty memory-intensive, so the more RAM you have, the better off you will be.
What Laptop Do Programmers Use?
There is no consensus on the best laptop for programmers or which is favored by programmers. Some prefer high-end ASUS laptops, some like Lenovo, and many people go with MacBooks. It depends on your personal preferences and the features you want on your laptop.
What is the Best CPU for Programming?
The CPU is not a big deal if you are doing basic programming. However, something like an Intel Core i5-12600K is recommended for very intensive programming. That said, if you need more processing power, we recommend any kind of Intel Core i7 processor.
If you are looking for the ideal laptop for programming, we recommend the LG Gram 17Z90P Laptop. This laptop features great processors, a high-end graphics card, plenty of RAM and storage, a great display, and more. It might not be the cheapest option on our list, but in terms of overall performance, it is likely the best.