Top 5 Best Laptops For Programming 2020:
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Lenovo Chromebook C330
- Apple MacBook Air
- ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop
If you’re a programmer, you know how important it is to have the proper equipment to work with. While coding consists in large part of algorithms, data, and all things abstract, you can’t deny how important of a role plays a good, valuable laptop.
Finding the best laptop for programming is not easy. You have to take everything into account, from the processor to speed and storage, just to name a few.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which laptop to get, you’re in the right place. Take a closer look at our top 5 choices for the best laptop for programming, and choose the one that suits your coding needs the best. And if you’re a novice to the world of programming, and you’re not sure what to look for in a laptop, don’t worry, we’ve got a detailed buying guide that will guide you through it.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
5 Best Laptops For Programming In 2020: Detailed Reviews
1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – Our Top Choice
If you’re going to work as a programmer, you’ll need a fast and strong device by your side, like the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop. This is a great choice for beginners, too.
This surprisingly affordable laptop features an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor, with the CPU speed of 3.5GHz. It’s a powerful device that can tackle any given job no matter how complex it is.
It’s not much when it comes to storage, but it’s completely expected for a laptop in this price range. The good news is, you can always upgrade its memory, but the 4GB DDR4 and 128GB on the hard disk will be enough for you to start with.
We were not disappointed by the battery life of this laptop. When fully charged, it can last up to 7.5 hours before you need to recharge it. This is great if you’re often on the move, or there’s a sudden power outage, you can continue to work uninterruptedly.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim has a wide range of useful ports, such as HDMI, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, and you can use the 802.11ac to strengthen your wireless signal wherever you are.
Whatever IDE you work in, this laptop will be able to handle it, and after hours of work, you can switch to the handy Acer BlueLightShield, and keep your eyes free from strain.
- Long battery life
- Fast CPU
- Lightweight and portable
- A wide range of ports
- Memory is not it’s strongest suit (but it’s suitable for upgrades)
2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – Our Premium Pick
Little less than a year ago, Microsoft introduced their new Surface Laptop 3 – a powerful and mighty machine. Form speed and performance, to connectivity and storage, this one has it all. But it comes at a price and a steep one at that.
While it is on the more expensive side, we believe it’s worth the money if you need a programming machine that can deliver every single time, and here’s why.
It features a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and the astonishing 16GB of RAM + 512GB on the solid-state drive. This alone makes it a powerful device, able to complete any task set by any programmer.
Besides this, the Surface 3 also has a long battery life – up to 11.5 hours. It only weighs 2.79 pounds which makes it so convenient to carry it everywhere. Plus, with the long battery life, you can work remotely and not have to worry about charging. And if the battery happens to die, you can charge it from 0% to 80% in just one hour.
Microsoft Surface 3 only came out last year, so it features the USB-C as well as USB-A port.
Admittedly, the biggest downside to this laptop is the over-the-top price, but if you want to invest money in a powerful programming device, we strongly advise you to choose this one.
- Intel Core i7 processor
- 16GB RAM + 512GB
- Long battery life + fast charging
- USB-C and USB-A ports
- Elegant and compact design
- It’s expensive
3. Lenovo Chromebook C330 – Best Value For Money
A good laptop for programming need not be too expensive. Well, it depends on what you plan to do, but a lot of times, a device like Lenovo Chromebook C330 will do the job, especially if you’re a beginner, and you’ve just dipped your foot in the programming world. This one, although a bit simpler compared to our previous choices, has all you could ask for in a laptop in this price range.
Let’s start with the feature that makes it unique on our list. It’s a convertible laptop, which means you can fold it 360°. It’s less than an inch thin, so folding and holding it is really convenient. It also has Chrome OS, a straightforward and easy-to-use operating system.
The processor on Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a MediaTek MT8173C, with a CPU speed of 2.1GHz. It has 4Gb of RAM, and 64GB of hard disk memory, which is not a lot, but it will suffice if its sole purpose is programming, without the addition of games or movies that would take up precious space. Plus, you can always upgrade it!
If you’re looking for a powerful and strong programming device with unlimited memory, this may not be the one for you, but again, those machines are much more expensive than this one. This is an especially good choice for beginners who are willing to learn by using an uncomplicated, affordable device.
- Affordable price
- Convertible design
- Sleek appearance
- Great for beginners
- Not a lot of memory space
4. Apple MacBook Air – Ideal For iOS Developers
Another pricey choice is the MacBook Air by Apple. If you love Apple products, and you enjoy their user-friendly iOS, you’ll love using the MacBook Air. This is, of course, the best choice if you’re an iOS developer, but you don’t necessarily have to be one to get the most out of this laptop.
This is the latest model, released at the beginning of 2020, and it’s an updated version of the previous one.
It has a 1.1GHz Dual Core 10th Gen Intel i3 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz. The processor could be stronger, especially considering the price of the laptop, but it’s still good enough to undertake many tasks set by you as a programmer.
When it comes to memory, Macbook has enough of it for programming purposes. It has 8GB of RAM and 256GB on the hard disk. This is enough for both programming and multimedia like movies and such.
The battery life is also admirable. It can last up to 12 hours if you combine full performance with the standby mode.
The display on this laptop is amongst the best on our list. It’s a 13-inch LED-backlit Retina display featuring True Tone technology with 2560×1600 native resolution and the incredible 4 million pixels, for the ultimate experience.
Also, this model weighs 2.8 pounds, so you can effortlessly carry it around in your briefcase.
- Best for iOS developers
- 8GB RAM+256GB
- Long battery life
- Lightweight and compact design
- Incredible display features
- It’s pricey
- The processor could be stronger
5. ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop – Best Connection Options
Our last, but certainly not least choice is the ASUS VivoBook laptop. This one combines a simple and elegant design with high performance, and it’s in a reasonable price range.
This model deserved a place on our list among the top five, for many reasons. Firstly, it offers a lot of connection options, unlike many other (way pricier) laptops. If having many ports for different connections is important to you, we suggest you take a close look at VivoBook. It’s equipped with reversible USB type C, HDMI, microSD card reader, and both USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 ports.
We also liked the fingerprint feature. There’s a built-in fingertip sensor on the touchpad that allows you to unlock your laptop. This is a convenient way to prevent others from logging onto your device without having to type in the password every single time.
The storage space is not bad either. VivoBook has 8GB of RAM and 128GB on the hard disk. It utilized the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor.
Overall, the ASUS VivoBook is a worthy choice that will be able to support your needs as a programmer. However, we must note that it doesn’t have the best battery life, so if you plan to carry it with you, make sure always to bring the charger (and that you have a place to charge it).
- Reasonable price
- Equipped with many connection options
- Built-in fingertip sensor
- Simple, sleek design
- Battery life is not the best
What To Consider Before You Buy A Laptop For Programming?
Laptops for programming must have certain features so they can perform at a high level and reach your expectations. Let’s take a look to see what those features are.
1. Hard Drive
- For the ultimate performance, your laptop should have at least 256GB on the hard disk. However, many laptops come with significantly less memory space, but they’re still a good option because you can buy a smaller hard drive and use USB hard drives to increase memory space. This is often a cheaper option than to buy a laptop that has 256GB or more, but it’s entirely up to you.
- When it comes to laptops for programming, RAM is a crucial feature to consider. Make sure that the laptop you choose has at least 4GB of RAM, but if you can afford a pricier option, always go for 8GB. The best case, especially if you’re going to work on huge projects, would be to get the one with 16GB of RAM. However, laptops with 16GB are expensive, but you should consider them an investment. We’ve included one choice with 16GB RAM, and if you can spend money on it, we highly suggest you do so.
- In most cases, 8GB will do the job, and sometimes even 4GB will suffice if the laptop has a strong and fast processor.
- If you have to choose between a laptop with more RAM but not a lot of hard drive memory, and a laptop with little RAM and a lot of memory on the hard drive, go with the one that has more RAM, because most times, the hard drive can be upgraded.
- Compilation speed is the main thing you spare with processing power, but this is mostly an issue when your project is immense. If you’re in a situation where you have to choose between having more RAM or a faster CPU, always go with more RAM. Having a fast CPU is important, but it’s more important to have enough memory available. Besides, most newer laptops have good CPUs, so it’s usually not an issue.
- The design doesn’t play a crucial role when it comes to laptops for programming, it’s all up to you and your preferences.
- One thing you should consider though is the display. Make sure it’s HD and if it features a technology like IPS or Retina (which you can find in Macs), it means you won’t strain your eyes as much, and it will be a pleasure to spend all day looking at the screen.
- Connections ports are also not crucial, but they can be handy, so if you need many ports for different connections, make sure to check what the laptop you want offers. Generally, Macbooks have the least port options, while other laptops usually have all you need. In any case, always check this if it’s of importance to you.
6. Battery Life
- One of the benefits of working as a programmer is that, in most cases, you can also work from home or any other place. So if you feel like taking your laptop to work remotely in a nearby cafe or in the park, it has to have good battery life. Otherwise, it would be bothersome always trying to find a place to charge it. Plus, it can be so handy to have long battery life in case there’s a power outage and you have to finish the job.
Having the best laptop for programming is as important as knowing how to code. Well, almost as important, but it comes close. Laptops are in many ways more convenient than PCs, but you have to know how to choose the right one that fits your needs as a developer.
We hope we’ve helped you find the best laptop that suits you best, and now we’d love to tell you about our final choices.
Our Top Choice: Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
- If you need a reasonably priced laptop that has all you need as a programmer, you should go with the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop. This one has a fast CPU, long battery life, and the option to upgrade its memory space as much as you need.
Our Premium Pick: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Undoubtedly the best high-end choice, and totally worth the price, is the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. With 16GB RAM, 512GB hard drive, and the i7 dual-core processor, this is the ultimate programming machine.
Best Value For Money: Lenovo Chromebook C330
- If you need an affordable laptop for programming, or you’re a beginner coder looking for a simple and straightforward device, go with the Lenovo Chromebook C330!