Best laptops for programming in 2024 – our top picks for programmers
If you’re looking for the best laptops for programming, we have you covered right here.
Whether coding is a hobby or a job requirement, you need a laptop that you can rely on for running your projects. If you’re buying a new laptop or upgrading your existing one, there are a few things you should be looking out for.
To start with, you need a CPU that is powerful enough to run your tasks without breaking a sweat. The newer the processor, the more powerful it is – so if you want a CPU that can handle demanding applications, you should consider getting a laptop with Intel 13th-generation processors or its AMD equivalent. However, if you’re looking at mid-tier or budget options, an Intel i5 or i7 processor should work fine too.
To maintain optimal performance, your laptop should have enough RAM and storage. More often than not, you will have many tabs open and multiple apps running, so you need sufficient RAM to handle multitasking without any lag. For this, you should consider getting a laptop with at least 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Depending on your budget and requirements, you can upgrade this configuration.
In addition to this, you can look for features like weight and battery life if you’re planning to lug the laptop around. On average, laptops weigh a bit more than 4 pounds and give a battery life of 8 hours.
With that being said, there are a lot of laptops that would meet your requirements. To help you pick the best one, we have done the homework and rounded up some of the best laptops for programmers.
Products at a Glance
How We Picked
For this guide, we have looked at several laptops available on the market, compared them, and selected the ones we think are the best for programming. The laptops have been selected based on specs like processor, RAM, and other important specs. Also, we’re constantly adding new products to our guides and keep them as updated as possible – so check back again for more updates.
Best laptops for programming in 2024 – our top picks for programmers
- Intel 12th Gen i7-12800H processor
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU
- 16-inch touchscreen
If you’re looking for the overall best laptop for programmers, then we think the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 might check many boxes.
The laptop comes equipped with an Intel 12th Gen i7-12800H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU – a combination that should run demanding software with ease. If you’re into video games, then this configuration is suitable for playing games as well.
The model we have selected features 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD, which should be sufficient for most people. However, you can choose to upgrade it to 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD at additional cost.
Much like some of the best 16-inch laptops, this one, too, comes with a high resolution. The 16-inch screen comes with a 3840 x 2400 resolution, which should give enough room for multitasking and deliver detailed visuals as well. Plus, the screen is touch-enabled, which should give you intuitive controls and flexibility.
For comfortable viewing, the laptop has an IPS panel with anti-glare, so you should be able to get wider viewing angles even under light.
As far as portability goes, the laptop weighs 8 pounds, which is not very lightweight. However, considering the screen size and the power it packs, we can cut this laptop some slack here.
- M2 Pro chip
- 1600 nits peak brightness
- 22-hour battery life
If you’re looking for a MacBook for your programming needs, then we think that the Apple MacBook Pro with the new M2 Pro chip is a solid choice.
To start with, the laptop comes equipped with an M2 Pro chip that has 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores, which should handle demanding tasks quite effortlessly. Plus, to reduce booting and loading times, you get 32GB of unified memory.
In regards to the display, you get a spacious 16.2-inch display, which should be roomy enough to view multiple tabs at once. Plus, the Liquid Retina XR display comes with 1000 nits of brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness, which should make it suitable for use in well-lit environments.
To connect your peripherals, you get plenty of ports, including three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and more.
Another noteworthy feature is the MacBook’s battery life – you get around 22 hours of battery, which is great if you travel around a lot. Plus, the device weighs around 4.7 pounds, which should be portable for most people.
- 12th-generation Intel i7-12700H processor
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti GPU
- Mediocre 720p webcam
If you’re looking for a Windows laptop for programming projects, then you can check out the Dell XPS 15 laptop.
The Dell laptop comes equipped with a 12th-generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti GPU – a combination that should be sufficient for most developers.
Plus, you get 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD, which should be more than enough for most users. However, as per your requirements, you can either go for a lesser combo, like 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Or, if you choose to max out, then you can also consider the 64GB RAM and 4TB SSD configuration.
To connect your peripherals, you get loads of ports, which include Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Type C, DisplayPort through USB, and more.
Coming to the display, you get a 15.6-inch InfinityEdge screen with a 1920 x 1200, which is not the best resolution out there but should be sufficient for most people. Plus, the laptop has an IPS panel, which should give you wider viewing angles.
As far as portability is concerned, the laptop weighs 4.22 pounds, which should be easy for most people to carry around. To add to that, you get around 10 hours of battery life (non-gaming use), which should last you for a day.
- 13th Gen Intel Core i9 processor
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 GPU
- 17.3-inch QHD display
If you’re looking for a powerful laptop for programming and gaming, then you should check out the MSI Stealth Studio 17. In fact, we think it’s one of the best MSI laptops for gaming.
As this laptop was released earlier this year, it comes equipped with the latest CPU and GPU. This model has the latest 13th Gen Intel Core i9 processor paired with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, which should run demanding games and software without breaking a sweat.
To aid performance, you get 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, which should be sufficient for most users. However, you can choose to upgrade it to 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD if you’re going for a maxed-out device.
Much like some of the best 17-inch laptops, this one comes with a QHD display, which should be spacious enough to view multiple tabs as well as vivid enough to do justice to AAA games’ graphics. For responsive gameplay, the laptop gives you a 240Hz refresh rate, so you can expect almost no screen-tearing.
As far as portability is concerned, this laptop weighs 11.2 pounds, which is quite heavy. But given the screen size, the MSI Stealth 17 Studio is meant to be more for desk use rather than portability.
- 11th Gen Intel i3-1115G4 processor
- 15.6-inch FHD screen
- Mediocre battery life
If you’re a student looking for a budget laptop for coding, then we’d recommend checking out the Acer Aspire 5.
The latest iteration of this laptop packs in an 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, which should give you efficient and responsive performance.
To assist with multitasking, the laptop comes with 20GB RAM and 512GB SSD, which should reduce loading times and should be sufficient for most students.
For your peripherals, you get multiple ports, including USB 3.2 Gen, USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, and more – so connectivity should not be a concern for you.
As far as the display is concerned, you get a 15.6-inch FHD screen with narrow bezels, which should be roomy enough to view your work and arrange multiple tabs. You get a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is quite common.
Another perk of this laptop is that it’s quite portable. Much like some of the best lightweight laptops, this device weighs only 3.64 pounds, which is quite lightweight. Plus, as the name suggests, the laptop has a slim profile, so it should be easy to slide it into bags.
Things To Consider
There are a lot of things that you should think about when you’re buying a laptop for programming. It may be a bit tricky to know what you’re looking for if you’ve never bought a laptop for programming before. With that in mind, here are a few of the key things that you should be looking out for when buying a laptop for programming.
RAM and Memory
The amount of memory or RAM that your laptop has is incredibly important. It supports the hard drive on your computer and stores some of the key information that your laptop needs in order for it to function correctly. The memory on your laptop will also store the main operating instructions for your various applications, which means that it’s essential for programming.
There are also other reasons why you should consider the amount of RAM and memory available. For instance, if you have a decent amount of memory, you will be able to run a number of different programs at once, and this, in turn, means that the laptop runs much more smoothly when you are trying to multitask.
Ideally, you should be looking for a laptop with around 8 GB of memory, but it’s much better to get 16 GB if you are programming.
One of the most noticeable things about the LG Gram is the stunning visual quality that you will get. The display is truly spectacular. Of course, that’s not the only selling point!
For starters, this is yet another option that you will want to invest in if you’re looking for portability. It’s incredibly lightweight, meaning it’s ideal if you want to do some work away from the office. It also has great battery life too and a keyboard that’s comfortable to use. The machine is very powerful as a whole, allowing you to work efficiently.
The laptop is not without its faults, of course – the biggest issue is that it’s a little expensive. It is worth the price, but there are certainly options out there that will give you better value for money.
There are also a number of different kinds of RAM, such as DDR4 ram, or DDR1 RAM. DDR4 RAM will run faster than DDR1 RAM, as indicated by the higher number. You should take this into account when making your decision.
Another key thing that you need to think about when buying a laptop for programming is the CPU. Think about it – you can’t function without your brain. In the same way, a laptop cannot function without a CPU. It is important for allowing you to execute pretty much every function on your computer. It deals with a lot of information too, and for this reason, you need to make sure that your laptop has a good CPU. Without a good CPU, your laptop is going to be terrible at its basic functions.
You should be looking for a high-quality processor when you are on the hunt for the perfect laptop. You should get a laptop with an i5 or i7 processor at the minimum if you want the best possible functionality. However, if you want a maxed-out device, then you should consider getting one of the best Intel 12th gen laptops or the best Intel 13th gen laptops.
In addition, you will also get a faster laptop if you look at getting a CPU with more cores. You aren’t limited to using intel either, since there are other equivalents on the market such as AMD that often work just as well.
Programming can take quite a while to do, so it’s only natural that you want to be comfortable while doing it. This means having a high-quality keyboard to work with. Ideally, it’s worth looking for a keyboard that has a number pad if you’re planning on using it for programming. The space between the keys should be adequate so that it’s simple to type, and you need to ensure that the keys are sturdy and of high quality. You will also want to check that the layout is to your liking.
When you’re programming, you’re going to be spending a lot of time looking at a screen and taking in all of the data that you see. For this reason, getting a high-quality screen is essential for ensuring that you don’t end up straining your eyes.
There are a few things that go into a good screen. The first thing is the size. If you’re programming, you will want to get a 15-inch screen at the minimum since this will allow you to see all of the data clearly. You can get a smaller option than this if you need something more portable, but it may be harder for data management. If you have the extra budget, it may be worth investing in another monitor to connect to your laptop, too, so you can see more information at once.
Another thing that you should think about is the screen resolution. It’s always best to get a full HD screen if possible so that everything on the screen is totally clear.
Finally, it’s better to get a laptop that has a matte screen since it isn’t going to reflect a lot, which means that you can even use it outdoors in the sun when you don’t want to work inside!
When choosing your laptop for programming, you are going to want to take some time to think about the type of hard drive that you have. In general, an HDD will be a lot slower, and as such, they’re a good option if you’re on a budget since they tend to be cheaper. On the other hand, you will get faster performance with an SSD but they are incredibly expensive.
So, what’s the better choice for programming? If you have the budget, you should always go for the SSD. This option will be a lot better since it’s much faster, and so your laptop speed is improved. This makes coding a lot easier for you. Your laptop will also boot up more quickly. They do tend to cost a little more money, but it’s worth the extra expense.
Surely you want your laptop to last for a long time when you’re programming, right? For many, it’s fine just to keep a laptop plugged into the mains all day, but for some, there may be a need for the laptop to work on its own without it being plugged in. In this case, you will need to consider the battery life of the laptop. At an absolute minimum, you should be looking for around 6 hours of battery life.
Now, it’s often best not to take the advertised battery life at face value. Instead, it’s best to look at other customer reviews since these will give you a relatively accurate indication of the battery life of the laptop.
Graphics are by no means the most important thing to consider when you’re getting a laptop for programming. They are, however, a good thing to consider, especially if you’re doing programming for games or you’re a gamer yourself. If you deal with a lot of things that require a lot of graphics power, you will need to think about getting a laptop that has a decent GPU. This will help you to load graphics much more easily. It’s worth looking for an NVIDIA or AMD GPU, and they should have a minimum of graphic RAM.
Finally, there are some extra features that you may want to think about when you are buying your laptop for programming. For instance, it’s worth looking for a cooling system. Programming can be a lot of work for your laptop, and as such, it can mean that your laptop goes into overdrive. A cooling system helps to ensure that your laptop doesn’t overheat while it’s operating, which can often make it last a lot longer. Other things to consider are the amount of connectivity that the laptop has, and how portable it is.
Do you need a powerful laptop for programming?
Although you can do basic programming on pretty much any laptop, it’s better to have one with a more powerful and up-to-date processing system to decrease lagging. So make sure the CPU and GPU are high quality.
Is a Mac better for programming?
Apple Macs have some great features which makes them a good choice for programming, including strong security and a streamlined user experience. However, computers running on Windows might fit your needs better, depending on what kind of program you are coding.
For programmers, we’d say that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is one of the best options on the market. The laptop has an Intel 12th Gen i7-12800H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, which should run demanding applications as well as video games effortlessly. For viewing, you get a 16-inch screen with a 3840 x 2400 resolution, which should deliver clear visuals and also give you enough room for work. The screen is also touch-enabled, which should give you intuitive controls. Overall, we think this one is a solid choice for coding as well as general use and gaming on the side.