Top 8 Recommended Laptops for Programming Students

Last updated: Nov 10, 2019

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The laptop requirement of a programmer or a coder varies from that of general laptop users or people in other professions such as an architect or a teacher. A developer needs a laptop that does not compromise on its hardware functionality even one bit, which means laptops for programming works need to have a powerful processor, fast storage, and memory.

Other factors include the battery life and weight of the device, ergonomics, and different aesthetics. Developers often move around a lot, and obviously, the device moves with them. Therefore, a sturdy and robust device is necessary.

The laptop market, in the last decade, has evolved exponentially and now presents every learner or professional with multiple options geared towards specific laptop needs.

In this listicle, we will explore the characteristic features of every laptop and recommend eight laptops which we found to be suitable for programming students.

Common Features

Before checking out the list of recommended laptops for programming students, keep the below parameters in mind. Check these parameters to pick up the best laptop for development.

Keyboard:

Test out the keyboard before buying. The keyboard is the most frequently used aspect of any laptop. If work hours are long and erratic, keywords with backlighting options come handy.

Operating System:

Obviously, the OS is a personal preference. Windows, Mac OS, or Linux combination are the choices we have, and the best combination is needed to do programming work. Remember that OS is changeable if requirements change.

Display:

The standard laptop screen display is the 1080p resolution. Know that the 4K display is not compulsory for doing programming/coding work even though it looks decidedly more appealing. However, the battery life might get affected. Check for anti-glare coating and right viewing angles.

RAM:

An 8GB RAM should be a standard memory in the laptop. Upgrade to 16GB RAM devices if the programming requirements are more heavy-duty.

Graphics Card:

A high-definition graphics card may not be necessary for every programming work. Usually, students into game development need a beefy graphics card, but do remember that it will make the laptop functionality cumbersome. This is the reason game developers prefer to use desktop setups as they are extremely powerful, reliable, and comfortable. But, if graphics card is required, RTX 1650 and RTX 1660 Ti, 6-series GPUs – RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and NVidia’s latest 20-series are recommended.

Storage:

Faster applications require faster file saving operability. Laptops with dedicated SSD slots help to improve booting time and save important work. The 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB are the usual SSD storage configurations. If this space is not enough, use an external SSD or HDD, or a cloud solution service provider.

Processor:

The main component of any laptop is its processor – it determines the overall functional and operational efficiency of the device. Unlike storage options and RAM which can be upgraded, the processors cannot be upgraded. Ensure that much thought is given to this aspect before buying any laptop, for any use.

In programming work, faster processing chips are required. Any laptop with a higher than 8th generation processing chip will function well. In contrast, an i5 or i7 will surely just about get the work done. The latest line of Intel-based laptops contains octa-core and hexa-core processors. Also, remember that AMD-based laptops are not much suitable for development work, especially Android development. 

Size:

While smaller sized laptop implies smooth mobility, big sized laptops have better keypads and a bigger screen. Big screened laptops often have better hardware specifications. If undecided, a 13-inch laptop works well with a comfortable keyboard, trackpad, and display. Some laptops in this segment also have a touchscreen option.

List Of 8 Best Laptops For Work Of 2019

Here is a brief look into the right best laptops for programming students in a tabular format. Each laptop is discussed separately for better understanding.

Image and Rating

Name and Features

Price

The device comes with a 9th generation i7 card.

The device wins brownie points for its sleek and slim design; its aluminum casing gives a suave, classic, and sturdy feel. 

It comes with almost everything you search for in a 2-in-1 business device.

It is possible to run all kinds of programs on the device without any glitches.

Though the design may seem to be a bit bland, the 15.6” screen gives much space to work with a spaced-out trackpad and keyboards

It comes with an i7-8565U 8th generation processor.

A licensed copy of Windows 10 comes pre-installed, but it is full of bloatware which dampens speed and work productivity.

It has the 1060Ti Max-Q graphics card and a high performing GPU, which does not get slowed down by the graphics

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i7-9750H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 5.27lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 6 Hours
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Upgradability: Both RAM and storage upgradable

Extra features: The device comes with a 9th generation i7 card.

We begin our list with the ROG G531GT by ASUS, which is an extremely robust and sturdy device with a slim device. It weighs 5.29 lbs and has a GTX 1650 graphics card for seamless and fast rendering of applications.

Working in a dim and dark environment becomes easy as the keyboard keys are backed with RGB backlight. It improves the appeal of the laptop by a couple of notches and helps to adapt and work in dimly lit environments. The RGB backlight is powered by LEDs that consume much less power, implying that it does not drain the battery life.

During regular uninterrupted work, the battery lasts around 5 hours.

The screen has a 1080p display and comes with extra slots that can be upgraded, 512GB SSD card, and RAM is of 8 GB. In spite of the high definition hardware specifications, the laptop is priced quite affordably. The beast will never let you down.

Pros

  • Can be upgraded to higher specifications
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Weighs more than others; it can be a bit cumbersome to carry around

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.78lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 16.75 hours
  • Screen size: 13.3”
  • Upgradability: No extra slots for RAM and SSD

Extra features: The device wins brownie points for its sleek and slim design; its aluminum casing gives a suave, classic, and sturdy feel. 

A lot has been written and spoken about the Spectre laptop series from HP. Expensively priced, does the laptop specifications justify the investment? Let us see.

The Spectre x360 is a powerful and compact device built on i7-8550U. The screen is 1080p. Working with the given stylus is smooth and simplifies many of the tasks for which we depend on the keyboard.

The makers have not compromised on its hardware; it is a powerful device.

However, the Spectre comes pre-configured with Windows 10 with many meaningless applications that only slows down the device. There are no ports, so that can be a hindrance. The fingerprint-enabled scanner is placed in an awkward place, right near the edge of the Thunderbolt ports.

Pros

  • Keyword works fantastically and matches the overall aesthetics
  • A powerful battery that lasts hours
  • Light design, easy to carry, looks classy

Cons

  • No ports
  • Could have done better with screen lights

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.78lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 16.75 hours
  • Screen size: 13.3”
  • Upgradability: No extra slots for RAM and SSD

Extra features:  If this is not convincing enough, know that the Gram comes with i5-825U, which can seamlessly handle a heavy workload without any functional problem. 

The Gram laptop by LG comes highly recommended by developers. The battery lasts an incredible 23.5 hours long in one charge! It weighs just 2.2 lbs and is ultra-durable.

It has a full HD display format, the keyboard is backlit by energy-efficient LEDs, the 14” screen gives a compact performance feel, and the functionality of the trackpad is unrivaled. Like the Spectre by HP, the Gram is touch-enabled.

There are two 3.0 USB ports (no Thunderbolt 3 ports), a single SD card reader, and a single USB Type-C port. The Gram is an efficient device, suitable for every programmer and developer. It is a robust and high performing device.

Pros

  • Very lightweight; easy to carry around
  • High performance battery life

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt ports

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i5 quad-core processor
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.02lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 10 hours
  • Screen size: 13.3”
  • Upgradability: Both RAM and Storage are not upgradable

Extra features:  It is possible to run all kinds of programs on the device without any glitches.

A popular and in-demand brand, the MacBook range of laptops from Apple is the first choice for students and professionals alike. Its ergonomically built devices and classy design, and powerful functional features are often unbeatable.

The MacBook Pro comes recommended for programming students if the price point is not a hindrance. The Mac OS supports all types of development software.

This device has 8 GB of RAM, both 256 GB and 512 GB of SSD storage, and comes with 8th generation i5 processor. The large trackpad helps to connect with the computer quickly, improving interactivity. The butterfly keyboard is one of the best in the industry, and the display is crisp and intuitive.

There are no USB ports, only four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and the battery serves only around 8 hours, which is a little underwhelming.

Pros

  • Mac OS is THE best in the computer industry
  • High powered and intuitive display
  • Smooth and seamless performance

Cons

  • Given the hardware specifications, the price could have been better
  • Battery life leaves much to be desired

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i5-8550U
  • RAM: 8GB dual-channel RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 5.27lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 15 hours
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Upgradability: Upgradable RAM, extra drive slot

Extra features:  Though the design may seem to be a bit bland, the 15.6” screen gives much space to work with a spaced-out trackpad and keyboards.

Looking for a mid-range laptop for programming work? We recommend the Aspire E 15 from Acer. A popular device among developers, its MX150 GPU and i7-8550U delivers an impressive robust performance, almost at part with other high-end programming laptops.

Calling the device a “productivity machine” will not be wrong.

A single battery charge runs the device for 10 to 12 hours. The 8GB RAM can be upgraded, and it comes with a 256GB SSD. There is an extra slot for an additional drive. The dim display might be a bummer, though.

Pros

  • Value for money device
  • Storage and RAM can be upgraded

Cons

  • The device can be a bit heavy to carry around
  • The display is a bit dim

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i7-8565U
  • RAM: 8GB/16GB
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
  • Weight: 2.71lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 12 hours
  • Screen size: 13.3”
  • Upgradability: Not upgradable

Extra features: It comes with an i7-8565U 8th generation processor.

Featuring a modern and sophisticated design with a 4K display, the XPS 13 from Dell is a mid-range laptop popular among programmers.

The RAM comes with 8GB and 16GB options, while the SSD options are 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Remember that the RAM and SSD cannot be upgraded. Due to the 4K display, the battery drains; however, a single charge gives around 8 hours of use.

The device has two standard ports and three Thunderbolt 3 ports, giving the user an easy connectivity option with external devices. The keyboard has a backlighting option, which is very useful these days, and the fingerprint reader keeps the device safe and secure. The small frontal webcam takes clear images. Overall, the XPS 13 is a lightweight device with a good performance report.

Pros

  • Hardware options are all up to date
  • Webcam quality is commendable
  • Slim bezels

Cons

  • The battery life needs to improve

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i7-8565U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD +1TB HDD
  • Weight: 3.97lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): 10 hours
  • Screen size: 14”
  • Upgradability: Extra slot for RAM

Extra features: A licensed copy of Windows 10 comes pre-installed, but it is full of bloatware which dampens speed and work productivity.

Another ASUS on the list is the VivoBook S15, which comes with a 1080p display, multiple colors, and a shiny exterior for a premium fee.

The trackpad is robust, and the fingerprint scanner is placed near the trackpad. It does not have the Thunderbolt 3 port but has other ports. The keys are aesthetically placed for comfortable typing.

When used moderately, the battery works for around seven hours. The devices smoothly run on an i7-8565U setup. There are multiple storage options with the dual drive setup. The ASUS device is an affordable option for all.

Pros

  • An affordable device
  • Hardware performance is commendable

Cons

  • Contains a lot of bloatware; need to get rid of them
  • Display is somber

FEATURES

  • Processor: Intel i5-8750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD+ 1TB HDD / 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD
  • Weight: 4.48lbs
  • Battery life (as stated): Up to 6 hours
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Upgradability: Both storage and RAM upgradable

Extra features: It has the 1060Ti Max-Q graphics card and a high performing GPU, which does not get slowed down by the graphics

A premium laptop device, the Razer Blade is a performance horse with a powerful hardware setup.

The CPU is i7-8750H Hexa-core and has USB 3.1 three ports and a Thunderbolt port.

Storage is flexible with a dual drive setup. The trackpad is large enough to ensure smooth movement of hands, and the keyboard is backlit with green light, giving the Blade a unique appeal.

Given its strong operability, the device comes with a dual-fan cooling system. Thin bezels and 1080p display screen add to its charm. The device weighs 4.48lbs, but this con can be ignored easily.

Pros

  • Multiple ports for external connectivity
  • A budget-friendly option
  • Dual drive storage option

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Miserable battery life (5 hours)
  • Endnote

Given the varied nature of work scope visible in core programming and development, it is hard to recommend a single laptop. There cannot be a single perfect device for every programming student.

With this list, we have tried to suggest the best possible programming laptops to suit every core development vertical. The G531GT is a robust device, whereas the E15 and the VivoBook are among affordable options. If you have a high-end budget and looking for power-packed performance, go for the MacBook Pro.

Once you are sure of what exactly is needed, it becomes simple to choose a programming laptop.

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