Top 10 Best Laptops for Programming and Coding in 2020

Developers can develop websites and apps on any laptop or desktop computer, but that is not always the case. Laptops for developers should have a portable design and powerful specifications that can carry the load of any programming or development software. Starting in 2020, there are a lot of new laptops releasing that have newer processors and graphics cards that consume less power and are more powerful than their predecessors. We have selected 10 best laptops for developers and programmers for coding and compiling.

​If you are a programmer or developer, then having a laptop with enough hardware specification is necessary for your coding and compiling work. Having a great combination of hardware and an excellent keyboard are the most important aspects when you select the best laptop for programming.

What do Programmers and Developers  Need in a Laptop?

There are some essential points that you must consider before you start looking for the correct laptop for you. These features allow you to choose the best system that meets all your needs and requirements.

Operating system

The platform on which you use your programs for developing is the most critical feature that you must consider. You can’t go for a machine that runs on Windows and start working on a program that operates in Mac.

It is only possible if the program is compatible with both the operating systems. Windows and Mac OS are by far the most popular Operating Systems that programmers and developers use to complete their projects. Windows support most of the programming languages, and it is a lot cheaper than Macs.

But if you are an Apple developer, you need to own a Mac. Mac runs on Swift and Objective C, and they both need Xcode. This language is available only in Mac. You will need an Apple laptop if you are specifically working in these two programming languages.

Linux runs Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Python but Windows supports them too. Therefore, the overall best option for you to consider is Windows. But if you are an Apple-specific developer, then a Mac is a must-have for you.

Processor (CPU)

Make sure you are getting the latest processor in the market under your budget. That will allow you to keep your laptop for the next 5 years and run any latest programming or developing tools in future. Processing power may be needed in some cases when you compile your codes. Getting an i5 or i7 processor with the latest generation and higher speed would be ideal in this case.

Whether you are working on a mobile app or a website, you will have to go with a powerful processor if you want to work smoothly. The last chunk of the programs and softwares require high-powered processors with multiple threads and core count.

With such a CPU, your code editors work faster and you will develop your projects quicker; it will save a lot of your time too. An Intel i5 processor is good enough for most developers. However, if you are a game developer or deal in graphics, you should choose Intel i7. If you have budget constraints and you just started learning to program, Intel i3 will be the perfect pick for you.

RAM

The rule of thumb here is to go for better RAM, but that doesn’t mean you should spend everything to get one. Better RAMs can run local servers more efficiently and you can run browsers, code editors, and compiler at the same time. For programming, an 8GB RAM would suffice but for game development and graphics, 16GB is a better option.

Try to get the higher capacity RAM with higher frequency. Since DDR4 is available in the market right now, try to get the DDR4 RAM if it is under your budget. Make sure to check your main programming or developing software recommended hardware requirements and buy accordingly. Keeping a free memory slot will allow you to upgrade the RAM in future.

Storage (Hard Disk)

You will have to choose between the standard HDDs and SSDs. But hard disks are slower as compared to solid-state drives which you will find on cheaper laptops. Consequently, for programming, the better option is to go for solid-state drives because they can significantly boost the overall speed of your machine.

It is better to go with SSD laptop. You really need higher disk I/O laptop that could respond to your queries and commands quickly. You could go for a hybrid hard disk setup or cloud storage to store more data. But it is highly recommended to have the main Operating System and your development/programming application on SSD hard drive.

Graphics Card (GPU)

This is something you won’t ever regret having, but it’s not mandatory for you either. The integrated graphics that you get on AMD processors are suitable for most programming endeavours. If you occasionally play games on your laptop, this feature must be at an entry-level at least. However, you will need better graphics if you are a game developer or a graphics designer.

Though we are not buying the laptop for gaming, it depends on your program or app you are developing to find out the graphics card requirement. Some programs and tools may need GPU (Display memory and processor), in this case, get the laptop with dedicated latest display card.  Screen size could be larger, that will allow you to do the coding and development work in multiple windows on the same screen.

You will also need a laptop that has a very ergonomic and anti-glare display. It is better to go for an IPS display so you don’t have to deal with eye strain spending so much time on your laptop.  Lightweight and compact design with excellent battery life are also some important features.

List of Best Laptops for Programming and Coding

1. New Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 8GB

If you are looking for a laptop that offers you optimal programming performance, this is the perfect choice for you. The new Apple Macbook comes with more performance and more power. It comes with a high-performance processor that is developed by using the latest and modern technology. This allows you to do everything quicker and faster.

MacBook Pro For Programming

It comes with Intel Iris 645 graphics. This is the high-end integrated graphics card that is pre-installed on the laptop. You don’t have to buy an external graphic card. There is no other laptop that gives you such an advanced level resolution. This MacBook comes with a native resolution of 2560X1600 pixels.

This is an ultraportable MacBook which weighs only 3.1 pounds. If you travel a lot you can take it along with you wherever you go. If you are a freelancer, you can conveniently carry it in your hands and use it anywhere you want.

You can use the touch ID to secure your laptop. It also allows you to make Apple purchases by using a simple touch. You can approve it with your fingerprint. The touch bar feature allows you to send your important emails in the most convenient ways. The touch bar allows you to control the volume and level of brightness of the light.

The keyboard provides you with optimal key stability. With the eye-opening graphics performance, you are able to manage all programming work without straining your eyes. You can carry out the toughest jobs without any trouble.

This New Apple Macbook comes with true tone technology. It gives you a natural viewing environment.

This New Apple Macbook comes with:

  • 1.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5.
  • Intel Iris 645 graphics.
  • Touchbar and smooth keypad.
  • True Tone Technology gives you.

The Good

  • It gives you amazing graphics performance.
  • Handles complex processings.
  • Easy on the eyes.
  • Highly Portable.

Could Be Better:

  • Battery life.
  • Advanced graphics.

2. Huawei Matebook 8th Gen i5

If you are a serious programmer and you need to carry out serious programming tasks, this is the best laptop. Huawei Matebook 13 Signature laptop is a thin and light-weight laptop that is ultra-portable. It weighs only 2.86 pounds.

Huawei Matebook 13

The full-view near-borderless display gives you an optimal visual experience. You get to see the accurate image on the laptop which is closer to the real one. The screen-to-body ratio is only 88%.

This is a fast and powerful laptop that gives you a one-touch power button feature. This touch system comes with a greater level of sensitivity. It responds to every touch.

The Huawei Matebook gives you a powerful performance with 8th Gen Intel Core i5. It comes with 8 GB RAM. It comes with a flash memory solid state which allows you to store your graphic images and videos.

The distinctive feature of this laptop is its unique cooling design. It keeps the system cool with the 25% increase of airflow compared to the traditional laptops.

This laptop comes with:

  • 2.86-pounds weight.
  • Innovative cooling system.
  • SSD card.
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5 8265U Processor.
  • 88% screen-to-body ratio.

The Good

  • Innovative cooling system.
  • Optimal screen view.
  • A full touch screen display.

Could Be Better:

  • RAM could be increased.
  • The touch screen can be smoother.
Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop - 13" 2K Touch, 8th Gen...
  • Thin, light & portable: weighs only 2.86 pounds (or less with integrated graphics) and measures 11.26” wide x 8.31” deep x .59” high

3. Thinkpad E590 by Lenovo

Being a developer, you need your computer to operate on various types of programs with rough control, and you need a lot of power for that. Lenovo gives you a premium laptop to address all the related problems.

Thinkpad E590

The Thinkpad E590 features a 15.6-inch HD screen that allows you to work efficiently with innumerable programs. It also features a Core i5 chip that is powered by 16GB RAM DDR4 and  512GB NVMe SSD PCIe. So you have plenty of power in the tank to deal with your programming projects. It runs Windows 10 Professional, so it is meant to handle a range of different softwares that developers of the modern era use.

The machine is also equipped with a high-quality webcam to make on-screen interactions smoother. This machine is an ideal choice for professionals as it provides you with multiple connectivity options, including USB Type 3 and Type 2, Type C, and HDMI.

Hence, media and file-sharing become easier. It also incorporates Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity to trader data wirelessly. It has a very sleek design, and you can conveniently carry it on the go.

  • Intel Quad Core i5 (1.6GHz, turbo boost up to 3.90GHz)
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6-inch

The Good

  • Solid build for business
  • Excellent ergonomic keyboard
  • SSD+16GB DDR4 RAM

Could Be Better:

  • Screen Display
  • Display card
  • Bit heavy
Lenovo Thinkpad E590 15.6" HD Business Laptop (Intel Quad Core...
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM; Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD (Seal is opened for upgrade ONLY, Professional Installation Service included)

4. Dell XPS 13 Laptop (10th Gen Processor for Programming)

This is an advanced level laptop which is amazingly powerful. It comes with a 16 GB RAM. It lets you handle your programming work smoothly and allows you to stay on the go.

Dell New XPS

The CPU is extremely powerful and efficient. This laptop is pretty impressive because of its Intel Core 10th Gen Processor. You can perform the most difficult tasks without any trouble. The Intel UHD Graphics also gives you an optimal level of the graphic viewing experience.

The 13.3 inches display lets you have an optimal screen view. While creating your programs, you can see the screen. This advanced laptop comes with a non-touch display. It comes with an integrated fingerprint reader. It lets you keep your laptop secure and safe.

This laptop comes with:

  • Killer Connectivity with a built-in Bluetooth 5.0 technology, WiFi 6.
  • Intel UHD graphics.
  • 16 GB RAM.

The Good

  • Optimal RAM capacity.
  • Intel Core 10th Gen Processor.

Could Be Better:

  • It could have a touch display
Dell XPS 13 7390 Laptop, 13.3" 4K UHD (3840x2160) Touchscreen,...
  • Intel Core 10th Generation i7-10510U Processor (Quad Core, 1.80 GHz Base Frequency, up to 4.9 GHz with Turbo Boost, 8M Cache)

5. Microsoft Surface laptop 3

This is a dependable laptop that allows you to remain on the go all day long. If you are a serious programmer, you are going to love its features. It comes with optimal battery life. You can use it for 11.5 hours on a single charge. This makes it an extremely user-friendly and portable laptop. You can use it for long periods without the need for charging it again.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 - Best Laptop For Programming

It comes with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7 and i5 processor. This allows you to carry out multiple tasks without getting the laptop stuck. It encourages you to multi-task. The USB-C and USB-A ports also give you easy connectivity.

The display is 13.5”. This display allows you to have a comfortable viewing experience. The integrated Onedrive allows you to keep your work safe and secure. Nobody can have a look at your work without your permission. You can safeguard it with a password.

The laptop comes with the Vega 9 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition. This is an advanced Graphic technology which gives you a high-resolution display of the graphics.

This latest generation laptop gives you a powerful performance. You can carry out several tasks on this laptop. It is a versatile laptop that is suitable for programmers, graphic designers, and gamers.

This laptop comes with:

  • Vega 9 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition.
  • 10th Gen Intel Core i7 and i5 processor.
  • 5-hours long battery life.

The Good

  • Improved speed and performance.
  • SSD card storage.
  • Integrated Onedrive.

Could Be Better:

  • The touch screen could improve.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 13.5" Touch-Screen – Intel Core...
  • Clean, elegant design — Thin and light, starting at just 2.79 pounds, Surface Laptop 3 is easy to carry

6. HP ENVY x360 with 10th Gen i7 Processor

The HP Envy laptops are known for their slim designs and premium looks. The Newest HP ENVY x360 is a slim and sleek laptop that has small features here and there which makes it a very good laptop for coding. It has the latest 10th Gen i7 Processor.

Newest HP Envy X360

First, it has a nice slim aluminium body which makes it very light and portable, which is desired by many developers. Second, when the lid is opened, the lid hinge raises the keyboard and touchpad panel at a slight angle for comfortable typing when you are working for long hours. Third, the backlit keyboard along with the lid hinge (mentioned previously) is best when you are working in a dimly lit room.

Developing your applications and simulations will be no problem, and with its long battery life, you can take your work portable without any worry.

The Newest HP ENVY x360 comes with:

  • 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U (1.8GHz, turbo up to 4.9GHz)
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.6-inch 1080p display

The Good

  • Latest 10th Gen Processor
  • Slim and lightweight design
  • Responsive glass touchpad
  • Enough RAM

Could Be Better:

  • Comes with pre-installed bloatware
  • RAM is not user upgradeable
  • A glossy screen is not ideal for using outdoors
Newest HP Envy x360 15t Touch with 4GB NVIDIA MX250(10th Gen....
  • NEWEST 2019 model 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U (1.8 GHz, up to 4.90 GHz, 8 MB cache, 4 cores) + NVIDIA GeForce MX250 (4GB GDDR5 dedicated)

7. ASUS VivoBook S15 (10th Gen i7 Processor)

VivoBool S512 is one of those thin and extremely lightweight options that you can use if you prefer to work on the fly. This machine features a 15.6-inch FHD screen that is convenient enough for you to work on a range of different projects.

ASUS VivoBook S15 For Web Development

Under the hood, the laptop has a 16GB RAM along with 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. So, you have plenty of memory to use for different programming software. This machine runs MX250 GeForce by Nvidia and if you are dealing with graphics, the machine won’t let you slow down.

The machine looks very sleek and features a backlit chiclet keyboard that is very ergonomic to use. If you spend hours sitting in front of your laptop working on your assignments, which normally the programmers do, you will find this machine very helpful and convenient to use.

There is a fingerprint sensor to keep all your data and work safely from any unauthorized use.

Being a developer you have to use your keyboard a lot and Asus has provided you with an ErgoLift keyboard design to ensure your hands and fingers don’t get overworked.

This configuration of the ASUS VivoBook S15 comes with:

  • Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U (up to 4.9GHz) Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 15.6-inch Full HD display

The Good

  • Latest 10th Gen i7 Processor under budget
  • Excellent Display
  • Light and sleek build

Could Be Better:

  • Missing dedicated display card
  • Web cam issues
ASUS VivoBook S15 S533 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD...
  • Powerful Intel Core i7-10510U Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.9 GHz)

8. HP 15 2020

This machine by HP gets an upgrade from its predecessor for the year 2020 and features Intel’s 10th generation Core i5 chip. It also has a 16GB DDR4 and 512GB SSD. Therefore, if you are looking for power, this machine is a great option.

HP 15 2020

One of the best features of this system is its bright display touchscreen that allows you to work on your projects in great detail. The WLED touchscreen doesn’t consume much power so the battery timing of this laptop is pretty good. You can work on it for hours without having to recharge it over and over again.

With SSD booting, this machine is pretty fast to boot and can transfer files at a rapid pace. No need to wait for long hours while your files are transferring from one system to another. There are different connectivity options that you can explore for file transferring as well.

The laptop comes with an HDMI port, 1 4b port, a USB 3.1 port, a USB Type C port, and an AC smart pin. But if you work with DVDs you might regret knowing that it doesn’t come with a DVD driver and for that, you need to look elsewhere.

The configuration is:

  • 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Quad-Core Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.6-inch 1080p touchscreen display

The Good

  • Ergonomic design
  • Good specifications for its price range
  • Precise touch screen for a laptop of its budget

Could Be Better:

  • Comes pre-installed with bloatware
  • Chassis flexes at some points
2020 HP 15 15.6" HD Touchscreen Premium Laptop - 10th Gen Intel...
  • Fast Processor 10th Generation intel(r) core(tm) i5-1035g1 Processor quad-core 1 0 GHz Base frequency up to 3 6 GHz with Intel's) Turbo Boost Technology

9. Aspire 5 2020 by Acer

Here’s another great machine that gets an upgrade from its predecessor. The Aspire 5 2020 features a 4 Core i7 chip by Intel and a 14-inch FHD screen too that comes with 1080p resolution. With this processor, you can pump it up to 4.6 GHz with Turbo Boost.

Aspire 5 2020 By Acer

On the inside, the laptop features a 16GB RAM DDR4 and a 512GB SSD. The machine runs on Windows 10 Home so it is compatible with all the latest softwares and applications that you can run for developing and programming. This version of Windows brings the start menu from the previous OS and with the Microsoft Edge, you can conveniently mark your webpages for referencing.

This combination of memory and processor allows you to do multitasking easily. You can run multiple programs without an issue. There are different kinds of connectivity options available as well. You get a couple of USB-3 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 2 port, an HDMI, RJ-45 with the easy access to Bluetooth and Wifi

The laptop has a very compact design and is lightweight too. Hence, you can conveniently move around if you prefer to work from different places. Quick file sharing is one of the top features of this machine.

The Acer Aspire 5 comes with:

  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U (Up to 4.6 GHz) processor
  • 512GB SSD
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Full HD display

The Good

  • The bright and clear IPS display
  • Thin, light and portable
  • Up to 7 hours of battery life

Could Be Better:

  • The touchpad is not up to the mark
  • Pre-installed bloatware
Acer 2020 Aspire 5 Newest 14 Inch FHD 1080P Laptop, 8th Gen Intel...
  • Work with Intel Core i7-8565U processor, deliver incredible responsiveness and smooth, seamless multitasking

10. Lenovo ThinkPad T590

Lenovo ThinkPad laptops have the most sturdy build quality and this one, the Lenovo ThinkPad T590 has very durable build quality, and it is also a very budget-friendly laptop for developers. With the price around 1000 dollars (based on your customization). It comes with the excellent hardware configuration any programmer can expect. Inside are the 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and whopping 16GB of RAM which is enough for web developers or mobile app developers.

Lenovo ThinkPad T590

You can easily upgrade the disk and memory if you feel that they are not up to your needs. The laptop is available in many variables of specifications while purchasing it. The hard disk type is faster SSD which is an added advantage for the price. The 512GB NVMe SSD should be enough to store many of the programs and codings. The Lenovo ThinkPad T590 is powerful enough for developers and has a good build quality that doesn’t break the bank.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T590 is a budget-friendly laptop for developers with a good hardware configuration to compile programs.

This model comes with these hardware specifications:

  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6-inch Full HD 1920×1080 display

The Good

  • Impressive build quality
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Storage and RAM is easy to upgrade

Could Be Better:

  • Come installed with a lot of bloatware
  • No Dedicated Display Card
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad T590 Laptop 15.6” FHD 1920x1080 IPS, Intel...
  • Processor: Intel Quad Core i7-8565U (1.8GHz - 4.6GHz, 8MB Cache)

FAQs:

Do I need a powerful laptop for programming? And why?

Yes, you require a powerful laptop for programming. If you don’t choose a strong and reliable laptop, you won’t be able to perform complicated tasks efficiently.
Only a powerful laptop comes with high-quality features that allow you to handle tough programming activities. A powerful laptop that comes with a powerful processor lets you handle multiple tasks at a time.

What is the minimum RAM required for programming in 2020?

It is a good idea to choose a laptop that comes with 8 GB RAM. It lets you handle basic programming tasks. However, if you are a serious programmer, a 16 GB RAM laptop would be a good choice for you.
If you have the option between a less storage space and a large RAM size, you should go for the larger RAM size. An in-built RAM space lets you perform complex programming tasks quite efficiently. Without any disruptions, you can handle professional programming software.

What specs do you need for coding and program development?

As a programmer, you should look for a laptop that comes with high-end specs.

Display: You’ll require to look at the screen for longer periods, therefore you need to make sure that it gives you comfortable viewing experience. Buy a laptop that comes with a screen display of HD 1920X1080p.

Processor: You need a high-end processing speed there you need the latest processor. We would recommend going for at least Core-i7 9th Generation.

RAM: It will be difficult for you to develop programs with a 4 GB RAM laptop. Hence, you need to choose a laptop with 8 GB RAM or more than that.

Keyboard: You cannot afford to have a keyboard that does not give you a smooth typing performance. So look for an ergonomic keyboard with plenty of hotkeys.

Do I need SSD laptops for programming?

SSD allows the processor to store and access data faster as compared to HDD. This results in improved data processing speed and runs heavy programming software smoothly. Many laptops that are meant for programming come with SSD but you can also buy external SSD.

Final Verdict

These were the top 10 best laptops for programming and game/web developing in 2020 under your budget. 2020 is a great year for developers because there are a lot of new laptops coming this year that have amazing hardware like the new NVIDIA/AMD graphics cards and Intel and AMD Ryzen processors that consume less power and deliver better performance.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

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