Programming is both a challenging and fun job, but without the right toolkit, coding would be a total nightmare. Using a typical low-specs laptop wouldn’t be a nice choice here. Although I’m no master coder, my experience in HTML and basic CSS taught me that speed is the name of the game when it comes to picking a laptop to use. The next story is the best laptop screen size for programming.
Aside from increasing productivity through the mentioned benchmarks, the size of the screen is also a big deal for many. It’s difficult to read through lines of codes on a mini laptop, much so to execute the command.
Personally, I recommend that you consider the performance of the laptop as well as its ability to execute with power. If it’s starting to lag after opening 10 tabs, toss it into the bin and go get yourself a new one.
Considerations when buying a programming laptop
Sure thing, you can program using a mid-level laptop but never expect to yield the best results. This is why you have to look deeply on the specs. Be as meticulous as you can be. A new laptop is an investment and it’s just right that it will work as expected. Here are some of the things you should consider:
When it comes to SSDs vs. standard hard drives, the former has more power. Solid state drive is way better when it comes to accessing and storing information. It’s the perfect match for professional programmers who build websites and construct applications.
You can use a regular 1TB drive when programming something, say an application. The results are satisfactory but you can have a better experience with a 256GB SSD. Again, the best laptop for programming is all about speed. And since programming will require you to dig from folder to folder, system lag has no room here.
Have you ever waited for a single folder to load all the files? Those precious seconds can stagger your momentum and ruin your ideas. Using an SSD, you can switch from one of these folders to another in a faster manner.
The Random Access Memory (RAM) of your laptop is the extension of your hard drive. This should have enough space to store and retrieve information regardless of the volume. When it comes to programming, you need to have optimal memory to keep those applications running smoothly. Trust me, the “Not Responding’ prompt is something you wouldn’t want to deal with during a big project.
Once you’re done writing your code, the execution of these commands will be the defining moment for your project. This means your laptop should have a higher RAM to hold up well while you run the program.
Aside from accommodating your programming applications, the RAM of the laptop is responsible for running multiple processes at a time. You should be using a programming app, a browser, a tutorial site, and other resources at once without experiencing any sign of slowing down.
With this, I recommend that you get at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM for your laptop. This is the bare minimum, and if you can, consider investing in 16GB versions. It’s worth it even if the price tag is a bit on the steep side. If you do programming for a living, forget about 4GB RAMs.
Always invest in the latest processors available. The Intel’s 8th generation core processors are out in the market and there are rumors that the 9th gen is on its way. You can also explore Ryzen options as well as what Apple has to offer. It all depends on which you are most familiar with.
Generally, you should scrutinize the CPU of the laptop you’re planning to purchase. This is the brain of the machine, and if it’s weak, be prepared for multiple crashes. It’s not just about the best laptop screen size for programming, after all.
My rule of thumb here is to opt for either Core i5 or i7 of at least 7th generation Intel. Also, look for multiple processing cores. The many cores there are, the better for your programming experience.
For this one, I think it all boils down to preference. Personally, I’m more of a Windows guy, but I acknowledge that the likes of Mac and Linux are also great options.
For the most part, Windows is very common. However, the problem here is that Windows tends to run a lot of unnecessary apps in the background. The interface is also less appealing for some. Nevertheless, it’s a champ if you’re using Visual Basic, Code Blocks, Net Beans, or Dev C++.
To be fair, Code Blocks and Net Beans are also great in Linux (Ubuntu). Linux also offers better driver support and ease of installation in case you’re eyeing for such characteristics. Again, it depends on what feels more polished to you.
Lastly, in the case of iOS/iPhone apps, the best laptop for programming would be a Mac OS/X model.
✅Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
If you’re programming a graphics-heavy application, it’s important to have a reliable graphics card. Even if you’re not working on such a project at the moment, I suggest that you invest in it already. One thing I’ve learned about buying laptops is you should anticipate the future. Still, I know that for some programmers, high-end GPUs aren’t always a necessity.
But as a guide, I recommend that you opt for an integrated graphics card. This should come as part of most i5 and i7 laptops nowadays. Although a bit low-end in terms of GPU quality, it’s going to work well on most programming tasks. Just don’t expect that it will hold up pretty well during gaming.
If you’re bent to purchase a dedicated graphics card, go for one with at least one or two GB of video memory. Some of the most popular brands right now are GeForce Titan X and Nvidia.
Still, you can save the money and invest in a better processor and the best laptop screen size for programming. After all, speed and convenience are what we came here for.
The battery life depends on where you want to work. I personally prefer coding in my big desk right next to a power source. But for some, they opt for a different place, say a park bench or in a shared working space where other programmers are present.
Of course, if you’re spending much of your time next to a power source, the battery life wouldn’t be a big issue. However, if you’re traveling or moving from one workplace to another, it’s best to look for optimal battery life.
There are laptops that can run for 10-15 hours straight without going dead. However, the battery life in connection with the specs you’re looking for may not always meet. Still, my rule is to get the right bargain for everything and then offset some stuff with additional accessories.
The best laptop for programming – Personal Picks!
After discussing some of the staples, I’ve listed here some of the best laptops you can get for programming. Shop around and see what suits your job best. Also, I suggest that you take time on understanding and inspecting the specifications. This should be fun, my friend:
Dell Alienware 17” R5 Laptop
If you want all the good things on one laptop, I suggest that you check the Dell Alienware R5 laptop. This 17-inch machine has an Intel 8th generation Core i9 processor (talk about power!) with a staggering 32 GB RAM. If you’re both a gamer and a programmer, this laptop is a total catch.
This Dell offer has 256GB of SSD that runs in Windows 10 Home. It can be overclocked up to 5 GHz together with the already overclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. Top it with a QHD display plus an illuminating keyboard and you’ll want for nothing.
My only gripe for this laptop is its short battery life. It can run for a maximum of 3 hours which is understandable due to the massive memory and hardware installed. If your workspace has a consistent power source, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The Alienware is also a bit heavy than most, weighing around 9.7 pounds. Still, this is considerably slimmer than its previous versions.
Typing-wise, it’s a total ease with Alienware. The steel-reinforced TactX keyboard has 79 grams of actuation which is totally effortless and comfortable for every programmer.
Asus Zenbook 13 UX331UN
If you want a slimmer and sleeker design close to MacBooks, the Asus Zenbook 13 is the best bet. It runs in an Intel 8th Generation i5 processor with 8GB of RAM. If you can’t afford the Alienware, this laptop is already the next best option in terms of speed and memory.
This Zenbook has an NVidia GeForce MX150 GPU as well as a 256 GB SSD. Although its hard drive isn’t as lightning speed as its competitors, it works well for programming and multiple commands.
The bonus part here is its beautiful, blue cobalt chassis. It reflects light properly which improves keyboard visibility. Most of all, it can run for 9 hours in a single charge, the best laptop for programming.
At 13 inches, the display is fairly easy to the eyes but a bit off for someone looking for a bigger monitor. When it comes to the keyboard, typing is smooth and easy with only 68 grams of actuation. It may not be as deep as others but it’s clicky enough to be comfy to the fingers.
Performance wise, you can open 25 tabs in your browser while streaming high-quality video without major hiccups.
HP Elite Book 840 G5
Looking for a classy design? The HP Elite Book 840 G5 might be for you.
The HP Elite Book 840 G5 operates using an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and a 16GB RAM. This has the Intel UHD Graphics 620 which is enough for most tasks, but not gaming.
Roughly, this laptop can run for 8.5 hours in one charge, but like any other computer, it will depend on your usage.
The HP Elite laptop is light for just 3.4 pounds. Display wise, it sports the best laptop screen size for programming: 14 inches with 1920 x 1080 IPS which is quite impressive for such a setup.
As for the keyboard, typing would be a breeze. The only caveat I have is the limited backlighting setting. Still, it’s not a big deal for me since it works properly.
If you’re planning to switch-task, the HP 840 G5 can surely keep up with the demand. Copying and transferring files here is impressive too. It won’t be too hot to touch in case you’re going to use it for long. Still, watch out for the lower sides of the undercarriage that can get hotter than most.
Apple MacBook Pro 15
For those who prefer to do programming on Mac OS/X, the Apple MacBook Pro 15 is what I suggest. This has the fastest SSD I’ve ever tried, not to mention the crazily fast performance. As a top dollar laptop, this MacBook lives up to its hype.
This boasts a strong 8th generation Intel Core i9 processor with 32 GB RAM and a very discrete AMD Radeon 560X GPU. All of these give the fastest and most responsive features among all laptops I’ve reviewed. As for battery life, this can run for a maximum of 10 hours.
Let’s take a look at the keyboard. Unlike the previous MacBook, this one has a special touch bar with Apple’s proprietary T2 chip which levels up the security of the device. It can also activate Siri using your voice and not touch.
But like anything in the Apple brand, you’d have to pay good money to have this machine. It also runs a little bit warm during continued use. Still, not too blazing to be a cause of concern.
The best laptop screen size for programming depends on your needs. But aside from this, check for the benchmarks that will make your usage worthwhile.