Software developers spend the majority of their working hours using their laptop. Therefore, it is important that developers choose a laptop that will speed perform tasks such as compilation and running web servers smoothly. A laptop has a significant impact on the productivity of a developer.
A good developer’s laptop should have at least 8 GB of RAM and an Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5. If a developer’s budget allows, they should choose a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as they are much faster compared to the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD). However, SSDs are more expensive compared to HDDs meaning they offer less storage compared to HDDs. Developers should consider laptops that contain both a HDD and SSD. The SSD is used for installing the OS and programs while the HDD is used to store data and backups. Other crucial factors to consider are the display resolution and brightness, keyboard, track pad, battery life, weight, number of ports and graphics card. Additionally, the platform one is developing for determines their laptop. Developers creating apps for iOS must use a Mac laptop.The following list contains laptops that are suitable for developers at various price points:
Dell XPS 15
This 15 inch laptop weighs only 3.9 pounds. The display is bright and clear with a quad HD display. Developers have the option of choosing between a touch and non-touch display. Despite its low weight the XPS 15 does not compromise on performance as it has a core i7 8th Generation Processor, 16GB RAM and a NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. The keyboard is backlit with the keys having 1.5 mm of travel making typing a pleasant affair. Developers are not limited when it comes to peripherals as there is 1 USB Type C port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, an inbuilt memory card reader and a headphone jack. However, the laptop does not have a DVD or Blu-ray drive. When it comes to storage, the XPS provides an SSD available at 256 GB, 512GB and 1TB depending on the developer’s preference. The battery life for the laptop is decent giving up to 10 hours battery life for normal usage.
MacBook Pro MPTR2LL
This 15 inch Apple laptop is powered by a KabyLake i7 processor and a Radeon Pro 555 GPU with 2GB of graphics memory. The display crisp, clear and bright allowing developers to work outside if they want to. The Macbook Pro provides 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of PCI-e SSD storage. Developers who transfer a lot of data will be delighted with the Thunderbolt 3 ports which support 10 GBps of data transfer speed.
Lenovo ThinkPad E570
This sturdy laptop is renowned for its speed and performance. Programmers and business professionals adore the ThinkPad E570 for its robustness and ergonomics. This ThinkPad has decent performance with 12 GB of DDR4 RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor. The display only has a resolution of 1366×768 but it uses anti-glare technology to provide clear images even under direct sunlight. Additionally, the laptop provides hybrid storage with a 1TB HDD and 128 GB SSD.
Dell Inspiron i5577
The Inspiron i5577 is the best development laptop under $1000. The laptops display is a full HD LED display and the keyboard is backlit allowing developers to work at night. The processor is a Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU and Dell provides the laptop with 8GB of RAM, which can be expanded to 32 GB. Like the Lenovo the Inspiron i5577 is a hybrid with a 128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive. Despite packing all these features the laptop is not heavy weighing only 5 pounds. Frontend developers who do graphic design can choose the touch screen variant which has a 4K display.
The Zenbook is a 13 inch ultrabook with a 1920×1080 display. The whole body of the Zenbook is made using aluminum making for a very sleek and premium looking ultrabook. The Zenbook has numerous variants each offering different options. The best option has a Skylake Core i5 processor, 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. The Zenbook has several connectivity ports including an inbuilt SD card reader, HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports and one USB Type C port. This ultrabook is ideal for developers who like to work on the move as it weighs less than 4 pounds and it has a 12 hour battery life.