The choice of a laptop to use for programming is usually a challenging task because of the dynamics involved in programming. This is attributed to the ever-increasing variety of laptop models in the market today with different trade-offs. Most of the laptops can be used in programming but one’s productivity will improve if the machine in use is the most suited for the task to be performed.
Programming involves different types of development where various tools are required with each specialization. This simply means that there is no one-size fits all approach in the quest for purchasing a laptop to be used for programming.
Factors to consider while choosing a laptop for programming
- Portability – Laptops vary in shapes and sizes so one needs to consider how portable he/she wants the laptop to used for development to be.
- Screen size – Developers usually stare at the screen for very long periods while paying attention to details.
- Processing power – the CPU of any PC usually has an influence on its performance.
- Memory – This refers to Random Access Memory(RAM).
- Storage type and capacity –Solid State Drive(SSD) gives significant performance improvements over standard hard drive.
- Keyboard – A programmer heavily relies on the keyboard to work all day and therefore cannot compromise its quality.
- Battery life – This may especially be important to a programmer who stays away from power outlets frequently or resides in an area which is prone to long power outages.
- Operating System – The choice of desired operating system will determine the type of laptop to purchase for programming.
- Graphics – A dedicated graphics card may not be very important for coding purposes.
Some of the best-known Laptops for programming in the current market are:
Dell XPS Range e.g. XPS 13, 15.
- Thin and light
- Pack enough horsepower to get the job-well done
- They accept various operating system such as Windows and Linux
- They have integrated graphics chips
- Has the latest Intel processor
- Speedy storage i.e. SSD• They have Quad High Definition (QHD++) screen which have very high resolutions
- They have fantastic keyboards which have a satisfactory 1.2mm travel distance with ideal spacing/placement.
- Their battery is double based. The cheap model can achieve up to 18 hours while the more powerful variant can only reach 11 hours
- The material that surrounds the typing area despite being classy, it does not remain attractive after using the laptop as it is a smudge-magnet. Its therefore diminishes quickly after use.
They are expensive i.e. the cost is beyond the affordability of an ordinary user
They also have ergonomics issues, as it can be peeve to some users for example, opening of the lid cannot be done by one hand because of it’s lightweight.
- The brightness of it’s display is quite low despite being QHD• The touchpad is quite snappy and relatively loud rather than tactile and firm.
- The best for people running on the tiniest budget i.e. it’s cheap
- It’s powered by 8th Generation Intel core i5-8250U quad-core processor and an 8GB ram that supports all multitasking.
- It is comfortable to type on and has a numpad
- All required ports and slots are lined on the sides of the laptop thus easy to access.
- It comes with an 8GB DDR4 RAM which is upgradable
- The Display is 15.6 inch which is ideal for multitasking
- The display has anti-glare, which is best suited for a programmer who takes long hours glued to the screen.
- The UHD 620 graphics is ideal for gaming and programming
- Not quite portable since it is 15.6 inch
- The battery life is 5hours, which is quite low
- It does not come with a dedicated graphics card but the UHD 620 graphics does a great job
- Ideal for Apple Developers
- It is powered by a kaby lake i7 quad-core processor which is quite powerful
- It comes with a 16GB RAM which is high end for developers
- It integrated with a powerful dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 555 graphics.
- For storage, this laptop provides 256GB SSD, which should suffice most of the programmer’s requirements.
- The battery life is 10 hours which well suitable for a nomad programmer
- The display is 15.4 inch which reduces its portability
- The hardware is only compatible with Mac OS. This limits the use of other Operating systems.
- This device is quite expensive i.e. it costs about $2,299 on Amazon
This is could be the best high-performance programming laptop
- It has ergonomic backlit keyboard
- It has 10 hours of battery life
- It’s ideal for game development and is one of the best laptops on the market for programming
- It has 15.6 inch full HD LED display which is preferably good for coding and its backlit keyboard is perfect for typing and playing games.
- It is rocking inside quad-core Intel i7 kaby lake CPU which produces throttling power from all the 4 cores to handle all your bulky programming softwares and apps pretty easily.
- It has got 8GB of RAM which can be further expanded up to 32GB.
- It also has hybrid 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD drive inside which is also upgradable. The SSD can be used for OS installation plus additional applications and frequently accessed vital data files while the HDD can be used to store all other files.
- It weighs 5 pounds, which may not be ideal for frequent movement
- It has a touchscreen variant, which is not ideal for coding
- The UHD resolution display is not necessary for programming
- The 4K touchscreen also eats more power resulting into poor battery life of the laptop
- System76 supplies its in-house Pop! OS Linux variant along with Canonicals’ highly-popular Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS build. This is ideal for Linux based developers
- It comes with discrete GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip with 6GB of dedicated memory or the heftier GTX 1070 with 8GB of dedicated memory
- The memory is expandable up to 32GB
- Storage is quite awesome. This can go up to 9TB but at a considerable cost
- The Oryx Pro also offers a very nice keyboard, with some much thicker keys than you’ll find on most laptops these days.
- This machine can be quite expensive especially with high end specifications such 64Gb of RAM and 9TB of HDD
- The machines has very high power consumption despite the good battery life.
- The machine is Linux oriented and therefore may not work coherently with other Operating systems
- Affordable among the MacBook variants
- It has unibody design, which weighs less than 3 pounds, which is quite portable
- It has 13.3-inch retina display with anti-reflective coating and impressive viewing angles
- It also has a backlit keyboard which is also best in the programming segment.
- It outputs enough power to easily run all your programming softwares, emulators.
- It has a fanless design, but it still manages to keep laptop always at comfortable temperatures.
- The battery life is 12 hours which any programmers dream
- The RAM is LPDDR3 which is rare to come by hence hindering upgradability
- The device is MacOS oriented hence may have incompatibility issues with other operating systems
- Despite being affordable among its variants, it is still expensive for a low income programmer
- The 13.3 inch screen is not ideal for multitasking• Being only SSD compatible with only 128 GB capacity provides limited storage space
- The keyboard is compact but the spacing is miniature and thus may not be ideal for comfortable for programming.
The above factors determine the choice for the laptop desired by a programmer.